NEW YORK CITY — It was the relentless winter that pushed stylist and fashion blogger Courtney Quinn to make a fashion choice usually favored by elderly aunties and middle-aged dads — pairing socks with sandals.
To shake off a cold-weather uniform of tights and pants, Quinn, 23, walked onto the street in February wearing strappy, open-toe high heels with black socks.
"There is such a lag in the season, and you are just itching to wear those summer things," she explained.
And Quinn isn’t alone in her rule-breaking choice of attire. Designers including Celine, Burberry and Band of Outsiders have sent models down the catwalk flaunting socks with open-toe shoes, and the look has made its way into street style.
"Layering sandals with socks is the perfect way to transition seasons," stylist Sara Cooper wrote in an email to DNAinfo New York. "It's a practical solution for spring and fall weather dressing."
Cooper, who's been dressing models for 10 years, advised that a few simple steps can turn the visible sock look from faux pas to fashionable. It works well with lightweight and solid-colored socks matched with flat-formed shoes, topped with a dress or miniskirt, according to Cooper.
"You'll definitely want to show some skin and sex this trend up to avoid feeling frumpy," Cooper said.
Boyfriend jeans, which have a tendency to look casual, can work with socks under strappy shoes, provided that the heels are sky-high, Cooper said.
The socks-with-sandals look has undergone a gradual rebranding to its now-cool status, Quinn said. Designer Kate Spade helped revive it by showing closed-toe pumps with fun socks. Tory Burch showed socks with flats, and in their ready-to-wear Spring 2014 show, Band of Outsiders paired socks with flat and heeled sandals.
Some runway trends should never walk the streets, costume designer and wardrobe stylist Rebecca Frey said. She interpreted sock-and-sandals pairings as a fashion show gimmick to get people talking, in addition to being impractical.
"Sometimes you step in tar or all sorts of things. If you step in a puddle, then there is nothing less cute than walking around having wet socks for people to see," Frey said.
Quinn suggested wearing darker socks to hide the inevitable dirt of city streets.
Personal shopper Valerie Halfon said she won't advise her clients to try the tricky look.
"I have to take a stand," she said. "I want my clients to trust me, so I need to be honest with them."
Halfon, 30, said seeing socks and sandals triggers a dark memory — when as a third-grader her mother dressed her in strappy, white sandals over green neon socks.
"Even though we are seeing [the sock and sandal trend now], I don't think I can look past that moment," she said.
Stylist Laura Solin-Valdina, who has advised clients on style for 19 years, weighed in that the look can work for women in their 20s and early 30s, but perhaps not on someone older.
She cautioned that an entire outfit needs to be planned around the socks and sandals of choice.
"It is not one of those accessories that you throw on and it works with everything," she said.