Buying the Best Hosiery for You
Isn’t colour fabulous? The right hosiery can flatter your skin tone, even out blemishes, finish an outfit, or even make an outfit with a pattern or amazing details.
Black is always the new black in hosiery, because it looks smart, elegant, has a slightly slimming effect and often complements professional outfits. However it’s hard to wear with paler colours, and for many years black with navy was a faux pas.
Barely Black — different brands create different shades of barely black, but the grey/silvery versions can be very flattering with rose shades in clothes.
Skin tones — often misnomered “nude”, a term that makes no sense with all of the different colours people can be, the myriad shades of skin toned hosiery mean you can find a flattering tone. In winter skin-tone hosiery leaves the attention grabbing to your clothes and keeps you warm, whilst in summer, you can create an instant glistening healthy tan and even out any blemishes.
Navy hosiery can look very professional, whilst other blue shades have been consistently at the height of fashion for the last few years, and can complement blue, silver, grey and more colourful outfits.
Pink hosiery is increasingly popular, with the paler shades being easy to wear, brightening the complexion and easy to coordinate with black, grey and silver outfits. All over pink can be a little overpowering though.
In winter, dark plums and greens are often popular variations, with grey having become a handy neutral in the last few years, and chocolate brown often coordinates well with colours like teal and purple.
White and cream hosiery tend to be associated with bridal hosiery, but can look fabulous as a strong contrast with a dark outfit or to complete a pale outfit without leaving legs startlingly bare.
The finish of hosiery describes its external appearance, and depends on the fabric and weave used.
Very shiny stockings tend to either be mono filament pure nylon, which have a smooth, almost glassy effect, such as can be seen on Cervin stockings, or a high lycra content woven to have the lycra on the outside. Shiny hosiery tends to feel very smooth, and catches the light which draws attention to your legs and define your curves — think Dita or the high-shine lycra cyclists wear!
A slight sheen or satiny finish can be more natural, looking more like you have just moisturised, smoothing your shape. A very pretty, diffuse effect.
Matte hosiery, for example a powder look (Falke) or velvet opaques, have a flat look, no shine, and are therefore very suitable for situations where you don’t want your legs to be the focus.
Fishnets themselves are the size you most often see, and usually would only be worn in the daytime in a skin colour. Performers often wear skin toned fishnets on stage to improve the way their legs look without being too dramatic.
Lace hosiery can be very beautiful and really dress up plain daywear for the evening. The feel depends on the lace used.
The denier of hosiery is a technical definition indicating the weight of the yarn used. Unfortunately, the appearance of these won’t necessarily be consistent, because the same denier woven in different ways looks different. So commonly people talk about the appearance of denier instead, and we can separate products into categories on this basis.
The lowest are the ultra sheer, gossamer light weaves that are cool in the summer but enhance the appearance of your legs. The lowest are Cervin’s 7 denier RHT’s. These are lovely and subtle, but low deniers are the least durable.Sheer hosiery is the most common, between 10–20 denier. A great combination of practical and appearance.
Semi-opaques, 25–35 denier, are hard to ladder and create a strong colour but you can still see the skin through them.
Opaques, 40 denier plus, are extremely hard to ladder, and great in the cold weather, plus they completely cover up the leg — so if you don’t want to depilate all the time, they are great!Sizing
Hosiery sizing can be tricky. Read the charts carefully and also our tips, as sizing can change even between products from the same brand. If you want petites, curvy or tall stockings, we have sections for these. If you are on the border between two sizes, generally a size up works best. If you are buying pure nylon, never go more than one size up — it will wrinkle everywhere!Different Types of Hosiery
The most common type of hosiery is tights (or pantyhose if you are from the USA). Tights are all in one from toes to waist. Tights are easy, convenient, leave no lumps or bumps, and warm in the summer. Many have cotton gussets so you don’t have to wear underwear, and you can get them with control tops to hold tummies in under dresses and so on. They make wearing very short skirts slightly less scary!
However, not everyone can deal with the waistbands, some women find they induce irritation, and many people feel that aesthetically they lack a certain something. If you ladder one leg you have to throw the entire garment out.
This leads some people to choose stockings instead. Daily wear for women in years gone by, stockings now tend to be chosen by women interested in health or aesthetics. Some people have been fooled into thinking that stockings fall down and are difficult; this isn’t true. What’s actually happened is that modern suspender belts (garter belts for US readers) are usually not really up to the job of holding your stockings up all day. Our suspender belts have metal clasps and clips, which work better, they are deep, sit on the waist usually, and they often have six straps. Try one; it’s completely different to the usual “bedroom wear” belts!
Suspender stockings/tights are a combination of the two products. They are all in one, but look like a belt with tights. This allows for some beautiful combinations and can mean less scrabbling for the component parts early in the morning if you are someone who prefers not to have a gusset.