Monthly Archives: August 2011

Toeless Tights – the pedicurist’s friend – Laura’s Choice

Bought a sensational pair of sandals? Had a fabulous pedicure? Want to show them both off but still want your legs to look sensational? Some girls choose fake tan but there is a better solution and one that doesn’t turn your palms orange or risk making you look like an Oompa Loompa.
Toeless tights (not to be confused with sandal toe tights) are completely open at the toe which allow you to wear tights with sandals without that giveaway bit of fabric over the toes. has a selection of the best open toe tights that will make your legs look sensational and ensure you stay popular with your pedicurist.
If you are always in sandals in the summer then the Pretty Polly Naturals 8D Open Toe Tights are a great everyday toeless tight. At £5 a pair they are really excellent value and give a very natural look on the leg. These are really good if hosiery is an essential part of your work wardrobe but you still want to wear lovely sandals. They are kept in place with a single loop that fits around your big toes.
Still relatively new to the website, the Trasparenze Tropea Toeless tights are already proving popular this summer. These are anchored by two loops which fit round the big and little toes. Admittedly a little more expensive than the Pretty Polly Naturals toeless tights, these two loops really make all the difference as they ensure that the opening of these tights stays straight with a minimum of riding up, making it much easier to keep them concealed under your shoe straps.
However, when fashion magazines and stylists road test bare leg look tights, they consistently pick Falke’s Shelina Tights as the best of the bare leg look tights. Made from an ultra fine Sideria yarn, the Shelina Tights actually look more like a 5 denier sheer so you get a super fine appearance with 12 denier strength. The finish is beautiful and has a very slight sheen that really does look like your skin, only better. I live in these in the summer.
Unlike the other toeless products, the Falke Shelina Toeless Tights don’t have any toe loops and is instead secured by a thin, stretchy band around the opening. It’s a matter of personal preference: some people find it reassuring to have a loop around the toe to stop them riding up over the foot, whereas others find the loop very uncomfortable after a couple of hours wear. I can certainly recommend these for their great look, fit and feel.
Of course these are not all perfect solutions for every style of shoe, you will need to make sure that you are wearing shoes that have a good strap across the base of the toes to conceal the end of these tights. If you are wearing peep toe ballet pumps that show that little bit of toe cleavage these probably won’t work and you are probably better off checking out our range of footsies and shoe liners. Even so, open toe tight have got to be considered the new summer wardrobe essential. Free your toes – you owe it to your pedicurist to show off her handy work.

Read More

Rhianna: Sings songs, looks cool

Following Rhianna’s amazing performance at V Festival in Weston Park in Staffordshire on Saturday, the American singer has become our new style crush!  During her set she worked the crowd into a frenzy with sensational moves and an array of hits including Only Girl, Disturbia, S&M and of course the classic Umbrella (which, incidentally, we’re guessing a few wet fans wished they had brought as the weather turned miserable), before joining Eminem for a duet of their smash hit Love the Way You Lie.

It was a testament to the star’s amazing figure and fashion credentials that she managed to pull off fishnet back seamed tights with leather and huge hoops!  Although we have to warn you that unless you’re a pop star, no one will let you get away with shorts that show off half of your bottom.

The great thing is, this look is easier to pull off than it originally seems: let us tell you how you can be as hot as Rhianna in no time at all…

- Team denim shorts with a statement t shirt:  As we said, longer denim is a MUST to avoid looking trashy.  It doesn’t have to be knee length, hotpants are ok as long as they are long enough to cover your actual pants.  Or for those of you less comfortable with your legs, try a denim skirt instead!  As for the t shirt, Rhianna’s gone for the classic Union Jack in honour of her Brit fans but a cool slogan tee will work just as well.  If your shorts are high waisted (or you happen to have a washboard stomach) you can tie the bottom of your shirt up to expose a touch of bare flesh.

- You need an extremely sexy pair of tights to show your legs off.  We have a great range of tights just like Rhianna’s for you to choose from: from Jonathan Aston (for pure luxurious glamour) to the more affordable Pamela Mann version.  The great thing about this look is that even if you manage to snag or tear the tights it’ll just give the look an authentic punky finish!

- Team the outfit with a leather jacket and biker boots to add just the right amount of edge to the tights and stops you from looking too “done”.

- Finish with big hair, huge earrings and tons of swagger.

And voila! From ordinary person to fully fledged star in 60 seconds.*


*Hot body not included. Unless you actually go to the gym.

Read More

Hosiery for the jet set

With some pretty mediocre weather over the last few weeks – those of us who decided to stay at home through August may well be beginning to think it wasn’t such a great idea.  Still, for those that decided to postpone their holiday until after the school holidays or are who hoping to bag themselves a last minute holiday bargain, here is my guide to the essentials you want to squeeze into your suitcase along with your sun cream and bikini.

Bare leg look and open toe tights

We know you want your legs to look bare and beautiful on holiday but what if they are not quite ready to show off.   Build up your tan slowly on the beach or by the pool, but when you go out exploring you can guarantee gorgeous looking legs with our recently expanded range of super sheer bare leg look and toeless tights.  The crème de la crème are the Falke Shelina tights which gives THE most natural bare leg look.  The Pretty Polly Naturals range are cheap and great value and also give a very natural look but it is also well worth looking over Levante’s Resistenza Tights which give a similar look.  They may be more expensive but they are resistant to runs so there will be no annoying ladders running down your leg.

You are naturally going to want to wear sandals on holiday but these days you don’t have settle for a sheer toe and hope no-one will notice.  Our range of open toe tights mean you can wear your sandals with confidence knowing your legs look great with no tell tale covering of fabric over your toes.   Again, Falke’s Shelina range looking for open toe tights and hold ups to wear with sandals the Shelina range is a great place to start especially if you want to avoid the toe loops that can be uncomfortable under some styles of shoe.   For those that feel more confident knowing that their toeless tights are held firmly in place, Trasparenze’s Tropea Toeless Tights are new to the website and have two soft loops on each foot that fit over the big and small toes for a little extra security.

Footsies and shoe cushions

With sightseeing and romantic strolls along the beach, chances are you are going to do more walking than usual on your holiday.  That’s especially risky if you’ve just bought some lovely new shoes to take on holiday!  Make sure you pack a supply of Levante Shoe Monkey’s Strap Strips.  These clever and versatile little cushioned strips will stick to the underside of your shoe straps and prevent rubbing and pinching wherever it may occur.  Slim and discreet, they are perfect for strappy sandals.

If you are going somewhere hot you might also appreciate our range of foot liners which will keep your feet feeling fresher and more comfortable as you gad about in the sun.  Levante’s Seamfree Cotton Footlets will let your feet breath and allow you to go bare legged in comfort.

Flight Socks

They might not have the most glamorous image but do make sure you take your flight socks.  Sitting still on long journeys and long haul flights in particular can cause the circulation in the legs can become sluggish and increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis.  A pair of flight socks like Scholl’s Cotton Feel Flight Socks are made with graduated compression but they look just like an ordinary pair of knee high socks.  They will help the blood flow back up towards the heart and aid healthy circulation for a good start and end to your holiday.

Let’s face it.  It’s way more fun to shop for bikinis and sun dresses before you go on holiday but leaving all the essentials to the last minute can cause stress.  We’ve got at least some of the basics covered so, for a hassle free way to prepare let deliver your holiday essentials to your door.

Read More

New House of Holland

It’s become something of a tradition to pour over the catwalk images from the House of Holland catwalk shows to see if we can spot the styles we will be stocking next season.  Ever since Henry Holland started designing his range of hosiery for Pretty Polly, they have been best sellers and office favourites.  What’s more, the fashion press heaped praise on Henry Holland’s Autumn Winter 2011 collection.  It is always exciting when you can get your hands on something lifted straight from the catwalk at such a great price but it is even sweeter when you know your accessories will be thoroughly approved of by the ladies at Vogue!

We’ve just received a delivery of the two most exciting pieces in the collection and the others will be arriving in the next few days but I just couldn’t wait to give you peek at the new collection.

First up, and my personal favourites are the House of Holland Bingo Balls Tights.  It sounds anything but glamorous but, for his Autumn Winter collection, Henry Holland was inspired by grannies.  Somehow though, it was glamorous.  He mixed fine tweeds, silk dresses, scarves and pearls to create very ladylike silhouettes.  But the famous Holland humour meant that his collection was anything but staid – and the Bingo Balls print was at the centre of the show adding a quirky colourful, witty touch to proceedings.   After all, if you are going to celebrate granny style you should give a little nod to granny pastimes as well.  These Bingo Balls Tights are perfect for brightening up those 60s style shift dresses that are everywhere this season.   Alternatively you can copy the girls on the catwalk and team with a pretty silk dress and a belted cardigan.

Another key part of the collection were the House of Holland Crochet Tights  (as seen pictured on the catwalk above) – inspired by knitted blankets and shawls beloved of grannies and 70s hipsters alike.  The obvious thing is to wear this print with loads of warm, complementary colours and big jewellery to get the 70s bohemian look, but I can also see these worn with a classic knee length navy dress, a skinny brown belt and matching shoes for grown up days out.

The Alphabet Tights are probably the most wearable pieces in the collection.  These sheer black tights feature scattered opaque lettering which spells “HOUSE” and “HOLLAND” down each leg.  This clever use of sheer and opaque fabric is characteristic of the House of Holland collection for Pretty Polly and we are expecting them to be really popular.

We are also looking forward to the latest take on the Super Suspender Tights.  This year’s version has a fishnet top to the now classic mock suspender design.  It’s a new twist on Henry Holland’s signature piece and if you are a fan of the original House of Holland Super Suspender Tights then you surely need to add these to your collection.  If you are a mock suspender first timer, we promise you you cannot fail to turn heads in these sexy, funky tights.

Always quirky and original, House of Holland is one of our favourite brands.  The collections are always cutting edge and as a result they are really popular with our fashion loving customers.  Shop with us to snap up these limited edition styles early – they are going to be huge this winter!

Read More

A/W ’11 Trend Round-Up

Tights As Seen In Red Magazine – September 2011 Issue

Pair classic cuts with textured tights

The trends for AW 11 are some of the most exciting we’ve seen in the last few years.  Trends are emerging that mix luxury with the everyday; blend time periods, materials, colours and even gender!  This is fashion like you’ve never seen it before –  and here, we’ve brought you the key trends you need to see you through A/W ’11.

Trend: Androgyny

Seen at: D&G, Jean-Paul Gaultier

While the designers sent out some of the most masculine looks we’ve seen in their AW 2011 collections, this look is easily adapted to everyday style by choosing one key piece and dressing it in a feminine way.  A perfect way to do this is by teaming a pair of ultra-feminine suspender tights with masculine tailoring – tailored shorts or a tux jacket.

Trend: Texturised

Seen at: Marni, Fendi

The key to this look is layering and mismatching different textures.  Marni mixed leather with fur and sequins- if this is a bit much, experiment with new textures by teaming a classic item from your wardrobe with something different – such as a classic coat or suit with ribbed tights.

Trend: Forties

Seen at: Galliano, Miu Miu

The forties trend is all about updating the stylish elegance of the period with contemporary twists.  Add lace detailing to silky blouses and pencil skirts to compensate for the conservatively long hemline – think silk gloves or lace tights for an instant wardrobe update.

Temper long hemlines with flirty lace tights

Trend: Prints

Seen at: Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Gucci

Prints are in, and the general consensus this season is that prints are getting an English make over.  Think quaint, quintessential British prints and you can’t go wrong.  Winter favourites such as tweed and plaid are back, joined by tartan which hit the runway in a big way.  And dots of all shapes and sizes featured heavily, too.  Try one statement piece in a print- we have a selection of spotted tights and if you’re feeling really brave try these Pamela Mann Check tights.

Trend: Fetish

Seen at: McQueen, Miu Miu, Jonathan Saunders

There are a couple of different sub trends at play here.  You can either go for biker chic, mixing leather dresses with sexy accessories such as these bondage tights, or let your wild side go with animalistic prints with tights by Celeste Stein (but don’t do both and don’t wear these trends top to toe – try a pair of animal print tights with a simple black dress for the best way to dip your toe in the trend.


The colours to watch this season are our favourite autumnal hues – wines, rusts and mustards – and jewel brights like purples, greens and blues.

Team jewel brights and block colour with black opaques


There are always one or two key items that can be recycled from last season or even last year – for this A/W, pleats have made the transition and are still in, and we see yet again the return of the mac, which always looks great played down with a great quality pair of black opaques.

So now all you have to do is pick your favourite – and get shopping!

Read More

X Marks the Spot

Sometimes, the fash pack realises that some trends are just too brilliant to only last one season. This season, polka dots are coming back to grace the fabric of clothes everywhere: meaning that at long last spots have joined the likes of florals and their much more famous sister, stripes, to gain status as a regular visitor to the catwalk. Seen on the AW catwalks at Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney et al, dots are exploding back into fashion in time for the autumn. And they’re bigger (sometimes literally) and better than ever.
The look as a whole is sleeker and more refined- with the dots becoming more essential to the look as a whole rather than, as in previous years, being contained to one accessory or dress that seemed at odds with the rest of the outfit. Stella complemented a polka dot sheer panel dress with polka dot tights, and Marc Jacobs mixed spotted accessories with 40s glamour styling- fusing a blend of pretty blouses, pencil skirts and lace detailing with layers of polka dot accessories.


Pair with the colours of the season –autumnal hues like wines and rusts, and jewel brights- emeralds, purples and blues.

Pick larger spots for cute daytime looks, but choose little spots for a more elegant look – now polka dots are officially high fashion we can wear them in the evening and even to the office!

Previously it has been a no-no, but this season dare to be different – don’t be afraid to mix spots with spots.

Look magazine has taken inspiration and suggested a very wearable alternative, teaming Wolford’s Bonny Dots Tights with even more spots in head to toe black and keeping the bold touches to colour pop accessories and neon make up. However you wear them, make sure you stay right on trend and go dotty for dots this season.

Get the Look

Wolford Bonny Dots tights are the actual tights that Look magazine used in their shoot, and are the perfect balance between large and tiny spots- and for the extreme fashionistas among you, we have the same print in a hold up version!
If you love those but they’re a little out of your price range, try Pamela Mann Oversized Spot tights. Not only are they a cheaper alternative- they were featured in a Vogue shoot too!
Perfect for the office and an evening look, Gerbe Plumetis tights feature smaller dots so are great for a more elegant take on the trend, and ideal for those of you who want to try out the trend before you fully commit. (Again, if pay day is still a mere speck in the distance, look to Pamela Mann for some cheaper tights with small dots).
If you’re determined to do the whole shebang properly, layer these Pamela Mann socks over your tights à la Marc Jacobs – or wear alone in warmer weather for a summer introduction to autumn’s trend.

Read More

Shop by skin tone

Describing colours to customers can be really difficult – everyone has a slightly different interpretation of each shade!  It is especially challenging when it comes to choosing the right shade for your skin tone – often we are talking about nude colours with very subtle differences in shade. I understand why lots of customers can find it reassuring to call us and talk through the colour they are looking for.  Since we have expanded the colour choices in our range however, I thought this might be a good opportunity to do a quick overview of how to shop on our website by skin tone.

We’ve divided the nude tones on our site into five broad categories:

English Rose

This term is used to describe pale, creamy coloured skin – if you have a tendency to burn quickly rather than tan you probably fall into this category.  Girls who are proud of their pale skin will find Falke products a good place to start.  The Falke Seidenglatt 15D Tights and Fond de Poudre both come in a colour called Cocoon which is one of the palest nude tones we offer.

For a lovely bare leg look on pale skin, the Golden shade in the Falke Shelina Tights should perfect your skin tone without masking it.  If you feel like adding just a touch more colour to your legs then you could try the Levante Resistenza Tights in Enhance.

Cocoon Crystal

Click here to see all English Rose hosiery.


Sunkissed shades will suit skins that have a slight tan and they are good for giving a little colour to your legs before they have had a chance to see the sun.  Try Charnos’ Sheer Lustre Tights in Natural Tan or for something a little more special you could try the gorgeous La Perla Allure 15 Tights in Neutro which has lovely brown undertones that give a really healthy but not overpowering tan colour.

Natural Tan Neutro

Click here to see all Sunkissed hosiery.


We use this term to describe those with olive skins or southern Mediterranean colouring.  It can also be a good colour if you tan well and you have just come back from holiday.  Trasparenze’s Fango colour, which is available in the Noemi and Capri tights, is a really good colour for classic olive skin.  Those with Mediterranean skins may start the summer wearing Falke  Shelina Tights in a colour like Sun and then graduate to the slightly darker Noisette as their tan builds.

Sun Noisette

Click here to see all Mediterranean colour hosiery.


Products that are described as suitable for Asian skin may also work for dark olive or lighter black skins.  Aristoc’s Ultra Shine 10d Tights in Illusion are very popular with customer with darker or Asian skin tones and it is very similar to the Nutmeg colour in the Pretty Polly Nylons which are also very strong sellers.

Illusion Nutmeg

Click here to see all Asian skin colour hosiery.


This category covers colours from rich, reddish to very dark browns and many of our customers remark that these colours can be very difficult to find on the high street.  If you have a lot of reddish of golden tones to your skin then do consider trying Trasparenze’s Sifonie shade which is available in Capri Tights and Noemi Tights.  For very dark skins, Le Bourget’s Le Bourget Voilance Satine 15D Tights come in a colour called Typhon which is designed especially to complement dark skin.

Sinfonie Typhon

Click here to see all African skin colour hosiery.

People with different skin tones face different challenges when it comes to buying hosiery – it’s little wonder some of our customers stick with the same brand and colour for years and years.  White skins have a million slightly different shades to choose from and it can be difficult to distinguish between them.  A nude in one brand can be quite different from another.   Dark skinned black and asian women often face exactly the opposite problem.  There are certainly more limited options when it comes to choosing colours to match darker skins.  We’ve recently expanded our range but we are always on the hunt for good quality products that cater for the full range of skin tones so if you have come across a product you think we should stock do let us know.

Read More

Everyone needs a bit of support

Say the words “support tights” and most of us will immediately think of not so glamorous grannies.  Support hosiery certainly has a very unattractive image but it is myth that support tights are just for old ladies and invalids. Just about everyone can benefit from support tights and you may be surprised by just how much modern products are challenging the dowdy image of support hosiery.

Why you need support?

When you walk around your calf muscles act as natural pumps which help blood move up your leg and back towards your heart.  When you stand or sit still for long periods of time this pump is not working and this can cause poor or sluggish circulation.  This is a particular problem for people that spend long days sitting at a desk (isn’t that just about all of us these days), people who are travelling (particularly on long haul flights) and those that stand still for long periods standing still such as shop assistants or hairdressers.  If you have ever experienced a heavy aching feeling in your lower legs this could be down to poor circulation and you could also benefit from wearing support hosiery.

How support hosiery works

Support hosiery works by applying pressure to the ankle and lower legs.  That compression is graduated to decrease as it moves up the leg so that it helps to push blood up the leg and back towards the heart.  Their soothing, massaging effect ensures healthy circulation and helps prevent health conditions like varicose veins (a particular concern during pregnancy) or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

The support hosiery on the website comes in a range of different support levels.  In the UK we describe support levels from light to extra firm.  Some of the products publish the mm Hg level of their support products other just the “Support Factor”.  mm Hg stands for Milimetres of Mercury at 0°C  – that’s how they measure pressure and believe me both our lives are too short to explain in more detail! The table below is a handy guide to how the mm Hg matches up to the support level and support factor:

Support Level mm Hg Support Factor
Light 6 6
Medium 8 8
Firm 10 10
Extra Firm 12 12
Extra Extra Firm 15-24 15-24
Medical* 25+ 25+

Please note: Medical grade compression will require a prescription from your doctor, however we recommend checking with your doctor before using any compression above factor 15.

Everyone is different so, unless you have been ordered to wear a specific mm Hg by a doctor or nurse, I’d suggest starting with the lightest support you think you need and then move up the scale until you find the level offers the most benefit but still feels comfortable.

None of the products we sell are considered to be medical grade, they are generally offer much lighter support than surgical support stockings which you can get on prescription.  If you have a medical condition and you need even higher support factors than the ones listed here, do speak to your chemist or visit John Bell & Croyden who may also be able to supply.

What to choose

The most popular range of support tights and stockings we stock are from Elbeo.  A very traditional type of support hosiery, they have many devoted fans.  They tend to be popular with our older customers many of whom have been wearing Elbeo support tights for years.  Elbeo firm support tights are sometimes recommended by doctors and nurses to patients with mild conditions.

For something a little more youthful and glamorous try the Falke Shaping Support 20 Tights*.  They look great on the leg and they have a really good control top which slims down the waist, hips and bottom.  If you prefer a higher denier this style is also available in 40 denier too.

Bringing a little glamour to the website are the Levante Relax Support Tights which come in Firm and Medium Support versions.  Regardless of the fact that they are support tights, these really are beautiful products.  They have a lovely matte finish and a semi sheer appearance which is actually nicer than many ordinary hosiery products.  A light control top is an added bonus to make sure your figure looks great too.

If you want something with a slightly lower denier then the Pretty Polly 15D Light Support Tights represent great value for money and come in light or medium support.  Perhaps not as exceptional as the Falke and the Levante, these are priced for everyday use but their lower denier is really handy for summer outfits.

If you want something with extra benefits we can’t recommend highly enough the Charnos Energising Support Collection.  Coated with a unique blend of Vitamin E, Sea Kelp and Shea Butter, these provide protection from premature ageing, stimulation of blood flow and intense moisturisation, as well as perking up tired pins!

Our range doesn’t stop there, either – we have flight socks from Scholl and extra extra firm support styles from Cette too, so we suggest browsing our entire collection to find your perfect support.

Anyone that sits at a desk all day or spends long periods of time standing can benefit from wearing support hosiery to ease that tired achy feeling in your legs and to help guard against health conditions that can be caused by poor or inconsistent blood circulation like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or varicose veins.  The modern support products are anything but dowdy so it is possible to stay look after your health and look great at the same time.

*Just to complicate things, Falke describe their support tights as Support Category 3 rather than with a Support Factor. Support Category 3 offers Firm Support

Read More