Everything you wanted to know about hosiery but were afraid to ask

Avid MyTights.com fans may have noticed that we’ve just received a huge number of new products.  Handling so many brand new and unfamiliar products at once made me realise how little information is sometimes available on the packaging.  It’s not always clear either.   At MyTights.com we always try to provide all the extra information we think you might need to differentiate between one product and another but in a shop sometimes the information on the packet is all you have.   

So over the last couple of weeks, I have been asking everyone who would stand still long enough what they always wanted to know about their tights but never knew who to ask, what points on hosiery packaging left them baffled and what terms they didn’t understand.  

 This blog post is the result of my entirely unscientific survey of friends, acquaintances and passers by along with the answers to those niggling little questions about their tights that they have always wondered about.   

1. What is denier?   

Denier is probably one of the most commonly used in hosiery but and is a basic guide to how sheer or opaque your tights will be.  Technically the denier describes the weight (i.e. the thickness) of the yarn from which the hosiery is woven.  So, 1 denier would mean that 9000 metres of yarn weighs 1gramme.  The lower the denier the sheerer your tights.  Anything under 10 denier would be regarded as ultra sheer and anything from 40denier up is considered opaque.  Simple!    

However, just to make things complicated, modern yarns and knitting techniques mean we can now produce hosiery that looks finer than the denier would suggest.   Often this means you get the durability of a higher denier in a product that looks finer and more delicate than it actually is.  For example, Falke’s Shelina Tights are a 12 denier but they actually look more like a 8 denier so you get a great bare leg look with a bit of extra durability from the higher denier.  You may also see “denier appearance” used to describe the appearance of support tights and stockings which are made in a different way to non support hosiery.    

Like the manufacturers, MyTights.com uses the term “denier appearance” when we think it is a more appropriate way to describe the look and feel of the product.   

2. Lycra vs elastane what is the difference?   

There isn’t one really.  Elastane is the generic name for the rubber compound yarn that is used to give hosiery its stretchy feel and the ability to recover its shape.  Lycra is a trademark registered by Invista to describe their elastane fibre.  For more information about Lycra and how it is used in the manufacture of hosiery check out our Lycra information pages.    


3. What do all the different toe descriptions actually mean?  

To lots of people the appearance of the toe is one of the most important things about their tights – it can certainly dictate what sorts of shoes you can wear with your outfit.  We try to make sure that our descriptions of toes are clear and consistent so we use the following terms across our site: 

Reinforced toe – Describes hosiery with visible reinforcing across the toe to give added durability.  Sometimes the reinforcing can feel much thicker than the rest of the tights or, like the Levante Class range, you will just notice a different weave across the toes.  

Sandal toe –Describes hosiery with more subtle reinforcing which is only barely visible.   Tights like the Aristoc Ultra Shine 10D Tights for example have reinforcing that is light enough to be worn with sandals. 

Sheer toe –Hosiery, like Charnos’ Sheer Lustre Tights, with no reinforcing or difference in weave across the toe area. 

Open toe –Summer essentials, these open toe tights have an opening at the foot which leaves the toes completely exposed for wearing with sandals.  Products like Pretty Polly’s Naturals 8D Open Toe Tights are secured at the foot with a loop that fits around your toes others like Falke’s Shelina Toeless Tights have no toe loops at all. 

4. Can you get tights without a seam at the toe? 

Because of the way that tights and stockings are constructed it is simply not possible to make them without an opening at the toe which is then stitched closed.  If you don’t like the feel of the seam across your toes, try products from Wolford which are made with ultra soft, flat seams. 

5. Why do some Stayups cause me a rash where it grips?

If you get a rash when you wear hold ups, you may have a slight allergy to the silicone that holds them up.  Try to find products that are made with pH balanced, hypoallergenic silicone like Falke’s Lunelle 8D Peacock Hold Ups.  They are utterly gorgeous, have some of the prettiest lace you will ever find on a hold up and they should keep that rash at bay! 

6. How do I know I am ordering the right size?

I can’t stress this enough – check the size guide!!  All of the products on our site and in the shops will have a detailed size guide so don’t assume you are a medium as the sizing will differ from brand to brand.  Get a good idea of your height, approximate weight and hip size before browsing as this will save you lots of time and avoid any costly mistakes.  

Having said that, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the right fit or feel right off but do experiment with different brands.  Every body shape is different and it can sometimes take a little trial and error to find the brand with the cut and style that is just right for you.  

If you have got any more questions about hosiery you can pass them on here, by email or via Twitter or Facebook and we’ll work them into another advice blog a little later in the year.  





Read More