Although over the years I have worn just about every single pair of opaque tights that we sell, I decided that it was about time that I did some concentrated wearer trials and a proper ‘compare and contrast’ exercise to find out which really are the best opaque tights. 8 weeks later (yes 8! I’m afraid I couldn’t wear plain opaques every day – I love my funky fashion too much), I have now personally tested out 30 different products. I was planning to test every colour we had as well, however I gave up counting how many different colours we have at 80 and decided that that was not practical!
When deciding what to wear on my legs, the things I think about are the thickness (denier) of the tights, the colour (if possible I never wear black), matt vs shiny (for me, by choice I always wear shiny if the colour is right), sizing – having something that fits comfortably is obviously key and of course the price. Though undoubtedly you do pay for what you get in terms of quality.
For me it is a joyous experience putting on a luxurious pair of Wolford or Falke opaques (£16-£31), from the second you take them out of the package you can understand why they are more expensive than your regular opaques. They are incredibly soft and smooth and you just can’t wait to put them on (well I can’t!). They feel as though they are caressing your legs, the colour is unbelievably even and you can wash them over and over and over again and they stay looking fabulous.
Testing has made me realise I have love for all of the opaques that we sell. Each of them have their own unique characteristics and each one has something special to offer.
For choice of colour, you cannot beat Jonathan Aston and Pamela Mann – their 40 and 50 denier tights both come in over 25 different shades (including brights and autumnal shades) They are also very affordable at £6 and £4.95 respectively. There are also thicker Pamela Mann options available. However, most of our brands do have products that come in at least 6 different shades so there lots of colour choice across all brands and price points.
I think that it is worth mentioning that the Jonathan Aston and Pamela Mann opaques come in one size only. More expensive products tend to come in more sizes so will fit a wider range of body types. One size products are great for you are of an average size but do bear in mind that the fit won’t be so good if you are petite, tall or very curvaceous.
Pretty Polly opaques are great value for money at £4.25-£8 and come in a variety of styles and colours. New this season are the fabulous Mary (Portas) and Charnos opaques which come in 40 and 80 denier (£9.95 and £14 respectively) in all of this season’s key shades and are a joy wear to wear.
Aristoc have also revamped their range of opaques this autumn and taken them right upmarket. Using fabulously soft, fine microfibers as well as cashmere in their winter woollies (£15-£25) has given this renowned British brand a truly luxury edge.
Having done a quick overview of some of my favourite opaque brands, see below for my top tips for each thickness.
Semi-Opaque (40 denier)
Personally, I don’t really think of 40 denier tights as being ‘opaque’ as you can very much see your skin through them. Wear these if you want more intensity of colour and durability than you get from sheers but a less heavy look than you get from thicker opaques.
As mentioned above, for semi-opaque colour you just cannot beat the best selling Jonathan Aston 40D opaques – I would recommend getting a pair in every colour so you can match whatever you are wearing! For a high shine you cannot beat the Falke Seidenglatt 40D tights (£16). The other de luxe option is Aristoc’s new super soft Microfibre Tights (£15) which have a classic matte finish.
Opaque (41-69 denier)
As you move to a higher denier, you will get a more solid colour on your leg and you will see less and less skin underneath as a result. As the denier increases the tights get thicker and heavier in appearance but they also get warmer!
The Wolford Velvet de Luxe 66 (19) is another of our best selling opaques and I can totally understand why! It is pure heaven putting them on in the morning, and wearing them all day; gorgeously matt, seductively soft and smooth. Seriously, you won’t want to take them off at the end of the day.
If your budget is more restricted, I cannot recommend Pretty Polly’s 60D opaques highly enough. They have three different options; their Lustre Opaques (£8) which have a glorious shiny lustre to them, the Plush Tights (£8) which come in 7 to die for colours and for everyday wear the Pretty Polly 60D Opaque Tights hit the spot at only £4.25. All the Pretty Polly opaques come in two sizes so great for fit as well.
As mentioned above the mega-popular Pamela Mann 50D opaques (£4.95) come in oodles of colours. They were also a glorious pleasurable surprise when I tried them out last week, as the quality has improved so much since I last wore them. They feel really soft and have a 3D lycra construction which means they have a very even appearance. Fantastic value for money.
And as a shine addict, I also just have to mention the silky soft Wolford Satin Opaque 50 Tights. Sure they are pricy but they have a gorgeous lustre to them.
Finally if you want to go totally seamless, both Falke and Wolford have beautiful de luxe matt 50 Denier options available.
Thick Opaque (70-99 denier)
Once you get to our range of thick opaques you will have a very solid, dense colour on your leg and only occasionally a hint of skin showing through at the knee when you are sitting down.
As I mentioned above, I generally wear funky fashion legwear rather than opaques, however the one opaque that has been on my favourite list for years is the Seidenglatt 70 (£18), gorgeously soft and gloriously shiny AND they come in fabulous fashion colours as well as classic shades. I just love the feel and the look of them so I make sure that I ‘obtain’ every different shade each season. The Mary & Charnos Satin 80 Tights are however snapping at the heels of the Seidenglatt 70’ heels as my favourite shiny, thick, fabulously touchable opaque though – the intense indigo is just the most gorgeous deep blue, I am now about to try out all the other shades….
If you prefer matt tights, try the new Aristoc Opaque 80D microfiber (£18) which are wonderfully thick and heavy to touch (but are light and comfortable on), or go to opaque heaven and wear the Wolford Matt Opaque 80 tights (£21).
For colour – yet again, all I need to say is Pamela Mann – we had 21 shades of their 80D tights last time I counted! Amazing value at only £5.95.
Mega Thick Opaques (100 + denier)
If you want to go thick and wear classic opaque, the Falke Pure Matt 100 (£24) are unbeatable, put these on, and you will think your legs have died and gone to heaven. Joy! For more affordable option the Trasparenze 100D Cortina Tights (12) are great.
Then there are lots of more ‘wooly’ options available, which are perfect for chilly days when you want to feel really warmsnuggly. I think however, I shall talk about these on another day!
Finally I cannot talk about opaques, without talking about another of my all time favourites, and the one black opaque that I LOVE…… the Wolford Satin de Luxe tights (£31). These are totally unique, as although they give a totally solid colour (no way is any hint of flesh going to show through), they are not regular opaques so they do not feel thick and heavy on your legs. They are a cut and sew product and therefore have a seam up the back, they are gloriously shiny and feel amazing to touch. Great for when you want to dress up and have maximum coverage.