Spending the working week surrounded by tights, I’ve amassed a fair chunk of knowledge over the years about all the different realms of the hosiery world, whether on the production side of things, technical terms, or even how to instantly spot different types of toe (yes, really!) With the colder autumn months looming, we thought it would be a great idea to put together a one stop guide that will hopefully answer the most common questions the MyTights team are asked. Haven’t found the answer to the question you’ve always wanted to know? Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer services team who will be happy to assist!
1. What is denier?
All tights are discussed in terms of denier, but what actually is it? Well, put simply, denier is the technical term used to describe how thick hosiery is. Referring to the weight of the yarn from which the hosiery is woven, 1 denier means that 9,000 metres of yarn weights 1 gram. Generally speaking, the lower the denier, the sheerer the appearance of the tights are. Likewise, the higher the denier, the more opaque the hosiery will be!
2. What’s the difference between sheer and opaque hosiery?
You might have noticed that hosiery is classified as being either sheer and opaque, the difference lying in the weight of the yarn used. Sheer hosiery (usually between 10-20 denier) is finer in appearance, and thin enough for your skin to show through. Opaque hosiery on the other hand is thicker in appearance, much warmer and altogether more durable. We define opaque hosiery as being above 40 denier, with tights lying between 30-40 denier considered to be semi-opaque
3. What is a matte finish?
The most versatile of hosiery tends to have a matte finish. This is characterised by tights that have a completely flat look without any reflection, generally knitted from multifilament yarns which don’t reflect light. What’s more, matte hosiery won’t draw any attention to your legs, so can be worn for just about any event, regardless of whether it’s a trip to the shops or a formal event. How’s that for versatility?
4. What are the benefits of bare leg look hosiery?
You might think that wearing tights in exactly the same shade of your legs is futile, but wearing bare leg look hosiery has a host of hidden benefits. Like make up for your legs, skin tone styles give your pins a flawless finish, help in achieving an even colour and moisturised finish, and can even help you cheat your way to a sunkissed glow! What’s more, they offer some slight coverage should it be a chillier summer day, without taking away from a natural look.
5. Are footless tights the same as leggings?
Similar in appearance, the main difference between footless tights and leggings lies in the thickness. Although both are free from any material at the foot, leggings tend to be much warmer, and thick enough to be worn without the need for longer hemlines. Footless tights on the other hand tend to be less opaque, and would usually require a dress or tunic to cover up.
6. What’s the difference between hold ups and stay ups?
You may have seen both ‘hold ups’ and ‘stay ups’ used to describe the same style of hosiery, that is hosiery that offers a similar look to stockings, but with sticky pads rather than the inconvenience of a suspender belt. So, what is the difference? The answer is – there isn’t one! Both terms are used to describe the exact same thing – tomay-to, tomar-to!
7. Can I fix a snag in my tights before it becomes a ladder?
We’ve all been there – getting dressed in the morning to find our brand new tights have already snagged, it’s enough to put anyone in a bad mood! But to stop it developing into a ladder, a top yet very simple tip is to add a dab of clear nail varnish to the area. Or if you’re especially keen to prevent ladders from forming, check out our range of run resist hosiery, instead!
8. What makes fashion tights ‘fashion tights’?
Any regular visitors to the site will know that we separate some of our hosiery into a fashion category. This is generally the case when tights feature something that is considered to be a trend, be it a floral pattern, spots, diamonds, or even something as traditional as a backseams. Fashion styles will ensure you stand out from the style pack, and differ from plain opaques and sheers, which are considered to be more everyday wear.
9. Which hosiery brands will last me the longest?
At MyTights, we hand select our products to ensure that they all offer value for money, but there are some brands that tend to go the extra mile in terms of durability. As with all walks of life, you get what you pay for when it comes to hosiery, but my top tips for brands to invest in when you’re building a hosiery capsule are Wolford, Falke and Oroblu. That’s not to say that the brands in the more affordable end of the price bracket should be overlooked however, and I would also advise to take a look at our ladder resist styles, which are made with specialist yarns to prevent ladders from forming.
10. How often should I wash my tights?
We recommend to wash your hosiery after every wear, to keep it a) looking its best, and b) staying fresh. In an ideal world, washing hosiery by hand is the best solution to keeping it looking pristine, but alternatively, popping your tights in a hosiery bag and using a cool wash is an equally good method!
11. How should I dry my tights?
One of the worst things you can do to your hosiery is to leave it to dry near direct heat, such as a radiator. STOP IN YOUR TRACKS! Drying in extreme temperatures will damage the weave, and will likely leave your tights ready for the fashion scrapheap. The best way to dry tights is on the line, or on a drying rack placed away from any direct heat. Oh, and never iron, either!
12. Which denier weights are appropriate for which season?
We all know how quickly the weather can change from heatwave to washout, but generally speaking, different weights of hosiery will be more of use in specific seasons. In the winter, stick to thermal tights or opaque tights, occasionally wearing semi opaque hosiery should it be a milder day. The spring and autumn months are often subject to change, but typically you’d wear semi-opaque or sheer styles. In the summer, opt for sheer or for something extra natural – ultra sheer styles.
13. Control tights vs. Support Tights – what’s the difference?
Control top tights and support tights are similar in that they both have hidden talents, and offer a lot more than meets the eye. The fundamental difference is that control top tights help to smooth over your figure using hidden shaping zones, whereas support tights alleviate tired legs by boosting circulation, thanks to a system called graduated compression. This works by applying pressure at your ankles, which gradually travels up the leg, getting lighter as it does so. Both equally as brilliant, however!
14. What’s the best type of toe to wear with different footwear?
If you’re a fan of chunkier footwear styles such as winter boots and trainers, I would recommend opting for a reinforced toe, which has a thicker weave to prevent any holes from forming in the often fragile toe area. Next up on the spectrum are sandal toes, which have barely visible reinforcement, where the weave is slightly stronger across the toe, but perfect for wearing with open toed shoes.
In the summer, sheer toes are invaluable, and are common in ultra sheer tights. Sheer toes should be worn with open toed footwear as strappy sandals, as can open toed styles, which you should choose if you want a super natural look, but still want to benefit from the even skin tone offered by sheers.
15. What’s the difference between gusset types?
Tights can not only differ in terms of denier and toe, but in the type of gusset they use too. Tights with a cotton gusset are designed to improve comfort, fit and hygiene, and can be recognised by a white circular patch in the section where the legs join. Similar to a cotton gusset, traditional gussets also help to improve comfort and fit, but won’t aid hygiene, as they aren’t made from breathable cotton.
Not all tights will have a gusset however, with some opting to have the same fabric on the crotch as in the rest of the leg. Finally, some styles may also have an open gusset, in which there is no fabric whatsoever on the crotch, and these are great for keeping cool and refreshed in the warmer weather.