I love complete outfits and that includes educating others how to choose the perfect tights.
Nowadays, the correct stocking has become as essential to fashion as an up-to-date shoe. Whether it is to hide the scars/blemishes on the bare legs or to make changes in appearance, stockings leave no stones unturned in transforming a woman's personality to a totally different level.
The first challenge is buying the right one for you, not just for a style but also for your individual budget. Luckily, there are a few pointers and tricks to help even the most vociferous hose-hater find her perfect fit.
1) Classic Seamed Stockings
You can buy stockings everywhere, in any style, color, and size. There are different modern variations in royal blue, yellow, tangerine, pink, and the sophisticated purple color.
Seamed stockings carry a vintage appeal that once rose to prominence during the 1940s and peaking into the 1950s. Today, they remain a classic favorite that goes fine for all occasions.
But aren't you wondering why there has to be a seam up the back of the leg?
Their beautiful story began as a plain vintage design of hosiery known as Fully-Fashioned Stockings. They were knitted from sheer, nylon yarn sewn together in the back forming the seam.
The top is folded and then sewn again to create a darker section of double fabric intended to support suspenders. More layers of nylon were added to reinforce the sole and heel area.
These days, this classic hosiery is ideal for both business attire as well as evening wear. For the savvy woman, seamed stockings provide an air of sophistication as she conveys an ultra-feminine appearance.
For airy strap sandals, there are stockings with specifically unobtrusive heels and toes. The heel splicing can be a fashion asset. Today, we call this the reinforced heel and toe style, or the RHT.
The term “reinforced toe” means reinforcing the end with a separate fabric at one end of the stocking to provide a more durable toe area. There are also nylon pantyhose boutiques specializing in sandalwood, glitter fishnet, tights, and wild prints.
2) Sheer and Ultra-Sheer
Sheers are thin and coming between 10 and 20 deniers. They are thicker and more durable than ultra-sheers. The sheer look holds the nude tones that look natural from a distance. Black sheer tones in a dress or suit will give you a polished office look.
While sheers are the customary "natural look" appearance, the ultra-sheer is the bare leg look that feels like a second skin. They are from 7, 6, and even 5 deniers. Sheers are also called the see-through leg tights as they come like simply smoothening the legs for a suave look.
Because your legs look like not wearing hosiery at all, an ultra-sheer will likewise look like some sort of makeup for the legs. Although they can slightly mask light blemishes, they do not completely hide scars and veins on the legs.
3) The Famous 15 Denier
How come women around the world love the 15-denier tights or stockings?
Known as the standard hosiery denier, the 15-denier sheer gives you a balanced thickness and weight ideal for casual wear. Working women who simply like a flawless leg appearance and a neat outfit like the 15-denier tights. It also helps to mask imperfections in the legs.
I too find 15 deniers as the best option for everyday work. While they look almost identical to the sheers - still the slight difference in thickness adds to the heaviness ideal for daily wear. Are you also using this spectrum on your casual and special occasions?
4) Opaque Tights
I do love the versatility of opaque tights when it comes to more coverage. They are beautifully matte and silky in texture looking less see-through than semi-opaque. If you think your legs look pale and pasty during the colder days, wearing opaque tights creates a balance in the tone of the legs, giving them the glow that you may be lacking at this time of the year.
These tights will give your legs a complete, even appearance. They are thicker, stronger, and heavier in 30 to 40 denier. That is somewhere between a high and low denier that feels either slightly light and denser.
While this category is stronger than sheer, they are not yet opaque and is still showing your skin through the texture. You will love wearing their kind of thickness if you want to visually slim down calves and knees for a good cover.
Semi-opaque tights are popular with women who are active yet prefer low maintenance in their hosiery as the thickness in this range is less prone to runs. The semi-opaque will be your best friend to keep you cool on warm days and warm during cold days.
Now here comes a perfect alternative to legwarmers. Their thickness means they are stronger and a lot denser than other tights. Wearing thick opaque tights will keep your legs warm in cold temperatures. Some women say they feel like wearing leggings.
100 to 120 denier sleek matte-finished tights are becoming popular for their maximum coverage not only for beauty on the legs but as leg protection when the weather gets really cold. The unique temperature control that thick opaques offer makes them one of the favorite winter tights.
Opaques look great on short dresses, underskirts, and shorts. Many women wear them under jeans on a freezing day to keep them warm. With opaque, you can wear minis all the time.
A Capri pair would be lovely with cute flats like those that aren't open-toed, but of course, you can go open-toed with some tights. The handiest black opaque stockings can be used to bring out floral prints or vibrant summer patterned dress with a balance of sultry class and sophistication.
5) Fun Printed Tights
It’s quite unexpected, but soft patterns and colors uplift the mood. They strike a beautiful balance of sweetness and rich earth tones that seem to make the day.
For this casual look, you would want to dress your legs in nice and fun prints. Some say blending different prints looks crazy but if you look at it, there's nothing wrong with a fashion sense that feels spontaneously charming.
To me, spicing up any outfit with prints whether tiny, flowery, or bold patterns bring the springtime and sun into your outfit of the day. While you can go straight forward with traditional sheers in facing the business world, then have fun with soft florals, polka dots, and sweet lines in your free days.
6) Mesh or Fishnets
Fishnets make a difference for their open, diamond-shaped knitted design. With fate that started with some controversy as a sensual garment, their constantly life-giving effect in the costume of cancan dancers in the 1920s era made them an important piece in the mainstream of fashion.
Other than a retro-glamor look, fishnets elevate a monochromatic outfit. Not only it balances the look but adds an interesting surprise in a top-to-toe sartorial. They give a valiant look when worn with shorts, mini skirts, and flowy dresses, too.
But are fishnets acceptable to wear at work?
These tights are more on the fancy side due to their eye-catching appearance which may not be suitable in a conservative work environment. If you work in a field that allows high fashion, then make a subtle statement in a conservative dress and a simple pair of shoes.
I think fishnets have the capacity to revive a bland outfit. Daytime or nighttime, they are chic, sophisticated, and simply perfect. If you're an adventurous woman, here are more tips on how to wear fishnet stockings.
7) Heavy Tights
Country dwellers prefer a stouter stocking like the lattice. They find it ideal and convenient for shopping forays, household chores, sending the children to school. A 30-denier stocking will look versatile and durable. For walks in the woods, find a sleek and stretchy hose, or those textured patterns that you can team with gleaming leather brogues.
If you live in the town or country and like things gay and giddy, there are latticework stockings to choose from plain-colored or fancy-patterned. Keep your mind open to all the new designs.
Understanding Stocking Gauge
Gauge stands for the number of stitches per inch in width. The higher the gauge number, the stronger the stocking.
Remember that it depends on the thread or yarn, needle size, individual knitter, and stitch pattern. The fatter the thread and needle used with it, the bigger the stitches it will make. The thinner the thread and needle used, the smaller the stitches.
For formal occasions, a fine 12 or 15 denier stocking is right. A high gauge such as 54 or 60, will give it a long life. If you're wearing a full skirt seamless, mesh nylons will make your legs look creative. Fall and winter opaque tights are usually heavy with deniers 40 and above to cater warmth and coziness in cold weather.
Normally, 60 denier stockings make a good middle indication that can go with most outfits. But it is up to you to pick the type of stockings and enhance your legs according to the look that you wish to portray. Would you like it simply dressy, graceful, and classic, or daring and flirtatious?
*I've provided a link below to help you understand your gauge.
Be Prepared with Your Stocking Size
When you arrive at the hosiery counter, be prepared with information on your stocking size by measuring your foot; heel to toe. For leg length, use the tape measure and run it from heel to suspender-tip.
A thigh-control girdle that comes down low needs a shorter stocking than a narrow belt with brief suspenders. Feet that feel the heat should wear a stocking designed to allow them to breathe; toes that habitually poke holes need the restraint of a ladder-stop-toe piece.
Caring for Your Stockings
Always keep your stockings wardrobe always ready. It is still worthwhile having single and double runs invisibly repaired. Invest in a many-pocketed sachet organizer to protect and tidy your stockings in your dressing table drawer.
Before you pull on a new pair of stockings, inspect them closely for snags and imperfections. If the stocking springs a ladder during the first wearing, return them to the store.
One tried and true practice is to get them wet right away, wring them dry, and then put them into the freezer. Although the secret to this method's effectiveness is unknown, women found it really does help their stockings to last longer.
- Hand-washing is the best way to wash stockings. Most women claim that this method prolongs the life of the garment.
- Use bath soap. Stockings are fragile and it only deserves the most delicate care.
- Never run them through the dryer. Simply hang them to dry naturally.
- Using chlorine is a big no. It can fade the stockings' colors and weaken the material.
Enjoy Reading More
Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on February 29, 2016:
Hi shinyhose1. It's barely 2 years! very late reply, lol... anyways -- wearing what you love is the game -- makes you feel good every time, when you feel good you feel beautiful when you feel beautiful, you become beautiful! Great collection for a straight male! You're unique! Thanks for sharing that to us... I really appreciate....and goodluck! -Hugs.... Tonipet
shinyhose1 on November 04, 2014:
love the post interesting reading I just love wearing all colors and styles to me no color is off limits have close to 400 pairs of tights and pantyhose and yes straight male not a CD or anything else just someone that adores wearing is a piece of clothing I love to wear
jaswinder kumar from Chandigarh on May 01, 2013:
Very very interesting post. I read this post. Thank you for making this post...
Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on May 22, 2012:
Amazing how hosiery can be that spell-binding and you bet it's going to be both elegance and comfort in your going places. Me too, I have never measured my foot to determine my size, it seems the ones I've bought fits all, you just opened my mind, lol.
Judy Specht from California on May 22, 2012:
Fascinating, sitting in the coffee shop Saturday at least 3 young ladies caught my eye with their fancy hosiery covered by denim shorts.
I have never measured my foot to determine the size, but I shall begin.
Tonette Fornillos (author) from The City of Generals on May 21, 2012:
You're an adventurous girl! Bright colors and patterns mix with contrasts definitely make a dynamic look. I love wearing dark-colored tights and the vividness of purple seems so sophisticated giving me almost always a holiday feel, it's my favorite. Even with plaid prints, it goes really great. Thank you for leaving such a warm comment daisydayz. Keep that bright spirit up all the time. Take care!
Chantele Cross-Jones from Cardiff on May 21, 2012:
Interesting post! I love my tights, in bright colours and patterns!