Do you wear hosiery?
I know many women these days don’t, at least not in summertime. However, hosiery has a few big benefits that make it worth considering if only for the more important or dressy events in your life.
A Brief History
Hosiery originates from an old Anglo-Saxon term ‘hosen’ meaning to cover or covering and is a term that encompasses a variety of legwear, including tights, socks, leggings, stockings, thigh-highs, and pantyhose. The earliest hosiery found is a pair of red, knitted socks that were discovered in a tomb in Egypt. has existed, as far back as the 9th century.
While it’s worn by women today, it was originally a male garment and worn for both protective and adornment purposes. It was only in the 18th century that women started wearing pantyhose. From that time onward, hosiery was worn by women and men started wearing trousers and socks, rather than stockings and breeches.
The 1920s heralded in a new era in hosiery with the invention of synthetic fibres. Synthetic fabrics as opposed to natural materials like cotton, made hosiery more durable and easier to produce and to wear as well. “Nylons” became the generic name for all hosiery manufactured during the ’40s and interestingly, when nylon production shifted to the WWII effort, women would paint seams on their legs to make it look like they were wearing nylons.
In the 50s, full coverage tights were introduced into the market. Tights/pantyhose became extremely popular in the 1960s, largely due to the mini skirt and tights combo that Mary Quant pioneered. Since then technology has advanced hosiery and fibres like Lycra which stopped ugly wrinkly knees and ankles and the ability to weave intricate patterns has made it an enduring piece in stylish women’s closets.
In the 2000′s, it would seem that hosiery especially in summer and in now ever more casual work places is now a passé item. Personally, I think that it’s just a temporary phase and pantyhose will return from time to time as fashion temporarily elevates it to a must-have. In addition, for women like myself with less than perfect legs, hosiery makes a world of difference to how I look when I have not tanned my legs.
These are the most common types of hosiery:
- Anklets: ankle length socks made from sheer fabric.
- Knee Highs: reach to the knee and designed to be worn under pants.
- Stockings: reach up to the upper thigh are are held in place with a girdle or garter belt and are usually sheer. Hold-ups are stockings that are held in place with an elastic band typically with some silicone that acts as traction
- Tights: thick full leg hosiery.
- Pantyhose: goes from waist and covers the entire foot, made of nylon
- Fishnet: hosiery that has a cut-out fishnet pattern
Denier and Expectations
A denier is a unit of measurement for tights. It is used to convey the thickness of hosiery by measuring the unit of density. The lower the denier of a pair of stockings is, the more sheer it will be since the material or the yarn is finer and less dense.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for you:
- Less than 10 denier = ultra sheer
- 10-20 denier = sheer
- 25-35 denier = semi-opaque
- 40+ denier = opaque
Denier is also a good factor in determining the longevity of any stockings. Anything less than a 12 denier usually doesn’t last beyond one wear. The higher the denier, the more durable and resilient it is. When a pair of hosiery has more synthetic material than natural, you should expect that it will have more wear i.e. Nylon tights will last longer than cotton blend tights. Hosiery with shapewear built-in will also last longer. Wear expectations also depends on how you care for your leg wear and whether or not you bought the right size or not.
Size and Toes
Like clothing the size of hosiery varies from brand to brand. Buying the right size will not only be more comfortable but will also add to the longevity and look of your pantyhose. With that in mind all hosiery packets come with a size chart on the back as well as specialty ranges for pregnant and plus size women. Take the time to check out your best size.
Likewise hosiery comes with a variety of different toes. From toe-less to reinforced there’s a style of toe to suit all needs.
If you wish to wear stockings when wearing sandals make sure you select sandal toe for the best possible look. Sheer toe and open toe are good for peep toe shoes. Reinforced is good only for closed toe shoes.
There are three prevalent finishes: matte, sheen, and shine. When you want to look polished or dressy (in the formal sense) go sheen. Shiny hosiery while very dressy is best reserved for glamor and evening affairs and then only of your legs are slender. Shiny hosiery is great at making legs appear larger.
Finding The Right Nude Hosiery For You
The right nude stockings are a wardrobe essential. There’s nothing worse than nude hosiery that is different to your natural color; you can go a shade darker if you want to look a little more tanned but one shade max.
When it comes to selecting the best color, go with nude and shades of black for professional occasions. Other than that you can:
- Add opaque hose to a skirt or dress that is too short (A)
- Match the color to an accessory (B)
- Match the color to a color within a print (C)
- Go monochromatic (D)
- Make a statement with a bold color (E)
Put Your Hosiery on With Care
Though technological advancements have made hosiery more durable than ever, you should still take care to put them on correctly, especially when they are sheer.
First of all, make sure take any rings and bracelets off and ensure your nails are smooth to prevent snags. If your hosiery is ultra sheer consider wearing cotton gloves if you don’t have a spare pair handy.
- Start by sitting down and roll down the tights down to the toe area.
- One leg at a time, slip your foot into the hosiery and curl your toes downward to prevent toe nail snags.
- Gently roll the hose up your legs. Always use both hands and stretch the hosiery up each leg carefully.
- Lastly, when both legs are in, stand up and carefully pull hosiery over the waist.
Finally, here are some basic do’s and don’ts of hosiery care:
- Hand wash in warm water using a mild detergent.
- Do not bleach.
- Do not leave to soak
- Do not put your stockings in the dryer, instead dry flat between two towels or drip dry.
- Do not dry using direct sunlight or direct heat.
- Fold flat or roll up when storing in your bureau. Make sure to place away from items it may snag on.
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