Representing one-third of our total body weight, our lower limbs are quite crucial to our bodies. And, what we choose to wear on them is a very important, and often, difficult decision.
Hosiery can be subtle and demure, bold and bright, elegant, eclectic or simply warm. Today, because of the enormous advances in fibre technology, you can find maximum fit and comfort blended with high fashion and style, all in the same pair of hose. What’s more, it’s one of the easiest, and least expensive ways to liven up a tired wardrobe.
Here’s everything you need to know about hosiery including information about hosiery styles, selecting the right size, caring for your hose and some tips on how to use hosiery to accent your own personal style.
Hosiery is manufactured in a wide range of fabric weights, knits and colours. In general, heavier weight fabrics are stronger and more durable, but are thicker and show less of the natural skin tone. Lighter, sheerer garments look and feel more luxurious but are not as strong as their heavier cousins. Reinforced toes and heels will add to the life of your hosiery, but it’s a fact that the lighter and sheerer the hosiery is, the more delicate it is and the more care it requires. All in all, customers will find that price is not an indicator of durability.
Women’s hosiery falls into the following categories:
Sheers are made with lightweight fabric composed of very fine yarn, usually nylon. Sheers are very flattering to the leg but more delicate than hosiery made with heavier fibres. Ultra sheers are the most fragile and allow the most natural skin tone to show through. For the crossdresser, meticulously shaved or waxed legs are essential.
Support hosiery comes in a range of fabrics usually in a combination of nylon and Spandex. They have gentle, graduated compression to provide a massage-like fit that can reduce fatigue in the legs.
Control Tops provide a slimmer silhouette and add strength to a high-stress area of the garment. If you’re wearing hip padding, be sure to get a size large enough to prevent the top from rolling down.
Opaques are heavier than sheers, more durable and have recently gained tremendous popularity as a fashion accessory.
Tights are even heavier than opaques, more durable and are worn for dance, exercise or as a ready-to-wear accessory, and provide added warmth during cold weather. Both opaques and tights offer colour coverage of the leg – helpful when you’re between waxings or shaves!
Stay-ups are individual stockings with an elasticised top that has a special lining to grip and stay up. More expensive than pantyhose, but somtimes just what you want.
Stockings are separate, unlike pantyhose. Lacking the grip of stay-ups, they require that you wear a garter belt or a girdle or corset that has stocking clips.
Maternity pantyhose are specially designed to provide extra room and comfort in the top as well as support to help blood circulation in the easily tired legs of mothers-to-be.
Run-Resistant garments are usually made of thicker yarns and sturdier knits than sheerer pantyhose. But even these will develop holes with wear. Many women prefer the appearance of sheer pantyhose.