The best in women's hosiery

From socks to pantyhose, hosiery has been an essential part of fashion for ages, as well as a necessary mode of warmth and protection. There are certain practical designs that have not changed very much with the tides of fashion, but many new and eye-catching styles continue to emerge – hosiery has never been so varied and fashion-forward as it is now.

You can find socks and stockings that are barely noticeable or serve as a flashy accessory, and different materials provide different support. Whether you are looking for hosiery that will shape, support and compress, or simply show off, there are plenty of options and features to consider.

Fashion Hosiery

These days you'll find women's hosiery in all sorts of colors, prints and styles, all of which are designed to hug your legs for a noticeably comfortable fashion statement. The thickness and coverage of hosiery is defined in terms of opacity: sheer hosiery can be a sexy and subtle addition to your outfit, while woolen opaque hosiery can comfortably take a warm-weather skirt into the cooler seasons. Comfortable and simple, fashion socks are a good substitute for stockings on more casual days, yet they still show off your style. Hosiery is one of the most appealing garments that a woman can wear, and stockings look fantastic on legs of all shapes and sizes.

If you're putting together a Saturday-night outfit, consider some playful printed or glitter stockings that can substitute for flashy jewelry. For a more sophisticated look, you may want to opt for sheer thigh-highs that can mimic the smooth sheen of baby oil. Beware that sheer tights are delicate, and the slightest snag can ruin their sleek look. The most durable womens stockings have a reinforced heel and toe to keep them from wearing thin at these stress points; the more opaque they are, the better your chances of getting the wear without the tear.

Compression Hosiery

While hosiery can make for a great fashion statement, it can also help to maintain good health. For those who suffer from an increased risk of blot clots, decreased circulation or the pain of varicose veins, compression stockings can reduce swelling and discomfort in the legs. These stockings fit tightest at the ankle, and the compression gradually decreases as they move up the leg, whether they end at the knee or go right up to the upper thigh.

You can find a great selection of fashionable, functional and plus-size hosiery in specialty lingerie stores or online retailers, but fashionable compression hosiery can be harder to come by. However, if you are willing to search around and spend a few extra dollars, you can find online retailers that offer compression hosiery in a variety of colors, opacities and styles to blend seamlessly with your outfit.

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