Pantyhose, tights, nylons and more!
Women's stockings can range in style, coverage, opacity and support; there is no doubt that your perfect pair of stockings is out there. However, the search for them may not be as easy as you had hoped: it can be confusing to determine the type of stockings you're after, as the terms are often used interchangeably to describe a host of hosiery styles. Will pantyhose provide the support you need? Are tights a better choice than thigh-highs? Different styles will bring different looks and levels of comfort – learn about the variety of stockings available, their attributes and some tips on how to wear them.
Types of Stockings
Traditionally, stockings are knee-high or thigh-high hosiery meant to be worn with a skirt. Most stockings are made of nylon and spandex – the nylon provides the sheer, soft feel, and the spandex ensures that the tights are stretchy enough to be form-fitting for every body type. These types of stockings are good choices for warm weather, as they allow for ventilation to curb perspiration.
Like shapewear slips, pantyhose can carve out a sleek silhouette, minimizing bulges at the hips, buttocks and waist. Since the reinforced top sits over the waist and hips, pantyhose or thicker tights are convenient alternatives to knee-high or thigh-high stockings, which have a tendency to slouch if not worn with a garter belt. Sheer nylons are ideal for hiding small blemishes, smoothing the look of the legs and adding a glint of shimmer or shine. For more support and warmth, choose opaque tights instead of sheer pantyhose. If you need strong leg support, look to compression stockings.
You can find tights and stockings in a range of colors and fabrics, from striking fishnet styles to vintage full-fashioned nylons. Most stockings are reinforced in certain places to help them stay up or to prevent wear and tear. Reinforced heels and toes are helpful features if you plan on spending much of your day on your feet – they may provide some cushioning for the foot and will protect the toe and heel areas from wearing thin and causing blisters.
A measurement called the denier indicates the weight, and therefore the sheerness, of the pantyhose. A denier of 10 or 15 means an ultra-sheer look; the higher the number, the more opaque the material.
Guide to Stockings
There are conflicting opinions about how to wear tights and stockings. Should they match your shoes? Are stockings with open-toed shoes attractive or awful? Well, ultimately it's your decision, but keep in mind that stockings are supposed to fit snugly against your skin, and any bunching in the feet will likely throw off your look. Yes, stockings are stretchy, but that doesn't mean a petite size-one will extend to the tops of especially long legs.
Similarly, too-big tights will undoubtedly slouch, bunch or gather at the knees, ankles and toes. The package should provide you with a guide to help you choose an accurate size – a pair that is suited to your height and weight will guarantee a comfortable and stylish fit.