The ultimate hosiery glossary
Here at The Tight Spot we understand the complexities of buying hosiery, so we’ve created this simple glossary to help you understand any hosiery terms, styles or finishes. Have a browse and learn something new today!
The term denier is often referred to as the thickness of an item of hosiery but, to be more specific, denier refers to the weight of the yarn that was used to produce the item of hosiery. A higher denier of yarn results in a thicker pair of tights. Hosiery items range in denier from around 8 up to as high as 200 or more.
When choosing hosiery you need to think about how much coverage you require, depending on; where you wish to wear the item, the weather at that time of year and what look you wish to achieve. Below are a number of common terms used to quickly portray the level of denier of a particular item:
Sheer hosiery is extremely fashionable and worn typically during the spring / summer months when the weather gets a little warmer. Sheer tights offer a natural, smooth appearance, giving the look of perfect, silky legs. Available in subtle matt or high gloss finish, Sheer hosiery is anything with a denier between 5-30.
Semi Sheer / Semi Opaque Hosiery
Semi sheer / opaque hosiery can be anything between 30 and 50 denier and it’s perfect for giving your legs a little coverage during the early autumn weather.
Opaque hosiery is beautifully soft and extremely comforting. It makes the ideal hosiery selection for the autumn and winter months. Opaque tights usually have a denier from around 50 to 200 or more. Opaque tights with a higher denier can sometimes look very similar to leggings, especially if they’re footless.
Matt tights usually fall in to one of two categories.
- Nude, sheer tights that aim to achieve a natural look without giving any shine or shimmer to your skin tone.
- Opaque tights of 40 denier or more that give a solid, opaque colour without any shimmer or gloss properties to the yarns, particularly common with wool blend hosiery.
Ideal for causal daywear or a smart look at the office.
A silk finish will give a bit of shimmer to the yarns used to make the hosiery item producing a slight sheen. Somewhere between full on gloss and matt, these items are ideal for achieving a luxury texture to your legs without drawing too much attention.
Products with a Shine or Gloss finish will give a highly polished, glamorous look. Think silky smooth, just oiled skin with sheers or high quality silky yarns for opaque’s. Highly popular for their look and feel, gloss tights are favoured by celebrities, royals and the fashionistas.
Cut & Sew
Cut and Sew means that the product has been created by sewing two pieces of knitted hosiery together to make one pair – resulting in a seam down the back of the leg or the inside seam of the leg. Usually this type of construction is found in high deniers or lace products where it is difficult to knit the product in a circular tube, which is how most hosiery pieces are knitted. It’s more expensive to make items in this style so it’s a technique used mainly for luxury hosiery items or by high quality fashion brands.
Open toe hosiery runs from the waist and ends just before the toes, leaving your toes free. A perfect fitem to wear with sandals or peep toe shoes. Some have an elastic toe loop to keep tights in place whilst others are simply finished with an elasticated trim.
This is the most common type of toe finish we offer. The benefit of a reinforced toe is that they have been designed to protect your toes and increase the durability of the product. The reinforced toe is very common on the lighter sheer finished items of hosiery as this will strengthen the hosiery from laddering.
When Tights have a sandal toe the toe area is designed to be sheer without an reinforced seam. This means that it isn’t always obvious that the wearer has closed toe tights on, even if their shoes are open toe, as no seam or finishing is visible.
A brief is the part of a hosiery item that wraps itself around the hip area and lower pelvis. The brief changes from product to product and is available in numerous styles. Look out for the brief type within the product descriptions. Below are the three types of common briefs:
Sheer to Waist
The denier (thickness) of the tights is consistent and runs right the way through from the toes to the waist, hence the name sheer to waist. In effect, there is no styling to the brief area.
A boxer brief means there is a different denier at the top of the tights, shaped similar to a boxer short. The idea of a boxer brief is to create a reinforced finish and to provide greater comfort.
V Line Brief
The V line brief is not too dissimilar to the boxer brief, consisting of a balanced thickness up the leg and increasing in denier towards the top of the thigh and above. A V Line brief takes a “V” shape – similar to underwear.
A gusset is often applied to the crotch area for added durability and comfort. In a similar way to the brief, gussets come in a variety of styles. Below each type of gusset is explained, for our savvy hosiery online shoppers:
A plain gusset means a panel is placed in the crotch of the tights that is made of the same fabric as the rest of the hosiery item. The purpose of having a fully flushed hosiery item with a plain gusset is to provide flexibility and comfort.
Cotton / Silk Gusset
Commonly, hosiery is crafted featuring a cotton or silk gusset. This type of hosiery is very favourable due to the hygienic benefits of having a gusset made from cotton. This type of gusset is sophisticated and often offers a better-fit and extra comfort.
Hosiery that consists of no gusset is simply finished with a seam at the join where the two legs meet.
The open gusset has hygienic and comfort benefits, especially in warmer weather. With this style, no gusset is placed in the tights and the join is not seamed, leaving the gusset open.
Hosiery can be a delicate item so it’s important that proper care is taken when putting on or taking off your items. This simple guide will help your hosiery look great and last longer!
1. Always remove jewellery that may catch on the yarns causing snags or ladders. Also make sure nail edges are smooth and rounded.
2. Roll the tights completely from toe to waistband.
3. Put your foot into the rolled item and carefully unroll the item up your leg. Take care to get the rolling and unrolling straight so that the item sits correctly, particularly if it involves patterns or back seams.
4. Once placed correctly at the waist you can carefully smooth out the legs or straighten up the item if needed, being careful not to over stretch the item in any area.
5. When removing hosiery roll from the waist down and off at the foot, without pulling from the toe. Again be aware of jewellery and nails.
Here at TheTightSpot.com we have a huge selection of tights available. Tights are also commonly known as pantyhose, particularly in the USA. Tights / pantyhose are superb for giving your legs comfort and warmth, style and individuality. They’re also hugely practical and go hand-in-hand with work wear. Below are a wide variety of tights that we offer, varying in thickness, style, and fabrics. Go on, treat your legs to some luxury:
Garter Pantyhose/Suspender Tights
Suspender or Garter Tights can be one of two things. The Mock Suspender Tights, made famous by fashion designer Henry Holland and seen on celebrities such as Little Mix and Rihanna, are tights with a higher denier leg that comes to stocking height. The top part has a sheer finish with a lower denier with mock straps printed or woven in a higher denier on top. These tights give the appearance of stockings and suspenders or holds ups but take the same design as a pair of tights- i.e. from toe to waist with gusset enclosed. (View first image)
The term Suspender or Garter Tights can also be used when referring to a hosiery item that comes in one piece but is open around the gusset and waist area as it would be when wearing stockings and suspenders. The waistband of the garment acts as a suspender belt. However the straps that reach down to the ‘stockings’ are attached permanently, which means no straps or clasps are required to hold the stockings in place. Sometimes called ‘Strip Panty’, these tights could be described as cut out tights due to the waist, hip and gusset area being cut out. (View second image)
Stockings have been around for centuries and it’s no wonder. These timeless classics are very similar in design to hold ups, except stockings have to be applied in a different way, using straps and suspender belts which are mentioned within our Legwear Accessory exploration above. Stockings are extremely popular because of their unlimited sex appeal and versatility. (View third image above)
Below are the different finishes of stockings on offer:
Hold ups are extremely popular in the UK as they’re much easier to wear than stockings and suspenders. Many people refer to hold ups as ‘stay ups’ or ‘thigh highs’. They’re usually decorated with a sophisticated welt / cuff, which can be plain, patterned or lace. Take a look at our hold ups range and view high fashion hosiery for yourself. (View fourth image above)
Plus Size Hosiery
Here at The Tight Spot we’ve made a strong commitment from the word go to ensure that our collections of fabulous hosiery are available and accessible to women of all sizes. Our plus size collection delivers high fashion tights, stockings and hold ups to ladies of sizes: Large (L), Extra Large (XL), Extra Extra Large (XXL), Extra Extra Extra Large (XXXL) and 4XL.
Shapewear hosiery is perfect for creating a streamlined and smoothed hourglass figure for ladies looking to appear slim and slender. It works by compressing your body in the upper thigh, bottom, belly and pelvic region. From bum lifting to thigh trimming, browse our range of Control & Slimming hosiery
Control top hosiery can effortlessly aid in improving and flattening the lumps and bumps that you’re not comfortable with around your tummy & bum area, creating a smoother silhouette. This shapewear is also perfect for women to wear post-pregnancy.
Thigh / Bum Control
Thigh and bum control hosiery is brilliant for creating smooth lines around your lower pelvic region, upper thigh and bottom. Often referred to as ‘Body toners’ this collection of hosiery can make any outfit sexier!
Our range of control tights offer a number of different shaping techniques to achieve an elegant silhouette.
Within our legwear accessories category we have a number of popular hosiery options that are perfect for adding a little fashion and flare to your outfit. These include a variety of knee high socks, over the knee socks, leggings and suspender belts. Below each type of legwear accessory has been explored in greater depth for your benefit.
Ankle Highs / Anklets
Ankle highs (also known as anklets) are similar to traditional socks. Unlike socks, anklets are styled and finished in yarns that vary in denier or thickness, as tights do. They often feature patterns or lace detail. They are very popular with celebrities, worn best with trousers or a skirt and heels. Take a look at our fabulous range of ankle highs.
Footless hosiery, commonly recognized as leggings or footless tights, is styled in the exact same way as normal tights, however they end at the ankle rather than running straight to the toe. Take a look at some well-fashioned footless hosiery, available in a number of finishes and styles.
Knee Highs / Knee High Socks
Knee highs are very similar to socks in the manner in which they’re worn and applied but they’re also available in a number of sheer and opaque finishes, as well as being elegantly poised in a variety of colours, patterns and fabrics. They’re fabulous for adding a little individuality to an outfit, and they go hand in hand with work wear or casual day wear. Take a look at our knee highs and get your latest fashion fix.
Over the Knee Socks
Over the knees are again, very similar to socks and knee highs, although these are an elongated infusion of the two, and typically reach a couple of inches over the knee. Over the knees are very fashionable to wear with shorts or skirts and boots or heels. Browse our range of over the knees and see if there’s an item that you could use to spruce up an outfit.
Anybody that wears and adores stockings will know what the purpose and benefits of a suspender belt are. Suspender belts are worn around the waist and the straps attached to the top of stockings to keep them in place. Take a look at our suspender belts.