When it comes to hosiery styles, most people have a favourite. There are those who find stockings far more stylish than anything else. Those who swear by the convenience of modern tights. And still others who find their best style match in a pair of hold-ups.
If you’re new to hosiery shopping however, you may still be questioning what to buy. To help you make your mind up, here are the advantages of each style as well as a quick definition for those not familiar with the terminology.
Tights are a single piece of full-leg hosiery that comes up to the waist, or just below. Although footless sandal-toe (toeless) tights exist, the vast majority cover the entire foot. In the US, sheer tights are called ‘pantyhose’.
Warmth– covering the entire lower half of your body, no other hosiery style will keep you quite so cosy in chilly weather. ‘Strip panty’ tights can be a perfect compromise for warmer weather.
Coverage– most people don’t want their stocking tops to show when they’re out and about, which means that under shorter hemlines, tights are often your only option. And even in longer skirts and dresses, when a gust of wind catches you by surprise, you at least won’t flash much in a pair of tights!
Security– since they come up so high, there’s no way tights are falling down. Though note that stockings should be no less secure when paired with a good suspender belt.
Variety– because tights are the most popular in general, they have the broadest range of styles to pick from. There are fun patterns, unusual laces, every colour under the sun, and even technical garments such as shapewear tights.
Stockings end somewhere on the thigh, and require suspender straps to hold them up. Usually, that means wearing a suspender belt, but you can also find knickers, bodysuits, basques and more that come with suspender straps.
Comfort– if you want to wear hosiery year-round, stockings cover considerably less skin than tights so will keep you cooler in warm weather.
Aesthetics– it goes without saying, but many people simply love the way that stockings look! They are typically thought of as the ‘sexy’ option, and that can be a confidence booster even if no one else knows that you’ve got them on.
Vintage authenticity– for fans of retro fashion, stockings offer you something that neither tights nor hold-ups can, the option to experience wearing hosiery the way it would have been in the past. 100% nylon, non-stretch stockings feel very different to their modern counterparts, and some people prefer it.
Also known as stay-ups, thigh highs, or even stay-up stockings, these also end at thigh height. The difference is that they have bands of silicone inside the tops, which gently holds on to your skin in order to keep them in place.
Aesthetics– given that they also end on the thigh, many people find hold-ups just as visually appealing as stockings!
Ease– simply pull your hold-ups on and you’re all set, no need to clip them onto anything. If you’re always getting ready in a rush, that can save you a minute or two.
Smooth finish– most hold-ups give you the same smooth line under clothing that you’d get from tights.
Which hosiery style do you prefer and why?
by Estelle Puleston
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