Shopping for pantyhose seems like a pretty simple concept: you see a design you like on the model in the photograph and then you buy it. But then you get it home, put it on, and wait… you weren’t expecting a reinforced toe… you didn’t want a shaping panty! So, to prevent this problem from ever happening to you again, here’s everything you need to know about pantyhose features so that you can shop confidently and bring home exactly what you expect!
Let’s start at the top: the Panty. This element runs from the waistband downwards, includes the tummy & bottom, and ends at the top of thigh / bottom of crotch.
Typically the panty is reinforced, which means that extra stitching was done to ensure comfort and durability for all-day wear; this creates a visible shadow effect. Further, a reinforced panty can have shaping properties, which slim the silhouette and create a smooth overall appearance in the tummy and bottom area.
Alternately, the panty can be sheer-to-waist, and feature reinforcement exclusively along the seam and waistband; this is a great choice for wearing under light-coloured clothing, short skirts, skirts with deep slits (think Angelina Jolie at the Oscars in 2012), and short shorts.
The gusset is the area at the crotch of the panty. Some gussets feature a breathable cotton layer for comfortable all-day wear, others a simple seam, and still others an open crotch that allows for ultimate breathability, as in suspender tights (below) .
Waistbands fit either at the natural waist, or at the hip. Curvy styles often offer a deeper rise in the panty to comfortably accommodate generous tummies and bottoms.
Next, let’s discuss the most visible element of hosiery: the leg. This area runs from the top of the thigh down to the ankle, and also includes the foot, toe, and heel sections, which will be addressed separately.
While specifically a measure of the weight of the knit of the fabric, Denier also refers to the sheerness vs opaqueness of the leg, expressed in numbers. For example, a 10 Denier leg is sheer and delicate, while a 100 Denier leg is opaque and robust. Many hosiery wearers choose lower Deniers in warmer weather and when they want to showcase the natural radiance of their legs. Similarly, they choose higher Deniers in cooler weather and when they want to project a more conservative, professional image.
The design of the leg can be uniform, seamed, patterned, embroidered, printed, knitted, and coloured. The design possibilities are nearly limitless – making it fun to choose the perfect pair of pantyhose to accessorize your look.
To aide those with leg health issues, such as chronic vein disease, diabetes, edema, varicose veins, recent leg surgery, pregnancy, or those travelling by airplane for long periods of time, hosiery can also feature graduated compression that runs from the ankle up to the thigh to help return blood flow back to the heart more easily. The level of compression can range from light cosmetic pressure to full medical prescription-grade pressure, depending on the person and their needs.
The Heel, Foot, and Toe
The bottom section of pantyhose includes the heal, bottom of the foot, and toe sections. Normally sheer unless otherwise specified, these areas can offer a variety of options to the wearer.
Reinforced areas increase the durability of the region but create a visible shadow effect that may or may not be desired. If you seek a streamlined appearance, look for the term, “invisibly reinforced” to get strength and durability in the heel, foot, and toe regions without sacrificing fashion.
Reinforced heels showcase a variety of classic designs, including the Susan, Cuban, Havana, French aka Point, Lafayette, Empire aka Manhattan, Memphis. In addition, modern knitting technology has also allowed for more creative takes on these iconic styles, providing the wearer with nearly limitless options.
Creative heel designs are usually seen in styles that also feature a back-seam on the leg.
A reinforced foot can be either simple & smooth, or it can feature ridged details that impart a massaging effect on the soles of the feet, such as with our FiOre Massaging Anklet.
The toe section of pantyhose can be produced to be reinforced for durability, or sandal-toe -- sheer with a simple seam at the tip of the toe line for elegance, or open-toe to showcase your pedicure in peep-toe shoes.
Now that you know all the essential details about pantyhose features, you can feel confident when shopping for your next pair of pantyhose or tights at our online store!