It's not always about pricing, so how can you tell the difference between good quality hosiery and bad quality hosiery? Unfortunately, most hosiery enthusiasts learn these differences from plain old trial-and-error, and then develop preferences for the brands that meet their needs. But, there are ways to help you discern the good from the bad before you buy.
Packages just don’t tell you -- let alone show you -- the quality variances by simply showing a glossy photo that entices you into buying. In the early days of hosiery, the "nouveau excited" bought and tried in droves, and went to great lengths to make that new set of hose last by simply hand washing and hang drying. This was hosiery without lycra, or the stretch we are so fond of in today’s market, so a little sag-and-bag at the ankles was a little more than common.
But, since you're lucky enough to be reading this article, I'm happy to share with you my simple tips for figuring out the good quality hosiery from the bad, before you buy!
Test #1 to tell good quality hosiery from bad quality hosiery: the Stretch & Stress Test
Most companies supply retailers with a sample for buyers to touch and play with. If this is available perform the Stretch & Stress Test. Give it a light stretch, both vertically and horizontally, and see if it returns to it’s original shape with no bags, ballooning, or bulges. If it doesn’t snap back immediately, it's bad quality. You be the judge.
Test #2 to tell good quality hosiery from bad quality hosiery: the Hand Test
In the world of fabric, the Hand Test measures how good the hosiery feels against your skin. To do the test, slide the fabric over your hand and describe its feel. If it is scratchy or rough, it's generally bad quality. But, if it feels silky smooth and soft against your skin, it's good quality. So, if it feels good and your personal tastes attract you to it, by all means buy it!
Test #3 to tell good quality hosiery from bad quality hosiery: the Thread Test
In the Thread Test, you look at the consistency of the weave throughout the piece of hosiery. If you see knots or nodules that run along the threads within the knit, these indicate weak spots and/or flaws in production. Such weaves always lead to uneven knits, and quite soon thereafter, runs. But if you see uniform, smooth, even threads throughout the knit, you are looking at a good quality piece of hosiery.
Test #4 to tell good quality hosiery from bad quality hosiery: the Buy to Try Test
When it comes to hosiery, most places don’t allow for trying it on, especially online buying! So, if you don't have a hosiery sample to run your fingers along, or a review to read, but you like the style, then do the Buy to Try Test. First, ask the sales associate for their expertise & recommendations. Next, make sure there is a proper size chart on the package so you can select your correct size. (FYI: a package without a size chart is another sign of questionable quality.) Then, buy just one item, take it home, and give it a try. If it fits, consider it money well spent. If it doesn't, then chalk it up to research; I’ve certainly done my fair share!