Hosiery Glossary

Denier

Scientifically, denier is the mass in grams of a fibre per 9000 metres of its length. Silk is the base unit of measurement for denier: 9000 meters of it weigh one gram, equal one denier, and the diameter of its fibre is about one-fifth the diameter of a strand of human hair.

In fashion, denier is a French term describing the thickness of the thread in a piece of hosiery. Lower denier threads (up to 39 denier) are often used to make sheer and delicate hosiery, while higher denier threads (40 denier and above) are associated with opaque and durable hosiery.

Fishnet 

Fishnet is a type of open weave, diamond shaped, knitted hosiery that resembles a fish net. Used as a material for stockings, tights, or bodystockings, fishnet is a sexy & sensual hosiery choice, and it makes a major fashion statement due to it's ability to accentuate curves and muscle definition.

The fishnet style is versatile; deniers can range from low to high, gauges can vary, and weave sizes can range from micro to extra large.

Aide from the traditional black, fishnet is available in a multitude of colours.  You can find this lovely knit as a sock, stocking, stay-up, and full pantyhose.

Fully Fashioned

Also known as full fashioned, are non-stretch and knit to fit. They are flat knit and seamed up the back. Fully fashioned knitting machines are flat knitting machines which can shape a fabric by adding and reducing stitches. This method of shaping improves the fit of an article. Flat machines include machines for ordinary (weft) knitting and warp knitting.

Fully fashioned stockings can have either a Cuban Heel (squared off at the top), French Heel (pointed at the top), Manhattan Heel (additional designs on the Cuban heel), Susan Heel (an extended Cuban heel design), and all have a keyhole opening at the top back. Fully fashioned stockings are made on original 1950's knitting machines. This is a time consuming and, as such, costly method of manufacture, which usually makes it more expensive. Usually made of pure nylon and non-stretch, but in our opinion, well worth it.

Garters

These lovely little bands are fashioned of narrow fabric fastened around the top of the leg, as adornment, most commonly used in wedding ceremonies. They were designed to keep up stockings, and sometimes socks.

Wikipedia tells us that, “in the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, they were tied just below the knee, where the leg is most slender, to keep the stocking from slipping. The advent of elastic has made them less necessary from this functional standpoint, although they are still often worn for fashion. Garters have been widely worn by men and women, depending on fashion trends."

At any rate, we here at Girdleliscious Gam Wrappers love the sultry element of surprise these give the leg -- and you eager admirers!

Garter Belt

Garter belts are considered lingerie, and in all cases worn to keep up stockings. The most common garter belts are those with four straps. Six strap garter belts usually hold up traditional nylon stockings more securely without bagging and for longer periods of time -- especially seamed and silk stockings. Some garter belt designs consist of 8, 10, and 12 straps. A general rule of thumb, “the more straps, the straighter the seam, the stronger the appeal.” We couldn’t agree more!

Gauge

Gauge is the number of stitches (rows) of thread per inch of fabric (hosiery) length. A higher gauge stocking features more stitches and highlights the smooth, dense look & feel of fine hosiery. A lower gauge stocking is made with fewer stitches -- making it easier and less expensive to make, and is a great choice for large scale fashion.

An easy way to remember gauge is to consider the similar concept of thread count: when you buy a set of sheets, those with a higher thread count feel silky and luxurious, while those with a lower thread count feel a bit rougher yet are much more affordable.

Girdle

Noun. girdle That which girds, encircles, or encloses; A belt or elasticated corset; especially, a belt, sash, or article of dress encircling the body usually at the waist. Mostly used for shaping and or to support stockings or hosiery similar to the garter belt.

Girdles come in many styles and designs, including open bottom, closed bottom, body shaper, high waist and leg, long line, and all in one. These of course are just a few types, as the list is almost endless depending on the make and manufacturer.

Leggings

Similar to tights, except without the feet. You can find these in ankle length, capri, over the knee, and thigh length.

Microfibre

Microfibre is a synthetic fibre finer then one denier.

We love microfibre because of its ability to draw moisture away from the body, how it feels super soft against the skin, and how it provides a high degree of elasticity. Microfibre is easy to to work with, and can feature all kinds of creative woven designs.

Another great thing about microfibre is that it can be infused with lotions and anti-microbial agents, and give wearers more value beyond fashion.

Microfibre is affordable too; this allows for creative styles to be produced at lower prices -- while maintaining high quality production standards. We love this!

Modern Stockings

As modern knitting techniques improved and the machinery became more expensive and complicated, stocking production practices have evolved through several phases. Modern machines knit tubes that are boarded, or "heat set" to the shape of the leg; the heel pocket is no longer knit-in as it was in the 1950s.

To improve fit, yarn companies came up with several "improvements" that would forever change the future of classic hosiery.  The first was the stretch stocking, actually a crimped yarn that was knit and packaged "unboarded" in a limited size range that conformed to the leg when worn.

The ultimate fit solution that impacts stockings made today is Lycra, a Dupont invention of an elasticized stretch stocking knitted yarn that clings to the leg. Lycra is used in almost all modern stockings and pantyhose, and creates a support stocking effect. Lycra is not as sheer as the flat knit style of hosiery

Opaque

Hosiery that is much less “see through,” than that of a sheer, usually of a 40 denier or higher, giving the leg a heavier matte appearance.

Pantyhose

Also known as sheers, nylons, or tights in the UK and other regions of the world, pantyhose are close-fitting legwear, covering the body from the foot to the waist. As with stockings and stay-ups, pantyhose are manufactured with a blend of nylon and Lycra, nylon alone, and some in cases, silks. Styles of pantyhose include fashion, seamless, sheer to waist, glossy, and compression. 

Regular Flat Knit

This is the original knit made on all stockings until 1945. It is a smooth stitch that is silky and soft to the touch. It has a wonderful shine and is the premier knitting technique of the era.

Reinforced Heel and Toe

Often shortened to the acronym RHT, A vintage style hosiery and has darkened /reinforced knitting on the heel and toe to prevent runs.  

Sandalfoot

Hosiery that features a sheer heel and toe so you can wear them with open toe or open back shoes.

Seamed

Hosiery with a seam running up the back of the leg. Early manufacturing processes consisted of cutting the non-knit fabric and then sewing it together to produce wearable garments. Today, stockings are generally fully knitted and a fake or mock seam is added up the back for a particular fashion look.

Shadow Toe

Hosiery with a slightly reinforced toe that is sheer enough to wear with sandals or open-toe shoes.

Sheer 

Hosiery that is "see through," featuring a delicate fibre of 1 denier to 39 denier. Sheer is a term that can apply to Stockings, Stay-ups, Pantyhose, or leggings.

See also: Pantyhose

Stay ups

Also known as hold ups, or thigh highs, stay ups are very similar to stockings except with one obvious difference, a silicone band or two at the top of the welt that keeps it firmly gripped against the skin without the need to use a garter belt.

We recommend that wearers ensure they have clean, smooth shaven skin prior to putting on stay ups in order to help maximize durability & endurance during wear and activity.

Stockings

Stockings are close-fitting, variously elastic garments covering the leg from the foot past the knee to possibly all -- or a portion of -- the thigh. This classic style can vary in colour, design, and transparency (denier).

Stockings are primarily worn for fashion and aesthetics. This sensual accessory requires a garter belt to hold them in place. They are usually made of a blend of nylon and or Lycra, nylon alone, and in classic styles, silk.

Textures

Also known as patterned hosiery. Shapes including diamonds, herringbone, dots, and more, run along the length of the leg. Modern knitting machines allow for near infinite possibilities in exciting variations and hosiery designs.

Tights

The term for this full coverage item is interchangeble with pantyhose and nylons.  In the USA, tights are closely associated with dance apparel, as they feature a higher density and opacity due to being manufactured with a higher denier fabric and Lycra.

Toeless

Hosiery that is perfect for your favourite peep toe or open toe footwear, as it features a toe loop that showcases bare toes.

Welt

The welt refers to the top reinforced portion at the opening of anklets, stockings or thigh high stay ups.  Welts come in a multitude of different styles, such as plain, lace, diamond, triple band, decorative, multi coloured, embroidered, and more.

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