When young and living at home my stash of girl's clothes had to be well hidden, so part of my liking for hosiery was the ease with which tights and stockings could be secreted away. The best hiding places were under the plastic trays that held the pieces for board games like Monopoly, snaking between the depressions moulded in the plastic. Even if people took the game out to play, there was virtually no likelihood they'd pull the whole tray out of the box.
I used to read a lot of escape literature, too, involving prisoners of war hiding contraband behind false panels. I'm not sure my false panels were all that realistic and they got busted on more than one occasion.
Hosiery was available everywhere, and was within pocket money range too, another advantage.
But I'd gradually 'inherit' items that were deemed unsuitable by the females of the family, and my jackpot was won after my grandfather's death when his late partner's clothes, that he'd never got rid of, were readied for charity donation. The contents of an ali-baba basket with dozens of pairs of fully fashioned stockings magically diverted from the charity bag to my hidey holes. I tell you, when I was a teenager, I had the best legs in the business!
So these are some other reasons, apart from style, warmth and comfort, why tights and stockings are among my favourite items of clothing.
|Girls with smart stockings. With Holly, Joanne and Ria at London's Olympia exhibition centre.|
These days I just go to the shop and buy and I no longer feel embarrassed if I happen to do so in male mode. Of course, the internet and home delivery makes it all so much easier than it was when I was young.
Most supermarkets, chain stores, newsagents, gas stations and so forth stock hosiery. There are even hosiery vending machines. Cheaper brands are not necessarily poorer quality and you can get perfectly good, near-identical hosiery for less money than the smart labels.
|Silver brocade tights were popular about a decade ago. These Gipsy brand ones were half the price of the fancy label ones I also have, but every bit as good. I do recommend this brand generally.|
In fact, if I were to give a sound piece of advice, it is not to bother with really expensive hosiery unless it's some very special limited edition party piece you're after, or you are very rich. Invariably, if I've paid a lot for a pair of sheer pantyhose from a quality retailer like Wolford or Tabio, they've got a hole in them on the first use, and that's £/$/€10-20 gone. These days I won't pay more than £/$/€5 a pair for plain pantyhose.
So here are some links to hosiery manufacturers and retailers that I find good.
For the classic old-fashioned stocking look, and all the kit, try What Katie Did or Secrets in Lace:
I've used Stockings Direct, and UK Tights seems to be well thought of.
There are plenty of other online retailers but I haven't tried them and can't comment on their services. Sadly, Figleaves.com has just closed down.
All these companies deliver abroad.
Here are links to some of the best hosiery brands. Most of them let you buy direct through their sites but you can get most through other online clothing retailers. I've picked the UK site or English-language page for the purposes of this blog, but most of them have state-specific sites and alternative languages too. In no particular order...
Wolford, the Rolls-Royce of hosiery, high-end quality from Austria.
Elbeo, quality, Spanish made.
Falke, German perfection.
Calzedonia, quality, style and wide range from Italy.
Jonathan Aston, great party wear. (For some reason I can only get the Australian site, but it gives you the idea).
Le Bourget, chic quality from France. French site only, they don't appear to offer English (how typically French!)
Cecilia de Rafael, smart style from Spain.
Emilio Cavallini, fun and reasonable value from Italy.
Tabio, quality from Japan.
Gio, for fully-fashioned aficionados.
Charnos, a personal favourite. Good quality to price ratio from the UK.
Aristoc, classic British brand with generally decent quality.
Pretty Polly, popular brand from the UK. Variable in quality; some hits, some misses.
Cervin, classic French stockings. Ooh-là-là!
Cette, quality from Belgium.
Platino, very smart Spanish hosiery.
Levante, Italian heritage, Australian owned. From gossamer sheers to winter woolies, all pretty good.
Trasparenze, amazing patterns to quality everyday sheers.
Gipsy, Italian made and best quality to price ratio. Recommended.
Oroblù, popular Italian-style hosiery in a wide range.
Pamela Mann, broad range and fun styles from the UK.
Pierre Mantoux, despite the French name, these quality items are made in Italy.
Gabriella, despite being founded only in the 1990s this has become a popular Polish brand largely because of its competitive prices and reasonable quality.
Leg Avenue, fun, party and sexy wear, but not best quality.
For some reason the Gerbe site is not working but these luxury items from France can be purchased on other sites. The Golden Lady site is being awkward so I will leave it for now.
Most chain/department stores, supermarkets, fashion houses have their own ranges. Especially good in Britain are
It's a pity that Top Shop, Debenhams and so forth are in receivership, not to mention those that departed this life some time ago. BHS, for instance, had surprisingly good hosiery.
Of value to TGirls who find conventional hosiery too small, there are several firms that specialise in hosiery for taller or curvier women. Three that I have heard good things of are Snag Tights, Heist and Spanx
Spanx (shapewear of all sorts)
There are, of course, many, many, many more manufactureres, brands and retailers than these all over the world but these are the ones I know best.
Thanks for reading my survey of hosiery. You can read the other five parts by scrolling down, by using the links on the blog archive right, or by clicking on the list here:
Enjoy your legs, girls. They can be your best asset.
A dip in the archives
I'll stick with the subject of hosiery for my look back today.
Here's the most popular photo of mine from Flickr. I'm not sure why, that seethrough batwing top is weird! But I was experimenting with looks before coming out, and maybe seethrough tops and short skirts are what the internet is all about! But here I can again show off those fabulous John Lewis 15 denier run resistant sheer gloss tights that win my top prize for BEST HOSIERY EVER!
Take a bow, John Lewis. Oops! You've split your trousers. Now that wouldn't have happened if you'd been wearing these.
Cari lettori italiani
Oggi concludo questa recenzione di calze e collant. Come mi piacciono!