I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone reading this, but I love, love, love hosiery of all kinds. Stockings, tights, thigh-highs, pantyhose, socks…my addiction goes on and on.
Tomorrow, I’ll list a few of my favorite tights for the next Christmas Lingerie Shopping Guide, but I thought it might also be a good idea to post the best Hosiery Care Guide I’ve ever seen anywhere…courtesy of my friend Tights Lover over at The Panty Drawer. I hope you like it!
Please note the article below is reposted in it’s entirety, and has not been edited, revised, or in anyway altered by me. It’s perfectly perfect as is!
Over the last several weeks I’ve gotten a number of comments regarding frustration at holes or rips in hosiery, or suggestions on how one can prevent and/or repair damages to hosiery. It got me thinking that it might be worth it to dedicate a post to this subject.
While I’m not necessarily an expert, I wear hosiery most of the time and most often make it through the day damage-free. There are a few things that I do (or at least keep in mind) in regards to hosiery that have helped me avoid damage. Some I’ve read about online and other things I’ve just figured out over time (I guess there’s a lesson learned in every torn pair of stockings). So I’m going to share what I know.
Assuming you don’t walk into things a lot, there are five times in the course of wearing hosiery where you’re most likely to cause (or avoid) damage: buying, putting on, taking off, washing, or storing. I think by taking these one by one we can come up with some helpful tips to avoid damage.
Of course you can’t cause damage when you’re buying hosiery, but there are a couple of things you can keep in mind that might prevent you from lamenting another lost pair of hosiery, far too soon in its lifetime.
I often include the fabric content when highlighting hosiery. I think this can be helpful in determining fit, but it can also be helpful in determining susceptibility to damage. Of the hosiery I damage, a high percentage were 100% nylon. That’s because nylon, itself, has no give. Only when it’s blended with lycra (or elastane or spandex) does it have the stretch we’re familiar with. So if a pair of tights is completely nylon, you can very easily damage it by tugging too hard when putting it on or stretching it too much while wearing. If you find yourself the type or person who goes through stockings too quickly, you might want to seek out ones with a higher elastane or spandex count.
The denier count refers to the relative sheerness of the fabric. The general cutoff between sheer and opaque is 40, although 20-40 can be referred to as “semi sheer”. If you think about the durability of an opaque pair of winter tights, versus the sheer pantyhose, its easy to see that a lower denier count means a more delicate pair of tights. If you want to buy something sheer but are concerned about causing damage, try to stick close to a 20 denier count.
This doesn’t mean buy the most expensive pair (although Wolford and Falke do hold up very well). For close to the price of a drugstore pair, you can get very decent quality. A couple of the brands I swear by are Jonathan Aston, Aristoc, Charnos, Levante, and Pamela Mann. All of these brands offer a variety of affordable choices that far surpasses their price tag.
Here is where a lot of the damage occurs. Even if it doesn’t surface until later, it’s very easy to cause a little hole or a snag that becomes a big problem before you know it.
Having a pair of gloves lying around for the specific task of putting on hosiery can seem silly. But it can also prevent a slightly chipped fingernail or a tiny bit of dry skin from catching the hose and snagging it. The gloves can cover up these potential landmines and allow you to smoothly and easily bring the hosiery up your legs without catching on anything. In lieu of gloves, it’s a good idea to at least moisturize your hands and feet to keep dry skin from catching anything. Also check finger and toe nails for slightly jagged edges. But really, just get the gloves. They don’t have to be anything fancy. These here for $3.95 work just fine.
Put Hosiery on Evenly
This is pretty simple. Bunch the hose up all the way to the toe, slide your toe in and then gradually pull the bunched hose up your leg…gently letting go along the way. In the case of tights, I usually go up to my knee with one leg and then start the other leg up to the knee, then to around mid-thigh and so forth. If the foot has a toe seem, line it up along the tips of your toes, this prevents the hose from twisting as you pull them up, causing unneeded stretching and stress.
Take Your Time
Another big cause in my ever damaging hosiery is rushing to put them on. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably running late, most of the time, when getting dressed. But don’t rush. The extra two minutes it takes you to put them on with care won’t affect your day. Rushing and damaging them will affect your wallet. If you pull them up like pants, there’s a good chance you’ll cause damage. If you unravel them slowly up your legs, stopping and adjusting if you feel them pull awkwardly, you might prevent causing a hole.
In general, just do the reverse of putting them on. Start at the waist (or top of the stocking) and slowly roll or gently tug them down. Don’t pull from the toe. When you’re done taking them off, the bottom of the leg (if not the whole leg) should be inside out. Keep used hosiery separate from all other clothes. I keep them in a drawstring bag that a clothing store once put my purchase in. Other clothes have buttons, zippers, and clasps that can catch on and dig into hosiery.
Rule number 1 is: hand wash. Rule number 2 is: hand wash. Rule number 3? You guessed it. Hand wash. Yeah I know your washing machine has a “hand wash” option. So does mine. I mean wash them in a sink with your hands. You can use Woolite, but I’d suggest a wash specific to hosiery like this. A $10 investment will save you many pairs of more than $10 tights. A cap-full of Hosiery Mate will get two pairs of tights or stockings clean in 15 seconds. 15 seconds? We all got 15 seconds. When you’re done, gently squeeze them. Do not wring them…just gently squeeze. If you can lay them flat somewhere to dry. Otherwise drape them over a towel on a chair.
Keep hosiery separate from everything else. Again, a drawstring bag might be the way to go. Hosiery wont damage other hosiery but, again, other clothes will. Don’t store them in a panty or sock drawer that you’re going to rifle through one morning while half asleep. Like any other delicate object, they need to be kept aside and treated with care. You don’t know when you might cause a small hole that will turn into a big problem.
I realize this post has gotten a little long, so I’m going to save hosiery repair for another day. Just know that you can only stop holes or runs from growing larger or longer. Once it’s there there’s no going back. You’re better off trying to prevent it.
I hope this was helpful. It is, by no means, an exhaustive list. But it’s a good place to start. If anyone has any other tips definitely feel free to comment them below!