Pantyhose Denier (DEN) explained

pantyhose den    Whenever you go shopping for new pantyhose, you know that the mysterious DEN number on the pantyhose package carries great significance towards the sheerness of the product contained inside. Larger denier numbers always mean more opaque panty hose. Small den numbers mean sheer pantyhose. Pretty much all pantyhose wearing women know this much. What exactly does the DEN mean though, and how is it determined?

The Denier is a number describing the mass of the fibers used in the creation of the panty hose. Basically, a 1 Denier yarn is one of which 9,000 meters weigh exactly 1g. A 15 DEN pantyhose is made with fiber of which 9,000 meters weigh 15 grams. Very sheer pantyhose is everything within the 5-15 denier range. 13-30 Den still qualifies as sheer. 30-40 Den is considered semi-opaque and 40-80 is pretty much as opaque as it gets.

The Denier number doesn't refer to the glossiness of the tights. Just because a 15 DEN tights is indeed very sheer, it doesn't mean it is shiny too. Sheen is given by the nylon content of the fiber used. The higher the nylon content, usually the shinier the pantyhose is.
In order to determine the exact color and sheen of the pantyhose, you should take a look at the actual material, through the see-through part of the packaging created for this very purpose. Mind you that because the material inside is layered (as it is folded into the package) the impression that you get of the sheen and quality of the material can be somewhat misleading. You only really know what you're dealing with when you open the package and pull the panty hose out.
Pantyhose displayed in the shop on plastic mannequin legs can be misleading texture-wise too, due to the quality of the plastic surface on which it's stretched out, and which - in most cases - doesn't even vaguely resemble the texture of the human skin.