Pantyhose StylesPanty hose are available in a wide array of styles these days. Advances in knitting technology have created combinations and styles never dreamt of before, and contrary to what nylon haters preach, ever newer styles and ever hotter patterns emerge every year.
In an attempt to cover all the available styles, we have classified panty hose into different categories based on DEN (Denier – see our page on Denier to learn exactly what it’s about), the weaving technology used in the manufacturing process, as well as on basic look and functionality.
Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular and most widely available styles:
- Control top tights is the most basic variant available. Its panty-part is reinforced with spandex or with higher DEN fiber, thus it exerts more pressure on the wearer in the reinforced areas and it looks different (thicker and less sheer) there too.
- T-top tights have a reinforced panty part in the shape of the letter T. these panty hose look positively awesome, they can be worn with leotards (even thong ones) without showing the panty part. They do not shape or mold the wearer’s body in any way.
-Sheer to waist panty hose do not feature a reinforced panty part of any kind. They are of the same thickness and finish all over, and that makes them suitable for wearing with leotards/high slit skirts and other high-cut garments.
- French lace tightshave fancy flower pattern or lace-like panty parts, and sheer legs. Such pantyhose will often feature discrete patterns at ankle-level too. The panty part can be a full bottom or a thong model too.
- Matte tights feature a dull, non-shiny finish. Skin-tone, matte pantyhose is barely visible on the wearer’s legs, especially if it’s sheer enough.
- Shiny/glossy panty hose feature a glossy/shiny finish, on account of the amount of nylon in the fiber used for their knitting. Shiny pantyhose add a new dimension to the wearer’s legs, making them extremely attractive and smoothing out all imperfections to a barely noticeable degree. Shiny nylons are also known as metallic panty hose or simply as metallics.
- Nude heel tights - most of the hosiery purchasable these days is of this variety. Nude heel pantyhose do not feature a reinforced heel (yes, back in the days pretty much all tights came with such reinforced heels and the frequent laddering in the heel area often makes one wish they did today too), thus they’re suitable for wearing with shoes that do not cover the heel.
- Sandal-foot pantyhose have no reinforced toes or heels. They’re completely sheer all over the foot and thus suitable for wearing with sandals.
- Cuban heel tights have a peculiarly designed reinforced heel sewn in, for which the designer often uses darker colored yarn to make it stand out. The reinforced heel of the Cuban heel pantyhose is supposed to be on display, therefore one can’t even say they’re not suitable for wearing with shoes that leave the heel uncovered to a certain degree.
- Full fashioned panty hose are manufactured the old fashioned way. They are knitted in large flat panels which are then cut to size and sewn together at the back of the legs, resulting in a visible seam. Fully fashioned pantyhose are also known as seamed hosiery.
- Mock seam tights are pantyhose knitted the modern way (machines knit a hose-shaped piece of material, from which the leg is later fashioned) and therefore feature no actual seams. The seams on the mock-seam panty hose are sewn on afterward as an element with a design purpose only.
- Seamless panty hose are pantyhose made with legs knitted from one piece of material each, without an added mock-seam. Most hose are of this kind today.
- Opaque tights are pantyhose created from higher DEN yarn. Contrary to what people tend to believe, opaque tights do not only come in matte finishes. There are high DEN, extremely shiny, opaque tights out there as well and such styles –in my humble opinion – are extremely hot indeed.
- Patterned pantyhose he term covers a wide-range of hosiery styles featuring various patters. There can be vertical or horizontal stripes, flower patters, different lace or other such patterns down the length of the leg. Patterned tights have the power to confer length to the wearer’s legs, or to make them appear thicker, thus when buying patterned pantyhose extreme caution should be exercised.
- Mock Garter tights - these tights imitate the look of the garters and stockings combo. Basically the wearer looks like she’s wearing stockings and garters, without the additional hustle and drawbacks that such an attire would come with.
- Cable knit tights feature crossover knits with various other – usually heavier fabrics. Ribbed pantyhose which feature such patterns along the length of the leg belong to this category too.
- Fishnet tights are created with an open knit, which features diamond-shaped holes. Fishnets can feature smaller or larger holes and they too come coupled with a variety of panty-part styles.
- Fencenet panty hose are basically fishnets with an extremely large knit pattern.
- Open toed tights appear to be riding a newfound wave of popularity lately with many celebrities appearing in such hosiery. Open toe pantyhose have a missing toe-part, which they replace with a small piece of material that runs between the first toe and the second one, to prevent the hose from rolling up on the leg. Such tights can be used to show off intricate pedicure.
- Footless tights are basically sheer leggings. The do not have a foot, instead they just run from the waist to the ankle. The part at the ankle features an elastic band just like the waist-band, often in the shape of lace.
- Solid color tights can feature a variety of colors from neon pink to dark purple. Colored tights come in a variety of deniers too, and it too can be shiny, matte, patterned or not.
- Medical hosiery feature reinforced areas which provide added support and pressure to certain areas of the body. They’re obviously worn for medical purposes, like helping against varicose veins etc.
- Low waist tights – these pantyhose feature a lowered waistline, and they're among the newest styles out there. The low-rise jeans fever is what probably gave birth to this variant.
- Convertible panty hose – can be worn either as leggings or as pantyhose depending on the wearer's needs. They can be converted from tights to leggings and back within seconds.
- Crotchless tights – waist-to-toe nylons with a bigger or smaller section of material missing at the crotch area. They facilitate access and offer much better ventilation in the said area than regular hose.
- Non Slip tights – are specifically designed to keep the soles of the feet from slipping inside the shoe as the wearer walks.
Whatever style of hosiery you pick, make sure it suits you. When it comes to patterned panty hose for instance, for every individual out there, there are flattering styles and less than ideal ones. Make sure you pick the style that enhances your overall look, after all, making your legs look better is one of the primary goals of hosiery. The bottom line: do not commit hosiery fashion faux-pas.