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All About Hosiery

Perhaps you’ve never worn hosiery before. Or maybe you have, but you’ve only gone for very basic looks. Either way, not all women are pros at styling their outfits with hosiery – especially when it comes to wearing more adventurous colors, textures and patterns. I can help! Read this hosiery guide to learn more about the ins and outs of women’s hosiery, and how to choose the right pair for you.


Hosiery has historically been viewed as a high fashion, feminine, polished, and sexy women’s wardrobe staple. By wearing the right hosiery, you can complete or transform your look for any occasion and season. Hosiery can top off any formal outfit by creating a “va-va-voom” or understated polished effect. It can also be the perfect finishing touch for any comfortable, casual outfit by adding an extra pop of color, texture and eye appeal.

Hosiery can also do magic for your legs, waist and silhouette by concealing skin imperfections, smoothing your appearance and shaping your figure. With a variety of different styles, colors, textures, and patterns to choose from, it’s easier than ever to find hosiery that looks best on you regardless of your body shape, height, and proportions.

Picking the Perfect Hosiery

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso

Adding a personal touch to an outfit with hosiery is fun and exciting – especially when you see how many options there for you to try. Before you start to create new and unique looks, it’s helpful to know some basic style and sizing guidelines. This starts with first assessing yourself and deciding what will work best on you and what you should avoid.

Factors to Consider


Size is the most important thing when it comes to picking out hosiery. Wearing hose or tights that are too small is a surefire way to get an embarrassing rip, create unflattering bulges, and be completely uncomfortable all day. Meanwhile, if you’re wearing a size too large, you’ll get bunching, and a visibly uneven fit that won’t stay in place.

Hosiery is typically sold in sizes small, medium, large, extra large, and so on; or A, B, C and D, and so on. Sizing systems can vary between brands and styles, so always check the size chart before you buy. If you’re close to or right between two sizes, it’s always best to go for the larger size of the two. Because size is so important, proceed with caution when buying hosiery that claims to be one size fits all.

If you’re plus size or full figure, you’ll need more support than what average-sized hosiery offers. Plus size hosiery is available in extended sizes and is often made differently to accommodate your needs and flatter your figure.

Body Type

Not all bodies are the same. Depending on your body’s shape and proportions, some styles of hosiery will look better on you than others. The right hosiery can minimize problem areas and enhance your best features.

Pear shape: Enhance your curves and make your hips and rear look slimmer by choosing dark colors, sleek patterns and textures, and avoid horizontal stripes or lines. Instead of wearing brightly colored hosiery, try darker colored hosiery with a bright top instead. Control top hosiery can also help slim your waist, rear, thighs and tummy.

Cone shape: If you have a large bust and wide shoulders but slimmer legs and hips, you can balance your figure by wearing simple tops and hosiery with eye-catching colors, textures and prints.

Hourglass shape: Choose tops and hosiery that hugs and enhances your curves. Try tops that taper down to your waist and emphasize your feminine shape with hosiery in flattering patterns and textures.

Rectangular shape: Exaggerate your curves around your waistline with control top hosiery. For extra attention to your waistline, add a belt over a sleek pair of textured hosiery and a top in a flattering and feminine color.

Apple shape: Slim your waist with control top hosiery. Wear bright and fun patterned tops and hosiery that draws attention to the legs, rear and bust – and away from the waistline. Avoid horizontal stripes or lines – instead, look for vertical designs and sleek, simple, slimming looks.



– If you’re shorter, try to create a monochromatic look (the same color from head to toe).

– Shades that match the color of your shoes will lengthen your leg line, making you look tall and slender.

– If you’re taller, do the opposite by breaking and splitting the color palette of your look by choosing contrasting colors, patterns, and textures.

– Darker colors help minimize visible size and make your legs look slimmer.

– Patterns and bright colors add visual volume to the legs. If you want to minimize the visible size of your thighs and legs, you may want to try darker and less bold colors and patterns to bring less focus to your leg line.

– If you have large calves and knees, solid neutrals and darker shades will create a slimming effect.



Some tights and hosiery styles are measured in deniers, which is a unit of density measurement that tells you how thick and opaque the hosiery is. The lower the denier, the finer the knit is and the more sheer the hosiery is. The higher the denier, the more opaque the hosiery is. Opaque tights are heavier in deniers, making them warmer and less see-through. Deniers range anywhere from 10 and lower to 40 and higher. If you’re looking for a nude look, you’ll want the lowest denier possible.

Under 10 Denier: Ultra Sheer

– A bare leg look

– Great for summer wear

– Breathable

10-20 Denier: Sheer

– More durable for everyday regular wear

– Allows skin to show through

21-40 Denier: Semi Opaque

– Longer lasting wear

– Popular for spring and fall

– Conceals minor skin imperfections

41-69 Denier: Opaque

– Little to no skin show-through

– Popular for fall and winter

70 Denier and Above: Thick Opaque

– No leg show-through

– Popular for winter



– If you have visible veins or other skin blemishes you want to conceal, try hosiery with at least a 40 denier.

– If your complexion is dull, hosiery with some shine and gloss can help brighten up your skin and give you a youthful glow.


Remember, hosiery is an investment. Although there are some less expensive options and all hosiery is susceptible to runs and holes, it’s worth spending a little extra on a nice pair of hosiery you know will last you for multiple washes and wears.

Learn more about legwear and hosiery in this Guide.

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