Glossary of Hosiery

General Questions

Shipping and Returns

What is the difference between stockings, pantyhose and tights?

Stockings are two separate pieces of leg wear that are not joined. Finishing high on the thigh, suspenders or a garter belt must be used to hold them up. Woven of nylon or silk, stockings are very sheer and hug the skin. Renowned not only for their comfort and ease of wear, stockings are also highly regarded as an hygienic alternative to other forms of hosiery that finish at the waist.

Pantyhose are waist-high and contain a ‘pant-like’ (brief) section, hence the name. This built-in underwear can also provide abdomen and thigh control. The denier of pantyhose ranges from 8 - 30 denier. They are generally made of nylon and are often blended with similar fabrics. Pantyhose are perfect for covering leg imperfections as they give the leg a smooth, even look. Invented in the US and first available in 1959, the term pantyhose is not used in England; instead, the term sheer tights is used to describe this type of legwear.

Tights are also waist high, but typically the term denotes pantyhose of a higher denier of between 40 - 200 denier. This results in thicker and generally warmer hosiery. Tights are usually opaque and can be made of synthetic or natural fibres, such as cotton and wool. Tights first came to prominence in the 1960’s, when hemlines became shorter.


What is the difference between stay ups and hold ups?

Stay ups and hold ups are interchangeable words used to refer to the same type of leg wear. Like stockings they are two pieces of legwear not joined and finishing high on the thigh, however, stay ups are held in place by a silicone material on the inside of an upper band (often lace) that gently grips the thigh. The appeal of stay ups is that they’re self-contained and do not require a garter belt. Their hygienic nature make them a practical alternative to synthetic pantyhose or tights. In the US, stay ups are usually referred to as thigh highs, whereas in England the term hold ups, is more commonly used.


What is 3D weave?

3 dimensional weaving—or 3D weave—is an advanced and innovative technique used during the weaving process. The yarn is knitted both horizontally and vertically, resulting in tights with a very uniform, smooth and fully opaque finish. While not as opaque as a genuine legging (which is sewn from fabric) 3D weave tights closely emulate the look and functionality of leggings, and are a popular choice for footless tights, due to their advantages of increased stretch, a smooth, velvet-like feel, and the variety of stylish options offered in woven legwear.


What is Nanofiber?

Nanofibers are fibers usually created with electrospinning, a process which uses electrostatic forces to form very fine filaments known as polymer solution. Oroblu is the first hosiery company to use nanofiber in tights. The beauty of this innovation for the wearer is that the tights feel wonderful—like a second skin and all but invisible under clothing. Nanofiber tights are extremely soft, yet are lightweight, hardwearing and resistant to laddering, which also make them perfect for dancers.


What does the term 'denier' mean?

Denier is the measurement or count that describes the thickness of the hosiery's yarn or knit. The lower the number, the lighter or more sheer the hosiery yarn; the higher the denier number, the heavier and more opaque the yarn finish. For example, 10 or 20 weight deniers will be quite sheer; 30-40 denier will be semi-opaque; and 50+ denier will be completely opaque and increase in thickness with the number. The weight and thickness of hosiery weave is important when considering style, comfort, warmth, and appearance.


What does the term 'melange' mean?

Melange originates from French, and means 'mixture'. A melange effect in tights is created by combining two fibers of different colours, with the resulting variegation producing a textured effect, thereby adding depth and interest to an outfit. You can see an example of such colour combinations and the texture they create by viewing our Franzoni Morbimelange footless tights.

What’s the difference between leggings and footless tights?

While some people and hosiery companies use the term ‘footless tight’ and ‘legging’ interchangeably, there is a distinct difference. Leggings are made of thicker material, are a sewn fabric (the leg section will have an inner seam) and are always opaque. It is generally acceptable to wear leggings as pants because the legging is sewn fabric which gives them a more “pant like” look.

Footless tights are woven, however, and are tights made without feet.  They are great for wearing under skirts, dresses and shorts but they should never be worn without a garment covering the brief area.  This is because the yarn of a tight, when stretched over the buttock and stomach area, will become transparent.  Footless tights are popular because the missing foot section makes them more comfortable for those who experience pull in the crotch area when wearing regular tights. Footless tights also offer many variations in weave and denier, ranging from a lighter denier to fully opaque and a more ‘true’ legging appearance, such as footless tights with 3D weave.


Modal is a biodegradable, semi synthetic fabric, made from spinning beech tree cellulose. The production process requires soaking the cellulose in varying solutions to create fibers which can then be spun into yarn. The yarn is then woven or knitted into a fabric, creating modal.


Modal is a breathable fabric and is fifty per cent more absorbent than cotton. It has long durability, washes well, especially in cold water, and is resistant to pilling and shrinking . Its smooth finish makes it ideal for everyday wear such as, activewear, t-shirts, pajamas and undergarments—including tights! It can be blended with other natural fibers such as cotton, enhancing their properties further. Modal is very popular due to its softness and the way it drapes over the body. It’s wrinkle-resistance also makes it an easy fabric to take care of and wear.


What does the OEKO-TEX Certification label mean?

The OEKO-TEX label means that our products are OEKO-TEX certified. Tests by independent OEKO-TEX partner institutes certify that every component used in the labeled products is free of substances harmful to human health. Whether shopping for yourself, or for a baby or child, the OEKO-TEX label gives you peace of mind that the product is safe to wear. Read more about what the OEKO-TEX label means.


What do I wear with footless tights?

The beauty of footless tights is the fact that they are, indeed, footless! This means you are less likely to have any crotch slipping issues that can occur for some people when wearing regular tights. They're also a good solution for people with an aversion to the foot section of tights.  

Footless tights are perfect for wearing with boots as you can comfortably add warm woolly socks - hidden from view. Visible are only your footless tights of choice!  Ballerina flats are also a wonderful complement to the footloose tight, but you'll need to forgo the warm socks. :)  

Clothing that can be worn with footless tights include dresses, shorts and skirts. As with  regular tights, the footless version comes in a wide selection of opacity and styles.  For a dressy affair there are many beautiful lace options or those with a touch of sparkle. Choose warm and woolly for a wintry day, and for a smart but casual look, coloured opaques - plain or printed - are always a good choice.  

Footless tights have become a popular item amongst all ages as they are an excellent choice for layered clothing. Girls who have difficulty keeping tights from slipping down, usually prefer to wear footless tights.

Footless tights should not be mistaken for leggings. If you're unsure of when they're appropriate to wear, please read this FAQ on the difference between footless tights and leggings.  

Footless tights have become a popular item amongst all ages as they are an excellent choice for layered clothing. Girls who have difficulty keeping tights from slipping down, usually prefer to wear footless tights.

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