The Ultimate Hosiery Glossary

miHere at The Tight Spot we understand the complexities of buying hosiery, so we've created this simple glossary to help you understand any hosiery term, style or finish. Learn something new and make sure you are fully informed and able to pick the right tights, pantyhose, stockings or hold ups for your occasion, body shape or style, so you can look and feel your best when wearing hosiery.

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What Does the Denier of Tights mean?

The term denier is often referred to as the thickness of hosiery but, to be more specific, denier refers to the weight of the yarn that was used to produce the item of hosiery. A higher denier of yarn results in a thicker pair of tights. Hosiery items range in denier from around 10 denier up to, 40 denier and as high as 100 denier or more.

When choosing hosiery you need to think about how much coverage you require, depending on; where you wish to wear the item, the weather at that time of year and what look you wish to achieve. If you’re seeking a lightweight pair of tights for a barely there look, we would recommend lower denier sheer tights or summer tights. Whereas, if you would like some extra coverage or warmth on your legs, opt for a higher denier in the form of opaque tights or wool tights.


Sheer Tights

Sheer Tights

Sheer tights are worn typically during the spring / summer months when the weather gets a little warmer, as they offer you coverage but the sheer yarns will keep you cool. Sheer tights or skin coloured tights offer a natural, smooth appearance, giving the look of perfect, silky legs with the added benefit of providing an even colour all over the leg - like make up. Available in subtle matt or high gloss finish, sheer hosiery is anything with a denier between 15 denier tights and 20 denier coming in a variety of shades including nude and black tights.


Semi Sheer and Semi Opaque Tights

Semi Opaque Tights
Semi sheer / opaque tights can be anything between 30 denier and 40 denier tights and it's perfect for giving your legs a little coverage during the early autumn weather as it will hide sun deprived skin and keep you warm until the sunshines for summer!


Opaque Tights

Opaque Tights
Opaque hosiery is beautifully soft and extremely comforting. It makes the ideal hosiery selection for the autumn and winter months as the main benefit of opaque tights is their cosy, warming feel. Opaque tights usually have a denier from around 50 denier to 300 denier or more. Black opaque tights with a higher denier can sometimes look very similar to leggings, especially if they're footless. However, due to the way tights are constructed around the hips and waist, you cannot wear them as trousers like you might leggings, so always check product details carefully to ensure you know how the product you order will function as part of your wardrobe. 



What are the Different Finishes of Tights?

Different Finishes of Tights


Womens tights are available in a variety of finishes depending on what effect you would like to have on your legs. 


Shiny Tights

To achieve a highly polished, glamorous look we would recommend choosing a pair of shiny or glossy tights. These super shiny pantyhose provide a glistening effect on the legs and some styles even give you that wet look for a glowy finish. Hosiery experts such as Cecilia de Rafael and Pearl & Poseidon have crafted elegant shiny sheer tights that provide the ultimate in a high-quality glossy finish. Choose from sheer shiny tights for a super glowy finish or opaque shiny tights to achieve a high gloss effect.

Matt Tights

To achieve a barely there look we would recommend a smooth matt finish which offers a natural, airbrushed look on the legs, ideal for special occasions or everyday wear. Alternatively, if you require more coverage yet would still like a soft matt finish, opt for higher denier opaque tights for a solid and thicker finish. Matt tights will ensure no shine or shimmer on the legs, perfect for a discreet wear or a soft thick opaque finish. Choose between a natural sheer matt finish or a thicker opaque matt for extra coverage without compromising on style. 

Satin Tights

Satin tights will give a bit of shimmer to the yarns used to make the hosiery item, which produces a slight sheen. Somewhere between full on gloss and matt, silk hosiery is ideal for achieving a luxury texture to your legs without drawing too much attention. In fact, a silk tights or slight satin finish is usually more realistic than a full matt product, as the light reflecting properties of the tights can help you achieve a natural, healthy skin glow. 

Wool Tights

Keeping cosy during the cooler seasons is a must! Our collection of wool tights are crafted with high-quality wool blends to help retain heat and ensure a super cosy feel. If you’re looking for warm tights in general, we have a fantastic collection of thicker tights for maximum coverage and comfort. A great layering piece for transitioning seasons and transforming summer attire into winter getups. Hosiery specialists Couture have designed extremely affordable tights that include wool blends, meaning you can elevate your winter wardrobe for less.



Toeless Tights and Toe Finishes


Toeless and Sandal Toe Tights


Reinforced Toe

Tights designed with a reinforced toe are the most common type of toe finish we offer. The benefit of tights with a reinforced toe is that they have been designed to protect your toes and increase the durability of the product so it should be more comfortable and last longer. The reinforced toe is very common on the lighter sheer finished items of hosiery as this will strengthen the hosiery from laddering at the toe. 

Shadow Toe

A popular pick for wearing with open toe shoes or peep toe shoes, tights with a shadow toe allow for a more discreet look on the toes than a fully reinforced toe. A shadow toe design provides a lightweight coverage on the toe area, allowing the natural outline of your toes to show to give the illusion of wearing no tights, yet benefiting from the comfort of having a closed toe. 

Open Toe

Open toe hosiery leaves your toes free, which has the benefit of allowing your legs to be covered with the tights but your toes free to show in sandals or peep toe shoes. The leg perfecting finish of the sheer tights and the bare open toes will create the illusion that you are wearing no tights at all, when really you are wearing tights with open toe shoes - so those even-toned, glowing legs seem completely natural. Perfect for breathability and wearing with any shoe of your choice.

Some toeless tights styles have an elastic toe loop, which helps to keep tights in place whilst others are simply finished with an elasticated trim. Tights with an open toe are a necessary item for summer wardrobe and ideal for weddings or other summer occasions where you want to show of your best summer shoes and also enhance your leg look with tights.

Sandal Toe

When Tights have a sandal toe, the toe area is designed to be sheer without an reinforced seam. This means that it isn't always obvious that the wearer has closed toe tights on, even if their shoes are open toe, as no shadow or finishing is visible. There is however usually still a seam at the toe, which can be tucked under to disguise the fact you are wearing tights at all.


Find Your Favoured Brief

Tights Briefs


The brief is the part of a hosiery item that wraps itself around the hip area and lower pelvis. The tights brief changes from product to product and is available in numerous styles. Look out for the brief type within the product descriptions. Below are the three types of common briefs:

Sheer to Waist

The denier (thickness) of the tights is consistent and runs right the way through from the toes to the waist, hence the name sheer to waist. In effect, there is no styling to the brief area. This is beneficial if wearing light coloured clothing as no shadow is visible. Also, if wearing a high cut skirt or shorts sheer to waist tights will mean that no shadow would be seen at the top of the legs. Recreate your tights as pants look with this sheer to waist style.

Boxer Brief

A boxer brief means there is a different denier at the top of the tights, shaped similar to a boxer short. The idea of a boxer brief is to create a reinforced finish and to provide greater comfort to the wearer. Often shapewear will feature a boxer brief which gives extra strength to the shaping element and helps give your figure a smooth, streamlined finish. This is common for tummy control pantyhose that cinch you in at the waist for a figure-hugging fit.

V Line Brief

The V line brief is not too dissimilar to the boxer brief, consisting of an even thickness up the leg and increasing in denier in “V” shape – similar to underwear around the hips and bottom. This brief mimics the look of knickers under the tights so beneficial for those who prefer to go commando or, as above, are wearing tights with high cut skirts or dresses. Lots of romantic hosiery or fashion tights may incorporate some detail to the brief area for a fun twist - such as lace, flowers or criss-cross lace up motifs. 

Seamless Brief

Seamless tights are designed with a completely seam free brief, guaranteeing a smooth and flush fit against the skin without any digging in or rolling down. Tights without seams also allow you to wear tight clothing in confidence as no hemlines or shadows will show through.



What is a Tights Gusset?

So what is a gusset? A tights gusset is often applied to the crotch area to give the wearer added durability and comfort. In a similar way to the brief, gussets come in a variety of styles. Below each type of gusset is explained:

Plain Gusset

A plain gusset means a panel is placed in the crotch of the tights that is made of the same fabric as the rest of the hosiery item. The purpose of a plain gusset is to give a fully flushed hosiery item that offers flexibility and comfort.

Cotton / Silk Gusset

Commonly, hosiery is crafted featuring a cotton gusset or silk gusset. This type of hosiery is very favourable due to the hygienic benefits of having a gusset made from cotton. This type of gusset is sophisticated and offers the wearer a better-fit and extra comfort as it's soft on the skin and the natural fibres allow fresh air to flow. 

No Gusset Tights

Hosiery that consists of no gusset is simply finished with a seam at the join where the two legs meet. If you have large hips, you may struggle with rips in this type of hosiery as the width stretch puts pressure on the central seam. 

Open Gusset Tights

The open gusset or crotchless tights style has hygienic and comfort benefits, especially in warmer weather. With this style, no gusset is placed in the tights and the join is not seamed, leaving the gusset open. This is a very popular style of crotchless tights for the health benefits. Wearing hosiery can cause yeast infections for women as the synthetic fibres tramp in heath and moisture - the perfect breading ground for bacteria. Crotchless tights with their open gusset have the benefit of allowing this area of the body to breath and so avoid such health concerns. Wear with cotton underwear for a natural, comfortable feel. 



Suspender Tights and Suspender Stockings



Suspender Tights

Suspender Tights are created to give the illusion of stockings and a suspender belt, providing that sexy edge without the fuss! Also known as Garter Tights, these pantyhose are designed in one piece but is open around the gusset and waist area, as it would be when wearing stockings and suspenders. The waistband of the garment acts as a suspender belt. However the straps that reach down to the ‘stockings’ are attached permanently, which means no straps or clasps are required to hold the stockings in place. Sometimes called 'Strip Panty', these tights could be described as cut out tights due to the waist, hip and gusset area being cut out. This style, similar to crotchless pantyhose, offers health benefits due to the open area around the gusset for a more breathable wear. It's also a striking yet easy to wear style for a sensual date night. 

Mock Suspender Tights

Mock Suspender Tights are a very similar style to suspender tights yet are designed to replicate the look of stocking and suspenders without the cut out areas around the waist. They also tend to have a smaller gusset cut out similar to the likes of standard crotchless tights. Mock suspender tights usually follow beautiful detailing and a super flirty edge to encompass the sensual look of stockings and suspenders, in a handy one piece.


Stockings have been around for centuries and it's no wonder. This timeless, classic hosiery style is very similar in design to hold ups, except stockings have to be applied in a different way, using straps and suspender belts. Stockings are extremely popular because of their unlimited sex appeal and versatility.
Below are the different finishes of stockings on offer:

Sheer StockingsSeamed StockingsLace stockingsFishnet StockingsOpaque Stockings

Hold Ups

Hold Up Stockings are extremely popular in the UK as they're much easier to wear than stockings and suspenders. Many people refer to hold ups as ‘stay ups’ or ‘thigh highs’. They're usually decorated with a sophisticated welt / cuff, which can be plain, patterned or lace. Hold Ups are also great for those that suffer from thrush or other bacterial health issues as they give your legs coverage but do not cover or constrict the upper thighs and brief area allowing your body to breath. (View fourth image above)



Plus Size Tights

At The Tight Spot we've made a strong commitment from the word go to ensure that our hosiery collections are available and accessible to women of all sizes. Our plus size collection delivers high fashion tights, stockings and hold ups to ladies of sizes: Large (L), Extra Large (XL), Extra Extra Large (XXL), Extra Extra Extra Large (XXXL), 4XL, 5XL and more. Plus size hosiery is constructed slightly differently to comfortably fit extra thigh width and hip width. It's important to pick the correct plus size product so that the item is comfortable and durable - poor fitting products will rip or ladder more easily. Carefully check size charts and features of the hosiery item and consider what issues you usually face with fit to make sure you choose an item that works for your shape. Picking plus size hosiery from a specialist like Glamory will always be beneficial as these items are fitted and tested on real bodies and have been created to combat specific plus size concerns such as chaffing, leg support and waistband aggirvation. We have a large collection of Plus Size patterned tights, plus size crotchless tights and plus size fishnet tights.



The Benefits of Shapewear Tights

Shapewear hosiery can help you create a streamlined and smoothed hourglass figure. It works by compressing your body in the upper thigh, bottom, belly and pelvic region. From bum lifting to thigh trimming, browse our range of Control & Slimming hosiery. Slimming tights can be beneficial in giving a sleek foundation under dresses or skirts for special occasions. 

Tummy Control Tights

Control top hosiery can effortlessly help flatten the lumps and bumps that you're not comfortable with around your tummy area, creating a smoother silhouette. This shapewear is also popular for women to wear post-pregnancy as it gives support to the stomach area. 

Thigh and Bum Control Tights

Thigh and bum control hosiery is brilliant for creating smooth lines around your lower pelvic region, upper thigh and bottom. Often referred to as ‘Body toners’ this collection of hosiery can really boost your confidence in close fitting clothing as not only do you benefit from leg perfecting coverage, the shaping panels trim and lift your body so you look and feel your best.

Our range of control tights offer a number of different shaping techniques to achieve an elegant silhouette.



Socks and Accessories

Toeless Tights and Reinforced Toes

Within our legwear accessories category we have a number of popular hosiery options that are perfect for adding a little fashion and flare to your outfit. Our sexy legwear collections include a variety of knee high socks, over the knee socks, leggings and suspender belts. Below each type of legwear accessory has been explored in greater depth for further understanding.

Footless Tights

Footless hosiery, commonly recognized as leggings or footless tights, is styled in the exact same way as normal tights, however they end at the ankle rather than running straight to the toe. Take a look at some well-fashioned footless hosiery, available in a number of finishes and styles.

Ankle High Socks and Anklets

Ankle highs (also known as anklets) are similar to traditional socks. Unlike socks, anklets are styled and finished in yarns that vary in denier or thickness, as tights do. They often feature patterns or lace detail. They are very popular to wear with trainers, heeled pumps or with work shoes. Thinner than socks, ankle highs have the benefit of protecting your feet without making your shoes tight - as well as being super stylish. Take a look at our range of ankle highs to add comfort and a fashion edge to your wardrobe.

Knee High Socks

Knee highs are very similar to socks in the manner in which they're worn and applied but they're also available in a number of sheer and opaque finishes, as well as being elegantly poised in a variety of colours, patterns and fabrics. They're fabulous for adding a little individuality to an outfit, and they go hand in hand with work wear or casual day wear. Take a look at our knee highs and get your latest fashion fix.

Over The Knee Socks

Over the knees are again, very similar to socks and knee highs, although these are an elongated infusion of the two, and typically reach a couple of inches over the knee. Over the knees are very fashionable to wear with shorts or skirts and boots or heels. Browse our range of over the knees and see if there's an item that you could use to spruce up an outfit.

Suspender Belts

Anybody that wears and adores stockings will know what the purpose and benefits of a suspender belt are. Suspender belts are worn around the waist and the straps attached to the top of stockings to keep them in place. Take a look at our suspender belts.