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“Legging” is a pretty general category. When you look at our leggings section, you’ll find stirrup and capri leggings, along with true leggings and footless tights. Stirrup leggings cover your arch, but keep toes and heel free and capris end somewhere around the knee. Let’s pretend I meant for that to rhyme.
Now, sometimes we have folks talk about “leggings” but mean thigh highs, so it clearly can be a regional term. In the most general sense of how we use the word, leggings are like tights without the feet. They’ve got a waistband and end in the general area of your ankles. We and our suppliers also sometimes use the term “footless tights” to mean leggings—they’re practically interchangeable except for one thing: underpants visibility.
We’ve started to refine our terms the best we can, based on our experience and what words our customers (you beautiful folks!) use when looking for a specific style. Here’s what we’ve found. If you’re looking for leggings, more often than not you are looking for something with maximum underoo coverage. Leggings pair fabulously with tunic-length tops and dresses, things that don’t necessarily go with flashes of your undercarriage. Maybe they’re not perfectly opaque, but they’re at least tattoo-covering level of opacity. You can find all the straight-up leggings we carry with this search.
We’ve used a little bit of magic to sort together our favourite leggings that do the best at keeping things under wraps. Just search “opaque legging”, with the quotation marks around the phrase, and the most opaque of opaque leggings show up. And so do the Narita Sheer & Opaque Footless Tights, but we don’t know why, since they’re not opaque leggings at all. It is an unfortunate side effect of magic.
Make sure to check the descriptions and pictures, some styles listed there have two seams in the rear, which isn’t everyone’s favourite look (or feel). Of course, everyone is built a little differently, so opacity can vary. The more a style is stretched, the less opaque it can be. If you can, buy a size up for more opacity. The Thermo Fleece Lined Footless Tights are a good example of this. If you’re near the upper stretch limit for a size, they’re not very shy about what you’re wearing underneath.
We’ve found the Nouvella Cotton Legging and Cotton Capri are the most reliable for keeping you covered. One thing to watch, though: Charcoal and the Plum tend to run notably shorter in the leg than the other colors, but they’re super stretchy and soft. We also don’t think they’re as opaque as the other colours, so you might want to buy a size up for more opacity. Like a lot of true leggings, they’re a “cut & sew” style, with seams on the inside of the leg.
Okay, okay, so leggings cover your butt like a good friend backing you up that time you said you did a thing you didn’t. But what does that mean Footless Tights are?
Easy, everything else! Is it like tights but without feet? Then it is footless tights. It’s like identifying sharks. Bitey? There you go! Only, I guess, actually simpler than real taxonomy.
Clockwise from top: Side Stripe Footless Tights, Black Roses Printed Footless Tights, Foot Traffic Floral Footless Tights, Lycra Fishnet Footless Tights, Cherry Blossom Printed Footless Tights, Floral Flocked Footless Tights.
And one more time, here are some quick searches for you to bookmark or reference:
I cannot believe that three years ago Niq handed over the Sock Journal reins to me. How time flies! It’s why I love doing this little yearly round-ups to keep track of all those days going by. After the first year we had the start of our social media team that you now see wonderfully juggling all the new ways to interact online. By last year I started feeling comfortable enough to show you my nerdiness and start doing more sock care and info posts.
When I asked the other Dreamers what their favourite posts from the past year were, all of their faves matched mine! Which makes me feel pretty awesome!
The overall favourite was the addition of Tips and Tricks to the Reference category (which, BTW, is where all the informative posts, like DIY and “What is A . . .” live). I’ve tried to keep all these posts short, sweet and image-heavy—giving you all the little tips (and tricks) we’ve learned about socks over the years. Like blocking to increase stretch!
And I’ve been lucky enough to get to do some more involved DIY posts. Like dyeing stockings to match!
With last Christmas I started doing my favourite indulgence that luckily you all seem to dig (and they’re kind of favourites with the other Dreamers too!). Sock Stories! Where socks are the star and I am a big ol’ nerd playing dolls with them, essentially. The Nutcracker was the first sock story, but I think it is the latest instalment, where the socks star in a drive-in movie, that I am the most in love with.
But one of the most exciting things that has happened in the past year is our robust new search engine. You can search by all sorts of things, supplier, coverage, texture, fiber and (most importantly) colour! I ran down the basics last fall and we’re always refining everything to bring you the best, most relevant, results we can.
I hope that, over the past couple of years, the Sock Journal has become even more of a solid go-to for sock info and reference and fun. What have your favourite posts been this past year? What would you love to see more of?
By “topless” socks and stockings, we just mean socks with no cuffs. Sometimes the description “raw-topped” is also used (raw meaning unfinished). We currently carry four styles of this kind of sock. They’ve got to have garters to hold them up, since they have no elastic band or cuff at the top, but that’s kind of the point.
They’re also great way to deal with tights that are too short or worn at the tops (as in this old Sock Journal DIY), just chop off the part that doesn’t cover your legs! Making raw-topped stockings is probably the best entry-level DIY.
But what kinds of knit can you cut without creating a disaster? The worst thing is to see your creation unravelling before your eyes. You can always drop us a line to double check the snip-worthiness of a style, but we’ve got a couple tips for what to look for after the jump!
This has been a month of nylons, hasn’t it? There’s something really fantastic about them and how they visually smooth out your skin, making your legs look even more fabulous. Of course, that illusion works best if your stockings are a similar tone as your skin. People come in a lot of different shades, so it is rather frustrating that most companies that make the nylons we sell only offer lighter shades of beige. And some even call the colour “nude”! Which makes no sense and is why we use the word “beige” for those colours. We are constantly telling our suppliers that we want more shades and though we’re seeing a teeny bit of forward progress, we just don’t know when more than beige will be a regular option.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem dyes their dancers’ tights and shoes to match their skin, which creates that classic ballet visual of uninterrupted line. You can see some samples of their work in the picture for this LA Times article. To create the classic visual of nylon stockings that perfectly match and melt into your skin, we can do the same thing. I’ve gone over some basic dyeing techniques here before, so I know you know how to do it. But which colours? What dye?
For these examples and as a general suggestion, I recommend RIT dye. If you live near a craft store, they’ve got it, in all the colours. Supermarkets and Wal-Marts also often carry RIT dye and, more often than not, offer all the colours. It’s easy to use and not that expensive, plus their site is a great resource, with a Colour Formula Guide to reference once you feel comfortable enough to mix up some magic (and it is magic, there’s a warm brown there that is made of their Sunshine Orange and Navy, somehow, so cool!).
Like I said earlier, people come in a lot of different shades and, if you’re going to dye-to-match then you’ll want to get it just how you want it. I suggest picking up some of the pantyhose that come in an egg and experimenting with those, so mistakes can be made cheaply before you customise stockings you love. For the experiments below I used the Sheer Backseams with Lace Top, though, because hey, we’re fancy.
Those gorgeous shades are all straight-from-the-box, no mixing! I’ll give you the vitals and some tips after the jump.
As many of you have learned through unfortunate accident, nylon stockings, especially 100% nylon styles, are very delicate. Careful care in wearing, washing and storage can help extend your stockings’ life.
If you’re particularly prone to snags, check your nails (fingers and toes!) for sharp spots and fix them with a file, then add a little lotion to any dry or rough areas of skin. You want to try and reduce the snaggable variables. It is a special kind of infuriating to realise you’ve made a run in your stocking just by putting it on! We used to carry awesome, super smooth gloves for putting on stockings, but they are no longer made so we can no longer offer them. But if you (like me) know you need all the help you can get in preventing snags, even simple satin gloves can help.
Yanking isn’t the nicest way to shove your legs in any sock and for nylon stockings that is especially true. Carefully gathering the stocking up onto your thumbs (the thin nature of nylons makes this pretty easy), gently slip your toes in and ease it up around your heel. From there on out it’s pretty simple, letting the nylon slip from your fingers as it encases your leg. Once your stockings are up, use a careful touch and the pads of your fingers to ease the seam into lining up.
A great tip for encouraging those back seams to line up is putting a dot of sock glue at the back of your heel, sort of anchoring it in place. Since sock glue is water-soluable, if you fear damage to your stockings while removing them, just lightly dampen the area you’ve glued before removing your nylons.
Since it can be hard to check how lined up you are (because twisting to look at the back of your leg twists your leg too, throwing everything off) sit yourself down and use a small mirror on the ground, or in your hand, to check the straightness of that seam.
It’s best to respect the stocking’s fibers and listen to how much they want to stretch. Sometimes a stocking wants to be an OTK, or just hang out in the middle of your thigh, not go all the way up to the top your leg. Pulling hard at the cuff and shortening garter belt suspenders too much will put undue stress on your stockings. Not, like, emotional stress—they are just bits of nylon—but when every fiber is pulled to its max from your toes up your leg, something’s gotta give and it’s going to be the integrity of your stockings.
What about washing and storing? And what if you do get a run? Some more tips and tricks after the jump! Read more »