Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsHosiery

BY DESIGN : Getting a Leg Up : With pantyhose, don't just check out the cost. How fine they feel when you put them on counts too.

June 29, 1995|CINDY LaFAVRE YORKS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

n the pragmatic '90s, is there a market for champagne pantyhose in a country settling into beer-budget reality?

Some retailers are convinced that some women will spend as much as $40 a pair for dependability, fit, impressive weaves and textures that come in a rainbow of colors.

Price tags aside, the most telling differences between budget pantyhose and pricier renditions involve construction, weave and coloration. Costlier pantyhose usually have a sewn-on waistband, a cotton gusset (crotch panel) and optional toe guards for women who wait a tad too long between pedicures.

The weaves in hosiery are distinguished by the denier number, or the number and types of filament yarns. The lower the denier number featured on a package, the finer the quality (the opposite of the cotton sheet-thread count, in which more threads means higher quality).

But do caviar-caliber pantyhose warrant the high sticker price? How do they stack up against Lucky and L'eggs brands costing well under $5? Is it worth the trouble of slipping on gloves to prevent snagging when putting on the hose?

I tested five brands to determine if the extra cost for high-priced pantyhose eliminated pinched waists, sagging crotches, and pesky runs and holes. To ensure proper fit, I adhered to the height and weight guidelines and wore each a minimum of four times (except for one pair, which ran on the second wearing).

*

Wolford Individual 10 Denier Strumpfhose Tights Collant Panty, $40: These Austrian-made pantyhose are the Dom Perignon of the champagne pantyhose market. They've been sold for years at Neiman Marcus, but the company's newly opened boutiques at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and in Beverly Hills are outfitted with everything from hosiery to bodysuits. I stepped into the South Coast shop and was greeted by an amiable clerk who delicately handed me a size chart. She also gave me a wheel of samples, and I chose the color and texture I preferred. After the transaction was completed, she added my statistics to the store computer and informed me of upcoming store parties (one announcement has already come in the mail).

Wolford hose have a second-skin look, smooth texture and a unique weave--tight, yet not "support-hose"-looking. No unwanted shine, no telltale weaves and a perfect shade of nude. The waistband was completely comfortable and did not bunch or roll. I've worn them six times (and even washed them in the machine on the delicate cycle in a hosiery bag) with nary a run or nick. (Hand-washing is recommended.) Still, are they worth $40? Unless I win the lottery, I can't imagine investing in a drawerful of them, but I'm sold on their charm and overall performance.

*

Fogal St. Tropez Fine Sheer Toe-to-Waist Tights, $18: It's highly unlikely you won't find the color of hosiery you're looking for at Fogal, since they come in 50-something shades. I stopped in at the Rodeo Drive boutique to peruse the many offerings and was told the St. Tropez style is Fogal's equivalent of a basic. I decided on an unusual jade green shade and was getting kind of excited about going tres French with my legwear when the clerk blurted out, "So, how much do you weigh?" "Excuuuse me?" Fortunately, we were alone in the tiny boutique so I told her and got on with the business of buying.

I was impressed with the fit and liked the unusual color. But the texture . . . well, it was no Wolford. In appearance the weave seemed quite standard, but the hose have held up after four wearings. At half the price of Wolfords, and given the variety of colors, Fogal deserves a place in the wardrobe of a woman who takes pride in matching her shoes to her bag.

Calvin Klein Matte Sheer, Sheer-to-the-Waist, $8: This department store-brand hose (15 denier) slid on nicely and had a matte texture that was pleasing to the eye. They did not sag in the crotch but were a bit snug in the derriere. (No big surprise there--have you ever seen a Calvin Klein model with a three-dimensional caboose?) But alas, they ran on the second wearing during a typical workday (no major calamity occurred to bring on the run). Of course, no hose are perfect and runs happen. But at $4 per wearing, I won't be rushing back for a new pair any time soon.

*

Neiman Marcus Silken Lycra Sheer Control Top Sandaltoe, $7: This store-brand hose comes in a variety of styles, but the rich butter creme color lured me from the get-go. The waistband was comfortable, the weave was appealing, and the fit was terrific. The texture was a middle-of-the-road compromise between shiny and matte. After five wearings, they're still going strong.

*

Christian Dior Ultra Sheer Control Top Pantyhose, Sandalfoot, $7: These hose come pre-shaped. In other words, they are molded in the flattened shape of a feminine leg, the way stockings were packaged before the invention of pantyhose. This means the human body's natural curves do not tax the weave.

The weave is silky and rich and shimmers slightly. I've worn them five times and they're ready for more. One caveat--and this may seem like nit-picking--but they are not the kind of hose you can put on in a hurry. You have to line up the hose's heel to your heel, and it takes time. Even so, the light texture sort of makes you feel sexy. Maybe that alone is worth the $7.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|