Back in the mid 1990’s, I bought several pairs of Donna Karan Matte and Satin Jersey tights, size tall. They fit pretty well, maybe a little less opaque than I care for, but compared to other tights available on the market they seemed to be the best for my size. I wore them under my trousers at work during the colder months for a couple of years, and they held up well. Sometimes I wore socks layered over, for a little extra warmth and to help prevent abrasions to the fabric from rough spots on some of my shoes.
Anyway, to make a long story short, I moved to a warmer climate, stopped wearing them for quite a few years, then returned to a cooler climate and took them out of storage. I was impressed to find that they were still in very good shape. Some other tights I owned that were purchased in the mid 90’s ended up with slack waistbands, because the inner elastic broke down. But the Donna Karan tights remained about as good as when new.
Yes, over 15 years later and they’re still serviceable. On one pair, the back of the waistband shows some elastic peeking out, but the band is not slack. The seams around the gusset haven’t separated. The gusset panel itself has shown some breakdown of the cotton fibers, but no holes clear through.
The material blend that Donna Karan came up with on these tights is very resilient. It’s comprised of 87% Tactel Nylon and 13% Lycra. Rough edges will snag the material, but no runs result. High magnification will show small signs of loose fibers sticking out, but they do not unravel and no hole is visible to the unaided eye. The fit of this material is snug and conforming. The fabric tends to stay in place for a long while. There is practically no bagging at the knees, even after sitting for many hours. And the fabric feels very comfortable against the skin. They don’t have the ultra smooth feel of microfiber, but they hold their shape fairly well and give a gentle to medium compression effect. They remain stretched out a bit longer after wearing, but still fit snug when put on again. Washing them pretty much returns them to near original size.
The waistband is firm and of decent quality. There’s an embossed lettering that spells out “DONNA KARAN NEW YORK”, with the the band having a scalloped top edge. But the stitching through it allows for the band to partially fold over, if you’re just a little overweight.
These were actually produced by Hanes, the manufacturing company that makes hosiery for Donna Karan and DKNY hosiery. The seams are automatic stitched, the toes are slightly rounded, and the legs are flat boarded. This is reminiscent of cheaper tights production. But, it was good enough for these tights to last a long time.
It’ll be interesting to see if the material continues to hold up, or finally starts to give out in the coming years. But ultimately, it’s a tremendous nod to quality craftsmanship by Donna Karan. I’ll have to sample one of her newer opaque lines to see if they still measure up. The Signature Luxury and DKNY Super Opaque tights look great.