I recently reviewed a pair of DKNY Super Opaque control top tights and found them to be very acceptable for the price. This was a pleasant discovery, as in the past I had found the plain opaque DKNY tights to be less generous in sizing. I then decided to have a look at the Donna Karan line and noticed several styles that appealed to me. They have a “Luxe Layer” version that is micro fleece lined and results in a very deep and uniform opaque appearance. But unfortunately the sizing offers only two choices, the larger being M/L, reduced by 30lbs in maximum weight from Donna Karan’s Tall size.
Donna Karan seems to experiment a lot style naming, resulting in a little confusion about what their product names really mean. I’ve noticed “Perfect Opaque”, “Signature Luxury”, “Signature Lux 90”, and “Sueded Jersey”, all looking to be about the same in terms of description. I decided on the “Perfect Opaque”, after being able to feel the material first hand at the Bloomingdale’s flagship store. This has a 90 denier material, heavier than the Sueded Jersey style that is described as 70 denier. They aren’t control top, but there is mention of the brief offering light support.
I bought mine from Neiman Marcus (they had a free shipping promotion for January, no matter the price). This is a top end clothing store, right up there with Bergdorf Goodman. Both are legendary in reputation for being the stores where the wealthier people shop. Their inventory buyers have to buy the best, so if you find something sold there you can generally count on it being very good quality. Hence, it is no surprise to find Donna Karan there. I bought on-line and my order was sent via 2-day Fedex shipping for free, arriving 2 days after placing the order. That’s rapid fulfillment for you, and right in line with the Neiman Marcus reputation.
NOTE: This review is from the male perspective, so for women the experience will likely be superior.
The packaging is clearly superior for the Perfect Opaque over the DKNY Super Opaque, but that’s to be expected with how the brands are positioned. It’s a high quality card stock envelope with attractive facade. What really surprised me is that when taking the tights out of the package, they look very much like the DKNY Super Opaque tights. Same waistband. Same flat seams. Same heavy looking appearance. But… there are some notable differences. First, these aren’t stated as “Control Top”, but the brief is very similar in thickness. The DKNY tights brief is just a tad thicker and about 1″ taller. The material thickness for the Perfect Opaque has the same density from the waist all the way down to the toes. These are really thicker overall. One other difference I immediately noticed was that the toes are not rounded. This surprised me, as Donna Karan is considered a luxury brand above DKNY. A straight toe seam often leaves you with a “toe fin” flying off the smallest toe.
The packaging states 90+ denier appearance, but it’s really more like 150 denier due to the dense weave. The leg and panty material is very nice and luxuriously thick. But what I find most appealing about it is the resistance to snagging. It’s polished, but without a noticeable sheen. Whereas my dry fingers might lightly catch some micro fibers on the DKNY Super Opaque tights, and the Falke Pure Matt 100 for that matter, on these there is none of that despite feeling like microfiber. The appearance is remarkably opaque, and so I can appreciate the style name “perfect opaque”. Very appropriate. There is some semi-opaque effect when bending a knee, but it’s quite muted. On thinner legs, it’ll likely remain fully opaque no matter what. Black is the most widely available color, although from some retailers you can also find them in chocolate brown. The fit on the legs provides light/medium compression.
As I mentioned before, the brief area has a very thick opaque appearance that extends down through the leg. There is a subtle change in material below the brief, but no visible demarcation. The compression effect with these is less than the DKNY Super Opaque, but still works very well for a snug fit. The brief length is a bit short, and would probably qualify as low-rise. The waistband folds over rather easily, but sitting lower on the hips lessens the chances. If pulled up to just below the navel, the brief will eventually slip down a little, but then settles on the hips and does a pretty good job of staying there.
The flat seams on the panty are truly first rate in construction, just as good as the kind you find on Falke. They’re wide, flat, strong, and comfortable against the skin. The gusset is fully surrounded by them and small in size. The seams at the toes are thinner. You’ll feel them slightly along your toes, but they’re comfortable and easily run low so I expect that they’re hidden with shoes that show the toes. Also, the toe seam conforms reasonably well, so the “toe fin” is rather small (but this will vary, depending on your foot shape).
The tall size for Donna Karan ranges from 5’5″-6’0″ and 155-195lbs. However, the highest weight for 6’0″ is 175lbs, and the tallest size for 195lbs is 5’8″. I find that these Perfect Opaque tights are more generous than that. At 6’0″/210lbs, these tights actually fit me very well, just as good as the latest DKNY tights I tried. They may accommodate someone a little heavier, but that will depend upon your proportions and you can expect they would be less opaque.
- Fabric – 91% nylon (polyamide) and 9% elastane (Lycra).
- Sizing – Generous. See chart above.
- Opacity (0 – sheer, 10 – total opaque) – 10 when standing, 9 when bending.
- Durability (0 – frail, 10 – like steel) – 9.5 (if steel could stretch, these would be it)
- Waistband – 3cm width, smooth and soft thin material. Tendency to roll when sitting.
- Support – Medium compression, from waist to toe.
- Features – double stitched flat seams, very opaque look, total opaque brief.
- Colors – Black only.
The quality control appears to be top notch, absolutely no defects. Also, the material is more durable and less prone to “fabric burn”. Not only that, but the heel and toe are opaque in appearance, enough to pass for socks. Because the material is so dense, I don’t find them very comfortable under medium weight trousers while indoors. But they breathe pretty well and seem to work OK, as long as the trousers are thin and breathable. I wore them for a walk over 2 miles and they held up well, no signs of pilling.
These tights are priced at $18 and I’d say they’re well worth it. In the latter part of the season they might be discounted a little, as I saw one other Donna Karan style go on sale (the Luxe Layer, from $24 to $17). I was going to wait, but as a couple of retailers have been offering free shipping, I decided to buy another pair. I really like these tights. I have to say that they are right up there with Falke in terms of overall quality. The fit is terrific with a light snug compression, and the appearance is very opaque. If Donna Karan would update these with rounded toe seams and a sturdier waistband, they’d truly be perfect. And, perhaps provide a few other colors like a dark burgundy, midnight navy, and anthracite gray. Are these my ultimate choice in opaque tights? Well, for heavy look opaque comfortable tights under $20, definitely so.
UPDATE: Although the glide effect under trousers is not very good with thick matte finish pants, I decided to give these a wearing for a full evening of being out and about. When walking in the cold air, they feel terrific, providing a nice layer of extra warmth. Indoors they feel fine, as long as you’re not doing too much activity. They do breathe somewhat, but there’s a limit. I imagine if worn with a skirt or shorts, this wouldn’t be an issue. I did find that the leg material will slip down just a little after sitting/rising a number of times, as well as the waistband folding over, but I suspect that for those people falling closer to the middle of the Tall size chart, this won’t be a problem. They are remarkably durable. I haven’t tried testing them for fabric burn (from rubbing), but they don’t pill at all from rubbing against pants material. They are so durable, that I decided to try them out as running tights. They do work, being more ideal when the temperature is in the 40-50F range.