If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know how I usually wear only opaque styles. I don’t go for the sheer styles, because my tights wearing has pretty much been limited to the cooler months. I did try one pair of Fiore 40 denier tights, having a semi-opaque appearance, and found they were reasonably good. The more sheer the tights, the greater chance for increased comfort though. The material tends to breathe more. Also, the finer denier yarn helps the material hug your skin more closely. I did end up finding some tights styles from Donna Karan and DKNY which have a wonderfully smooth feel and conform to my body contours extremely well, almost like a more sheer style would. But due to the high thickness, they become less comfortable in warm weather (or when worn under heavier trousers).
I’d heard of the Pierre Mantoux hosiery brand some time ago and recognized that their reputation is excellent, often mentioned alongside more popular brands like Philippe Matignon and Falke. The Veloutine 70 style grabbed my interest after reading a terrific review about it on the Hosiery For Men blog. The reviewer’s opinion seemed very positive, although with the pricing not far from styles made by Falke and Wolford, he tended to prefer the latter. While finding Pierre Mantoux tights on sale is a rather uncommon event, I did manage to spot a pair of the Veloutine 50 tights up on that famous auction site for a super deal (less than $10 shipped within USA). The only drawback was that they were only offered in size II (medium). I figured I would get them for a girlfriend as they’d not fit me.
Well, I bought two and decided to test fit one just to see how stretchy they are–I couldn’t believe it, but they fit me! They had to be stretched a bit thin (making the 50 denier material take on a 35 denier appearance), but low and behold the gusset was able to reach “home”. The waistband sat on my waist with a low-rise fit, but it stayed in place. I didn’t feel like I was unduly stretching the tights either, although the material near the gusset seam showed some stress. I also managed to get a size III (seller had one left). And so, without any further delay, here’s my review:
NOTE: This review is from the male perspective. I am 6’0″, 210lbs, 32″ inseam, and 37″ waist.
The packaging looks high class, with a metallic reflection to the imagery on the front and back. The photography is attractive too. When taking the tights out, the first and most immediate thought is, wow–these are really small! Could these possibly fit within the proportions indicated on the chart? Someone must have made a mistake on the sizing, right? However, a quick test demonstrated that there is a tremendous amount of stretch to the material. The color I got is “Cardinale”, which is a very soft red, like fire engine red with some orange mixed in. The photos mostly capture it.
(Pierre Mantoux Veloutine 50 compared to C4M Luxury 60 den tights)
These tights are made of 89% nylon and 11% elastane, with Lycra 3D and microfiber. The addition of Lycra 3D makes a world of difference, as these tights stretch like they’re made of 20% elastane. The material feel does have a microfiber softness, yet also a super smooth face that does not catch on rough material the way typical microfiber does. There is a subtle sheen to the tights, but otherwise is mostly matte in appearance. These are 50 denier, so there’s no mistake that the look will be semi-opaque, but it is fairly easy to achieve a uniform appearance. I tried on both the size II and size III and surprisingly enough, the opacity was just about the same (I had expected the less stretched size III would be more opaque). I must say that these tights feel the most comfortable of any others I’ve tried, in terms of softness, conformity, and breath-ability. The tactile sensation when touching them is first rate, like a hint of velvet constantly caressing you. One retailer said of the Veloutine 70 that they are “unlike any other opaque tights you may have worn before. I promise, you’ll not want to take these off at the end of the day.” The Veloutine 50 matches up with this 100%. I’m not kidding.
The brief is not very tall at all. The fit is definitely low-rise, which seems that this is the intended style. However, the 3cm waistband helps keep it in place. The waistband is much thicker than the main material, but also super soft. It will roll over, but does not create a digging-in effect. There is a very thin black tag attached with the Pierre Mantoux name and an indication of the size.
Pierre Mantoux uses flat seams throughout. They are very well constructed and appear to bear the brunt of stretching without a hitch. The surrounding material will give way before the seams do.
Whatever size you get, you’ll find that they fit like a second skin (and “Skin” is appropriately used in the product name). The style is low-rise, so they fit low on the waist. If you do go outside the dimensions of the size you bought, there will be additional stress to the gusset and you may find some separation happening of the material from the seams. I found this to be true with the size II that I wore. Now again, I was pushing these tights to fit two sizes larger than they should be! However, discounting that stress area, the rest of the tights performed normally. Very surprising. To help deal with the separation, I used some thin material from a pair of control top pantyhose and glued it over the gusset seam and separating material, using Aleene’s Stop Fraying glue. It worked like a charm. I had expected the size III (large) to have an appreciably more opaque look since there would be less stretching. However, the length of the size III is barely 1cm more than the size II. There is just a little more material provided in the width of the brief (not height). For me, that was a bit of a disappointment. But again, I can’t really complain much as I got these on quite a discount and, the size II is amazingly impressive in fit.
Despite the tights having a rich red color, I decided to wear these under trousers with socks on to hide the color. The glide effect under my trousers was excellent. Both size II and III stayed up the whole day. I had to make a minor adjustment only once, and this was done when visiting the lavatory on a normal interval. While these didn’t “disappear” in terms of feeling, the reason is because they have a pleasant soft velvety stretchiness from the waist down that you sometimes notice when moving about. Not a bad thing. 🙂
There isn’t a huge difference in appearance between the size II and III on me. Again, I’m over stretching them, as my height and weight requires size IV for a proper fit.
- Fabric – 39% nylon (polyamide) and 11% elastane (Lycra 3D and microfiber).
- Sizing – More than generous, although over stretching loses opacity.
- Opacity (0 – sheer, 10 – total opaque) – size III: legs (standing 5, bending 3.5).
- Durability (0 – frail, 10 – like steel) – 6 (some snag resistance)
- Waistband – 3cm height, smooth and soft structured material.
- Support – None in this style.
- Features – double stitched flat seams throughout.
- Colors – The colors I’m aware of are black, navy, chocolate, light gray, white, cardinal red, fuchsia, lavender, purple. There could be more.
The average retail price seems to be about $23 USD. That is a lot for your average semi-opaque style of tights, but for the quality and feel delivered these tights are clearly above average. One of the best I’ve ever tried. So, if you find them on sale, I suggest indulging the opportunity.
For a lighter denier style, I was very pleased with the comfort of these tights. The fabric is very soft and breathable and holds its shape quite well throughout the day. While I’d normally not wear tights in warmer weather, I definitely found a “glide” advantage to these that made regular trousers feel more comfortable. Pierre Mantoux has made a terrific product with the Veloutine line. I’m now curious to see what the 70 and 100 denier versions are like. 🙂