A few years ago, I happened upon a hosiery brand quite by chance. It’s called Medi, and they’re mostly known for manufacturing medical aids for wear after medical procedures, orthopedic support garments, and compression garments that promote healing. Medi created a subdivision product line called “ITEM m6” that addresses beauty & wellness, hosiery and under garments for the general retail market (mostly targeted to women’s needs, but also some products for men).
Why “ITEM m6”? The company is not forthcoming with the reason. Their website as well as parent company Medi’s website does not disclose it. I’m thinking there are different orthopedic/compression garment type classifications and “m6” was chosen for this particular class of retail compression wear. But it’s only a guess–the mystery still remains.
After careful review of the ITEM m6 product line, I found that the Opaque and Beauty styles would work best given my proportions (6′ (183cm), 219lbs (99 kg)). Reviews of these upcoming styles to follow next. Stay tuned!
If money was no object, I’d be buying Falke most of the time. But alas, their price point is a bit too rich for me. Across the last few months of my expedition through the world of hosiery, looking for brands and styles that would fit me, I find myself coming back to DKNY/Donna Karan. Apparently this brand seems to be the best overall in matching up to my proportions on an affordable level. There is also an interesting history of many different styles that have since been discontinued, which is generally the tenuous nature of fashion. Occasionally, some interesting styles come around at very attractive prices, as closeout items. And if you get lucky with few bidders to compete with, a great price may be had indeed.
I recently managed to find a pair of DKNY satin rib silver tights. Although the denier is not stated, I would venture to say that they’re about 60 to 70 denier in appearance. The stripe pattern is rather masculine, so I figured I could wear these in place of dress socks.
The material feels like good quality, with a raised stripe texture and slight sheen. It is called “rib”, but usually that’s for closely spaced lines and they are well spaced apart here, like stripes. I wasn’t expecting that they would stretch much, but the Lycra content proved to be reasonable and allowed for a good fit. The toe seams are rounded, which allows the material to conform nicely to the foot, but the toe area does not appear to be reinforced.
SAMBURU is a subsidiary brand of Cecilia de Rafael, a lower priced economy line targeted for the younger generation. The general impression has been that you get CdR quality without the higher CdR brand price in lesser packaging. The Samburu hosiery line is quite small compared to the CdR brand, but there is a growing range of styles being offered.
I decided to sample a mid-range opaque style offered in the Samburu line; the Crys 80 3D. These tights come on a thick card stock hang tag with the material exposed, so you can see exactly what you’re getting. My order was rapidly fulfilled and quickly shipped from Hosieree.
Shown here in granate, extreme magnification
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.
These photos are from an Alberta Ferretti photo shoot in 2007. Alberta is an Italian fashion designer who produced her first collection in 1973. Ferretti is known for her designs featuring twisting, tucking, and draping techniques. To learn more about her, visit the Wikipedia entry.
“Double your pleasure, double your fun.”
“Well, shouldn’t we get going?” “I don’t know. Let’s just sit a while.” “OK.” Continue reading
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.
NOTE: I changed the title… it turns out that the “Signature Lux 90” is not some exclusive style made for Neiman Marcus. It is the “Perfect Opaque” style, simply labeled differently.
I was a bit confused by a number of naming variations that Donna Karan had come up with for a line of opaque tights. You would find “Perfect Opaque”, “Signature Luxury”, “Signature Lux 90”, “Luxe Layer”, “Luxury Layer”, “Sueded Jersey” and so on. They’re all opaque tights… so what’s the difference? Well, in some cases the same style is just being resold under a different name. But, in other cases, there are some physical differences (ranging from slight to more substantial). And some hosiery makers will create a style that is distributed to only a few select stores.
I recently came to learn about the “DK Luxe Layer” tights, which are a very solid looking opaque style (could pass for 120 to 200 denier) with an inner micro fleece layer, sold through Bloomingdale’s. They have a terrific looking front panel that can serve both women and men very well. These are different from the “Luxe Layer” style also offered by Donna Karan, as the Donna Karan website shows a different panty/brief design (seam is up the front).
Earlier in my blog, I wrote a short piece about the hosiery retailer We Love Colors. They have a section for men that includes tights, gloves, socks, and shoe laces (tights are listed first). You can buy full nylon tights (regular or plus sizes) or performance tights for men, with or without feet. This review is about their men’s performance footed tights.
The website title is “Men’s Performance Tights“, and the description says “Our high performance dance tights for men are built to last performance after performance, without running or snagging. These thick and comfy performance spandex tights for men are available in all of our 55 distinct colors. With no fly opening. 77% nylon 23% Lycra.” These are available in four styles: footed or footless, and solid or splash colors.
Image from We Love Colors (click on it for larger view)
Up until now, the only opaque fashion tights that I’ve found to fit me really well have been Donna Karan/DKNY and Gatta. I have sampled several brands of tights from makers in the USA and Europe, and admittedly it is a small fraction at this point. While some were pretty good, they didn’t offer me a satisfying XL fit. That is, until now.
I can confidently say at this point that I finally found some tights in a Tall/XL size that are uniformly superb in quality, fit, comfort, and appearance. Quite frankly, they are the best darned tights that have ever shrouded my body. And so, I give you the Falke Pure Matt 100 tights review: Continue reading
A few winter seasons back, Kate Moss did a photo shoot for Missoni wearing black opaques.
(click on photos for a larger view)