There are thousands of fashion bloggers out there on the blogosphere, some of who like to incorporate tights into their wardrobe. While browsing “Chictopia” to see what clothing styles women have been fashioning, I came upon Virginie. In the colder months of the year, of which there are many up in Canada, tights come in handy for style and warmth and Virginie makes tremendous use of them. She seems to prefer colorful opaques more than anything else, and I like the style combinations she has used with them. On her blog, called Virginie’s Cinema, she shares outfits, tips on being a small business owner and ideas on how to make our life prettier and tastier. Definitely check her out.
Here’s a collage of some of her styles, to give you an idea of what she’s visually about:
Virginie is an independent movie producer who has produced 13 shorts films and a 24 episodes web series. Her work has been shown in festivals around the world, notably the Cannes Film Festival. She is currently producing a feature film with her husband Ramiro that will be shot in January of 2012.
Cecilia de Rafael is a Spanish hosiery company. They are well known for their high quality patterned hosiery, and I’ve been impressed with their unique styles. They also make what appear to be good solid opaques. I decided to give their Jumbo 200 Denier opaque tights a try. Although CDR is from Spain, some of their hosiery is made in Italy, the Jumbo included.
“Deeply opaque and satin sheen” is the theme for this Picture of the Day.
Cecilia de Rafael – Uppsala 950 style
Talk about ultimately opaque! You won’t be seeing through these at all, even at the bending knee. They’re a very densely woven fabric of 80% nylon and 20% Lycra, with a satin sheen. I haven’t found out what the denier is, but the weight is 150g, so you know there’s a lot of material in these. Because they are so dense, manufacturing had to resort to a back seam up the legs. The seams are woven flat, so they should be comfortable. Cecilia de Rafael isn’t the only brand with tights like these. Platino came out with their own version that looks very similar, named “Luxe Fata“, except that they mention it is made of a Charmeuse yarn. It’s stated as 70 denier, so it must be a very tight weave because of the very opaque appearance. All I can say is, what a great way to brave the winter. 😉
Wolford often has a flare for dramatic poses in their product catalog photography, emphasizing an impression of sleek and elegantly bold. Their hosiery is legendary, both in quality and design. Alas, those taller than 5’10″/178cm are outside the largest sizes offered.
If you read some earlier parts of my blog, you know about my appreciation for Donna Karan. She was truly an innovator in the area of opaque hosiery back in the late 1980’s into the 1990’s. She was putting modern materials like micro fiber and Tactel nylon to good use before many others did. One of the styles that I think was a major success was the “Jersey” line, consisting of Satin and Matte Jersey opaque tights. The fit, finish, and material quality was simply first rate, for a good bit less than the prices for similar hosiery offered by the well established top tier hosiery makers like Wolford and Falke.
Fortunately, I just happened to find the packaging for these, tucked away in a box. As you can see from the size chart, 183cm/6’0″ was capped at 79kg/175lbs. But I found the sizing more generous, capable of filling up to 35lbs more. The printing date on the back of the package shows 1988, and these were purchased in 1990-1992. I don’t know exactly when they were discontinued, but searching on the Internet for them turns up absolutely nothing–no text or images (well, until now!).
How do they compare to the hosiery made by Donna Karan today? I don’t know. But from what I’ve seen, the material blend of fibers is different and photos of models wearing her opaque tights show less opacity than I remember. Anyway, I’ll have to give a pair of modern Donna Karan/DKNY opaque tights a try, to see how they compare. Meanwhile, if anyone connected with Donna Karan just happens to be reading this, tell her to bring back the Satin Jersey! 😉
If you search on the internet for tights with the keyword “color”, you’re bound to run into We Love Colors. This is a American family run hosiery retailer based in Florida that has been in business on-line since 2003. Their primary fashion statement is simply colors–a huge range of them, for socks, leggings, tights, and active wear, and for women, men, and children. They are frequently featured in fashion and clothing style magazines, as well as a big hit with the younger female fashion crowd.
On their website, they have a link for “Men”, and curiously enough the topmost entry is “tights“. Socks are at the bottom of the list! I think that’s a first. So, I took a look around their website and found that they offer a few tights styles for men, with the benefit of their enormous color range. For footed tights, you essentially have two choices: basic solid color nylon and “performance”.
The basic nylon is essentially just the women’s plus size nylon tights. The size chart is exactly the same. This means that for the taller athletic male, you’re left with basically one choice: 3X. That’s because 2X may support up to 220lbs, but is capped at 5’9″. In going to 3X, you gain a height maximum of 6′, but then the max weight is 260lbs. So, they won’t provide a very snug fit for someone with a more slender build.
Their other offering is “performance” dance tights, made of thicker heavier nylon/lycra. Lycra is important for good fit, much better than just plain 100% nylon. The size chart on “performance” is much more in line with what the taller athletic male would look for. The large size supports weight from 180-210lbs, and height is 5’11” to 6’4″. Now you’re talking! The male models shown on their web page look very much like my physical profile. If you look closely, you will notice a seam pattern on these tights. There is an angular seam construction at the feet, and a leg seam runs from the feet up the inside of the legs to the crotch. You can get a clear view of this in their example photo. The seam construction is remarkably similar to dance tights by M.Stevens (a very popular dance wear maker), as one of the foot seams runs a few inches up the outside of the calf (a signature of their design). Price wise, you are paying about as much as you would for men’s ballet tights in size XL, but with a tremendous advantage of a large color range. UPDATE: They are indeed by MStevens!
To get nylon/lycra tights with seam free legs, you’ll find these on the pages for women’s tights. But for the taller male, you’ll find the largest regular size falls a little short. Only two sizes are offered, and M/L has a size range of 5’5″-5’11” and weight of 135-168lbs. Moving to the plus size, you’re again faced with more weight accommodated for the height. However, a representative from their company told me the fabric is very stretchy, so they may be just fine. I’ll have to try them at some point.
From reviews I’ve read, many women are giving a big thumbs up to We Love Colors for the fit, quality, and color range of their tights. What I would like to see the company do is to extend the nylon/lycra blended tights range a little, adding the large size from their performance tights line for us taller men. So what the heck, I’ll point them to my little write-up here and see if I can get them to muster up some consideration. 🙂
UPDATE: I got a pair of their performance dance tights and posted a review, here.
Natalie Imbruglia is a female vocalist, who has had a couple of hits across the years. She’s not as well known as someone like Sheryl Crow, and certainly nowhere near Lady Gaga (who I like to call Lady Gag-a; she has singing talent but I don’t buy into the whole make-millions-on-my-image thing). Anyway, Natalie made a music video for her song “Want” back in 2009. In it, she’s featured strutting about a wide open highly spacious apartment wearing just a snug turtleneck long sleeve shirt, high heels, and very opaque tights.
At one point, she has taken off her shirt and heels, and is lying on her low to the floor bed with her legs swinging back and forth, almost telegraphing that she really enjoys wearing those opaques. 😉 At another point, while she’s continuing video taping herself (presumably for the lover who left her) she pulls up her shirt to expose the waistband of her opaque tights saying “take a good look at what you gave up”. If you look for images of her on-line, you’ll find quite a large number of them with her sporting opaque black tights, so this may be the look she requested to do in the video.
Commenting on her video, Natalie said: “It’s a sexy song and I was feeling confident, strong and sexy and wanted to express that.” She added: “Besides, I was wearing tights!” Here’s a photo montage from the video (click to enlarge):
Bonus points if you can identify the tights she is wearing! 😀
Gatta’s hosiery line is mostly patterned, but they do have some nice opaques of various deniers (40, 60, 100, 300). I selected Gatta’s Rosalia 100, size 5 (XL). NOTE: This review is from the male wearer’s perspective, and comments on fit should be considered accordingly (meaning, fit for a woman will likely be better!).
Packaging: Traditional card stock envelope with large photo on front and basic details on back. The tights are tucked inside a clear cellophane sleeve, wrapped around a smooth card stock support.
First Impressions: What’s that scent? It’s kind of like a flowery perfumed soap. I’ve never experienced scented hosiery before. The cellophane sleeve isn’t sealed or taped shut, so it’s easy to get them out. Letting them fall to full extension from my waist, the ends came down to the top of my feet–a good sign on length.