The Hosiery Dictionary

Circular Knit
A process in which modern seamless hosiery is manufactured which results in a tapered leg shape. This is then sewn closed at the toe to form a stocking or tights leg

Control Top Tights
These types of tights are produced with the body section composed of a heavier lycra content and weight to provide a light control panel in the tights which gives greater tummy control and the appearance of a flatter stomach area.

Cuban Heel
The classic rectangular Cuban heel is designed to provide reinforcement to the  heel of stockings, usually with a reinforced foot and backseam. Most Cuban heel stockings are also Full Fashioned in manufacture.

Denier refers to the thickness of the yarn used to manufacture tights or stockings. The higher the denier, the thicker the fabric stockings or tights.

Deniers lower than 20 are referred to as sheer. Sheer tights or stockings are made from very fine yarns, offering very light leg coverage and are available in a variety of finishes including matt (none shiny), gloss (shiny) and natural (somewhere in between).
It is important to remember that the lower the denier the more delicate the tights or stockings are. E
ach strand of nylon yarn is very thin, so are susceptible to tearing if they are put under too much stress so you should take extra care when handling your sheer tights or stockings.

European Heel
The European heel is similar to the classic Cuban heel but with a more pointed design. It is sometimes known as the French heel, or pointed heel.

Fashion Tights
Fashion tights usually manufactured in a heavier denier material and unusual design or knit pattern on trend for the season. Generally fashion hosiery is available in a vast array of designs, texture, and colors. 

Finishing Hole
This is the small opening in the back of fully fashioned stockings where the stocking is folded over and sewn together during manufacture. The finishing hole allows the stocking welt or top to stretch for a more comfortable fit on the thigh and is the unmistakable mark of the true fully fashioned stocking.

Fishnet tights or stockings

Fishnet tights or stockings have smaller net design which is taken from the construction of a fisherman’s net and is usually made of nylon or nylon-lycra blends. Fishnets are available in seamless and seamed styles, with various designs of lace or silicone tops on the stockings and hold-ups. Available also as tights or pantyhose which are very popular with dancers and for costumes due to their durability.

French Heel
French hell is the original name for the pointed heel on seamed stockings, as opposed to the rectangular style of the Cuban Heel stockings. French heel stockings are also referred to as the European Heel or Pointed Heel.

Fully Fashioned Stockings
Fully fashioned stockings are the vintage style stockings of the 40’s and 50’s, which are made on the original flat knit machines, so that the stocking can be knitted flat and sewn together in the back. These stockings are usually knitted from a 15 denier 100% nylon yarn, but some of the original vintage styles were manufactured from heavier 20 or 30 denier yarn which was called “service weight” for everyday use. Authentic Fully-Fashioned stockings always have a top welt or stocking top, made by doubling over the top fabric and sewing it back unto itself. A finishing hole is always left in the seam in the middle of the top welt allowing the stocking to fit better on the thigh. The design can be either of the “Cuban heel” or “Pointed French or European” style. If they are not flat knitted and sewn together with a finishing hole on the back, they are not authentic Full-Fashioned stockings but modern reproductions called Full Fashion or Full Fashioned style.

Hold Ups Stockings are designed to stay up without the need for a suspender belt. Hold-ups can have a decorative stretch lace top, or a simple plain top but both have a silicone band inside of the stocking top to grip the leg and keep the stocking up.

Hosiery is the generic term used for tights, stockings and hold ups. 

Lacetop Stockings
Lacetop stockings refers to a style of stocking with a soft lace band at the top rather than a plain stocking top. Lace tops stockings still need to be used with a suspender belt but have the sumptuous look of lace in various depths and designs.

Ladder Resistant Toe
A soft seam construction that keeps the toe seam in place.

Nylons is the traditional term used to describe the high gossamer stockings in the 50’s and 60’s, when stockings were all made of 100% non-stretch ultra-sheer nylon. It is also the name of the best selling stockings range by Pretty Polly.

Opaque Tights
Opaque tights are thicker than normal tights and start with a denier rating of 30 denier and above. Opaque tights offer thicker leg coverage, So you don’t see the skin of your legs through the fabric of the tights. 
Due to the thickness of the yarns in opaque tights, higher deniers tend to be much more durable than sheer tights so should last longer than sheers if good care is taken when handling them.

Opaque tights are most commonly available in plain designs, but in a huge array of colours and deniers. Black is the most common colour due to its versatility and is available in 30 denier, 40 denier, 60 denier,100 denier and even 200 denier.

Pointed Heel
Pointed heel reinforcement on the back of seamed stockings is also known as a “French or European” heel.

Pyramid Heel
Pyramid heel stockings are similar to pointed heel stockings, but reach a point in a series of steps like a pyramid.

Key areas of the stocking or tights are strengthened by double knitting to provide additional durability. This results in a darkening of the area and can be considered a design feature. An example for this is RHT stockings where the stocking top, heal and toe are reinforced which is where the term RHT comes from.

Reinforced Heel and Toe stockings (as they are properly called) became popular in the 1960's, right after the advent of the circular knit machines. This allowed the manufacture of seamless stockings for the first time. These stockings have a darker reinforcement on the toe and the reciprocal heel to prevent runs. They have become a nostalgic retro item throughout the years, much like the Fully-Fashioned stockings of the 40’s and 50’s.

Sandal Foot
Also known as sandal-toe, this style is called sandal foot because it can be worn with open toe or open sandal style shoes while giving the appearance of a nude foot. They are always seamless and usually made of a light denier yarn.

Stay-up stockings are designed to stay up without the need for suspenders.  Stay-ups can have a decorative stretch lace top, or a simple plain top but both have a silicone band inside of the stocking top to grip the leg and keep the stocking up.

Stockings are put on individually and attached to a suspender belt at the top for support. These can come in plain top, satin top, or lace top, with a variety of stocking top depths and should not be confused with hold-ups stockings that do not need a suspender belt to be worn.

A suspender strap hangs from a suspender  belt or basque to support stockings.

Suspender Belt
A suspender belt is worn around the waist and can have four or more straps clips to keep stockings up and in place. Better quality suspender belts have metal clasps on the ends of the suspenders as these provide better hold on the stocking top. Better stockings support can also be achieved by having a suspender belt with more than for straps, although 4 strap suspenders are the more general style.Suspender belt are available in a variety of colors and generally are part of a lingerie collection . Lingerie fashion etiquette dictates that the color and design of the suspender belt match the stockings and panties.

Suspender Tights
Suspender tights are a type of hosiery design where the waist band, suspender straps and stocking legs are manufactured in one piece, simulating the use of a suspender belt and stockings.

Suspender Brief
A suspender brief is usually made of stretch fabric but has suspender straps or suspender clips to hold up stockings without need for a suspender belt. The suspender straps can also be detachable to allow the brief to be worn without stockings.

Tights are manufactured in a variety of denier’s in opaque or semi-opaque yarns. They are dyed in a variety of colours and tones, sheen's and patterns and are the most popular choice for hosiery.