Now that temperatures are cooling, it’s time to add tights back into your wardrobe. I’ve always loved how tights, stockings, and pantyhose help transition skirts and dresses from summer to autumn months. They also address a host of aging issues — covering spider veins, providing compression for varicose veins, smoothing out the tummy area. For those who are still braving heels, they make those more comfortable, too. One thing I don’t love, though, is how easily tights and pantyhose tear, sometimes after just one wear. Given their cost — a good pair of hose can cost as much as $40 bucks! — I want them to last a long time.
So, is there a solution? Read on to find out about the latest innovations in hosiery, plus what you can do to preserve the stockings you already have.
What makes “fancy” tights worth the price?
It’s tempting to buy a cheap pair of pantyhose or tights at the drugstore — I’ve done it several times myself. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. None of the more expensive hosiery I own has ripped, while many of my cheap ones have. Paying over $30 for a simple pair of tights or pantyhose may seem crazy — until you realize that the longer you own and wear them, the lower your cost-per-wear becomes. Think of it this way: you can spend $5 for a pair of tights that get a run on their first wear, or you can spend $40 on a pair that you wear all year without getting a single rip. The longer they last, the cheaper your cost-per-wear becomes. Ultimately, the hose that cost the most up-front, cost the least in the long run. Also, fancier tights also just feel better because they’re softer and sag less around the knees.
Are Sheertex tights really indestructible?
If you have an Instagram account, you may have seen ads for Sheertex, a hosiery brand that makes “Impossibly resilient tights.” Sheertex claims that its tights are made from a proprietary material containing fibers “traditionally used in mountain climbing equipment.” While you’re unlikely to climb a literal mountain in your pantyhose, there are certainly times when I’ve come to the end of the day and felt like I’d climbed a mountain. Whatever your day looks like — work, groceries, kids, housekeeping, cooking, in-and-out of the car — there’s always a snag waiting in the wings, which is why the mountain climbing fabric is more important than you might think.
The cheapest pair of Sheertex tights are $35 — more than a drugstore pair costs, to be sure. The brand’s advertising shows videos of the tights being aggressively stretched and prodded without ripping, which is why it’s been getting a lot of attention from fashion websites. A Refinery29.com reviewer wrote, “These tights are simply built differently than anything I have been used to up until now,” while a Glamour.com writer said she was “seriously impressed,” noting that her tights withstood being poked by her nails in a way that “felt like defying the laws of nature.”
I recently bought a pair of Sheertex tights on sale, and while I’m happy with them so far — they’re comfortable and don’t feel flimsy like many other tights I own — I can’t help but wonder if Sheertex’s claims of indestructibility are too good to be true. Hanes, which cost just a fraction of the price, are made of traditional nylon and spandex. Sheertex add polyethylene, to their nylon-spandex blend, which makes me think that polyethylene is the magic ingredient here. My Sheertex tights have already lasted longer than others I’ve had, but I need to give them some more wear — and see if they stand up to my cat’s claws — before I fully convert. Still, they’re definitely worth trying, especially when they’re on sale.
How can you make tights you already own last longer?
- Put them on gently. How you put on your tights makes a difference: Don’t pull them up too aggressively, and make sure your nails aren’t too sharp or they could snag the fabric. It helps to gently roll the tights up with your fingertips, rather than yanking on them.
- Hand-wash only. A rinse with detergent in the sink will keep your delicates in better shape than a whirlwind ride in the washing machine. Find hand-washing takes too much time? A delicates bag is a great option for keeping tights (as well as other items like bras and underwear) safe in the wash. And always make sure you air dry your tights rather than putting them in the dryer.
- Stop runs with nail polish. When you see a run starting to form, put a dab of clear nail polish on it to prevent it from stretching as you move. It’s an old-school tip, but if you catch and polish a small tear early, it can keep it from getting worse.
- Freeze them. I haven’t tried this method myself, but some women swear by putting tights in the freezer. Yep, you read that right. The chill allegedly helps firm up the fibers.
No matter which tights you plan to wear this season, these tips will help them remain smooth and stylish for many years and many wears to come.
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