Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Great Tights Test and an associated giveaway!

 Things 'round here have been getting kind seamy....

Say what you like about how sexy a girdle and stockings makes you feel, sometimes we all need a bit of a break.  Some mornings I just can't bear the idea of spending my 8 hour working day gussied up in a girdle with my suspender straps digging into my legs and I'd also rather save my vintage nylons for more worthy occasions.  Luckily. we live in a time where we have some options...

There are a few manufacturers making seamed tights, a great alternative for winter warming (I know, hardly seasonal) or for those days where you want to wear a frock but can't face being constricted. But which to choose?  Which give the most accurate vintage look without laddering at the first hurdle.  I won't be hurdling though - can you imagine if I tested these by running the hurdles.  Lummy!

Well, luckily for you I decided I’d go out there and test run some of the more widely available seamed tights; and thanks to the kind people at Pamela Mann, Stockings HQ and What Katie Did I had quite the selection to get through!

I rated these on colour, seam quality, durability on wearing and washing and then rolled this into an overall score.

For colour I was looking for something slightly darker than a pale skin tone.  I have personally never found a pair of actual vintage nylons that are as pale as my skin, often they fall between a rose pink to a tan shade.

I also wanted something that looked like it had real seams, rather than just a knit in line and ideally I wanted nude on nude seams rather than contrast.  Personally, while I’m happy to wear contrast in the evening, I don’t really feel these are correct for a daytime look.  Someone please tell me if I’m wrong here – I am happy to stand corrected (with my seams on straight too!)

For durability I considered how long they lasted without ladders and holes and also how they survived washing – both by hand and in the machine (come on, while it isn’t recommended I bet we have all done it from time to time).  

So, with no further ado, and in reverse order of preference:

6) Silky Seamer:

Colour: the nude/nude is very pale, not really a vintage shade at all.  also nude/black, black and black/red.
Seam: Just knit into the fabric so not very realistic looking
Durability on wearing: ripped on first putting them on (darn my vintage-style pointy nails) so I wasn't too impressed.
Durability on washing: fine handwashed but when machine washed they emerged as a little tangled ball
Price: very cheap at only £4.49
Stockist: Stockings HQ
Verdict: Poor quality, just what I expected from the price.  Might be good if you only wear these to events where your nylons would likely get trashed anyway – clubs, dance classes etc or if you just need some seams to complete a fancy dress look.  Certainly no good for a real period look and still fairly pricey for what you actually get.

5) Pamela Mann

Colour: Very pale again - 10 denier too - I tested the nude seam but several other colorways are available.        
Seam: knit in and no very realistic looking but better than the Silky Seamer.
Durability on wearing: better than the Silky seamers but did snag easily.
Durability on washing: survived handwashing perfectly.  A few areas of snagging after a machine wash
Price: £5.99 so not too bad.
Stockist: Amazon
Verdict: A pretty good basic, not really realistic looking but will last a few wears without falling apart.

4) Jonathon Aston vintage legs

Colour: Again, far too pale for my tastes, I again tried the nude/nude.  The basic style are 15 denier.
Seam: Again a knit in look but slightly better than the Pamela Mann.
Durability on wearing: No ladders or snags on the day I wore them aside from at the toe.  I was wearing peep toe shoes and the toe wore right through.
Durability on washing:  fine by hand only a roughening of texture in the machine.
Price: £5.25
Stockist: Stockings HQ
Verdict: Not bad at all, definitely a good day to day option, just a shame they rubbed at the peep toe.

3) Cervin Seduction Couture

Colour: a light main colour with a darker brown seam - gazelle/chocolate
Seam: this resembled a real seam but was still a contrast nude/chocolate look really
Durability on wearing: excellent, no holes or snags on the all day and evening wear I put them through
Durability on washing: came out perfect by hand but did roughen, (not ladder) with a machine wash
Price: The most costly at £14.25
Stockist: Stockings HQ
Verdict: These felt expensive and luxurious - with Lycra for added cling, I could almost smell the cash as I put them on.  The texture was a little more like vintage stockings too.  Sadly the colour wasn’t quite right and for the money I’d have liked something a bit more accurate.  Still, as a product they are lovely and the look is not bad at all.

2) Pretty Polly nylons

Colour: dark brown but looks lighter on with a sherry seam.  10 denier.
Seam:Still too dark for the colour of the tights really but a good realistic look
Durability on wearing: Excellent – I really liked these on but again worse through at the toe.
Durability on washing: excellent – came out unscathed from both hand and machine wash!
Price: Good for the price at £5.25
Stockist: Stockings HQ

1) What Katie Did - retro seamed tights

Colour: A good, very slight tan coloured nude/nude was tested.  Also available in black/black and nude/black
Seam: Not actually stitched in but the most realistic looking tested
Durability on wearing: Great, lasted well. enough Lycra for a good stretch too.
Durability on washing: Again, lasted well, but did snag a little from a machine wash
Price: £8.50 for nude/nude and £10 for nude/black
Stockist: What Katie Did
Verdict: Unsurprisingly the favourite comes from the vintage specialist, the best colour, texture and fit.  Just a shame they are £8.50 a pair.

 So, overall I'm a fan of the What Katie Did version with the Pretty Polly Nylons coming a very close second, only hampered by the too dark seam.

Can you recommend some nude/nude seamed tights for me to try?

And now for the giveaway!  This is what you really wanted, after all.

  • Pamela Mann nude/nude seamed stockings - one size
  • What Katie Did nude/black seamed tights - M/L
  • Seamer tights nude/nude - medium
  • Grosvenor stockings - unseamed - medium
That is around £20 worth of hosiery for you!

To enter please comment on this post with your view on whether seamed tights are OK or just cheating?  ;-)

An extra entry to the draw for each of the below - please add an extra comment for each method used:

A tweet about the giveaway including a link to my blog (follow me @LisaSmuts)
A facebook post about it, with link included
A blog post about it, with link included

I'll be drawing the winner on 18 June so watch the blog for the announcement and to claim your prize!


  1. I don't think they're cheating; the only reason our grandmothers didn't have them was panty hose hadn't been perfected yet!

    I usually wear Pretty Polly as I find them reliable and pretty hardwearing. I also wear their stockings and hold ups.

    I bought some 'Leg Life Seamer tights' off ebay a little while back. Not impressed but they were a total bargain- ideal for clubbing or dancing but nothing more (toe went and ladder in 1 night). :/

    I love WKD but can't afford them for everydaywear- I think I'll stick to good ole' PP!

  2. Don't think it's cheating, it's like you say, you want to save your nylons on other occasions than work.

    and i did re-tweet your tweet, just don't know how to link it (i'm nerdbetty)

  3. Not being a fan of girdles or suspender belts (they make me feel like a piece of pork, strapped with twine and ready for the oven!) I have found this REALLY helpful!! Thanks!! :)

  4. it's not cheating! we all need a break once in a while! great review, i need to try pretty polly

  5. Thanks so much for this Lisa, really useful. I absolutely don't think they are cheating - considering our grandmothers were painting gravy browning on their bare legs I think seamed tights are absolutely fine (and they would have snapped them up if they'd been available in those days).

  6. I say its not cheating. I have liked Pretty Polly the best so far too on ones l have tried. Don't bother with Untold - they are £9 and ripped at the crotch seam when l got in a car on the first day :D now bit not at the time. Will let you know if l come across any others.

  7. As a lady who is very familiar with perpetual "chub rub," I say bring on the tights!

    The only thing really stopping me from investing in stockings and a belt for them is because I never want to experience the horrible pain associated with inner thigh chafing.

    Thanks so much for doing this post! I've been looking to take the plunge into seamed tights but I didn't know where to start. Now I do!

  8. Totally not cheating! It only feels like cheating because they didn't wear em back then...but I'm pretty sure the lovely ladies would have snapped them up if they had existed! I can't wear seamed tights for work as I have to lug heavy fixtures around all day and am forever snagging my tights!
    Thanks for this post, very useful for my ongoing search for the perfect seamed tights!

  9. I have Tweeted your link too! Xx

  10. I lovegirdles and suspenders, but seamed thight can be very practical. Especially in winter!

    Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I don't think it's cheating at all. Like Perdita said, they weren't around yet. I think women in the 40s would have been all over them in they had the option.

    Thanks for the excellent review and the giveaway! I've been wanting to try some seamed tights so now I know which ones to try.

  13. hmmm Im not to sure...I dont really thuink its cheating... I like it both ways to be honest. Like you said if you want comfort one day wear these if not..then go with the girdle. I have a couple of pairs... I really like them !
    I have the "Sexy Glamour Back" seamed stockings at a local vintage store. I really like them!!

  14. Naw... not cheating at all. I agree with you 100 percent; sometimes a pair of tights works best and is most comfortable and I LOVE the seamed options! Best of both worlds, if you ask me :)

  15. Not cheating at all. And considering I'm broke and want to look good, sometimes you just have to approximate. Are you against shipping to the U.S., in case I win? :D

  16. Its definitely not cheating (my Nan would have loved all-in-ones), and thanks for posting this! I've been trying to find some decent seamed pantihose over here in Australia and will try ordering the PP online. (reblogged at http://subversivelesbiananarchicknitter.blogspot.com/2011/06/seamed-tights-for-win.html)

  17. It's not cheating! If you have a pair of tights that fit really well they can be a godsend in a rush, but I hate the way they sometimes twist around and I have to do the 'pulling the crotch up dance' when they fall down!

  18. Great review post! I live in Melbourne, so I won't enter the giveaway as if I won, shipping to Australia is a bit much :) Still, I really enjoyed this post.

    I've only worn seamed tights once, for an event, for about 2 hours – and after the first hour the seams had twisted and the tights had ripped by the end. I think this might have been how I put them on, though – I was in a hurry! ;) I've got a pair of black/black tights that I am yet to try, though…

    Hehe no, I don't think wearing tights is cheating! I think being uncomfortable for no good reason is just silly.

  19. Definately not cheating! Thankyou so much for these reviews, they are a godsend. In asutralia there's barely a seamed tight to go around, so I have to order online and have no idea what I'll get, so I really apprecaite these insightful reviews! Now I can make an informed choice! Yay! xoxox

  20. I don't think it's cheating. Although I do find the "control top" on most pantyhose more uncomfortable than my garter belt...

  21. Hey all - I'm happy to post anywhere, honestly! This comment is for Zizzab**h on Twitter who can't comment for some reason. :-)

  22. Thanks so much for the reviews, they are really helpful. I can't get seamed tights anywhere here in Croatia, so I have to order them online. I bought one pair once at Victoria's secret (the only place that had them) and they looked pretty good. Unfortunately they were torn after two wearings :(

  23. I don't think it is really cheating - I too have the days when I can't be bothered with the straps and stockings.

    I suppose one thing stockings have over tights is if you ladder a stocking you still have one left... which would then be a spare.

  24. They didn't have lipcote/false eyelashes/curling tongs then either - and I don't have a problem using any of them. If I want to feel totally authentic then yes, I'll wear stockings, but for day-to-day wear I much prefer tights. Thanks for the reviews.

  25. I think seamed tights are a good thing, they are more accesible to people like me who dont want to go for the entire look but they are still unusual enough to really add something special to an outfit.
    Great reviews and giveaway!

  26. Definitely not cheating! As has been said, there are so many things that weren't around in the 40s that I use on a daily basis (heated rollers, tongs, mineral foundation...) that I really can't see the harm in wearing tights occasionally.

  27. Seamed tights are definitely not cheating! I hate chafing too and i'm far too poor to afford to be destroying nylons left right and centre!

  28. 2 more entries for Annie who tweeted and facebooked. however will I keep track if blogger stops people commenting? Stupid blogger.

  29. I don't think they are cheating, sometimes like you say wearing a suspender belt or girdle is hassle. Also as vintage seamed stockings are quite pricey its nice to save them for special occasions and have a cheaper alternative for everyday wear. Thanks for the comprehensive review by the way!

  30. No cheating for me too: I guess is our grandmothers had the possibility to buy them, they maybe the choice of everyone of them ;-) !!

    By the way is the giveaway open worldwide?


  31. Thank you for taking the time to review these!!!!
    I've been thinking lately that a pair or two of seamed tights would be really liberating next semester at uni. On those chilly, early mornings I'd really rather not fuss around with garter belts and buckles!
    If the giveaway is open to Americans, do count me in please :)

  32. I don't think they are cheating at all. I bet that if they were around back in the day women would have been all over them.

  33. Not cheating at all! there is a difference between cheating and being practical

  34. I echo the other ladies here, but I too don't think it's cheating...Cheating on what? Self imposed "vintage authenticity" rules? I think that you should be able to wear whatever you want whether it's authentic or not. Personally I like to wear garter belts and fully fashioned stockings, but they are not right for every occasion or everyday since they take a while to put on and aren't good for when I'm in a hurry. And especially since I live in Louisiana,USA,possibly the hottest most humid place on earth:)
    So thanks for the great reviews of seamed tights and the giveaway!

  35. Just posted on facebook!

  36. I only ever wear tights I can't be doing with suspenders. I have a few Silky pairs and they have lasted really well mine are the black/black and black/red though so maybe they are more durable. I have found it hard tracking down nude/nude as I am very pale and some of the just make me look orangy! Primark actually made the best ones I have tried but they only had them in the one time.
    The giveaway is a great idea x

  37. Oh no, not cheating at all! I totally agree with all the ladies saying our grandmothers would've used them if they had had them back then!

    Thank you so much for the post and the givaway! Very interesting to read and gives me an idea what to try to get my hands on (or legs in... ;) )

  38. I tweeted too! :) @MissMeetah

  39. And I blogged as well. :) http://miss-meetah.blogspot.com/

  40. I am slim, but with a generous bottom, and have a 35" inside leg... I love vintage clothes, but have struggled for years to find originals that fit, and even the vintage-style stuff usually doesn't. Is their hope? Could you recommend some tights to me. I've yet to find them.

  41. I am so glad you posted this.I have such a hard time finding seamed tights and stocking.I got lucky at VLV but most places charge almost $50.00 for them.It annoys me cuz one snag and they are ruined.and a waste of $50.00.

  42. Vintage stocking cost a lot, and like you, I prefer to keep mine for a special occasion. While my seamstress of all things vintage did make me a wonderful girdle that isn't too tight and doesn't bother me during the day, in the winter time, or when I'm wearing a tighter skirt, seamed tights are my go-to choice too. Unfortunately, they are rather difficult to find here where I live any decent ones.

  43. Tights are hot, people shouldn't have a problem unless you don't like things hugging your legs.

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