Dec 17, 2008

Petra's Pantyhose Parade

Well friends, for many Crossdressers, this love started with hosiery. They always made legs look better. They were clearly garments that we boys were not supposed to wear. They were around the house in good enough quantities that if you liberated a pair from the laundry hamper, well who will notice, right? And when you pulled them up and on, O... The feel, the give, the look, the electric tingle, that even decades later just never goes away.

We love them as well because they can be worn discreetly in drab. When on, pantyhose remind us that they are there with the forgiving, but always felt, pull in the toes, the caress around the thigh and that smartening of the shape at the waist, hips (and everywhere else important).

For me, they are at the heart of my feminine side and a borderline fetish. And I am ok with that. I hope you are too. Because I propose as a regular feature of Voyages en Rose to review pantyhose and to share my findings with you my friends. I will take a scientific approach to pantyhose scrutiny. I will consider the quality of the the tested product keeping these all important characteristics in mind:

Fit: Are they true to package size chart. Are they comfortably snug all over? Do they sag with wear?
Finish: Do they look like a quality product? Do they flatter the leg?
Durability: Will they last more then a wear or 2? Did they ladder on first wear?
Feel: Just like it says. Is this smooth and luxurious or scratchy and dying to be peeled (or ripped) off?
Style: Are you Red Carpet ready? Are they au-courant? Are they timeless? Are you fabulous?
Obscures Hair Score: This is a big consideration for many of us. Petra in particular. Yes, I don't shave. I have never felt my legs smooth inside a quality sheer legging. I have much to live for.

I will apply a 1-10 score for tested hose, average these scores out, divide the average by the price of the pantyhose and multiple the result by 100. This way, inexpensive hosiery that performs well will have a great chance of grabbing a really high rank. I expect that $50.00 Wolfords will score high, but we may get surprised by some house brand offerings in the well under $10.00 range this way. Kind of like wine I suppose.

I will include anecdotes about shopping for my hose. Was the store CD friendly? Helpful with sizing information or product suggestions? All of that good stuff.

And I promise, I will write my reviews while I am wearing the product. The legs can’t lie girls.

This column needs your input too. Please add your comments. Share your experiences. Name your favorites. And name the lame please. If there is a pair that Petra should test drive, I don’t need much encouragement to hit the shops. And if you are a rep for a nice brand of pantyhose and want to comp me a pair or a container load full, I must warn you that I cannot be corrupted. But your generosity will be noted to my many leggy friends!

So file those toe nails – its time to get started!

Pantyhose Parade – Issue # 1.

Earlier today I asked a panel of experts (a chat thread over at The Cross Dresser Club) for advice about finding a nice glamorous pair of hose that does a nice job of covering my leg hair. The lovely and helpful LisaElizabeth immediately suggested Danskin. This is not the first time I have heard that the Danskin tight does the trick. And I am a lover of their leotards (second skin, lovely stuff). So the Shimmery Opaque tight (Danskin Model # 1331) is under the microscope (and around my nether regions) this evening.…

This afternoon I dropped into Atlanta's
Dance Fashion Warehouse to test drive a pair or 2. I had called ahead and the nice woman with the vaguely eastern European accent was able to put my size and color selections on hold. I was not explicit that they were for me but I did not actively dodge the issue. I said hello when I arrived at the shop, but not relaxed enough to completely out myself and get to know the store, the people and the merchandise better. I will confess, my day job was getting in the way again. I promise to do better next time….

In any event, I asked about return and exchange policy in the event that they did not fit me, and she indicated that as long as they were in unopened packages, a full refund or exchange was available to me. So, yes I am out to the DFW (and I will be back).

At suggested retail of $12.50, these are a reasonably priced offering when you consider that Danskin makes gear for dancers who really put their tights through paces. These are clearly made to last and to endure hard wearing. You know when you handle them that they are simply not going to develop runs unless you get snagged fleeing a mob and needing to leap a chain link fence.

This durability and sureness in the fabric lends itself to a good (not great, but good) fit and feel scores. There is a good amount of elastic (9% spandex) and a high denier opaque finish so a good tight fit is to be expected. And fit is key to comfort. After 2 hours of wear, I have not felt the urge (ok I have not felt the need, I have given in to the urge) to hike them up at all.

These are all good things. It goes downhill though. From a style perspective, well there is nothing beyond the most generic look about them. And that is ok. It’s a pair of plain tights after all. It’s the finish that gets me though. Perhaps the “Light Toast” shade is just a little too close to the old fashioned bologna skin pantyhose look that the older Italian widows used to wear in my neighborhood. Perhaps the light bounces off them in a way that reminds me of the tights that girls in elementary school wore before they figured out how to flaunt their abundant assets. I just don’t think they bring the glamour. And that is a shame.

Now don’t get me wrong. The black tights will work terrifically. And I can work the fleshy shade into an outfit with a low boot, stirruped leg warmers, a big long sweater and a shawl over it all, but I don’t think these are tights that can stand a nicely heeled shoe, a pretty skirt and a night out.

So how do these babies score? Well they get 70.4 Petra Pantyhose Points. Today though, we have nothing to compare that to, so who knows how good they are. Stay tuned here for more updates. I swear to God girls, we can know everything there is to know about tights, and then who will dare stand in our way?

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