I maintain a pretty detailed spreadsheet of hosiery purchases. After a typical shopping sortie I enter a few values including place of purchase, country of manufacture, brand and model number, color, fabric content, and sheerness. I then make notes regarding their construction (control top, sandal foot, sheer to waist, boarding and stitch method, etc.). Then the fun bits: I say hello to my little friends and they get rolled up and on to my leggy laboratory. To the best extent possible they get a full days wearing, sometimes in the great open outdoors fully en femme, more often though here in the relative privacy and comfort of my own home.
After a few false starts in early parades, the 4 key categories of Fit, Finish, Style and Feel emerged as useful barometers. Tested hosiery is granted a score between 1 and 10 for each of these categories with one catch: I do not give 10’s. A final and entirely capricious value is added that at heart, measures my passion for the current pair. All of these values are added, averaged, squared, divided by cost and multiplied by a constant that spreads the scores out over a fairly large scale. This formula rewards quality and value. At the top of the chart today is Hanes, and holding last place at 20th, are the Spanx All the Way Up’s. Lets start at the bottom and work our way up, shall we?
Spanx Revisited. Big mea culpa here dear friends. In my original review, I tested the All The Way Up sheers (pictured at right). These specialty, high waisted, body tamers should not be judged in the same flight as traditional, seated at the waist pantyhose. While they score very highly for fit and register in the upper 1/3rd on all other categories, their high cost ($28.00) cripples them. The Leggs Silken Mist Waist Cincher is equally in the wrong room here. This is a class of hosiery deserving of its' own pretty parade, and I will stage one in upcoming weeks. Body sculpting tights are very useful underthings for very dressy evening wear, and worthy of exploring in greater depths (and yes, heights I suppose). My mad crush on the energetic and alluring Sara Blakely continues to smolder, and so I will test more traditional low rise pantyhose from Spanx in upcoming weeks. I expect them to perform well.
Worthington Revisited. The JC Penney house brand did not fare well in my original review. I took them out for another spin yesterday. Fit still excellent, but having judged later and weaker entries less harshly, I went back to the original scores and added one half point across the board to their original scores for finish, style, and feel. I think I had subconsciously downgraded them in part because the check out lady clearly did not approve of cross dressers. Or perhaps she simply does not like people. In any event, that day, Penney’s felt like a Soviet era department store and the feeling lingered throughout the test session. These are fine hose. Pretty floral detail through the panty, run resistance that does not ruin the finish, and very durable. When you consider the practically permanent “Buy 1, get 1 for ½ price” offer at JCP, the Lace Tanga Control Top is a terrific value, fine for everyday wear, and newly promoted to 14th place above lesser efforts from No-Nonsense.
Hanes Silk Reflections Revisited. The marks do not change. I believe that I got them right. I feel the need to say a few things about the top ranked product. Faintest shimmer, just south of a glimmer from them. Very smooth yarn is invisible to the eye, and practically liquid to the touch. Superb. Very subtle contruction, suitable for the most clingy fashions. Available in toe finishes to suit your favorite shoes, very cool to wear. The Silky Sheer Control Top is an unassailably good value, and a complete delight to wear. It is going to take a miracle to knock the tiara off Ms. Pantyhose Universe. I live in hope of miracles every day.
Wolford Revisited (ed.and never often enough). In a world where money is no object, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would be 24/7, tummy to toe, in these most peerless sheers, the Luxe 9’s. Part science, part magic, all delight. They cling, but they glide. They are weightless, but you feel them. They are invisible, but beautiful. Their $30.00 retail tag is steep yes, steep to the extent that they are driven to 12th place of 20 contestants in overall Petra Points, but some feelings are more precious than money. I implore you to skip a meal or 2. Buy some Wolfords.
So from top to bottom, from gusset to ground, here is The Pantyhose Parade organized by Petra Points. On the podium, gold to Hanes Silk Reflections (205.0 Petra Points) with an envious silver to Calvin Klein’s Matte Ultra Sheer Control Tops (194), and a laudable bronze going to the Donna Karan Bronze Satin Sheers (185.2).
If you would like a closer look, simply click on the image. For those of you who want to review the archives, just search this site for “Petra’s Pantyhose Parade”, glide into something comfortable and settle in for a couple of hours of overindulgence. For those of you with suggestions about what I ought to wear next, I am all ears when not admiring my own thighs. For the rest of us all, please visit on Thursdays for fresh news from the hosiery’s sheer frontiers. Next week, Berkshires.
In closing, 20 Pairs of pantyhose, $215.72. Gas for 14 shopping trips, $35.00. Knowing Pantyhose better, priceless.
Happy dressing - Petra