Jan 14, 2010

Pantyhose Parade – High Waist Sheer Combat Round II

As promised in late December here, we move on to the SCC (Sara’s Corporate Conference) featuring an epic intra-brand battle of the bulge between Spanx, and her value priced sibling, Assets by Sara Blakely. To recap the procedure, I go shopping. Then I cast a flinty eye upon my sheer thigh, take copious notes, and apply a series of grades to the product . Finally, I run those numbers through a scoring algorithm of such complexity that steam emerges from my laptop vents and I get a nice facial in. The results are shared with you, dear reader, and I feel as though in some way, I am of service. Perhaps the authorities on my home planet will see this goodness in me, and organize the long promised rescue mission. I do live in hope.

In Round One, Donna Karan notched out Ann Taylor to emerge from the Ivy League Conference a glittering winner. This week, its up and over with the girl who started this whole wonderful trend of shape shifting hosiery, the lovely Sara Blakely. Way back in 2001 Sara really quite single-handedly brought a then revolutionary hosiery product to market designed to flatter both the legs and the butts of their bearer. VPL’s were the enemy, and Sara was relentless in her war. I love that sort of moxie, and really admire people who challenge the status quo. It never hurts if they are completely cute either.

Spanx went from strength to strength, broadened product lines, penetrated the shelves of some upmarket shops, won an endorsement from Oprah, got flashed on numerous occasions by the lovely
Tyra Banks, and really grew a nice little business. This attracted the attention of all sorts of bigger vendors who have shamelessly aped the Spanx approach. I suppose that is how the free market is supposed to work, but that is not my arena of expertise. Personally, I am more in pursuit of a run-free market.

To fuel growth and fend off the catty competition, Spanx created a value line known as Assets by Sara Blakely which today stack the shelves of some more down-market general retailers, notably Target here in the US of A. There is a lot of mirroring and overlap between the 2 product lines which gives us all choice. The choices this week are the All The Way Up! High-Waisted Full-Length Pantyhose (pictured at left) and the Assets Perfect Pantyhose High Waist (below right).

These twisted-yarn sisters share a lot of DNA, so lets speak quickly about what they have in common and how they differ from top to toe. I will now switch up sports metaphor from basketball to tennis. Shared DNA? I think we can think of Spanx as Venus Williams, and Assets as Serena Williams, grappling in a leggy tie-break. Game on.

Waist-band: Similar construction, highly elasticized, non-grip material for both. Let serve. Spanx Love, Assets Love.
Torso reinforcement: Extra belly panel in the Spanx, uniform reinforced hosiery approach in the Assets. Spanx 15, Assets Love.
Gusset: The Spanx have a fully lined, trap-door gusset that facilitates (for some) easier calls of nature and an au naturelle approach to what is worn underneath, while the Assets have a typical, closed cotton panel. Spanx 30, Assets Love
Thigh – Smooth compression to 4” below the crotch line, with a clean, unfussy transition to sheer leg portion. Same, same. Let serve, the game remains Spanx 30, Assets Love
Leg Feel: Spandex Lycra© (15-19%) in aggregate for both, but with slightly distinct finishes and feels. The Spanx are more elastic and really adhere, practically glues to the leg, and do not wick very well. The Assets just feel better to me, both to hand and leg. They are more silky, and glide and give a little more easily. Spanx 30, Assets 15.
Leg Finish: They are both mid-sheer, good looking, somewhat dressy tights, but the Assets look a little better, slightly dressier, just a scooch more polished. They also catch light a touch better, and give off a little glamour and glimmer. Spanx 30, Assets 30.
Toe: Sandal toe for the Spanx, lightly reinforced toe for the Assets. More shoe choices for the pricier pair, longer (theoretical) last for the Assets. I am a closed-toe gal on a budget, so the line judge calls a foot fault on Venus and the point goes to Serena. Spanx 30, Assets 40.
Price: Serving for the game, Assets throws an ace. Spanx were defenseless really, retailing at $28.00 to little sister Assets aggresive $16.00.

Game, set, and match to Assets.

A tennis match is typically closer than the score indicates. My grading machine turned out scores for these products that are the closest that any two pairs of tights have been in 1 year plus of hosiery reviews here. They scored within 0.1% of each other, with the Assets getting the barest margin of victory of all times. I will share all the scores with you at the conclusion of this odd epic.

In the meantime, to the mother of these superb, game-changing prodigies Ms. Blakely, I say sincerely thanks. What pride must be yours.

More will follow including a battle between NCAA (Nice, Cheap, All-American) Conference entries from L’eggs next time in the Pantyhose Parade.

Till then, happy dressing and happy everything else.


Leah said...

Great review Petra... and since the Assets is a lot cheaper and you said YES to it, then I want that. Enough with my spanx obsession. Hahaha!

bryna said...

great review!

Kashaya said...

Great review! Have always wanted to try Spanxs but I think they are a little too expensive. Now I believe I might try the Assets instead. =)

Treacle said...

Awesome review! I've not tried Spanx or Assets because I hate, hate, hate control top pantyhose but I'm glad you've found something you like. :-)

Petra Bellejambes said...

Google translate tells me that Ms. Naquin's comment comes into English as "Love is blind, but marriage restores the sight".

Not really relevant to the post, but a lovely sentiment. I think.

A milestone in any event, this blog's very first non-English language comment!

And thanks Ladies for all of your nice words.

Anonymous said...

A very informative review, but not nearly so much as it was entertaining and, as always, an absolute pleasure to read.

Tights Lover said...

Well written reviews. I'm not a big fan of the control tops, but maybe I'll give Assets a try...

Couture Carrie said...

Excellent reviews, darling Petra!
Have a fantastic weekend!


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