Collant: Italian word for pantyhose.
Denier: is a number system that indicates the thickness of the yarn. Low numbers represent sheer yarn and high numbers represent thick yarn. Hosiery usually ranges from very sheer (almost invisible) 5 denier and to thick 100 denier, though 500 denier is available. More specifically, denier is a weight-per-unit-length measure of linear material; the number of unit weights of 0.05 grams per 450-meter length. In effect, the denier of a garment is the weight of that product in grams per 9,000 meters of its composite material.
Elastane: is a segmented, polyurethane synthetic fibre characterized by high distension or stretch properties. This characteristic is important because it allows the garment to remain always tight-fitting to the body.
Elastomer: is a synthetic filament composed mainly of polyurethane (elastane, for example). It is characterized by 200% elongation at fracture sites and very rapid shape recovery. Elastomer may cover one or more threads giving rise to the advantage of two threads of different properties. There are different ways to cover elastomer depending on the desired outcome, sheer or opaque, and the overall quality of the product.
Graduated compression: a crucial requirement for correctly made support (or compression) stockings, tights, pantyhose or socks is that the degree of compression varies along the length of the leg. The maximum compression is at the ankle and then compression gradually decreased through the calf to the thigh. This creates a massaging and relaxing action that facilitates venous blood flow through the lower limbs. It stimulates the blood circulation, in effect, reducing swelling of the legs.
Gusset: a round or diamond shape insert, made of cotton, nylon or polypropylene that is inserted in the crotch region of pantyhose and tights. It serves a hygienic function and improves the garments comfort, fit and durability.
Hipster (top) pantyhose: the waist of this garment sits below the waist, approximately at the height of the navel. It is especially suited to wear under garments with a “low waist”.
Hold-up or stay-up: a self-supported stocking that stays in place by an elasticised band that contains rows of silicon on the inner surface, which sits on the upper thigh. Unlike the original “stocking”, it does not require a suspender belt.
Hosiery: the general and all encompassing term for close-fitting, elastic garments worn on the legs and feet, which include pantyhose, tights, stockings, stay-ups, over the knees, knee highs and sockettes.
Knee highs: are socks that extends to just below the knee.
Lycra: is DuPont’s registered trademark for their invention of the elastane fibre, in 1959. It is a man-made fibre that was initially used for medical stockings. The fundamental characteristic of Lycra is its ability to stretch and then totally recover to the pre-stretch shape and size. Lycra can be used bare, in its raw form, though economical this is not suited to all situations. In hosiery, Lycra is covered by other fibres, either in a single or double fashion, in effect increasing its thickness and changing its texture. In doing so, it increases the durability but also the cost of the final garment. The use and incorporation of Lycra into today’s hosiery has resulted in the stockings becoming more tight-fitting and durable, and creating better fit and appearance. The Lycra composition of stockings varies, typically from 8 to 20%.
Lycra 3D: is the result of new technology that transforms the properties of hosiery, influencing its texture and durability. With Lycra 3D, Lycra is knitted into all of the composite fibres. This results in a extraordinary smooth and comfortable fabric that can stretch in all directions – vertically and horizontally, and, in effect, fits like a second skin. Lycra 3D technology is used in microfiber, high denier opaque tights.
Microfibre: in hosiery, microfiber (or microfilament) is a term used to describe a yarn composed of especially fine nylon fibres, resulting in a high number of strands within a given region (a count equal or lower than 1dtx per strands). Since it is almost devoid of stretch properties, it must be coupled with elastane to give the garment elasticity. It is characterized by silky brilliance and velvety softness.
Nylon: is the trademark name of DuPont’s polyamide 6.6 and has been adopted in common language to describe any polyamide synthetic fibre. It was invented in 1938 by Wallace Hume Carothers at DuPont’s laboratory in Delaware, US. Nylon was described at its launch as “a material that is strong like steel, yet delicate like a cobweb”. It was the first truly synthetic fibre. Nylon is synthesised from oil. The oil molecules are broken down and then reconstructed in very long molecular chains through a series of processes. In its raw form it lacks elasticity, and undergoes further process for its use in hosiery products. Nylon is characterized by high resistance to traction and wear, is shrink-resistant, light and easily maintained. It is also resistant to mould, micro-organisms and moths. Hence, why nylon is the most common yarn used in the current manufacture of hosiery.
Opaque: describes stockings or pantyhose that are made of heavier yarn, usually 40 denier or more. They tend to be thick and more durable than lower deniers. Stockings made of 30 denier are generally considered to be semi-opaque.
Over the Knees: are a pair of long socks that sit just above the knee. They are held in place by an elastic border.
Stay-up or hold-up:a self-supported stocking that stays in place by an elasticised band that contains rows of silicon on the inner surface, which sits on the upper thigh. Unlike the original “stocking”, it does not require a suspender belt.
Stockings: traditionally referred to the two leg-pieces of hosiery used with suspender belts. This was the only hosiery product available until the 1960s when the one-piece pantyhose was created. Today, the term “stockings” is used synonymously with the term “hosiery”.
T-band: is a mesh area in the panties region of pantyhose. In conjunction with the waist band, it forms and resembles the letter, “T”.
Under Welt: the band of fabric beneath the double fabric of the stocking top.
Welt: the strengthened band of fabric on the top of stockings, to which the garters and garter belt is attached.
Voile: a term applied to a type of nylon yarn that has been processed with a high level of twist. This results in a yarn without bulk, though with limited recovery from stretching. Voile yarns have excellent sheerness for a given denier and a bright, sheen surface appearance. However, they lack overall “cling” properties and multiple sizes are needed to achieve a good individual fit.