A to Z Hosiery Glossary


At Silver Legs Hosiery, we totally understand the complexities and difficulties in buying hosiery.  We thought it would make life easier if we created a simple hosiery glossary which will help you understand the hosiery terms, styles and finishes.  We have kept it as brief as possible but if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0207 247 0011 or via email at




It's important to note, denier actually refers to fabric weight. However, denier is most often used to measure the thickness of items. Most items use a higher denier to denote a thicker item.

Sheer hosiery is 5 denier to 30 denier. 

Semi-sheer hosiery is from 30 to 40 denier. 

Opaque hosiery is 40 denier or higher. 


Hosiery comes in a range of different finishes. 

Matte items have no gloss. Matte is elegant and simple and can be worn at the office or on a night out. 

Slight sheen or soft sheen means a subtle gloss that's livelier than matte. They are very subtle and make it look almost like you have nothing on your legs.. They are very versatile and can be worn on a night out or even for a business meeting.

Shiny refers to leg wear with a sheen that is noticeable enough to show you are wearing hosiery. They are perfect for enhancing your legs but they are still tasteful.

High-shine is any leg wear that is very shiny, including wet look items. This is for making your legs very noticeable and to attract attention to your outfit.


These are items that generally end at the ankle, leaving the foot free. (They are also cropped versions, which end higher up the calf.  Both of these are available with a plain edge or with lace by the ankle.


A panel added to the crotch for comfort, fit and personal hygiene. Gussets are usually cotton or made from the same material as the product. 


Hold-ups / Stay Ups / Thigh High Stockings

They cover the leg up to the thigh. Either they come with a plain band or with a lace top. Normally, silicone is used to make them stay up and they require no suspender belt.



Maternity tights are extra stretchy around the stomach so they fit comfortably without reducing circulation. They are very comfortable and can also help to keep you warm.


Socks / Knee High / Over Knee


Socks normally refer to the ankle socks variety, unless otherwise described. They cover the toes and foot and end over the ankle or part way up the calf.

Knee Highs / Pop Socks are longer garments that reach just under the knee.


Over Knee Socks are even longer and reach up just over the knee. These can reach several inches over the knee-caps, reaching the bottom of the thigh.


Pantyhose (see Tights)

An American English term used to signify sheer tights (up to 30 denier). Also, in the US "tights" describes opaque’s (over 40 denier). 


Shapewear helps mould and massage your legs, pelvis or midriff, enhancing your figure.

Sheer / Ultra Sheer

Generally this applies to very fine hosiery, anything less than 10 denier.  Sher styles are often suited to those with darker skin tones. 


Skin tones and colour guide 

We pride ourselves on having an extensive selection that covers all skin types.

For darker skin tones, we have colours such as Brazil, brown velvet, chocolate, sweet pepper and vaguely black.

For lighter skin tones, there are shades such as bamboo, honey and natural.



A classic in the hosiery world, stockings were the first type of legwear available and they remain a classic choice. They require a suspender belt, as opposed to Hold Ups (which have silicone in the welt to keep them up)



Tights are an extremely versatile accessory that makes it viable to be made in to printed styles, patterns and woven details and numerous other features.

 Pantyhose is the American term, In the US, "pantyhose" refers to sheer items (30 denier or less) and "tights" refers to only thicker items. In the UK, "tights" refers to all items that fit the above definition, no matter the denier.