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When you pull out an eye-popping dress or skirt, there's no reason not to dress up your legs, too. A pair of pantyhose does this well and won't overwhelm your look. Pantyhose have different labels, two of which are ultra-sheer and silky-sheer. These hose types are fairly similar, but each one adds a slightly different vibe.
Understanding Denier and Sheerness
When fashion experts talk about the sheerness of pantyhose, they're really talking about the density of the fibers and how easily you can see through the material. They call this denier. To get more specific, denier is defined as the mass in grams per 9,000 meters. Denier scales vary, but smaller numbers always translate to fibers that are less dense and hosiery that is therefore less supportive but more transparent, or sheer.
Ultra-sheer pantyhose is pretty much the thinnest type of hosiery you can slip on. These pantyhose have a denier of 10 or less. When you pop on a pair of ultra-sheer pantyhose, it gives you a bare-leg look. The hosiery provides virtually no benefit in terms of warmth, which can be a bonus or a drawback depending on your season. Although these pantyhose can be the best option if you just want your legs to look a little polished, the low denier means they're likely to rip or snag if you so much as sneeze. Don't expect to wear ultra-sheers more than once.
The denier of silky-sheer pantyhose varies; manufacturer ads with the silky-sheer label usually show a denier of 10 to 20. On some scales, silky sheer thus can fall into the super-sheer or very-sheer category or just catch the standard-sheer category -- standard is 20, 15 to 19 is very sheer and 10 to 14 is super sheer. The key to remember, though, is that silky sheer is a little more dense than ultra sheer, with a higher dernier. That means silky-sheer pantyhose, even though they're thin and still fairly transparent, are slightly more durable. If you're careful, you might get more than one use out of these, but they're still thin enough that you wouldn't want to bet all your money on having no snags.
When to Wear Them
Fashion gurus Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, stars of the hit show "What Not to Wear," recommend keeping your pantyhose sheerer for evening. London further recommended that when you wear sheer hosiery, black is super-stunning and can be especially sophisticated with a slimming back seam. You even can sport a fishnet version if you want, as long as the holes of the net are small. Both ultra-sheer and silky-sheer pantyhose work when you're out on the town, but because ultra-sheer hosiery is so delicate, stick to silky-sheers if you know you'll be moving around more, such as rockin' the dance floor. Wear your ultra-sheers for indoor dinners and similar events.