Perhaps you are one of many people who believe that wearing hosiery is old-fashioned and for flight attendants alone. If so, you may be surprised to learn that those misconceptions are a thing of the past. In fact, hosiery sales are up in the United States, particularly among millennials. Even the global hosiery market is expected to grow by more than two percent in the next six years. It’s even predicted to reach an estimated value of close to USD 60 billion.

Wearing hosiery does more than merely cover up your legs. You may not realize it, but they can benefit you in many ways. For one, they give your legs an attractive “coat” so that you feel more confident wearing short skirts or dresses. They also prevent your skirts and dresses from sticking to your thighs. Additionally, they can offer some much-needed warmth during cold weather. Lastly, they can help you create a more stylish and polished look if you know how to wear them properly.

If your reluctance to wear hosiery stems from the mistaken notion that they’re uncomfortable and out of style, read on. This piece will discuss the most popular types of hosiery, like knee high hosiery, so that you can understand why these leg coverings remain relevant today. You’ll also learn the many occasions wherein wearing hosiery would be most appropriate. As a bonus, we’ve also included pointers to help you buy the most suitable types of hosiery for your needs.

Most Popular Types of Hosiery

As with other fashionable garments, navigating the world of hosiery can be overwhelming given the countless options available on the market. Instead of going through all of them, perhaps it would be best to learn more about the most popular types and investing in a few pairs of each. 

Before everything else, though, let’s get one thing out of the way. When looking at different kinds of hosiery, you’ll often notice a denier count in the product description. Denier is the measure of the thinness or thickness of the leg covering. The lower the denier, the thinner or more see-through the material is. With that in mind, below are hosiery must-haves that you don’t want to miss out on:

Ultra Sheer

Ultra sheer refers to hosieries with less than ten deniers. Thus, the leg covering is practically transparent. They work best if you want a bare-legged appearance. Ultra-sheer hosieries effectively hide blemishes and offer a smooth, more natural look while allowing your skin to breathe. They’re better at keeping your legs cool and comfy, too. That’s why they’re perfect to wear all year round, even during the hot summer months.

Ultra sheer hosieries come in different shades, from ivory and nude to darker tones like brown and black. You can wear them under your favorite dresses, skirts, shorts, or cropped pants for a flawless look. Opt for nudes if you don’t want to worry about matching the color of your hosiery with your outfit. If you’re going for a tanned appearance, try darker shades instead.


Another type of hosiery that can readily enhance your look is the sheer kind. With a denier of ten to twenty, sheer hosieries have a thicker and more durable finish than ultra sheer. They’re suitable for all kinds of occasions, whether they’re casual gatherings or formal events.

Opt for a sheer black tone if you want to show off your legs and look sophisticated and sexy at the same time. Pair them with black boots, platform heels, stilettos, and other types of heeled shoes to create an illusion of slimmer and longer legs. If you want to be adventurous, you can always play with shoes in different hues. Just be sure that they blend well with the color of your ensemble to avoid looking like a fashion disaster.

Sheer to Waist

True to its name, sheer to waist hosieries are those with the same denier or thickness in both the leg and panty area. That means they have a uniform texture and pattern from the toes to the waistband. This hosiery type goes well with short-shorts, miniskirts, and even leotards because they have no noticeable panty line that can ruin the flawless appearance of your long legs. Sheer to waist hosieries are very comfortable and breathable, which means you can wear them all day and night.

Control Top

Unlike the sheer to waist type with a uniform thickness from top to bottom, the control top has a thicker material in the panty area and a waistband that sits over the belly button. They have shaping features that help reduce the size of your waist, tummy, hips, and thighs, creating a smoother and lovelier silhouette.

Essentially, this type combines the benefits of hosiery and shaping undergarments. Because of their body-sculpting effect, they’re ideal for tight dresses and skirts. You can also wear them underneath close-fitting pants so you can naturally show off your curves.


Unlike most types of hosiery with a panty-style top, knee-highs only cover the feet and legs up to the knee. They are best worn under pants or long dresses. If you want to be a bit daring and fashion-forward, you may want to take inspiration from Prada and other luxury brands that started the trend of pairing knee-highs with short dresses and skirts. The key is to style them like hosiery boots. A full-proof combination is black on black. To pull off this look, wear black knee-highs with black platform shoes or ankle boots.

When You Should Wear Hosiery

As mentioned above, wearing hosiery is perfect when it starts to get cold because the right pair can keep your legs warm and comfy. They’re also ideal for covering up skin imperfections like scars and varicose veins, allowing you to continue rocking your short skirts and dresses confidently. There are also occasions wherein wearing hosiery seems more appropriate than going bare-legged. Here are a few of those events:

Formal Ceremonies

When attending highly formal events, such as award ceremonies, weddings, or funerals, it’s better to wear hosiery than going bare-legged. Besides helping you to look more elegant and sophisticated, wearing hosiery adds a level of conservatism usually expected during formal functions. Opt for sheer nude or sheer black if you don’t know which type to choose.

Religious Venues

When attending church events or visiting temples, it’s always best to put on hosiery under a dress or skirt. Although not required, covering your legs is prudent when entering places of worship to show respect and modesty. If you don’t know which type to wear, you may want to consider hosieries with higher deniers as they offer better leg coverage than sheer ones.

Job Interviews

Unless you’re absolutely sure that the company you’re applying for prefers casual or laidback work outfits, you may want to err on the side of caution and wear hosiery during a job interview. Avoid pairs in vivid colors and choose a sheer type in nude or black to convey professionalism and confidence.

Practical Tips When Buying Hosiery

Buying the perfect hosiery that suits your needs can be daunting unless you know what factors to consider and what elements matter most. To help you find hosieries that you’ll love to wear, here are some simple tips to guide you on your shopping journey:

  • Opt for at least forty deniers if you want to keep your legs toasty warm during winter. Go for ten deniers or less to keep your legs cool on hot days.
  • If you want your skin to be visible, choose thinner hosieries such as the ultra-sheer or sheer kinds. 
  • To create a slimmer and longer silhouette, opt for hosieries in black or darker tones.
  • Always check the hosiery brand’s size chart before buying. If your measurement is in-between sizes, choose the bigger size.
  • Go for hosieries with open toes if you plan to pair them with sandals and peep-toe shoes. 

Hopefully, the information above helped you understand the different hosiery types and provided you with a couple of styling ideas to create the look you desire. Whether you love wearing hosiery or are slightly hesitant to give them a try, one thing is clear—they’re here to stay. So, why don’t you try wearing them with your favorite dress and experience the benefits for yourself? You may just discover your new favorite ensembles!