All Reviews Le Bourget

Le Bourget Ariane Tights

Sheer tights with an opaque pattern are all the rage at present, and this pair from Le Bourget features a vine pattern swirling around the legs. There are four sizes to choose from, but size 1 is so small that it is rarely stocked. The choice of colour is a choice of black or black.

For 15 denier tights, these feel very heavy indeed. Both the weight and soft velvety feel in hand give the impression of something closer to 40 denier.

A visual inspection reveals that the legs are lightly shaped and that the “invisible toes” are nothing of the sort, they are the same fibre weight as the legs but with double the stitch density. Not a bad thing as running the design to the toe seam would improve neither the look nor the durability of these not inexpensive tights.

The panty is finished with flat seams and a cotton-lined gusset; there is just the narrowest of reinforced strips either side of the seam. Contiguous with a deeper finger band to give a healthy transition to the plain waistband. The pattern runs from behind the toe to the bottom of the finger band.

Sizing is accurate, but you need to take a little time and care if you are at the upper end of a size, it is easy to forget that there are 15 denier sheer tights and you can’t go pulling at them like an opaque.

Fit is perfect, and the finish is perfectly even. The design stands out well against the very slight sheen of the sheer background. It draws the eye up and around accentuating leg length. From shorter distances, less than two steps, the pattern does not stand close inspection, but that is our only complaint. High-quality premium-priced tights to get your legs the attention they deserve.

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All Reviews Pierre Mantoux

Pierre Mantoux Charente Tights

Tights really should be all about the look and feel on the leg. Still, somehow, some brands manage to create something that stirs your heart even before you open the packet. This is one of those occasions, with the rear of the package that gave us a sneak look at the shiny material.

Also on the rear of the packet is a size chart which provides sizing guidance for Italy, France, Spain, Germany, UK, and the USA. If you are in the UK, please look at the US chart which works on height. Weight and hips, the UK dress sizes are just plain wrong! Sizes 30-42 would be so big that the dresses would be tents and the tights suitable for trawling for fish. The tights come on a card that gives full instructions on how to put them on.

Shiny is the keyword here. These tights are up with the German Seidenglatt styles, Wolford Neon and Charnos Sheer Lustre. The 20 denier weight is spot on for this finish. Sheer enough to be sheer yet opaque enough to give the colour density to make that shiny finish glow.

Detailing is top quality, all sizes are sheer to waist and feature reinforced toes, shaped heel, flat seams and a narrow band of reinforcement either side of the panty seam and between the sheer material and the waistband. Sizes 0-3 have a standard gusset, size 4 (XL) features the comfort gusset or rear panel.

Sizing is spot on, and the fit is excellent from hip to toe. The XL size is a little compromised by the comfort gusset. We would suggest that unless you need the extra width in the hips, the L size would be the best bet. There is only 1” difference in the suggested maximum heights, and there is plenty of stretch.

The high shine look is not for everyone, but we love it, and this is one of the best examples we have seen. The smooth satin sheen finish is flawless and the excellent even colour covers a multitude of imperfections without looking bulky.

Top-quality tights that feel like they will last forever. A must-have for your wardrobe.

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All Reviews Philippe Matignon

Philippe Matignon Intensite Tights

We thought you all deserved a treat, so here are two reviews in one day!

It has been some time since we reviewed any tights from Philippe Matignon as the brand was withdrawn from the UK market some years ago. Fortunately, one of our newly recruited reviewer friends lives in a country where they are still available. We are hopeful of seeing more styles from this quality brand in due course.

Philippe Matignon Intensite Summer ultra pantyhose with floral pattern and back seam design feel like ten denier. Fully shaped legs, a flat seam in the panty, sheer to waist, sandal toe, cotton gusset, comfort waistband.

As you stretch the tights ready to put them on they feel very soft indeed. A feeling that continues once you have them on. They feel so soft and sheer that you don’t even remember that you are wearing hose. Perfect for showing off with a mini skirt in the summertime. For no reason that we can see, the natural colour pair felt softer than the black.

As you can see from the pictures, the fit is perfect, and the pattern is a very sophisticated design that shows off your calf and ankle. The seam runs perfectly straight and flatters the leg. We love the flower detail at the top of the seam.

You do need to take care when soothing the tights up your leg to make sure that you get the seam straight. You can judge for yourself whether the pattern looks better on a natural or black background as Filodoro very kindly brought a friend for a similar picture.

There are five sizes from extra small to extra large. All except the extra-large have the cotton gusset, the extra-large size has a comfort rear panel. The style and quality of Philippe Matignon are as good as ever.

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All Reviews Misc.

Lady Sofia Relax Tights

The packaging gives very clue about these tights but being called “Relax” and having the sweeping ribbon graphic we are guessing some shaping or support. Sizing needs to be considered carefully as Lady Sofia’s sizes are approximately 2 out of step with EU sizing. So their 6 is roughly an EU 4 or UK Large.

The tights are made with a straight leg and detailed as the packet suggested. Except that we would say that the waistband is pretty standard and that it is attached to an 8 cm deep finger band. Not so very different from a deep waistband, but we like to be accurate. The legs are unshaped, and the brief is finished with an unlined gusset and raised seams.

As with most tights, these are made by knitting two halves complete with waistbands and then sewing the two together. Top-end makers will often use a single piece waistband sewn onto the completed tights. We mention this here because sadly with our test pair the two halves were not perfectly aligned, so there is a step in the waistband. On the upside, there is a narrow reinforced strip either side of the central body seam that should add to durability.

These tights look good with a smooth matt satin finish that gives a subtle shimmer in the right light. The Lycra also ensures a good fit and allows you to take a few liberties with sizing. These are durable tights that will take the stretch.

The deep waistband certainly adds to the comfort. This would allow you to sit these tights little lower on your hips if you chose. The price list calls the waistband/finger band detail a “control top”, any control is minimal. We have no UK retail price, but the trade price suggests they would be good value tights for everyday wear.

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All Reviews Misc.

La Perla Fusion 20 Tights

Since we first looked at these tights, they have changed the design a little, they no longer quite look like the picture on the packet. The detailing at the waist now looks like this, with considerably more shaping to the waistband. They still feel beautifully smooth and soft in your hand as you take them out of the packet.

They do not look very long, but there is plenty of stretching. And you never feel that you are straining the fabric. Take care to buy the right size, and they will fit perfectly. The construction of these is a little different to other seamless tights as these have a gusset of sorts between the legs.

The wide “adjustable waistband” is very much more than a waistband. As you can see in the photo, this detracts from the overall appearance when compared to the likes of Wolford fatal 15, Victoria’s Secret Seamless Sensation and Pierre Mantoux Seamless. What these details do is to provide a perfect fit from waist to toe. Completely invisible under even the tightest of dresses and exceptionally comfortable.

All ladies who try seamless tights for the first time are amazed at how different they feel compared to regular tights. They are described by many as the most comfortable tights she had ever worn. She also remarked on how she hardly looked to be wearing tights. This is how matt finish tights should be, showing off the legs, not the tights.

These tights are not quite so sexy as the Wolford fatal 15. But they are more comfortable and at least as durable. They are much more durable and longer-lasting than the very hot Pierre Mantoux Seamless. A man may buy other seamless tights for his lady, but a lady buying for herself would buy these.

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All Reviews Kunert

Kunert Fresh Up 10 Tights

Coming back to a style of tights that we have reviewed in the past is always exciting. And if it is a style that we liked then there is both anticipation and concern; are they as good as we remember? Has someone updated and ruined them?

On our first impression, Kunert has not let us down. These soft and light tights flowed off the card and into our hands. Although soft and light, there was the impression of quality and strength. The change from 15 denier to 10 denier has been entirely positive.

Sometimes the key to great design is simplicity. Sheer to waist, sandal toe, flat seams and a cotton-lined gusset; add a finger band and narrow strips of stronger material either side of the seam to improve durability and there you are. Kunert helpfully includes a label, so you know which side is the back, although the fully boarded shaped legs also provide a clue.

The sizing is spot on with stretch and strength to cope if you are slightly longer in the leg, tall girls take note. Size 4 is designed for up to 6’1”.

Tights like these are so easy to put on. They seem to stroke your legs as you smooth them up. The finish is perfect and blemish-free. Choose the right shade, and you get that ‘barely-there’ look of summer tights. Perfect for summer but classy enough for any event at any time of year.

Kunert claims to have made their tights with an antibacterial odour neutralising treatment. A great idea on tights made for the summer, but does it work? Well to test we did a terrible thing and hid them under trousers, wore them next to the skin throughout and added shoes and socks for a busy day in the office. At the end of 10 hours, they not only looked as good as at the beginning of the day they smelled as sweet too.

If you a seeking great looking, comfortable sheer tights to be your standard year-round legwear, you can’t do better.

Perhaps the best change is the price. In an era when some hosiery prices have doubled or even tripled in just a couple of years and increase of only £1 in 6 years means that what was a premium-priced style in 2006 is now very much mid-market.

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All Reviews Kunert

Kunert Forming Effect 20 Tights

Support tights come in two types, medical-grade for people with circulatory problems (e.g. Sigvaris or Solidea), and “fashion” grade, which is meant for people who are on their feet all day. You could say that the latter is for people trying to avoid the need of the former.

Kunert Forming Effect is undoubtedly in the fashion category. First impressions on taking them from the packet are that they look small and feel heavier than 20 denier. Only when you stretch them do they take on a 20 denier look.

Details are very much along the lines of sheer tights, sheer to waist, reinforced toes, flat seams and a cotton gusset and T-band reinforcement for durability. An unusual feature is the shaped and reinforced heel designed to improve fit and comfort. The heel is reinforced as in thicker rather than being a fully fashioned heel as we have seen on some support tights from Falke among others.

One problem with heavy support hosiery is that you need to have a steady finger to put them on. No such issues here! These tights stretch readily, and the heel detail ensures you get them sat correctly straight away. Don’t worry if you have big feet. The heel will still sit in the right place.

You do need to take some care putting these tights on but only to get even colour, they will take rough handling. Take enough care and you are rewarded with good even matt colour, rush, and you may get visible banding and need to start over.

Once on you feel your legs embraced rather than squeezed. The fit is excellent, and the graduated compression helps to give a comfortable fit. Sizing is accurate, and there is stretch enough to take a few liberties, be aware though that if you take advantage of all that stretch to cope with long legs, you could find as we did that these tights tended to head south during the day giving us a bit of gusset sag.

All in all, these are excellent tights that look good and do all that is asked of them.

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All Reviews Kunert

Kunert Fashion Seamed Sheer Tights

Even before you open the packet, these tights stand out from the crowd. Firstly because of the pink seam and partly because of the inclusion of polypropylene in the fibre.

Visually first impressions are not great, unlike other Kunert tights they do not exude quality on the card. The feel though is impressive, very smooth and quite soft.

The construction of these tights is impressive, the legs are straight and finished with a reinforced toe, the panty has a gusset, but not flat seams. Either side of the central seam there is a narrow reinforced area of the same colour as the back seam. The tights are finished off with a 2.5cm deep waistband.

All our reservations about quality were dispelled as we started to put these tights on. They slide beautifully over your legs, and the seam runs straight without any messing about and twisting of the legs. This may be because although the seam goes to the waist, it curves outwards towards the waistband. Fit is excellent from hip to toe. The lack of a shaped heel means these tights will suit any foot size.

The finish on the leg is quite unusual. We would have to call it matt, but just when you are sure that is what it is, the fabric catches the light and gives a little sparkle.

The feel on the leg is smooth and soft, very lovely tights to wear and dare we say very nice to be touched wearing.

The back seam, whatever colour is something you will love or hate. At first, we were not sure, but the contrasting stitching has grown on us. Certainly for a smart evening event though, not for every day. These tights cry out to be worn with high heels, and the reinforced toe means no sandals. If you want your legs to get noticed at a party, treat yourself

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All Reviews Kunert

Kunert Charleston Leggings

That knot on the packet isn’t an initiation test for the Scouts, nor is it an extract from a training manual for sailors. It is an enlarged detail of the way these tights are knitted. It’s Kunert’s answer to the problem of runs in tights.

We have seen this sort of idea before. The theory is that if the fibres are knotted, then if one breaks the damage is limited to a small area before the broken thread is caught by a knot. Run resisting tights have never really set the world on fire though, they tend to cost more, they tend to compromise on look, fit and feel and frequently they don’t work. Our experience has been that the best way to avoid runs is to use top quality yarn that is less prone to breaking in the first place. This is why this style caught our eye because Kunert tights are usually great looking, well-fitting and made with top quality yarns.

So, first impressions. Well, these tights certainly feel nice in the hand, light and soft and sheerer than we expected. The detailing is excellent with a flat toe seam and a sandal toe, the heel is shaped, and the overall design is sheer to waist. The panty has a cotton-lined gusset and high-quality flat seams. The 4 cm deep waistband is entirely plain. But the 3 cm deep finger band carries a “Chinchilla” motif on each hip.

Fit is good, and sizing is accurate but not generous. The finish is as described, matt but with a slight shimmer in the right light. The silky soft feeling on the legs is a delight.

So have Kunert cracked the problem of runs in tights? Well no, unfortunately not. Our test pair failed along the seam at the edge of the gusset as they were being put on. For some reason, Kunert decided not to put a transitional strengthened strip between the seams and the sheer material. On the positive side, this catastrophe didn’t cause any runs into the legs! The knot did eventually catch the hole, but not before it was big enough to put your hand through!

It may just be bad luck, but in over 400 tests of tights, we have never had a pair fail in this way. Ironically, we love the look and feel of these tights. But that they failed on the one thing they should have excelled at; durability.

We will see about getting another pair from Kunert for a full round of testing.

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All Reviews Jonathan Aston

Jonathan Aston Vignette Tights

We usually start our reviews by looking at how a pair of tights is made and then go on to the sizing, fit and overall look. This time for reasons that will become obvious, we are turning the whole process on its head. Jonathan Aston has been one of our favourite makers of late. Jonathan Aston has been producing some really stunning designs and coming up with exciting new ideas.

The concept here is graduated colour, a smooth transition from dark at the toe to pale at the waistband. There is a choice of colours, but our test pair came in grey which we love; thank you Essex’s Legs.

Most of the colour transition is between ankle and knee, and the effect is visually stunning, there is no other hosiery like it. Add accurate sizing, comfortable fit, and a smooth, soft matt finish and all is well in our world. Look and feel is far lighter than the 50 denier weight suggests incidentally.

Which brings us to how they are made and why things are not quite perfect. Jonathan Aston creates the pattern by printing it on in much the same way as Celeste Stein produce their huge range of designs; this means making sheer to waist tights with unshaped legs that can be flattened for printing. (Not actually sheer to the waist, but the transition from leg to panty is hard to spot).

In the panty, there is a gusset but not flat seams which are unusual for Jonathan Aston these days. The only real negative is the same one that plagued all the Celeste Stein designs. No matter how flat you iron a pair of tights before printing each side you will always get a line down the inside and outside of each leg where there is no printing. The line is only visible close to, but it does distract from an otherwise gorgeous design.

Not a style you would wear with open-toe shoes. Why? Because there is evidence of the basic pale grey/white of the tights showing at the seam where the print has not reached. So not perfect, but we will be wearing our test pair to destruction!

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