Hosiery has a lot in common with my other obsession, wine. On a typical, everyday day, I will uncork (or, gasp, twist) something in the under $10.00 range. Domestic Sauvignon blancs, value Spanish pinks, maybe a little Chilean red. If something just a little more special is on, a visit with friends, guests dropping by, or a meal with a little more love and spice in it, I move up market a little into the $10.00 to $20.00 range. A great Argentine Malbec, a McLaren Vale Shiraz, or an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. And for real occasions, big family dinners, holidays, anniversaries, and etc., it is splurge time. A bottle north of $20.00 (and perhaps double that and more) that has been waiting for a great night out is liberated, decanted, and lovingly drained. An epic Oregon Pinot Noir, a big Barolo, or a very special Bordeaux.
Life is too short to not splash out on a spectacular bottle from time to time after all, and we have legs to splash out on too, yes? When I splash out on my leg looks, my price brackets go pretty much the same way. I attended a big holiday gathering this past weekend where somebody else was in charge of the wine, but I felt that something memorable for my legs was appropriate so I slid into the hosiery equivalent of a big Bordeaux, French and all, the Gerbe Sun Satin 8. My friends know me as a bit of a fiend for a certain brand of Austrian tights. “Love your legs … Wolford again?”
This is a fair question, so I will compare them. The Gerbe’s differ from the nearest Wolford model, (Luxe 9 Tights) in a couple of key ways. The Gerbe’s are fully boarded and feature a fully fashioned, invisibly reinforced heel. In practical terms, this means that the foot is better accommodated, and that these tights should, barring accidents, last longer. They both have a subtle matte finish, and melt on to the leg, but they confer different feels.
Where the Wolford is like a chewy caramel, the Gerbe is hard candy. Where the Wolford is like Bailey’s Irish Cream, the Gerbe is like Brandy. There is a sure, sleek feel to the Gerbe, and to me, contrary to the name, more silk than satin. There is an unmatchable, precise and perfectly machined aura that comes with anything Wolford, but there is a lot to said for things touched with a loving human hand. Much is done by hand with Gerbe including toe, gusset and waistband seams.
There is something quite old fashioned in the way the fall out of the careful packaging, but they are made of quite modern stuff, like Polyamide. Polyamide is a type of nylon that I could tell you about, but again life is short, so I won’t. Except to tell you that Polyamide is not flammable. This is important given how hot your legs will look. Gorgeous. Effortlessly. No flashy glimmer, just a confident, perfectly even matte finish, very clean and contour hugging on the leg.
For me, much of the impossible to describe good feelings that come from wearing any pricey piece of French lingerie comes along with the Gerbe experience, part je ne sais quoi, part just knowing that no one else in the room is wearing what you are. You can be pretty certain that yours will be the only Gerbe’s in the room because the line is not so widely available, at least here in the U.S. U.K Tights carries the stocking model, and delivers domestically within a couple of weeks.
A little closer to home, Shapings, just across the northern border in Canada carries the full Gerbe range and reliably ships to American addresses within a week. I owe a word of thanks to Robert at Shapings for steering me into the Gerbe’s (thanks as well Robert for the pronunciation tip “jhair-BUH”) on my last happy shopping gallop through their massive inventory of hard to find European tights of all types. Shaping’s has a lot to offer in the under $10 range, between $10 and $20, and upwards. My Sun Satins peeled out of my purse, but I feel like I peeled that much and more up my happy legs. Again, not tights for everyday, but thankfully some days are better than everyday.