I have often though about writing a coffee table book about tights. The problem is that I am very klutzy around coffee tables, and I bruise easily. And this is but one of the many fine reasons I do not wear sheers all the time. There are other reasons too of course. Some days I simply do not have time to really smooth my legs, or want to show a little leg but need to keep it office appropriate, or I simply want to keep a little winter chill at bay. On these days, my go-to sheers and more pronounced leg fashion looks are just not on.
The perfect answer on these days a nice pair of opaquetights.
Opaques are easy going, low maintenance, dependable, versatile, durable, comfy, cozy, like a reliable low key friend. But like your low-key (and likely low-maintenance friends), sometimes we don’t show them enough love or consideration. It is too easy to take the good and simple things in life for granted. This is the reason that my first post as member of the Guilty Pleasures team is focused on opaques, the Plain Jane of the tights drawer.
The brand and venue options are endless of course. I am reviewing a couple of value priced entries from big recognizable domestic marques, easily within reach online with a few clicks, or by the handful with a few heel clacks through a nearby mall. Off we go then, with the Autumn Color battle between the BerkshireLuxe Opaques and the simply named Hue Opaque Tights.
Both tested pairs are Microfiber construction. Here I will quickly demystify a fancy word and explain the important stuff. Microfibers are super fine fibers (under 0.7 denier, the standard unit of measure for woven fibers) that are magically woven up into bigger, stronger fabrics. Microfibers are about 1/10th the diameter of your finest sheers. Big deal, right? What this means to you, dear friend, is that tights, even heavy opaques like these have great memory. They cling to your leg. They avoid the age old problem of pooling at the ankles, bagging at the knee and drooping at the crotch.
Hooray for Microfiber!
They breath too, and so moisture evaporates and heat dissipates nicely. Hooray again!
They hold color and are more uniform in their appearance than traditional spun fibers (I can barely stand all this goodness).
And never have I heard it suggested that microfiber contributes to Global Warming. Top that.
Anyhow, all of this stuff was invented in the 1960’s and it took forever but ultimately the technology found its “killer app” on killer legs. Mine today in any case. So back to the tested products:
Part of a color battle of course has to do with who has more Autumn colors. The Berkshires can be found in 4 pretty standard shades on the Berkshire / Essential Apparel online site (link above). Four shades, to me is not really an autumnal spectrum. Selections do change and broaden store to store, and site to site though. I found mine in a Macy’s in a gorgeous and versatile Deep Forest shade, so it pays to keep your eyes open.
Hue, as the name suggests, is much more about color. Their online assortment runs 6 deep and has a more fashiony, contemporary palette. Bare Necessities stocks a whopping 11 shades. You will of course see the whole long Can-Can line of Hue Opaques at your favorite department store, and often (strangely) see colors not available on line. Pictured at the top of this post is the Petrol Blue. Mine are a gorgeous, dramatic Deep Purple. Advantage Hue.
On the construction front, the Berskshires (below left, pictured in Steel) take the next point. The wide, ribbed elastic waistband promises to endure a little longer. The clever toe construction widens a bit and leaves some nice wriggle room where sometimes you can feel pinched. Nice design features, very thoughtful.
The hand feel and leg feel of both models is really quite lovely, and luxurious for a $10.00 entry. The Berskshire is 89% nylon / 11% Lycra, and the Hue is 14% Spandex. The Hue is a 40 Denier where the Berkshire is a near super opaque at 55d. The little extra synthetic elastic and the slightly lighter fabric in the Hue does change the finish appearance a little in their favor. Looks are not everything, but they are something, yes? The Hue throws off a subtle glimmer where the Berkshire has a more stately, muted matte finish. Personally, I favor cheeky garments that wink a little at admirers. You are reading Guilty Pleasures so I imagine you feel much the same way. 🙂
In terms of fit, the size charts are good and true, with one catch: If you are tall (and I am, 5’9”) you might feel like going up a size in the Berkshire. Don’t. They really do comfortably accommodate long inseams without undue likelihood of laddering. The Berkshire is about 1” longer in the rise than the Hue though, and so it sits just a touch higher on the waist. If you feel more comfortable in a lower seated pair of tights, or fear the muffin top, I would have to nudge you again towards the Hue.
These are both terrific quality tights, value priced, and easy to find. I have a dozen outfits from last winter that these colors will freshen up beautifully, and make them look new again. To me, that is a terrific $10.00 spend. I think that Hue has done a better job of feeling contemporary than Berkshire has done, but only by slight degrees. I believe that you would get great wear and nice looks from either entry. The manufacturers web sites are linked above. You can also find them at Bare Necessities, Her Room, and countless other such online lingerie shops.
I have a big long list of tights, stockings and leggings from here and there, common and rare, cheap and tres, tres cher I will be writing about here. If you have any favorites you would like to see reviewed, or any hosiery related questions you would love an answer to, just drop a line in the comments section. I will be sure to get back to you, and will try to avoid walking into coffee tables.