Hosiery is a fine and delicate thing that needs to be looked after and cared for, not manhandled and abused. If you’re just going to grab your favourite pair from a chaotic drawer stuffed full of other clothes and shove your legs into them without much attention then they aren’t going to last very long. We want to make sure your beautiful hosiery stays beautiful and gives you joy for much longer, so we’ve created our very own care guide to help you.
Storing Your Hosiery
There are some amazing innovative hosiery storage ideas out there such as the Stoxbox (pictured above). This cute little box was invented by Danielle Ashcroft after she bought a pair of stockings, not realising she already had the exact same pair at home because they were lost in an unorganised drawer. To use, you simply insert the Stoxbox into the tights or stockings and push all of the garment into a hole, leaving the fabric stretched over the box, then stack them in a drawer.
However, this costs money and there are simpler and cheaper ways of storing your hosiery neatly and in an organised manner. The first option, and one that I find it more suitable to stockings, is keeping hold of the original packaging. Once you’ve worn and washed them place them back in the cardboard and bag they came in and line them up in a drawer.
With tights either roll or fold each pair so they are ready to be stored neatly. Then place each one into an individual sandwich bag to keep each one separate in your drawer. Or, for a more pleasing aesthetic idea, buy some drawer dividers and separate each section to hold the same or similar colours.
Putting Your Hosiery On
Before putting on any tights or stockings it is best to add a little moisturiser to both your feet and legs. This will help to soften the skin, making sure that dry skin and calluses don’t snag against the fabric. It will also help to keep your legs feeling smooth throughout the day.
You should also check your finger and toe nails to make sure they don’t have any sharp edges that might get caught on the finely knitted fibres. If you have long nails use hosiery gloves to make sure they don’t pierce a hole in the fabric as you are pulling them up. Also check the skin either side of the nail as this can become loose and cause snagging. Finally remove all jewellery that may come in contact with the hosiery, particularly rings.
When you are ready gather the stocking or one of the tight legs all the way down to the toe. Slip it on to the foot and smooth it over the heel. Gently work the garment up the leg, moving your hands from the front to back as you go to create a smooth finish. Don’t pull or yank at the fabric and try avoiding contact with the very tips of your nails. Trust me, it’s not fun putting a beautifully manicured nail straight through a brand new pair of stockings!
Remove the hosiery in very much the same way. Unclip any suspender clips first, don’t take a suspender belt and stockings off as if they were tights. Roll or gather the fabric down towards the toe and then gently pull off.
Washing Your Hosiery
Ideally, like lingerie, hosiery should be hand washed using a mild detergent or even a baby shampoo. Allow the items to soak for a good five minutes and then gently squeeze the soapy water through each leg with your hands, making sure all rings and sharp nail edges are removed first. Never wring or twist the stockings or tights as this will weaken the fibres.
Rinse by running them under a lukewarm tap and then squeeze them carefully to remove any excess water. Finally lay them on a towel, which you can roll up as tight as possible, to dry them. Drape them over a rail to let them air properly before putting them away.
If you just don’t have the time to wash your hosiery by hand then make sure you insert them into lingerie washing bags before adding them to the machine. Choose a cool cycle or even a delicate items one, if you have it. Once they are done hang them on a rail to dry, never put them in a dryer or iron them.
Hosiery Care Tips
Nobody can completely avoid things like children’s wandering hands, animals claws or unexpected furniture so holes and ladders will always happen. Just make sure you carry around a small pot of clear nail varnish in your bag for emergencies when you’re out and about and dab it on the edges to stop any further damage. This has saved me a few times, I can tell you!
Choose hosiery that has reinforced toes, and top section for tights, as these strengthen these more vulnerable areas. You can also buy stockings that have reinforced heels for added protection. And, of course, there are some brands that produce run resist items, but just remember they’re not 100% guaranteed against modern living.
When wearing stockings make sure your suspender clips are of good quality, preferably metal hooks and rubber stoppers rather than plastic, and aren’t damaged in any way before attaching them to the welt.