Make some leg room: our hosiery expert is waiting to answer your questions

There is nothing our Fenwick Bond Street hosiery expert, Sue Harrison, doesn't know about making the most of your legs. With more than 40 years experience she has seen every trend from sheers to stockings via support tights. We asked her to solve our hosiery dilemmas but if you have a question you can post it on Instagram or Twitter @Fenwickbondst using the hashtag #asksue and she will get back to you or, even better, why not pop into our new Leg Room department, and ask her in person.

asksueinstagram 1

1. How long should tights last?

That all depends on how you treat them. We have a Wolford Satin Deluxe tight with a backseam, which people replace after ten years. Remember to wash them in a hosiery bag or a pillowcase to avoid snagging, and fabric conditioner is the number one enemy for tights because it breaks down the fibres.

2. Can I guess my size?

I advise all my customers to always look at the size chart on the back of the packaging. Women think if they are slim, they need a small size but they have to factor in the height too. This is especially important with opaques where the finish has to be dense you don't want them to be too stretched.

3. How can I find the perfect nude?

By holding swatches that contain a ladder against your skin. If you can see the ladder, it’s the wrong shade but if the ladder disappears, you’ve found the perfect match.

4. What looks more invisible - shine or matt tights?

Matt tights give a more cosmetic powder-like finish whereas tights with a sheen give a more natural glow. They reflect the skin’s natural luster, giving an almost invisible effect.

5. Why do my hold-ups lose their stick?

It could be how you are storing them. Always remember to close the tops of your hold ups before putting them away as any dust will attach to the inside and will stop them adhering to your leg as well. And never put body lotion on your legs before wearing hold ups as it makes them slip.

FALKE Noble 42008

Pictured: Noble stockings, £16, Falke 

6. Why do I always ladder my sheer tights?

Probably because you're not taking your time. You have to put them on slowly and smoothly - it's when you do it with a jerk that accidents happen. Gather the fabric and ease them up your leg, take them first to the knee and then to the hip rather than yanking them up your whole leg from the ankle.

7. How do I stop them getting stuck half-way up?

Damp hands will adhere to your tights helping you to ease them up your legs. Wet your hands, shake off the excess and take your tights up your legs with your palms and fingers flat. Keep dampening them and running them over your legs several times so that the effect is even.

8. How can I stop silk dresses sticking to my tights?

Very faintly dust a light non-greasy body lotion over your leg when your tights are on from where the hem finishes to the tops of your thighs. Make sure you don’t put your dress on until the very end to ensure it isn't marked by the lotion.

9. Can I stop my boot zips snagging my tights?

Yes take an old pair of knee-highs and chop off the band at the top and put it on over the tights you're wearing where the zip usually catches. Then the only thing that will snag is the old high-top band.

10. Are there any tights to approach with caution?

Be wary of fishnets if your legs are not stick thin - they can create bulges. I take pictures of all the tights I buy and if they don’t look flattering in the picture, I don’t buy them.

Fascinating facts from some of our favourite brands

1. Fogal

Pictured: All Nude pantyhose, £20, Fogal, available at Fenwick Bond Street

  • Fogal was founded in 1923 in Zurich and was the first brand to create pantyhose made of fine cashmere and silk.
  • Using the latest technology, Fogal processed natural fibres to achieve never-been-seen-before fineness and softness.
  • Fogal partnered with the filmmakers of The Great Gatsby to create The Gatsby Collection by Fogal. Featuring colourful variations of Jazz age-inspired tights of the era, it illustrated the timelessness of the design that still resound a century later.

2. Wolford

Pictured: Sophie tights, £33, Wolford, available at Fenwick Bond Street, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Canterbury, Colchester, Kingston, Leicester, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells, Windsor, York.

  • In 1950, Wolford took conventional American knitting machines and used them to make synthetic-fibre and pure silk ladies stockings, it was an innovation that set them apart as it was almost impossible for competitors to copy.
  • Although created in Paris, in 1968 Wolford was the first to bring a suspenderless stocking with adjustable support tops. The new stocking could accommodate any thigh dimension with a simple adjustment.
  • In 1998, all the buildings that manufacture Wolford tights were waterproofed to prevent any seepage of chemicals or waste water from reaching the ground water.

Spend £90 on Wolford in our new Leg Room at Fenwick Bond Street, and receive a gift (while stocks last) as well as enter our raffle for a chance to win an amazing Wolford wardrobe worth £500 simply by registering with us.

3. Pretty Polly

Pictured: Naturals Oiled tights, £6, Pretty Polly, available at Fenwick Bond Street, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Colchester, Kingston, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells

  • It takes 164 seconds to knit one leg of Pretty Polly Suspended Tights.
  • There are 2.8 million stitches in one pair of tights.
  • Pretty Polly was named after a legendary race horse.
  • In 1967, Pretty Polly invented and launched hold-ups, it was also the first company in the world to produce five denier hosiery.
  • More than 90 per cent of its hosiery is designed and manufactured at its West Mill factory in Derbyshire.

4. Falke

Pictured: Treasure tights, £16, Falke, available at Fenwick Bond Street, Brent Cross, Colchester, Kingston, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells, Windsor. 

  • Founded in Berlin in 1895, Falke is still a family business today and is operating in more than 30 countries.
  • Falke’s Pure Shine hosiery is specifically developed using Japanese yarn with a special hydrophilic effect, which whisks any moisture away from your skin helping your legs to stay cooler.
  • Burlington, which is part of the Falke portfolio, is famous for its Argyle sock which is made in more than 100 different colours.
  • Falke’s Cotton Delight sock is knitted using 200 needles to give a refined and elegant appearance.

5. Pierre Mantoux

Pictured: Passion 40 tights, £13.99, Pierre Mantoux, available at Fenwick Bond Street

  • Pierre Mantoux tights undergo no less than 16 stages in their production, with six of those performed by hand.
  • In 1984, The New York Times declared that the brand’s founders, Remo and Velia, were responsible for transforming a mass-produced item into a a creative representation of fashion. Among its many fans, Princess Diana was the most famous.
  • In the Noughties, the brand expanded into knitwear, nightwear and swimwear.

6. Jonathan Aston

Pictured: Luminosity tights, £10, Jonathan Aston, available at Fenwick Bond Street, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Kingston, Tunbridge Wells. 

  • The company began as a family of hosiery wholesalers in 1933, while the Jonathan Aston brand was conceived in the mid-1960s when patterning machines became available, enabling the company to develop many unique designs.
  • Jonathan Aston won UK Hosiery Brand of the Year for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013.
  • Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Jonathan Aston continues to be favoured by celebrities including Rihanna, Emily Blunt and Fearne Cotton.
  • To mark its anniversary the brand is launching two exclusive collections for autumn/winter 2015 with Celia Birtwell and Zandra Rhodes.

By Claire Brayford