Tights from the high street

The great tights test by guest writer Lilly

Compare tights from the high street v luxury designer tights

it’s a minefield of thicknesses, finishes and fabrics
I recently had an epiphany in the Marks & Spencer tights department. You’d have thought that epiphanies should take place somewhere inspiring, and be about something substantive – the meaning of life, say, in York Minster. But mine was about black opaque tights, at Marble Arch. Was it worthwhile educating me? Probably not.

The problem is that it used to be simple: Marks & Spencer had one sort and you bought those. Now, it’s a minefield of thicknesses, finishes and fabrics: 30, 40, 60 or 100 denier, woolly ?or nylon, slimming fit or body-sensor temperature control blah. Marks & Spencer alone produces 17 different types – two 30 denier, six each in 40 and 60, and two in 100 denier, and that’s what prompted my epiphany: that I needed ?to road-test as many plain black opaques as possible and report back. So this week it’s under-£10 high street and Marks & Spencer; next week, designer. I make no apologies for it being Marks & Spencer-heavy, because the sheer amount of choice there is confusing – well, it confused me, but I’m quite stupid. It’s also, I imagine, where most of us turn in our hour of opaque need as well as to spice up the underwear drawer.

First, the answer to “What denier?” is 60; 30 and 40 are just too thin. Tights should be either very thick or very sheer, not in-between. Second, the tighter your budget, the thicker the tight you should go for. For instance, Marks & Spencer’s 40 denier Outstanding Value 3-pack (£3.50; marksandspencer.com) felt very thin and flimsy, but the 60 denier Outstanding Value 3-pack, £3.50, were marvellous, and pretty much the answer for everyday. If you can step up to £8, then the 3-pack of 60 denier Black Opaques are a lot softer and more luxurious. But cream of the Marks & Spencer crop, and well worth it if you’re getting your pins out – and I am, since you ask – are the wonderful 60 denier Luxury Velvet Touch Tights  or (hurray!) hold-ups, which are so good they give Wolford a run for its money.

If you like a fine, woolly tight (I don’t they remind me of school), then the 60 denier Autograph Luxury Cotton Cashmere tightsare the ones; the 100 denier Autograph Luxury Merino Wool  are very woolly, yet bizarrely thin and see-through. If you like a properly thick, woolly tight, go for the cosy 100 denier Cotton Rich Thermals
Elsewhere, Levante 50 denier Suede Matte opaques (£6; mytights.com) are excellent basics, and I liked the Aristoc 60 denier Velveteens (£6; mytights.com). John Lewis own-brand ?60 and 80 denier opaques are comfy, with a lovely, soft thickness to them, but they have a sheen that I can do without, while Pretty Polly XXtra opaques (£8; mytights.com) are OK, but I can’t really see why you’d pay £8 for one pair when the same amount will get you a very nice three-pack at Marks & Spencer. And that, for the record, is as deep as my thinking ever gets.