Understanding Hosiery Deniers. A Simple Guide.

I am ashamed to admit that deniers have always confused me, which, seeing as I have worked in textiles all my life is a bit embarrassing to fess up to.

It all just seems so confusing….


Technically, the denier concept was initially applied to natural fibres, such as silk and cotton, but over time this has included synthetic fibres, such as rayon and nylon. A denier is a measurement that is used to identify the fibre thickness of individual threads or filaments used in the creation of cloth. One denier means that 9,000m of yarn weighs one gram. This means that denier relates to the weight (i.e. thickness) of the yarn.

Here’s a picture of a denier balance that is used in textile labs around the world:


Got it?

No….me neither!

In simple terms, the lower the denier, the sheerer and more fragile the hosiery is. The higher the denier the more opaque (less see through) and thicker the hosiery becomes. As with most things, however, there are exceptions. To bewilder the hosiery buyer even more there are now certain ‘up market’ hosiery brands that appear sheerer than their denier, so they offer sheerness and strength!


Anyway, here’s The Hosiery Queens basics to deniers:

  • Ultra-Sheers are usually less than 10 denier and will smooth out blemishes for the ultimate bare leg look. Ultra-Sheers are ideal in hot weather and for glamorous evening translucency. You can also wear Ultra-Sheers with strappy sandals as most have sheer toes. Ultra-Sheers are also terribly fragile and easily snagged, so keep the clear nail polish handy!



  • Sheers are the mainstream classic hosiery at 10 to 20 denier.  Sheers are slightly thicker than the Ultra-Sheer. With Sheers it will be obvious you are wearing hosiery and they are ideal for everyday wear. Sheers are a little more durable than its more fragile sister and are also less likely to snag.

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  • Semi-Opaques are stronger than Sheers at around 21 to 40 denier. Semi-Opaques are not yet Opaque but they are more durable than Sheers.  You can also still see the skin through the texture.

semi opaques imagesCAICS4RU imagesCAAOFKJ8 imagesCAQYB4IA

  • Opaques are from 40 denier up and can also be referred to as ‘tights’ because of their solid structure and full coverage. Opaques are great for the  start of winter and colour blocking.

imagesCA452WV3  imagesCAOWU6LR imagesCAY3S5W3opaqueimagesCA0MW0LW

  • Thick Opaques will be around 70 to 99 denier. These are the heavier, longer lasting members of the hosiery family and are also ideal for winter.

imagesCAI7LZJR imagesCASIAXAE imagesCAV73UU7 imagesCAIR3UTY

Finally, the big daddy of hosiery is the:

  • Mega Thick Opaque at 100 Denier Plus.  These are great alternatives to leggings and woolly tights and are absolutely perfect for bitterly cold winters.

imagesCAJM2PRN  yyyy imagesCARZTA2E

I hope this little insight into the hosiery family helps. As you can see understanding the different deniers, and the names associated with them, is invaluable.  Differing weights and thicknesses will affect style, comfort, warmth, and appearance.

The Hosiery Queen x

Not ‘just another pair of fishnets’, The Hosiery Queen offers exclusive patterned hosiery at affordable prices using the latest seamless technology available.  Launching in September 2013 our fashion hosiery will elongate and slim your pins and will change the way you accessorise your legs forever.


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4 responses to “Understanding Hosiery Deniers. A Simple Guide.

  1. Pingback: Layering Tights and Hosiery | The Hosiery Queen - The HQ

  2. Great insight and very helpful when buying for my wife regular hosiery, and me. I have to wear compression hose for edema following 2 knee surgeries. I’m still a new wearer, but love the sheer best. Thanks.

      • Sorry I missed your reply Hosiery Queen. Thank you for your reply. My wife is going from a casual wearer to more frequent wearer of pantyhose. She looks great in sheer nude hose. Thank you for this website for pantyhose lovers like myself.

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