Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Reviewed: Bianca Miller London 15 Denier Nude Tights

The entrepreneur Bianca Miller launched her own brand of nude tights for different skin tones in 2015.



The key concept behind Bianca Miller London has been to redefine ‘nude’ by catering to women of all complexions, with a range of skin tones. The initial collection includes tights and lace hold-ups.

Bianca Miller, created the brand after her own personal frustration of not being able to purchase the right colour for her skin tone. She entered BBC Business competition ‘The Apprentice’ in 2014 and beat 80,000 applicants and 18 candidates to make it to the final where she proposed her concept for ‘True Skin’. 


The show culminated in a hotly contested final but in AW 2015 ‘Bianca Miller London’ was born, with the brand intending to build on the direct enquiries from viewers of ‘The Apprentice’, where the brand proposition was viewed by over 120 million people worldwide.



The tights were launched as part of the new Bianca Miller London brand. You can find out more about the brand on the Bianca Miller London website. You can also follow Bianca Miller London on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Bianca Miller London kindly sent Hosiery For Men a sample of the Bianca Miller London 15 Denier Nude Tights to trial and review.



Packaging


The Bianca Miller London 15 Denier Nude Tights are elegantly packaged. The tights are folded around a card rectangle and then wrapped in a clear cellophane sleeve. Everything is then enclosed in a sturdy card envelope.





Material and features


The Bianca Miller London 15 Denier Nude Tights are described as:

15 Denier Gloss Tights. Bianca Miller London tights are designed to compliment your natural complexion by giving your legs coverage with a beautiful sheen. Silky and smooth to touch, these luxurious tights are perfect to complete a polished look – day and night.
The tights are made from 90% Nylon and 10% Elastane (LYCRA®).

They are not sheer to waist sheer tights, but have a brief/panty that is made of a denser yarn. The demarcation is very clear as can be seen in the photo below.



The tights feel very soft and smooth to the touch. When worn they have definite glossy sheen.

Seams are conventional (not flat) throughout. The brief/panty is pretty much low rather than high waist. The waistband is 3cm wide. The l/XL size that I trialled has a rear comfort panel.

Toes are lightly reinforced.

Fit and sizing


The Bianca Miller London 15 Denier Nude Tights are available in three sizes:

  • Small/Medium 
  • Medium/Large 
  • Large/Extra Large 

I tested the the Large/Extra Large size.



The L/XL size just about fitted by 5'10" height, but the tights were pretty much at full stretch. As mentioned above, the brief is somewhat low rise. It stretched above the waist but I would really have preferred a slightly deeper and more roomy fit.

The leg portion of the tights fitted really well on the leg with no bunching or wrinkling. They also felt very comfortable, with an overall pleasant wearing experience.

Colour range


The Bianca Miller London 15 Denier Nude Tights are available in eight nude skin tones:







I tried the Sand shade. This is described as:

A warm tone to give paler skins the more tanned look, perfect for Olive skin tones.

Price and availability

The Bianca Miller London 15 Denier Nude Tights retail for £12.00.

Conclusion

Firstly, I would like to congratulate Bianca Miller for her work in launching a new hosiery brand and creating such a buzz about it. That clearly takes enormous amounts of time and energy. It must be really pleasing for her to see her nude hosiery available in a range of stores.

Secondly, the Bianca Miller London brand is make an important contribution to diversity in hosiery. This development is being led by a number of remarkable women of colour who are committed to creating more inclusive products.

Reviewing the tights for a male perspective, I would have to state that the sizing was somewhat on the small size. If a genuine, standalone XL or plus size was created then this would be a definite improvement. I am sure that would also appreciated by larger women as well.

The retail price of £12.00 puts these tights very much in a mid-range pricing bracket and for that I think a number of other features could be included, such as making the tights sheer to waist and with flat seams.

The Bianca Miller London brand is still developing so hopefully feedback like this will be taken on board.

Thanks to Bianca Miller London for providing the sample to Hosiery For Men. We wish the brand all the best and hope it can continue to grow and develop.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Introducing Sheer Chemistry

We like to bring you the latest news and hottest trends in the hosiery industry here at Hosiery For Men.

Sheer Chemistry is a new hosiery brand that is developing a real buzz on social media



We recently caught up with Tahlia Gray, the founder of Sheer Chemistry and are really pleased to publish this interview.

If you want to show support for the brand and all the hard work that is going in to building it, do take a minute and vote for Sheer Chemistry in the VOOM competition (see below.

Sheer Chemistry? What’s the story behind this new brand?


It was whilst I working in New York in 2012, during a blisteringly cold winter that I was inspired to create Sheer Chemistry.

Working in a fast-paced, culturally-diverse city, I was dissatisfied with wearing black opaque tights and the beige coloured tones labelled ‘nude’. I found myself becoming more and more frustrated by the lack of hosiery products available for women of colour, which made me ask the question - "is my beauty valid?"

In affirmation, and realising there was a major gap in the market, I decided to create an empowering brand focused on validating and celebrating the beauty of women of all shades of brown. Women, who don't often see themselves reflected in the mainstream hosiery products available to them.

So, in 2013, I founded Sheer Chemistry, a hosiery brand specialising in tights for women of all shades of brown.



And who is behind Sheer Chemistry?


I am the founder and director of Sheer Chemistry, and also no stranger to a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia and of Jamaican heritage, I moved to London with my family at the age of 15. I’ve always had a keen interest in entrepreneurship, so I decided to study International Business at the University of Birmingham, UK. Since graduating in 2010, I have been fortunate enough to work in Santa Maria, Brazil; New York and London at some of the world’s largest multinational organizations, including Morgan Stanley and Linklaters.

Day to day, I work with a small but mighty team of brilliantly diverse women of colour to help me with the running of Sheer Chemistry, from brand and marketing, through to PR, finance and manufacturing.

Can you tell us the Sheer Chemistry range? What are the different styles, shades and sizes?


We’ve combined quality, style and comfort to bring our consumers tights that perfectly match their skin tone. With the radiant, confident and ambitious woman in mind, we offer a range of three products each designed to suit your lifestyle.

Sheer Radiance: 10 denier gloss tights.

Versatile sheer-to-waist tights, designed to make your legs stand out and feel radiant.

Sheer Ambition: 15 denier matt tights.

Studier, thicker tights, designed for everyday work wear.

Sheer Confidence: 15 denier matt control tights.

The ultimate confidence boost, designed to lift and shape your curves.



We have also worked tirelessly to perfect our five shades to ensure they match the skin tones of women of all shades of brown. Our shades are named after some of the world’s most desirable and cosmopolitan cities, to which our consumers have already been or have always dreamt of going: Havana Glow; Rio Romance; New York Soul; Nairobi Sunrise; and Parisian Dream.


Available in sizes S to XL, our tights are also designed to fit a range of shapes and sizes.





There are now a number of new and developing brands providing hosiery in different skin tones for women (and perhaps men) for, as you say, “different shades of brown”. What makes Sheer Chemistry unique?


Driven by a mission to create a more diverse perception of beauty, Sheer Chemistry gives women of colour the opportunity to find their perfect match, and empowers women to feel confident and gorgeous in your own skin.

Our proposition is unique: with five shades and three hosiery products, we are a hosiery brand that specifically targets and caters for women of all shades of brown, whether that’s black, mixed race, Latina, Middle Eastern or Asian women. Simply put, our tights are made to blend in so you can stand out!



You have just entered Sheer Chemistry in #VOOM 2016 to be in the running to pitch to Richard Branson and win investment from Virgin Media. Can you tell us more about this and how people can support you?


As a new brand scheduled to launch this Autumn, we want to tell the world about our amazing products and winning VOOM will enable us to do just that!

By voting for Sheer Chemistry you will not only help us launch our own e-commerce website and get our products stocked in stores globally, but you will help us challenge the traditional definitions of beauty and empower women around the world to feel confident and gorgeous in their own, brown skin.

To make this happen, we need to be in the top 80 on the leader board by 23 May and to get there, we need your help. Voting for Sheer Chemistry will just take one minute, so please vote and share the link with your friends and family to get them voting too!

You can vote at: https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/sheer-chemistry



You are developing a presence focused around awareness of diversity in hosiery and which responds to a diverse society, where one size or shade doesn’t fit all, so to speak. What are your thoughts on tights becoming more accepted as a gender-neutral fashion item for women and men?


Gender-neutral fashion is increasingly becoming the norm and I’m glad to see that men are embracing it and in fact, reclaiming hosiery. Let’s face it, back in the Tudor days, hosiery was created for men!

It's great to see that more brands are starting to incorporate tights for men in their product lines, whether that includes running tights to go under shorts or thermal tights for a wintry day. Tights are tights and men are reclaiming what is rightfully theirs.

To men thinking about trying tights, what would you say are the main benefits of wearing them?


The benefits are endless: supportive, warm, fashionable and with all the scientific benefits of compression gear.

Not to mention, in Sheer Chemistry tights they can be sure to feel confident and gorgeous in their own skin! The best part about them? Because our tights will perfectly match their skin tone, it won’t even look like they have tights on!

What are you planning next? How do you hope Sheer Chemistry will develop?


One of my favourite sayings is “Give a woman the right tights in her shade and she can conquer the world!” With that being said, once we WIN the VOOM competition, our plan is for world domination!

We will be officially launching Sheer Chemistry this Autumn, which will include the launch of our e-commerce site. Following this, our next big plan is to get Sheer Chemistry into UK shops and department stores. We want to become the hosiery brand of choice for the 2.6 black and minority ethnic consumer in the UK by helping them to celebrate their diversity, one pair of tights at a time.

What can people do if they have any questions about Sheer Chemistry or want to find out more?


You can email, Tweet, Instagram or Facebook us - we are everywhere our consumer is. We also have a website where you can read more about our unique product line and how to find your perfect shade.

Thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men Tahlia. I hope all our readers, male and fame, will check out Sheer Chemistry. We look forward to the launch in the autumn and hope you can get as many votes in the VOOM competition as possible. Please get voting everyone!


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Real Men Wear Tights: Spotlight on BalletBoyz

BalletBoyz are an award-winning independent dance company based in the UK.



We recently caught up with Georgette who works with the company and we are really pleased to publish this feature.

Can you tell us about BalletBoyz?


Michael Nunn and William Trevitt Co-Artistic Directors – BalletBoyz Michael and Billy met at the Royal Ballet Upper School and joined the Royal Ballet together in 1987. During their twelve years at The Royal Ballet between them they danced many of the Principal roles. In 2000 they co-founded BalletBoyz They danced all over the world for ten years and won numerous awards and accolades working with leading dancers, choreographers and designers.

Apart from your productions, what else does BalletBoyz offer?


BalletBoyz runs host of education programmes: a Dancer’s Course, Intensive workshops, a Parkinson’s Can Dance class for people suffering with Parkinsons disease, and inclusive classes for young people with disabilities. We are about to launch a new online Dance teaching tool Moovbank and release our first every feature film: Young Men. Plus we have produced numerous Dance Films, made television programmes and we are presenting Frame: The London Dance Film Festival in June 2016.



What are your current shows?


Life. is on tour in the UK at the moment, and will be touring again in the autumn. We will also be performing a one off “All The Best Bits” show at the Rose Theatre in June 12th as part of Frame Film Festival #Framefilmfest.



In publicity for BalletBoyz but also in your merchandise, you frequently use the slogan “Real Men Wear Tights”. Can you tell us why you adopted this?


We wanted to counter the perception that Ballet isn’t for Boyz. Men can be amazing, strong, graceful dancers and we can definitely rock a pair of tights!





One of our dancers Bradley Waller has recently told of his early dance experiences, which involved him choosing a career in ballet and quickly ending up in a pair of tights!

“Before I knew it I had tights on, I had ballet shoes on and I was in the studio.”

Do you feel that this openness and pride in wearing tights at BalletBoyz might help reduce some of the stigma that still exists about men wearing them?


Absolutely! The Boyz are proof that men can wear tights, dance beautifully in them and wow their audiences every performance.



Tights were originally worn by men. In recent years they are clearly becoming popular again - for their comfort and practicality, as well as a fashion trend (such as in the catwalk shows of Armani, Givenchy, Prada, agnès b and others). Do you see this trend continuing, and tights for men becoming more mainstream? 


David Beckham wore a sarong, men’s beauty products are now mainstream, the man bag is a thing – we think it could happen!

To men thinking about trying tights, what would you say are the main benefits of wearing them?


Comfort, ease of movement, warmth, flexibility and they make certain everyone can see your physique!

What will BalletBoyz be doing next?


We are looking forward to our autumn tour of Life #LifeBalletBoyz. We will also be releasing the film version of our World War One show Young Men.

How can people find out more about BalletBoyz?


Go onto our website www.balletboyz.com, if you are really keen do sign up to our newsletter. Or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


Thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men Georgette. I hope readers of the blog will enjoy reading about BalletBoyz and also knowing that real men do wear tights!

Just arrived: Oroblu Lady Form 20 Tights

Love Your Legs is a new and up coming tights and hosiery online retailer.



They have kindly sent us a pair of the Oroblu Lady Form 20 Tights to review for Hosiery For Men readers.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Reviewed: 'The Fifty' opaque tights by Heist

Tights Reimagined. That is the concept behind Heist, a new hosiery brand that was launched last year.


The press coverage of Heist tights has been extensive with features in blogs, magazines and newspapers such as the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Huffington Post and more.

A lot of the coverage suggest that these are 'perfect' tights.

When we heard that Heist also had plenty of guys buying these tights, it was time to get a pair to try and review them for Hosiery For Men readers to see what all the hype was about.

As far as I am aware this is the first review of Heist tights from a male perspective. In this review I evaluate the 'The Fifty' opaque tights by Heist.



About Heist

Tights Reimagined. That is the concept of Heist, a new hosiery brand that launched last year.

The range of tights developed by Heist were created after an extensive consultation exercise with the aim to develop a perfect and luxurious pair of black tights.



Heist tights have several key and, in some aspects, completely unique features:
  • They are completely seamless.
  • They are made with an exceptional Italian double covered yarn with 5x the spirals of regular tights (5000+).
  • They have a unique waistband which is made separately and then hand-sewn onto each pair of tights.
  • They come in a choice of two waistband heights - low and high.
  • Toe seams are tucked 3mm under the toes to give a streamlined silhouette for the entire foot.

There are three styles of Heist tights that are now available:

'The Thirty' sheer 30 denier tights

'The Fifty' opaque tights

'The Nude' 18 denier invisible tights


Heist tights are designed in their studio in London then knitted and hand sewn in a medieval town in Northern Italy.

This review focuses on 'The Fifty' opaque tights which I trialled in the high waist version.

Packaging
The tights arrived in without doubt the coolest and smartest packaging we have ever seen.





The tights are carefully folded and wrapped in white tissue paper that is sealed with a black 
Heist sticker.

Everything is enclosed in a sturdy, high quality black card box, that is then sealed with a matt paper strip.

Inside the box a card provides further information as well as care and washing instructions.





Material and features

'The Fifty' opaque tights by Heist are 88% Polyamide and 12% Elastane.

Heist describe the yarn used to make these tights as follows:

"The foundation of an extraordinary pair of tights is the yarn.

"What makes great yarn? It’s all about the spiral count, which measures the number of spirals of elastane in every inch — just like thread-count in sheets, the higher the count, the better.

"Our yarn comes from a mill in northern Italy and has a spiral count of up to 5000 spirals per inch. That’s 10x higher than your average pair of high street tights."


The tights are luxuriously soft to touch and feel quite exceptional on the skin.

Opaque coverage is consistent, although at 50 denier they are not completely opaque.

A key feature of the 'revolutionary' design developed by 
Heist is what is termed the 'endless' waistband. I can understand why Heist decided that this would be feature that they wanted to get absolutely right, as a poorly designed waistband will be uncomfortable and mean your tights need to be adjusted and repositioned frequently. In my experience the waistband is a key aspect that denotes quality and care in design and manufacture.

Heist explain that they: "knit a totally seamless loop of waistband on a separate machine, using an Italian fabric normally used in high end sports wear — then hand sew it to the legs of the tights."

As explained above, the waistband is available in two heights: low and high.

The waistband of the high waist version that I tested has a depth of 16cm and is made of a much denser fabric with a very high level of elasticity. The waistband stretched comfortably onto and over my hips and gripped firmly, almost like a control top. However, it wasn't uncomfortable at all.

The waistband is attached to the leg with an expertly engineered flat seam. On the outside of the thigh area, once can see that some additional stitching has also been made to provide further strength.

Inside the waistband is a satin label with the 
Heist logo.




Toes are not reinforced but 
Heist state that "the toe seams tuck three millimetres under the toes to give a streamlined silhouette for the entire foot."

Finally, 'The Fifty' opaque tights come without seams or a gusset. 
Heist describe the gusset in most tights as 'dreaded'. I am not sure why that is so, if the gusset has been well made (as it will be in premium brands such as Wolford and Falke.

However, there is clearly a trend now for manufacturers and designers to create seamless tights, and Heist are not the first to develop this style - Wolford, Falke, Trasparenze, Oroblu and Pierre Mantoux all offer seamless styles.


Heist explain that to get the unique feature of their particular seamless style they:

"abandoned the traditional method of sewing two tubes together and instead knit a single seamless tube, using a special, 3D knitting technique. This gives consistent stretch to the tights and eliminates unsightly rows of knitting lines that normally appear."




There are indeed no knitting lines. At the top of the inside thigh and across the bottom of the crotch area there is additional reinforcement. This is invisible when worn and clearly provides improved strength and durability is an area would normally receive more stretch and movement.

Fit and sizing
'The Fifty' opaque tights by 
Heist are available in three sizes:
  • Small
  • Medium 
  • Large 
I tested the the Large size.



'The Fifty' opaque tights were a superbly comfortable wearing experience. The fabric is amazingly soft on the leg and clings well with no wrinkling or bunching. Opaque coverage is consistent, although when the knees are bent the fabric stretches slightly. A higher opaque version would eliminate this. Perhaps 
Heist will launch 'The Eighty' or 'The One Hundred' versions in the future.

In appearance the tights are almost completely matt with hardly any sheen.

The yarn is quite breathable also. I wore them with shorts on a fairly warm May morning, and as the temperatures rose towards midday, the tights didn't overheat. My legs stayed cool and comfortable.

The high waistband gripped well without any over-tightening or unwanted compression. In the high waist version it sits on the hips and stretches over the waist. For male wearers it is important to note that the waistband sits slightly above the male equipment. I found the most comfortable option was to wear them with briefs underneath.

Colour range
'The Fifty' opaque tights by 
Heist are available in Jet Black only. This is the shade I tested.

Heist explain that the tights are dyed Jet Black (using Pantone 19-0303TPX because it gives the richest colour).



As described by 
Heist, the Jet Black colour is very dark and dense.

Price and availability
'The Fifty' opaque tights by 
Heist retail for £20.00 for the low waist style and £22.00 for the hight waist version.

Shipping across Europe and certain worldwide destinations is free.

If you sign up for the Heist newsletter you receive a £5.00 discount code for your first purchase.

The whole process of purchasing Heist tights was very easy and the (next day) delivery was super fast.

Conclusion
Well after all the publicity in the media and a certain amount of hype, it was good to be able to try these tights and evaluate them properly.

'The Fifty' opaque tights certainly have some great features such as the very innovative and unique waistband.

Having seamless tights is not a huge big deal for me, although I can see that for women wearing tight fitting clothing they may have some aesthetic advantages.

What I am looking for above all is fit and comfort, and 'The Fifty' opaque tights deliver this exceptionally well.

The Large size was a great fit and the leg length was quite generous. Most of all though they are a great wearing experience and the yarn feels wonderful on the leg.

Heist are already gaining male followers who are checking out their tights and I can see that segment of their customer base growing as more of us try them and see how they wear.

As mentioned above, you can get a £5 discount on your first pair which brings the price down to a reasonable £17.00 for the quality on offer. You can get this voucher by signing up to the Heist newsletter here: https://www.heist-studios.com/contact

Hopefully we will get a chance to review 'The Thirty' sheer 30 denier tights and
'The Nude' 18 denier invisible tights as well for Hosiery For Men readers.

You can get in touch with Heist to ask questions or send product feedback here: https://www.heist-studios.com/contact.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Conquering your fear - Wearing tights in public

We recently published a great blogpost from male legwear designer and 'tights guy' Jeffrey Scott on the 10 steps for men to wear tights as fashion - conquering your demons.



You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview with Jeffrey Scott.

Here is a recent video of Jeffrey providing further advice on wearing tights as fashion and steps you can take to conquer any fears about this.





You can also connect with Jeffrey Scott on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

49% of customers at Luxury Legs are men

A fascinating and informative infographic has just been created by leading hosiery retailer Luxury Legs.



They recently carried out a survey to identify who their customers were.

One of the results stands out: 49% of the customers buying tights, socks and other legwear at Luxury Legs are men!



The survey findings back up evidence we have from other hosiery retailers that men are a significant and growing part of the hosiery market.

Let's hope manufacturers pay attention to this and consider issues such as marketing and providing a better range of sizing options.

Here is the full infographic.





Make sure you also check out the fantastic range of tights, leggings and men's socks at Luxury Legs