Bridal Lingerie Glossary of Terms

Don't know your control top from your sheer-to-waist? Use our hosiery glossary of terms to get the best big-day style and fit.
by The Knot

Pantyhose are pantyhose, right? Wrong. Avoid taking a disastrous turn in the hosiery department by brushing up on some crucial lingerie-for-the-legs lingo.

Technical Stuff

  • Combed Cotton: Cotton that has been “combed" to remove short fibers and impurities to make it stronger and more uniform in appearance.
  • Denier: The weight of the yarn per unit length; the lower the denier, the lighter the yarn and the sheerer the hose.
  • Gusset: Industry term to describe the sewn-in crotch panel of pantyhose; can be all nylon, all cotton, or a mix of both.
  • Lycra Spandex: Registered trademark for the Spandex fiber; offers superior stretch in all styles of hosiery, as well as better fit, support, and shape retention.
  • Natural Fibers: Cotton, wool, and silk.
  • Nylon: Man-made synthetic fiber known for its strength, durability, elasticity, and easy cleaning.
  • Spandex: Man-made fiber that can stretch to over five times its size and fully recover its shape.


  • Dress Sheers: Sheer hose of 15-20 denier yarn.
  • Evening Sheers: Sheer hose of 10-15 denier yarn, usually spun to create a satin finish.
  • Glimmer: Sheer or opaque hose made with highly reflective yarns.
  • Knee Highs: Hosiery with elastic tops that extend from the foot to below the knee (no garters required to keep them up).
  • Matte: Hosiery with a dull finish; no shine.
  • Opaque: Hosiery usually made of 40 denier or greater yarn; has a heavier, less see-through appearance.
  • Pantyhose: Stockings and panty in one waist-high garment; usually synonymous with sheer rather than opaque hosiery.
  • Plus Size: Hosiery for fuller figures; also known as Queen Size.
  • Reinforced: Usually refers to the toe portion; strengthened with heavier yarns.
  • Sandaltoe: Hosiery with a sheer toe to be worn with open-toed shoes; also known as Sandalfoot.
  • Seamless: Hosiery without seams.
  • Sheers: Hosiery that is see-through; fashioned from 7 denier to 20 denier yarns.
  • Sheer-to-Waist: Hosiery without visible reinforcement or panty lines.
  • Stockings: Hosiery that extends to the upper thigh and must be held up with garters or a garter belt.
  • Thigh-Highs: Hosiery that extends to the upper thigh and is held in place by a lace-covered elastic band; can also be worn with a garter belt.
  • Tights: Heavy opaque hosiery made from usually 40 denier or greater yarn.
  • Ultra Sheer: The sheerest possible hosiery made with 20 denier or less yarn.


  • Body Shapers: Sheer or opaque undergarments that provide maximum support for the tummy, hips, thighs, and buns.
  • Control Top: Sheer or opaque pantyhose with Spandex; provides extra support for and slims problem areas, i.e. tummy, hips, thighs, and buns.
  • Firm Support: Like Control Top, only made with heavier weights of Spandex to provide optimum support.
  • Girdle Top: Pantyhose with a girdle sewn in for maximum tummy control.
  • Graduated Support: Support hosiery with a variable degree of Spandex tightness up and down the leg.
  • Light Support: Hosiery made with a low denier Spandex (40 or lower) to provide lighter support.
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