Denier? Gauge? If you love to wear vintage stockings, but you're confused about all those terms from days gone by, read on! After all, there is more to buying a stocking than the heel to toe measurement.
Denier refers to the thickness of the nylon thread. The lower the denier, the more sheer and fragile the stocking. 30 and 20 denier are multifilament and are therefore stronger. 15 denier is a single thread, which is very sheer.
Gauge refers to the number of stitches per 1 1/2 inches. The more stitches, the better the the fabric because it is denser and has more stretch.
Certain combination of denier and gauge work especially well. Each produces a particular weight and type of stocking intended for various uses.
30 denier 45 gauge stockings are sheer looking but practical for everyday use. This combination is great for women who walk a great deal in the course of a day.
30 denier 51 or 54 gauge stockings are not sheerer than 45's, but are made from a finer fabric that is stronger and longer wearing.
20 denier 51 or 54 gauge stockings are slightly more sheer than 30 denier, but still strong enough for everyday wear. This weight has a slightly more crepe-y texture and a duller finish.
15 denier 51 or 54 gauge stockings are very sheer and are considered a dressy stocking. These stockings are somewhat fragile and need to be worn with care. 15 deniers won't take the wear and tear that 30 deniers will.
15 denier 60 gauge stockings are one of the finest and most expensive stockings made. They are less fragile that 51 gauge, because they are more closely woven with finer stitches.