Compared: Cheap, Mid-Price and Luxury Sheer Black Stockings

by Estelle Puleston

Disclaimer: The Fiore Justine stockings are sold at Esty Lingerie. This blog post contains affiliate links.

How much do you spend on your hosiery? A pair of stockings can set you back anything from £1 to £50 – or more. So what extra do you get for your money with expensive hosiery?

Typically, you’re looking at more detail – more luxurious laces, more intricate pattern and seaming details, better reinforcement at the heels and toes. But when it comes to simple, plain, undetailed hosiery, is it really worth splashing out or does a cheaper brand offer basically the same thing?

This year I’m investing more in my hosiery purchases (including trying fabrics other than nylon), and since sheer black stockings are kind of my signature look, I thought I’d compare brands at different price points to see if I should be spending more on those specifically – or maybe even less. The bulk of my hosiery purchases to date have been from Leg Avenue, Ann Summers and Veneziana, averaging £3-6 per pair.

I bought 3 pairs to try out, priced at £1.50, £3.99 and £13.50. I had also planned to also add a ‘deluxe’ option on top of that at £20+, but alas, I couldn’t find the right product. (In the interests of a fair comparison I wanted to buy all 20-denier stockings so that, in theory, they’d be equally delicate).

Below are my thoughts on the 3 pairs of stockings fresh out of the packet, and after 4 wears…


Cheap Brand


Gipsy 1006 Smooth Knit stockings in Black

Size: One Size

Price: £1.50

gipsy-sheer-black-stockings-600x450Gipsy stockings – pictured after 4 wears

review-gipsy-sheer-black-stockings-600x450Gipsy stockings – pictured after 4 wears

Straight out of the packet: Before you’ve even got to the product itself, you can see that these are budget stockings – they were squashed into a tiny, nondescript box, though luckily stockings don’t get ‘crumpled’ as such so they looked perfectly smooth when I put them on. I surprised myself by liking the fit of these better than their more expensive counterparts! It was excellent despite the generic ‘one size’ option, and I liked that they have reinforced toes which even the pricier Fiore ones don’t.

After 4 wears: Unfortunately, after just one wear and wash I noticed some pulls in the fabric. After 4, well, you can see for yourself in the photos. They have pulls everywhere. The reinforced toes held up well, but it seemed like the tiniest brush against something was enough to snag these.


Mid-Price Brand


Fiore Justine stockings in Black

Size: 2

Price: £3.99

fiore-sheer-black-stockings-600x450Gipsy stockings – pictured after 4 wears

review-fiore-sheer-black-stockings-600x450Gipsy stockings – pictured after 4 wears


Straight out of the packet: According to Fiore’s size chart I’m a size 1, but as I like my stockings to be high on the leg I bought a size 2 and am glad I did – they fit me pretty well and I wouldn’t size down. The double welt at the top of these looks much nicer than the single band at the top of the Gipsy stockings, and they have a neater finish here too.

After 4 wears: As you can see, they show almost no wear! There’s a tiny snag on the left knee, but in stark contrast to the Gipsy stockings they still look new and smooth.


Luxury Brand


Gerbe Altesse RHT stockings in Black

Size: Medium

Price: £13.50

gerbe-sheer-black-stockings-600x450Gerbe stockings – pictured after 4 wears

review-gerbe-black-sheer-stockings-600x450Gerbe stockings – pictured after 4 wears


Straight out of the packet: In comparison to the other two products, it’s clear that this is a luxury item. The packaging was better, they come with both a (very deep) reinforced toe and a reinforced heel, and the stockings are shaped (whereas the Gipsy and Fiore stockings are essentially tubes, when laid flat the Gerbe ones have the shape of a leg and foot) which I assume is to give a better fit. However, the first time I put them on they came up a lot shorter than the other 2 pairs and left me wishing I’d bought a Large!

After 4 wears: Luckily, after a couple of wears and washes they appear to have stretched out and fit me better. The reinforced toes and heels are in perfect condition, and mostly they only have a handful of small pulls. However, see that big black bit on the left thigh? That’s from rubbing against my skirt hemline, the same skirt I wore with both of the other pairs of stockings no problem!


The Verdict

So, which pair is the best? There were things I liked, and didn’t like, about all three. The Gipsy ones are actually on par with Leg Avenue for quality and longevity (which is not to say that they’re good quality – rather that Leg Avenue is overpriced!), and if you’re only interested in wearing them once, they’re just fine. But they started to look so terrible so quickly that whilst they may be cheap, they’re not value for money. You’re getting what you pay for.

The Fiore stockings were my first product from this brand, and I love them! At slightly more than the Gipsy stockings, they looked nicer and lasted much better. The non-reinforced toes however leave me doubtful that they will last that long, since I walk at least 5 miles per day.

The Gerbe ones sure looked the part for the high price-tag, and I felt like I was wearing a luxury product. Let’s assume for a moment that the big black mark was a fluke – because this has never happened to any hosiery I’ve owned before, ever – in which case, they’re still in pretty good condition. I’m not sure you’re getting better value for money than with Fiore, but at £13.50 I don’t find them overpriced.

Personally? I’ll be buying more of the Fiore stockings for day-to-day wear and splashing out elsewhere – on fancier designs and different fabrics. I just didn’t find enough difference between the £3.99 and £13.50 pairs to justify spending that much more.

How much do you spend on your hosiery? Have you noticed a quality difference between hosiery at different prices?


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Leave a Comment


Kirsty April 15, 2020 - 8:34 pm

This is a subject I debate quite a bit when choosing what to stock.
I can’t see the point in paying a lot for hosiery, esp as one slightly rough nail can snag even the hardiest of stockings. Likewise, pay not enough and the feel and fit isn’t as nice.
For plain everyday stockings, I use, and happily sell ones that are £2.50 per pair, and are fab for the price.

Steve Ryan April 15, 2020 - 10:34 pm

i am glad to be able to contribute for the second time to an informative post by Estelle. Whilst, being male, I have never worn stockings I am able to notice the difference in quality; the pulling on the fibre being the most obvious as mentioned. To the casual stockings wearer this may not be obvious but it is to me. My experience is that you get what you pay for. An expensive pair of traditional stockings not only look better but washed correctly probably in the long run are better value for money.

Estelle April 15, 2021 - 7:06 pm

Whilst I am happy to pay more for ‘fancy’ stockings, there is a limit because unless they’re opaques, they’re going to be delicate regardless. And I don’t fancy snagging a hole in a \A350 pair of stockings! (I did once own a pair of £350 Agent Provocateur silk stockings – not paid for myself – and they were just awful. They had snags like the Gipsy pair after 2 or 3 wears, it really put me off expensive hosiery for a while!).

I think if you’re on a budget the key is to shop around. Some £32.50 ones might fall apart, some might last well. And if you find a brand or product that’s excellent value for money, buy in bulk! 😀

Estelle April 15, 2021 - 7:12 pm

I think the snagging on the cheap pair is pretty obvious to anyone 😉

Though I did for YEARS wear high-street branded hosiery that snagged like this, and I just thought that’s what happened with hosiery. I was over the moon when I discovered hosiery-specialist brands like Veneziana & realised that not all products are like that.