As some of you probably know I’m a huge lingerie fan, particularly vintage style lingerie, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve done a post anything lingerie related. So, when I met the lovely Claire from Claireabella’s Closet at The Dig For Victory Show, and she asked me if I would like to review some of her own brand hosiery, I jumped at the chance. Quite literally. I think she was surprised by my overly enthusiastic reply!
If you’re not aware of Claireabella’s Closet (where have you been?!), they offer a wide range of clothing and accessories from well-known vintage, retro, rockabilly and alternative brands such as Voodoo Vixen, Lindy Bop and Hell Bunny on both their website and their eBay shop. They also have a large and ever-growing range of tights, stockings and hold-ups on there which are from their very own brand. Claire and her husband also travel around the country selling at a lot of vintage events and often have much more on offer than what’s on the website. When I met them Claire showed me a whole rail of fabulous vintage style dresses she’d made herself. She’s really quite talented you know.
All of this led to Claireabella’s Closet being nominated for Best Vintage Reproduction Company in The National Vintage Awards this year and being one of the final three shortlisted to win. Unfortunately, they weren’t the winner but they were in the company of two really big names in vintage clothing, Heyday! Vintage and Lindy Bop, so that’s a pretty amazing achievement.
Claire gave me a varied selection of what she offers to review which includes Black / Red Jive Seam Tights, American Tan Tights, Black Vintage Nylon Stockings and Lace Parlour Footlets. It’s taken me a while to put this post together, mainly because I really wanted to give them all a good test run to give you a true and honest opinion about how they fair in everyday life. All the opinions and views expressed in these reviews are completely my own and are based on real experience.
Vintage Sheer Nylon Stockings
When I first opened the packet and took out these Vintage Sheer Nylon Stockings I instantly fell in love. They are really soft and beautifully fine, despite being a medium opaque look, and have a good sturdy wide welt and reinforced toes. They are available in one size of 8 – 14 which I was slightly worried about as I always buy stockings based on my height, due to being only 5ft 3 with short legs! However, when I put them on I was pleasantly surprised by the length of them. They stopped just above mid-thigh but still had a little bit of stretch for those a bit taller or prefer to wear stockings quite high.
The stretchiness is due to the fabric make up of 92% nylon and 8% elastane. This give them both a vintage look and feel as well as modern practicality. I’m sure ladies in the 1940s and 50s would’ve loved elastane in their nylons! These stockings faired well wearing them as simple daywear hosiery and didn’t tend to go baggy and loose over the course of the day as some modern stockings do, so I wasn’t hiking them up constantly. These are a light stocking and barely felt like I was wearing them, however, they were fairly warm so are a great Spring or Autumn option.
Black Stiletto Heel Tights with Red Jive Seam
I’ve always loved red seams on tights and stockings but have always steered away from them because they’re a modern interpretation of the classic seamed stockings, which I love so much. However, they are brilliant for a fun night out, especially when teamed with either a bright red or black dress which really makes the seams pop out. The Black Stiletto Heel Tights with Red Jive Seam are a similar composition to the nylon stockings with 94% nylon, 6% elastane which makes them quite fine and soft. I have to admit I snagged them when I first put them on, but then I always have long nails so it’s my own fault for not being more careful.
The toes, under foot and heel are all reinforced with a matching red colour and this is replicated on the crutch seam for added strength. Depending on what you prefer you can show the red under foot slightly when wearing shoes by gently twisting them on your foot, but can also completely hide it by making sure they are on completely straight. I prefer to hide it, so from the front they look just like any other pair of tights, but when you turn around you get the full effect of the red seams.
These tights come in one size of 8 – 14, which, once again, made me slightly apprehensive about the length. These were slightly longer than I like to wear and the crutch part is definitely designed for those of a taller frame but the waistband fitted comfortably and didn’t become loose over the course of the few hours I wore them. I didn’t really experience any wrinkling at the ankle, however, which is likely due to the added elastane.
American Tan Tights
I was quite excited when Claire handed these to me. I’ve got memories of girls in the 1980s and 90s either absolutely loving or absolutely hating American Tan Tights but I’ve never actually seen them in real life. The reason they were so popular was because they made your legs look beautifully tanned like the California girls of Baywatch and Beverley Hills 90210. The reason they hated them was because they were quite thick and often resembled old lady Nora Batty style hosiery rather than Pamela Anderson glamour!
Roll on 20 odd years and things have improved. These tights, made in the UK, from Claireabella’s Closet are 30 denier, have a great stretch to them and feel and look like a soft tulle netting. Again they come in a one size of size 8 – 14, but did feel a little bit longer than the red seamed tights. The crutch was a good length, although they were slightly bigger around the waist and had a good stretch to them which may allow for a size 16 wearer.
My only problem was the colour. Don’t get me wrong, they definitely resemble a good fake tan, but I am super pale, as you can see in the comparison shot, and they looked a little odd with the rest of my body being really white! I did, however, wear them out one evening and in darker light they actually didn’t look so noticeable. I do think they would be a great pair of tights if you’re tanned, naturally or otherwise, and don’t fancy going bare legged. And, of course, they’re great for those who love 80s and 90s vintage as they really would create a classic look from that era.
Natural Lace Parlour Footlets
When Claire said to me that these were called Parlour Footlets I was taken aback. I’ve never heard them called this before but think it’s a rather more appealing name than what I know them as, Peds. These are also rather more elegant than the solid nude colour ones you always seem to be able to buy. Footlets, or Peds, whatever you call them, are usually worn when wanting to wear shoes but keep your legs bare. These particular ones, however, are lovely to be worn as a simple slipper.
The lace on these footlets is very pretty and go across the entire thing creating quite a sweet look. I think they’d be particularly lovely in other colours too, not just nude. I did wear them with my shoes one day, something I never really bother with and tend to go bare feet, but initially I didn’t put them on very well and the part around the ankle really dug in. Once I’d adjusted them, so there was more fabric towards the back of the foot, they were much more comfortable.
All in all, I was really impressed with Claireabella’s Closet’s hosiery. The quality is really good and, at an average of about £6.95 each, are really well priced. I’ll definitely be wearing the stockings and red seamed tights again, and I have worn the footlets a couple of times around the house, but I think I’ll keep the American Tan Tights for those darker evenings where the colour difference with the rest of me isn’t so obvious!