Hosiery Institute

One that tights can’t live without – Waistbands

      Ever since tights were introduced, the waistband plays pivotal part in comfortableness.  Many manufactures and brands develop various types of waistband to provide great comfort.  In this article, we will look at the various types of waistband out there.

Types of waistband

      The majority of the waistbands we see today are either knitted or made of elastic band.  It can be hand or machine-sewn.  Both types have advantages and disadvantages, which you can see in the table below:

WidthVary, from 0.5cm to more than 20cmGenerally 2.5cm (1 inch) wide
TensionCan be applied or be pressure-freeSome tension
ComfortVaryPlush can be added on the inner side for extra comfort
Brand signatureYesYes
Gerbe Voile 15 08
A Knitted waistband, which also printed with the brand’s signature.
Wolford Fine Cotton Rib tights 05
An example of elastic band-type waistband.

      Basically, knitted waistbands are more versatile as all perimeters can be modified.  It is very difficult to say which type lasts longer.  This is because tights generally worn out long before waistbands loose their effectiveness.

Thickness of waistband

      Most knitted waistbands have one or two layers, front and back.  They can be relatively thin, or a bit thick, depending on how much materials are used.  Some waistbands have multiple layers, like the Wolford Comfort Cut 40.  They usually serve a special purpose.

Front side. Cuts were made.

      Elastic band-type waistbands are generally one layer.  Some brands do add an extra layer of plush on the inner side of the elastic band.

Wolford Wildflower Embroidery 08
Plush on the inner side of an elastic band-type waistband.

      Depending on the width of the waistband, we can categorise them into the following groups…

Normal waistband (2-3cm, 1 inch)

      Or should I say “conventional” waistband, as I grew up with these.  These waistband are 2-3cm (1 inch) wide.  They are very common:  you can find them in cheap supermarket tights as well as in designer’s hosiery.  They can be knitted or made of elastic band.  In general, normal waistbands are not the best in terms of comfortableness.  But they do the job, so long as you get the size right.

Wolford Velvet de Luxe 50 07
A waistband made of elastic band, measuring 2.5cm wide.
Wolford Satin Touch 20 06
A 3cm-wide, knitted waistband from Wolford’s bestseller – Satin Touch 20 tights.

Wide waistband (3-6cm, 1.5-2.5 inches)

      A type of waistband that is widely used by designer hosiery that it has become a norm in recent years.  Given the large surface of contact, these waistbands are less likely to roll down or dig in than the normal ones.  The wide waistbands I have seen are all knitted, and in most cases, contain some tension.

Oroblù Magie 20 07
A typical wide waistband seen in Oroblù Magie 20 tights.

Extra wide waistband (more than 6cm, 2 inches)

      A variation of the wide waistband.  In general, it covers the tummy and lower back, but can go as high as to cover the chest or breasts.  I find this extremely useful in the winter, where the extra length of fabric can keep the tummy warm.  Notable brands include Hēdoïne and Heist Studios.  

Hēdoïne The Nude 04
The Nude tights from Heist Studios in a “low waistband” option.
Hēdoïne’s Bold tights with “high waistband” option.

      Like the wide waistband, it has a large surface of contact, thus less likely to roll down or dig in.  Also, the ones I have seen are knitted.  The waistband can be thin (one layer) or thicker (multiple layers).  In addition, some brands make different widths for front and back, like the Sans Couture seamless tights from Le Bourget.

Le Bourget HÉRITAGE Collant Sans Couture 11
The front side of the waistband is shorter than the rear side – a feature from Le Bourget’s Sans Couture seamless tights.

Narrow Waistband (less than 1cm)

      On the other side of the width spectrum is the narrow waistband.  They are usually less than 1cm wide.  I first encountered these about a decade ago, when Wolford introduced the Logic tights.  The product description said: “ No waistband to give absolute freedom”  Actually, it was characterised by a 0.5cm wide waistband.  In my experience, these waistbands would roll down and create a rubber band effect if one’s waist is not thin enough.  I guess this was the reason why Wolford only used it on another style, and that was it!

Wolford Logic tights 02
An example of narrow waistband from Wolford Logic Tights.

No Waistband

      Unlike Wolford Logic tights, this type of tights do not have a waistband at all.  Instead, the panty is extended to the waist.  An example I have here is the Eterno Breeze tights from Cecilia de Rafael.  You can see from the images below that the waist area is made slightly thicker than the rest of the panty.  The advantage I found in these tights is that the waist area is pretty much pressure-free.  The downside is the selvage curls naturally, thus roll down easily.

      In addition to ordinary waistbands, there are ones with special features.  Below are some of which I have tried…

The Eterno Breeze tights from CdR. The waistband area is an extension of the panty.

Waistband with holes

      These are usually wide waistband with open-knit holes.  The holes allow the waistband to stretch further, providing extra room for the waist.  These waistbands are generally stretchy, but not to the point of exerting too much pressure to the waist.  They are very comfortable to wear, and as you would expect, have a very good breathability.

Patterned waistbands

      Tights can have patterns and so do waistbands.  It can be any pattern, from lace to floral designs.  It can also simply be adding a signature of the brand on the waistband.  Since the material and design of patterns vary, their comfortableness can differ.

Pierre Mantoux Veloutine 15 07
Geometric pattern waistband from Pierre Mantoux Veloutine 15 tights.

(Partially) adjustable waistband

      Wolford released the Comfort Cut 40 tights a few years ago that allows you to adjust the size of the waistband.  It is done so by scissoring at designated area(s), giving an extra 1/2 size bigger with each cut.  The cut is irreversible.  I never saw Wolford use it on other styles though, which is a bit pity as it was so innovative!

Front side. Cuts were made.
Rear side. Cutting points remains intact.

      Having seen all these different types of waistbands, which is your favourite?

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