Dear VienneMilano,
What is the difference between thigh highs, knee highs and over the knee socks? Are they the same thing? If not, how are they different?
- Chelsey C.

No! Thigh highs and over-the-knee socks are not the same. It's not unusual to get these terms mixed up. Let us, at VienneMilano, explain the difference between these three styles.

Knee highs

Knee highs are socks that reach below your knees. For the most part, knee-highs are made with an elastic band so that they stay up by squeezing around your calves. Knee highs, also known as knee socks, offer a pop of color to your outfit of the day for work. Sitting right below your knee, this style of socks are worn by women of all ages.

How do you put on knee highs?

Roll up the knee high all the way down to the toe, and then gently place your foot into the garment. Make sure the toe is aligned with the sock to ensure it will go on evenly and straight. Carefully roll the knee high up your knee; the comfort top (of the sock) should sit below the kneecap.

Put on the second stocking in the same way as the first. Stand with your legs parallel, possibly in front of a mirror. The two stockings should go equally high, and the top of the socks should be horizontal and level.

Can I wear knee highs with pants?

Of course! Since this hosiery is shorter than thigh highs and thinner than most socks, you can wear them under your pants for an extra layer with your shoes. On a cold winter day, wear your favorite pants, a pair of SILVIA knee highs, and an essential pair of heels to keep your feet feeling cozy and warm.

What shoes go with knee highs?

Knee highs can be worn with a variety of shoes: flats, heels and heeled boots, flat boots, and ankle booties. During the winter months, wear a pair of knee high socks with your winter boots or rain boots for maximum warmth and comfort.

Do knee highs have sizes?

No, knee highs do not have sizes. Since VienneMilano uses superb material, our knee highs will conform to your legs and feet; therefore, only needing one size for all.

In contrast, knee highs are very different from over the knee socks...

High socks

Over the knee socks

Over-the-knee-socks (also known as OTKs, or parigiana socks) are a type of hosiery that goes above your knee (thus the name). Some over the knee highs are made with an elastic band, while others require you to use either body tape or sock glue (personally never tried). Since over the knee socks are essentially long socks, it is common for manufacturers to offer one size.

Girls who wear this style of hosiery enjoy flaunting skin – in particular, the gap between her stockings and her skirt (or shorts). Needless to say, this style of stockings (especially when worn this way) is inappropriate for work. However, over the knee socks can be a playful accessory for the weekend. 

How do I put on over the knee socks?

Roll up the over the knee sock all the way down to the toe, and then gently place your foot into the garment. Attentively, roll the over the knee sock up your knee; ideally, the comfort top (of the sock) should end above the kneecap. Put on the second stocking in the same way as the first.

What do I wear over the knee highs with?

Over the knee highs can be worn all year long. During the warm summer months, casually wear your knee highs with fashionable flats, a mini-skirt and a loose tee for a playful look. In the winter, pair your knee high socks with VienneMilano sheer thigh highs, booties, a sweater dress, and a cozy cardigan. You can wear knee highs with a long pencil skirt and a blouse. Either outfit is bound to be eye-catching and fabulous!

Can I wear over the knee socks with dresses and skirts?

Absolutely! Over the knee socks look best when paired with dresses and skirts as you will be able to show your gorgeous gams off without showing too much.

What shoes go with over the knee socks?

Over the knee socks are very versatile in style and can be worn with flats, sneakers, heels, and boots.

Do over the knee socks have sizes?

No, over the knee socks do not have sizes. Since VienneMilano uses fabulous and durable material, our over the knee socks will conform to your legs and feet; therefore, only needing one size for all.

High socks

Thigh highs

Thigh highs (also known as hold ups and stay ups) are a type of hosiery that is meant to be worn on your mid-thigh. Typically, this type of stockings features a band at the very top to keep the stockings from slipping off your leg. Proper thigh highs are made with a silicone band, where the top of the stocking sits 2-3 inches away from your inseam. High-quality thigh highs are made with a silicone band, and not so high-quality thigh highs use elastic. This type of hosiery stays up more securely and comfortably compared to the shorter stocking types with elastic bands.

Comparatively, thigh highs offer the most versatility. You can wear thigh highs with dresses, skirts, shorts, and pants. And when paired with the right pair of boots, stilettos, or flats you can look ready for any occasion.

To elaborate further, have a look at our infographic as we illustrate how high should knee highs, and thigh highs should be worn, and recommendations for the type of clothing, shoes, and occasions best fitted for each kind of hosiery:

High socks

What's In A Name?

However, here lies the confusion… For a tall woman, over the knee socks should sit above your knee. The socks should not pinch or squeeze around your thigh. If the top of the socks feels too tight, then you should pull the socks down.

On the other hand, if you are a woman who is petite in build (like me), your over the knee socks can go quite high on your leg - almost reaching to the point of where the top of your thigh highs sit. As a result, some manufacturers sell over the knee socks as thigh highs.

To make things even more confusing, I have come across brands selling thigh highs but actually over the knee socks. Indeed, I have tried on other brands of thigh highs where the top of the stockings couldn't go all the way up to the top of my thigh (and I'm only a few inches above 5' tall). While one may ask: how do you know that what you/VienneMilano define as thighs may be wrong? And the answer is simple: it's in the name, thigh high. As the name implies, this type of product belongs on your thigh. But don't get me wrong! I genuinely believe that hosiery is one of the best fashion accessories which allows a woman to reveal her confidence and creativity. This is why I take the time to clarify the minute difference between the two types of hosiery. The more brands in the market of selling thigh-highs and OTKs is fabulous as it further reinforces our message that legs are a canvas for color and texture, and hosiery allows you to use them it.

Adding to the misconception, the shoe industry also adopted the term "thigh high" for boots that reach above your knee. But fear not, now you know!

Infographic: Knee highs, over the knee highs, and thigh highs explained

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