By  on August 28, 2009

Two innerwear firms are serving up some competition in the traditional hosiery sector: Only Hearts and Commando Underwear are expanding their offerings with new legwear collections.

“I Heart Leggings,” Only Hearts’ first foray into the category includes groups with such names as “Second Skins,” “So Fine” and “Stretch Lace.” The collection features a range of lengths, from cropped to full, with fabric blends of nylon, rayon and spandex. “I Heart Leggings” will retail between $45 and $65 at specialty stores and Only Heart stores in New York, California and Rome. The line hits stores at the end of the month.

“Legwear is a natural progression for Only Hearts,” said Helena Stewart, who founded the company in 1978. “Leggings seamlessly flow between the inner and outerwear categories since they take the place of denim and pantyhose.”

The company expects to generate over $500,000 in first-year wholesale volume.

Commando Hosiery is intent on offering consumers an alternative to traditional control top hose. The four-year-old firm’s underwear options offer smooth shaping and a comfortable fit without a traditional waistband. Commando founder Kerry O’Brien translated the effect into opaque tights and leggings.

“When hosiery got fashionable again, I started wearing it and noticed the waistband created a line around my waist,” O’Brien said. “So I thought, why not combine the best of both worlds? It’s my favorite underwear with super premium legwear.”

Commando will retail this fall at boutiques and department stores, including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Prices range from $32 for footless shapes to $34 for tights.

O’Brien expects Commando Hosiery sales to exceed $1 million in its first year at wholesale.

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