Amazing Differences Between Tights, Leggings and Pantyhose

Elastic tights and leggings are two almost the same looking, but actually very different skin-tight garments. Both of them are covering legs and  even your waist. Sometimes they are looking almost the same and it is difficult to recognize is it tights or pantyhose. So lets check, what are differences between tights, pantyhose and leggings if there are any at all.

difference between tights, leggings and pantyhose - woman on one knee with leggings

Differences  Between Tights and Pantyhose

Most people are mismatching leggings or tights with stockings. But stockings look more like socks and they are totally different. Stockings go all the way up to the thigh, and unlike our loved elastic tights or leggings ar not joint at the seam.

Also there are pantyhose, they are much more similar to tights, most important similarity is their usage. Usually both are worn to hide skin imperfection like bruises, hair, scars or any other things. With them legs just look beautiful and smooth.

Actually pantyhose are a successor of elastic stockings. Just tights are made of denser and thicker material, so they are much more durable. Its easier to wash and maintain them. Tights are usually from 40 to 100 denier – pantyhose from 8 to 30 denier.

Denier is a unit of measurement that is used to determine thickness of fiber and textiles or fabrics. 

There are more differences. Pantyhose are considered as underwear and they are never worn on their worn.  You can wear them as supplementary garment together with skirt or dress. This is because pantyhose are almost transparent and skin revealing. Tights are totally opposite, you can wear them independently  on their own. Check History of tights, hosiery and pantyhose to know when their were introduced to public and who made them popular.

History of leggings are totally different. Some source are sure that leggings already were used in ancient Egypt. As the separate garment by men it was already used in 13th – 16th centuries. Leggings were used by some hunters in Scotland, trappers in France and later by mountain man. Later leggings were worn by soldiers in 19th century, to keep dirt, sand or mud from entering their shoes. 

Tights Leggings


Usually they are totally opaque , sheer or even fishnet style.
Much more thin comparing with tights. Most of the times can be patterned, colorful with pockets ant other additional accessories.


Usually made of elastic cotton or polyester blends.
Mostly made of thick elastic cotton or spandex.


Covering all leg, from feet till waist.
Mid-calf to ankle.


Extra tight, look like second layer of skin.
Tight, but not as much as elastic tights.


Casual to professional


It is advisable to wash in laundry bag.
Don't need any special care.

Differences Between Leggings and Tights

Tights are much thicker comparing with pantyhose, usually between 40 to 100 denier as we said before. Tights unlike pantyhose can come in a huge range of colors, fabrics, patterns and styles. Tights usually are made from cotton or polyester, they are covering your legs from toe tips till waist. Because they are thin and transparent, they are made to be worn under clothing.

Leggings are much more thicker, made from elasticized material like spandex, nylon, cotton or polyester. They are covering your legs from ankle to mid-calf. There are different types of leggings, some of them are covering your waist and  ar smooth, while some of them are very similar to pants – with firm torso, pockets and other accessories.

Differences In Style And Wearing

Leggings are casual, they are designed to fit contour of your body – and to be very comfortable of course. Leggings are usually worn during exercise or at home, but new trends shows – more woman wear them as accessories. It is really nice to wear them under skirts or dresses.

Tights can be casual and professional as well. They are worn under another garment like skirts or dresses, sometimes even under the shorts. Tights can be in wide range of colors, despite that they have fewer patterns compared with leggings. 

How To Care

If its not specified, leggings can be laundered together with your pants, taking no extra care.

With tights its totally different. You should avoid dryer or at least high heat. Do not wash them to often and don’t use fabric softeners. It can wear out fibers of your lovely tights much more quickly. It is wise to wash your tights in a special washing bag and after washing lay them on flat surface to dry off.

Amazing Differences Between Tights, Leggings and Pantyhose 1