Leggings, Tights, Pantyhose: What's the difference, and how they'll keep you warm this NL winter
I don’t really subscribe to the concept of wearing pants. That doesn’t mean I never wear them but more often than not you’ll find me in a skirt or a dress before you’ll find me in pants. Generally, when new people find out this information about me, people remark ‘but what do you do when it’s cold?’ The answer is usually wearing leggings, tights, or pantyhose, but tbh mostly fleece-lined tights.
But what’s the difference between all three? This is something I’ve probably explained maybe a hundred or so times in my life and many people still don’t get it a lot of the time.
First, we’ll start off with the most controversial garment, the legging, the Merriam-Webster definition of legging is as follows: a covering (as of leather or cloth) for the leg —usually used in plural.
I would say the legging is the most versatile of all these garments as you can get them in if so many varieties. They can be high-waisted or low-waisted, faux-fur lined, fleece-lined, or not lined at all. There is also a variety of materials that they can be made out of velvet, nylon, pleather, cotton etc. What really separates leggings from tights or pantyhose is that they have leg seams, are footless, and they should be opaque. I recently received bamboo cotton leggings for Christmas from Hempware they are super comfortable and high-waisted af which is what I like in my leggings.
Next, let’s discuss tights, and let me tell you that fleece lined tights are a GAME-CHANGER. Well at least for me, even if you are more of a pants person I would highly recommend getting a pair. I was on set recently and we were shooting a scene outside, and in the scene, I was wearing jeans but underneath I was wearing fleece-lined tights and they sure kept me warm. They are fantastic for layering, particularly if you are doing anything outside in NL in the winter, I personally always have a pair on if I’m shovelling or basically anything outdoorsy. Now the difference between these and leggings and pantyhose gets a little blurry. The Merriam-Webster definition of tights is a skintight garment covering the body from the neck down or from the waist down.
Now normally when the garment covers your body from the neck down it is referred to as a bodystocking, in my experience at least, but that’s a different discussion for another day. So they are usually from the waist down, usually are footed but can be footless, do not have a leg seam, usually have a gusset, and are generally thinner than leggings but not as thin as pantyhose. If you are looking for cool tights, I would highly recommend taking a trip to Johnny Ruth, as they usually have a unique selection.
So the above image is from when I was featured in StitchUp (RIP The Scope). For me being featured in StitchUp was an absolute dream because I have been a fashion obsessed person basically since I escaped the womb, However, bringing down my joy was the fact that my tights were misidentified as leggings in the article (THE DEVASTATION). The garment clearly has feet, no leg seams, and the print stops mid-thigh which is very common in tights. But you can’t stay mad when you are a track stopping fashionista, as mentioned in the article “Susan’s argyle leggings stopped me in my tracks.”
Lastly, we have pantyhose, for which I will return to the good old the Merriam-Webster dictionary for the definition which is: a one-piece undergarment for women that consists of hosiery made with a panty-style top —usually plural in construction. These are usually the thinnest garment and the most like underwear, and like tights, they have no leg seam, have a gusset, and are generally footed.
Now you may be thinking ‘Susan how are my 20 denier pantyhose going to keep me warm in the NL winter?’ I would recommend using them as a layering piece, which is great because even if they have a run in them they can be used for layering. They are especially great for winter sports like snowboarding, skiing, skating, etc. Also great if you want to wear fishnets in the winter, just throw on a pair of nude pantyhose first then put on your fishnets and no one will be the wiser! I don’t have a pantyhose purchasing recommendation as in my personal experience they’re basically the same whether they come from the drugstore, the grocery store, or a clothing store.
Wishing you happy hunting on your legwear expeditions! Stay warm out there.