Difference between Tights and Leggings

April 10, 2017 by Editorial Team

These days, some women wear leggings like they’re the normal type of pants you wear every day. Why not? They are so comfortable, breathable, and flexible. Oh wait, are we still talking about leggings? Or are we now talking about tights? Aren’t they the same thing? If you are one of the people who cannot distinguish leggings from tights, this article is for you.

Descriptions

Tights vs Leggings
Tights in different colors

Tights are footed bottom wear usually made of cotton, nylon, polyester, spandex, or a blend of different synthetic materials. They hug the shape of the legs and are usually seamless. They are sometimes called “second-skin” and may look like body paint on the legs, especially when they are in different colors and patterns.

Because tights are usually made of flimsy fabric, they do not offer structured fit to the wearer. They are shapeless when not worn and have the tendency to be transparent. They are practically innerwear and should be worn with a dress, skirt, or shorts and should not be paired with anything that is shorter than the crotch area.

Tights can be worn with formal clothing. They can be paired with a dress and high heels for a feminine, formal, and classy look at the office. They also lengthen the figure because of the continuous lines they create from the waist to the feet.

Leggings
Leggings with matching skirts

Leggings, on the other hand, are footless bottom wear made of thick, elastic fabric. They are opaque and have visible seams.

Leggings are made of sturdy materials and are similar to jeggings. They can be worn for comfort, style, and purpose as they add both coverage and structure to the leg area. When not worn, leggings do not lose their shape.

Leggings can be both innerwear and outerwear. They can be worn as gym pants or be paired with a sweater or blouse for a casual look. They can also be worn under short dresses and long blouses. They do not have the tendency to be transparent and they skim the shape of the legs and the crotch area.

Tights vs Leggings

What, then, is the difference between tights and leggings?

The most obvious difference between tights and leggings is that tights are footed and are made of a very thin material. They lack structure and are shapeless when not worn. When worn, they have the tendency to be transparent because the flimsy material expands and hugs the shape of the legs. Because of this, they should only be used as an innerwear and should not be paired with anything that is shorter than the crotch area. Leggings, on the contrary, are footless, thicker, and more structured than tights. They are opaque and are made of sturdy fabric that skims the shape of the legs and crotch area so they can be worn as outerwear (pants) or innerwear. When not worn, leggings do not lose their shape.

Moreover, tights can create a classy, feminine look when paired with a dress and heels. They can be worn in formal settings or in the workplace. Conversely, leggings have a more casual vibe and are rarely worn in formal settings.

Comparison Chart

TightsLeggings
FootedFootless
Made of very thin fabric which expands as it hugs the shape of the legs, making it look transparentMade of thicker fabric which skims the shape of the legs; opaque
Do not offer structure to the legs; lose shape when not wornOffer structure to the legs; hold shape when taken off
Should be worn as innerwear; should not be worn with anything shorter than the crotch areaCan be worn as outerwear (as pants) or innerwear; can be worn with short dresses, sweaters, or gym bras
Can be paired with a dress for a formal lookCannot be worn in formal settings but perfect for casual outfits