Difference Between Pantyhose and Tights

Pantyhose vs Tights

Pantyhose and tights are legwear which typically covers the whole leg. The two terms are used to describe any hosiery that starts at the waist and with closed feet. Although they are similar, there are very subtle differences between them.


Pantyhose is actually an American term that describes any close-fitting legwear made from sheer cloth that covers the body from leg to waist. Pantyhose is usually made of nylon with a bit of Lycra added. This is used primarily by women for a number of reasons. They either want to be stylish, prevent chafing of the feet due to footwear, keep their lower body, from legs to feet, warm, or hide imperfections like bruises, scars, varicose veins and hair.


Tights are, more or less, describe as being the same as pantyhose with the exception that tights are usually made of thicker and denser fabric compared to pantyhose. They were originally made in the Medieval Ages for horseback riding. They were also made for nobles except that for them, they were usually made with silk. Since then, tights have become fashionable and are being used by women all around the world.

Difference between Pantyhose and Tights

The main difference between the two is the thickness of the fabric. Anything that is 40 denier or lesser is known as pantyhose and anything over 40 denier is considered as tights. That is why pantyhose hide usually little from the imagination. However, for the British, pantyhose and tights are essentially the same thing. There is little difference between the two, however, they serve the same purpose. It’s just that pantyhose are rarely used without anything over it while tights are sometimes worn by themselves. And when you hear pantyhose, you think lingerie while when you hear tights you think ballet.

Pantyhose and tights have been useful to women, and men, in so many ways than one. They continue today to be one of the most essential clothing of the world today.

In brief:

• Pantyhose are made of sheer fabric and are close-fitting legwear commonly used for fashion, chafe prevention, body heating and the hiding of physical imperfection in the legs.

• Tights are close-fitting legwear as well however they are usually thicker and denser compared to pantyhose. While pantyhose are commonly used with another article of clothing, tights can be worn independently.

  • http://www.eleganties.nl Marjan

    Nice blogpost. However, I won’t advice to wear a tight without another article of clothing. And how do you call it when it’s made of nylon and is 60 denier? For me it’s still a pantyhose.
    In the Netherland we use the word ‘panty’ (pantyhose) for anything what’s made of nylon and other thin material. We use the word ‘maillot’ (thight) for anything which is made of thicker material (cotton, wool). Almost the same as used in English. But I would say that it’s still a pantyhose, which is made of 100 denier, when thin material is used.