Stockings Are Not Tights!

A brief rundown of the differences between tights and stockings…

by Cristina Casciano-King

Tights, Hose, Stockings. People often interchange these words carelessly, or simply call everything and anything that falls in the legwear category “Stockings,” when in reality these are all different things. Before I knew any better I was one of them…

Then while discussing my “stocking” collection to the owner of a well known vintage lingerie store in Manhattan, I was corrected and asked specifically whether I collect Stockings or Tights? I was dumbfounded. At that point I had collected 250 pairs of what I assumed were all stockings, only to find out I had it all WRONG.

diagram of a seamed stockingWith a newly enlightened outlook, I was to become a strict advocate of using the correct words when addressing one’s legwear collection – or even just the pair you have on that day. Not only are there three strictly different categories, which I will explain below…even within these categories there can be many variations. Read on…

Stockings: Modern usage of the word stockings generally refers to thigh-high nylon stockings (but not actually thigh-highs, those come next). Stockings have two matching-but-separate pieces, and depending on the design, can be quite sensual. They are usually made in nylon or in silk and have to be worn with a garter belt or suspender belt.

Hold-Ups: This category also includes Stay-ups or Thigh-Highs – all of which are stockings that can be worn without garters or suspenders. To stay in place they use elelastic or silicone bands. They have the glamour of stockings with the convenience of tights – no extra parts! Hold-Ups, unlike stockings, come in a wide variety of textures, materials and patterns and are usually made from nylon or a lycra blend. These types of legware are both sexy and functional for daily wear. They can be harder to find in the States and I feel they are far more comfortable then tights.

Tights: By definition, tights are a piece of clothing made of a thin stretchy material which covers the leg and lower part of the body below the waist, and which is worn by women and girls. They come in all different colors, sizes and patterns. They can be funky or conservative and can either make you look polished for work or ready to go out on the town for fun. And don’t forget their close cousin – Pantyhose, which are generally neutral in color as if having a bare leg without texture or style. And as far as I am concerned are incredibly uncomfortable if they have control top.friends don’t let friends call their legwear by the wrong name!





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