Tights vs Leggings: Comparison and Differences


I know a lot of women who are too confused between leggings and tights when it comes to picking up bottom wear. It’s not just the material that one needs to consider when purchasing bottom wear but also about a number of factors like style, comfort and occasion etc. So in this article, we will be taking a closer look at both of these to drive away all your confusion. Let’s read below to find more:

tights vs leggings

In this article:

What are Leggings?
Designs of Tights and Leggings
When to Wear Leggings?

A Guide to Leggings and Tights

What are Leggings?

These are a kind of skin-tight garments covering the legs. Leggings can be worn by both men and women. A number of factors are as listed below:

  • Type: Thin, patterned, solid
  • Material: Thick, elasticized, material cotton, spandex
  • How to wear: can be worn with a long tunic or shirt
  • Laundry: No special precautions
  • Colours: Wide range of colours and pattern
  • Transparency: Depends on the brand
  • Length: Mid-calf to ankle
  • Fit: Tight
  • Comfort: Very comfortable
  • Style: Casual
  • Brands: H&M, Under Armour, Maurices, Danskin


Tights most often cover the body from the waist to the toe tips with a tight fit. A number of factors are as listed below:

  • Type: Absolute opaque, sheer and fishnet styles, opaque or a combination of them.
  • Material: Elasticized cotton, polyester blends
  • How to wear: Can be worn under skirts, dresses and shorts
  • Laundry: With extra care
  • Colours: Wide range of colours with a few patterns
  • Transparency: Sometimes
  • Length: Cover feet
  • Fit: Very tight
  • Comfort: Similar to nylons
  • Style: Casual to professional
  • Brand: Hue, Designer, Danskin

Designs of Tights and Leggings

As stated above, leggings are made of thick elasticized fabrics like cotton, polyester, spandex and nylon. They extend to the ankle with a few variations extending to mid-calf. However, there are designs that include pockets and hence, one can wear them as standalone garment.

On the other hand, tights are made of sheer materials. Polyester and cotton are the elasticized fabric that are usually used. But as tights are thinner materials and extremely tight, these cannot be worn as standalone garments. One can find a number of patterns and colours.


When it’s cold winter, it is ideal to wear leggings than a tight as you would want to maintain sufficient body warmth. The thick material of the leggings will help you stay warm in cold winters.



You can find a number of brands when it comes to leggings. For instance, Under Armour is typical for exercise and Danskin is for dancers. H&M and Maurices sell their own brand of leggings.

Similarly, tight also come in many brands. Designers like Calvin Klein and Donna Karen make their own leggings. And Danskin and Hue are among the top brands.

Difference in Style Quotients

Leggings are casual and most often worn during workout. However, there are dresser leggings as well that can be worn in place of pants. Whereas, tights range from casual to professional and can be worn under another garment, such as skirts, dresses or even shorts. Although tights are extremely skin fit and well, very tight but in any case, they are comfortable.

When to Wear Leggings?

You can wear them almost anytime, which means in any season, even winter. You can pair them with a large sweater and a pair of long boots for a street style look.

Considering tights, you can wear them in autumn with short dresses. And when in winter, you can get them to help keep you warm.


Care for Tights and Leggings

There are no special requirements when laundering leggings. These can be washed in the same way you wash ordinary pants. Whereas, on the other side, tights need special attention as it is generally recommended to wash them in mesh bags.

Summary of Tight and Leggings

  • Leggings are opaque as they are made of thick materials. Whereas, tights are made of thin materials and are thus, semi-transparent.
  • Leggings extend to the ankle or mid-calf. Tight cover the feet.
  • Tights should only be worn under other garments but leggings can also be worn alone.
  • You can accessorise those tights with boots, flats or even heels.


Leggings or tights should not be confused with stockings, that are more like socks going all the way up to the thigh. Leggings are much thicker and footless, whereas tights are somewhat sheer. It is the need, occasion and the kind of look you want, that creates the difference between the two. You can still make the most out of both of them by pairing them with different clothes and creating a new look every time.