Tights or Pantyhose? Sponsored Post from FreshPair

Two-Timin Tights with Tummy ControlThis post is sponsored by FreshPair, but written by your friendly resident blogger, Kat Griffin.

I’ve noticed that “pantyhose” seems to be a popular search term here on the site, so I thought it’d be a great time to talk pantyhose, tights, and more. For older commentary, check out some of our previous posts on point…

High-Waisted Body-Shaping Tight-End Tights/>To be honest, I’m normally a tights girl for work — they’re more durable than pantyhose, and here in NYC they’re completely acceptable. I’ve recently started splurging on Spanx tights — they stay up, don’t get saggy, and are truly comfortable. I’m drooling over this pair of high-waisted body shaping tights, which would help a multitude of, er, sins. They’re available in black and “bittersweet” brown for $38:
High-Waisted Body-Shaping Tight-End Tights. Another great option: reversible tights (pictured at top), which give you two colors for $34. Two-Timin Tights with Tummy Control
Sueded Opaque Tight with Control TopIf Spanx are too expensive, FreshPair has a great sale on Hue tights — they’re 25% off until 11/21. (And FWIW, I definitely prefer control-top tights over non-control top tights — even when I was a size 2 and didn’t need the “control.” They just stay up better!) This pair was $12.50, now $9.38 (with free shipping). Sueded Opaque Tight with Control Top/>
Herringbone Mesh Control TopLove these herringbone mesh tights from Hue as well — they’re less opaque than proper tights, but just as durable and as comfortable. If you’ve always thought you needed to wear pantyhose instead of tights, this pair (or any “patterned” tight) can be a great “in between” compromise. This pair was $8, now $6 with the sale. Herringbone Mesh Control Top
Perfect Pantyhose High Waist/>When actual pantyhose are required, I look for them to have a control top and a reinforced toe — maybe it’s just me, but if my pedicure is less than perfect (which, um, it often is) then regular, non-reinforced pantyhose just tear in seconds. Yes, the choice of shoe is a bit more limited by having a reinforced toe (unless it’s an invisible reinforcement, like these Hue pantyhose: So Silky Control Top with Invisible Reinforced Toe), but hey — I’m wearing *pantyhose,* so my shoe and outfit options were already pretty limited. The pictured pair is $15. Perfect Pantyhose High Waist

Readers, do you wear tights or pantyhose? Which are your favorite brands, styles, etc?


  1. lawyergrrl :

    PSA: 25% off boots at Piperlime! Love tights – thanks Kat!

  2. I am tights all the way! Only do stockings if it’s a very formal occasion. I am fairly hopeless with them though — so I try to get them on sale as I accept that any stockings I buy are a one to two time use max.

    As to brands I like Hue, and I have had good luck with both DKNY & Betsy Johnson tights (funny aside: heard Donna Karan give a speech last year; she said more than anything else, women come up to her to say, “I’m wearing your tights!!”)

    • Makeup Junkie :

      Tights all the way for me too, unless I’m at a wedding and need actual pantyhose.

    • Thirded! I’ll occasionally wear stockings when it’s too warm for tights but my legs aren’t smooth enough to go bare. Other than that, it’s tights all the way.

      Surprisingly, I’ve had great experiences with Target tights. Completely opaque, durable, and come in fun colors and patterns as well as your basics.

  3. Ladies – I’m about to expose a big gap in my knowledge on the internet. What exactly makes something a pair of tights and not pantyhoses and vis versa. Is it just opacity?

    • Makeup Junkie :

      Yes, opacity and thickness, plus the material is different. Tights are thicker and could be made with cotton + lycra. Pantyhose is sheer, thin, and made from synthetic material, mostly nylon.

    • It also gets a little tricky because in the UK they sometimes use “tights” to refer both to tights and to pantyhose. So be careful to check out the denier (thickness count) when buying from a UK or European website!

  4. In the spring/summer/fall and formal occasions I wear panty hose; in the winter I wear tights.

    I’m a southerner who was raised to wear pantyhose at all times when wearing a skirt/dress and just recently stopped wearing panty hose in the hot/humid summer unless abs0lutely necessary for the occasion.

    I buy my pantyhose at the outlets so if they rip (which they inevitably do after the first wear), no bucks lost for me.

  5. Anonymous :

    I’m just loving those red heels in the last photo! Too bad I don’t wear heels anymore. =(

  6. I wear tights in fall/winter/early spring. Pantyhose only if I have to, which is rarely any more (maybe at winter weddings?). I think I used to have skirt suits for which hose would be required if interviewing, etc., but now I only wear pant suits. :)

  7. Does anyone have any suggestions for materinity tights/hose? I can no longer fit into regular pairs and have been wearing pants everyday for this reason.

    • oh! i noticed some today on freshpair’s site when i was writing the post…


      • I got two pairs of these when I was pregnant last year. They are comfy but very durable! I had them in heavy rotation and they still lasted the entire pregnancy without a run (I have never had a pair of tights or hose go so long without a run, ever). In fact, I liked them so much that I’m thinking of getting another pair even though I’m no longer pregnant, since regular tights cut into my squishy post-partum torso and roll down.

    • You can get tights/hose that don’t have a control top in one size bigger, and they can roll under your belly. Much cheaper and to my mind, perfectly comfortable. But if you really want them up and over your bump, GapMaternity has black tights now and your Pea in the Pod/Motherhood/Etc places have so-so hose.

      • I got some at Pea in the pod when I was pg last year bc I couldn’t find any anywhere else. Old Navy XL worked OK but the maternity hose were better. If Gap has them, they are probably great – I love Gap tights in general. I didn’t find under-belly tights to be comfy bc they were always falling down.

        Spanx makes maternity pantyhose but not tights (last I checked).

      • I would cut them down the middle/front. It doesn’t work with control top, but it worked with regular tights and hose.
        I also second the recommendation for Assets.

    • I’ve seen them at Target, but can’t vouch for quality…

      • Thank you for the suggestions everyone! Looking forward to trying some of these out so I can wear some more festive clothing over the holiday season.

        • You might also want to try thigh highs. They’re not for everyone – I tend to find them somewhat uncomfortable – but especially if you’re wearing a longer skirt, they might be a good option!

  8. This is just a wierd note, but you might want to avoid the word “lingerie” in the title of posts. My work e-mail blocks anything with that on it no matter the source. Big brother, I know, sigh.

    I used to only wear pantyhose, but these days, I really like patterned tights under solid skirts and solid tights under patterned skirts. For a full suit, I still tend to wear pantyhose since if I’m wearing the formal suit, it’s probably a formal ocassion.

    • sorry guys — I’ve changed the post title so it now doesn’t have “lingerie” in it — and I’ll note that in the future. Lemme know if the tags/categories/etc are also causing problems…

      • My employer is blocking your site because of the lingerie tags/ headlines and images. Sigh. And after I had told everyone I met at headquarters they had to check out the site (they loved my shoes, which I had found here.)

    • How do you wear patterned tights? You mentioned solid skirts, but what about the tops? I would love to wear patterned tights, but I’m never sure how to pull it off.

  9. Any thoughts on nude fishnet tights?

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think I understand the purpose of nude fishnet tights. Is it to make your legs all zig-zaggy?

    • Corporate Tool :

      I think that they can look really classy with a longer skirt and an otherwise very conservative outfit.

  10. First hearing tomorrow in federal court (northeast) – planning to wear a very dark brown (almost black) skirt suit – sheer black hose, nude hose, or black tights? Probably purple blouse underneath and black shoes. Thanks!

    • For court? Sheer black or off-black hose. The fewest people will be offended or distracted by it. Some people think tights are too casual for court, some think nude hose look like you’re too cold in the winter. Can’t go wrong with sheer black/off-black hose.

    • Honestly, I would recommend nude hose just because if your suit is ‘almost back brown’ and you are wearing black hose, I feel it could look mis-matched in a bad way, like you didn’t get dressed in a well-lit room and pulled out the wrong pair of stockings to go with your suit. If your suit were more of a vivid brown/chocolate brown/distinct brown, I think black shoes and black nylons would be fine, but personally I would be wary of maching an almost black suit with definitely black nylons. Plus, since it IS almost winter/cold in many places, I don’t think people would think you were ‘too cold’ if you wore nude hose (not sure what that means anyway, since again, colder fall temperatures do call for warmer dressing anyway…).

    • DietCoke1 :

      I would also suggest the nude pantyhose and maybe a dark brown shoe if you have. I understand that black and brown can mix well when done deliberately, but it might look accidental. With a brown suit, neutral legs, and a brown shoe, it might look more streamlined. Good luck!

  11. Chicago S :

    I have stayed away from control top tights and pantyhose since I don’t need the control feature and I thougth they would feel too snug. Kat’s comment make me think twice.

    Do you wear control top, even if you don’t need the extra help, and did they take getting use to?

    • I wear control top pantyhose because the quality is marginally better–less chance of making a hole with your nail when pulling them up or down. I wear both regular and control top tights, and agree with Kat that the control top stay up better.

      I also like to wear control tops under outfits where I want to look very smooth. Although I am quite thin, the control tops make sure that nothing jiggles.

      Ditto on the Spanx tights, they look great and are long lasting. Much better than the Spanx slip I wore on Tuesday that kept riding up to near my waist, defeating the entire effort! Does this happen to anyone else–do you know why?

    • Control tops stay up way better. I learned this as an inveterate bar-mitzvah wiggler. My mom has a vendetta against control tops so I grew up wearing regular and being miserable while they slid down in synagogue. At some point during 7th grade, this came up and I found out a few friends swore by control top for precisely this reason. I insisted the next time my mom and I were at the drug store and the rest is history. (I am a little crazy about tights staying up, though–I have been known to stick a pair of stretchy boyshorts on top so they stay where they’re supposed to.) I don’t find them nearly as constricting as spanx or whatever fake spanx I have, and the peace of mind is 100% worth it. (Also my hips hurt when my tights/hose/long underwear slip down.)

      • ballerina girl :

        My concern was always the “roll over” at the top of control pantyhose–but I suppose if they’re high waisted that won’t be an issue? I often feel like stuffed sausage in tights when they’re snug and thought control top would make it worse. I’m inspired to give it a try!

  12. I despise pantyhose! They’re not cheap, and if I can get two whole uses out of them before they run or I punch a hole in them somewhere I consider myself lucky. When I can’t go bare-legged, I favor tights every time.

  13. I’m forced to write this on my Blackberry and so can’t reply to Dawn’s comment, but yes, this post got Corporette blocked as “adult content” on my office computer too. Any way to avoid that, Kat? Now I won’t be able to read until this post cycles down and off the page! Sad!

  14. Just curious, Kat: does the last paragraph of your post advocate wearing pantyhose with open-toed shoes?

    • I just meant that in some shoes where you can see “toe cleavage,” a reinforced toe may stick out…

      I’m open to tights with peep-toe boots and things like that this season, but not quite sure about the “pantyhose with open-toed sandal” look — for some reason I associate it with the older ladies in church. :)

    • I sometimes like peep-toe heels with tights – but NEVER pantyhose. But I think it has to look deliberate.

  15. I would theoretically prefer tights to hose in the cold months, but there are only so many things you can wear/do with black, brown, or navy tights. Not to mention, it gets boring to wear the same few things over and over again that go with those colors (and I find it is a pet peeve of mind when trying to match the colors of tights to outfits, which limits their wearability for me even further- in other words, I hate wearing a black skirt for which my black tights are a different shade of black).

    I’ve never been on board with the colored tights phenomenon at work- sure, it might work if you’re in a creative/very business casual environment, but “purple tights” just aren’t going to fly in my office environment where I’m wearing Brooks Brother’s pencil skirts and french-cuffed button downs.

    So, until I work somewhere extremely creative where I wouldn’t feel juvenille or out of place wearing colored tights (not to mention, I’ve just seen so many in the most atrocious colors… vomit mustard yellow? neon pink?), I’ll stick with hose in the cold months, although admittedly I’m having a time recently finding a nude brand/color/type that is sheer enough that I don’t look/feel like a granny, but durable enough to wear more than once. Until I can find that perfect nude brand/color which I can stock up on, I have a couple of extremely durable/good pairs that I usually wash by hand and make last longer by alternating outfits that require them with outfits using pants/neutral tights/black nylons.

    In the summer months, however, I would not wear hose unless an extremely formal situation were to call for them.

    • I don’t own hose. I only wear tights or nothing. I’m a lawyer and I wear skirts. Black, gray, navy or brown tights go with virtually everything. Ivory or camel can also be worn. I’ve never felt too informal.

      • Yes, I said that I am personally okay with neutral colored tights in general, but I find them hard to match exactly and thus I don’t wear them as often as I’d like. I am particular about my neutrals matching and I find it difficult to find the right ‘shade’ of tights to match my clothing pieces exactly. An example of this would be that I find that the black tights (at least the cheaper ones I buy) tend to be a blue-based black, whereas many of my black wool skirts are more of a green-based black. And my anal retentive eye can tell and doesn’t like that. Of course, one could always wear black tights with say a gray dress, but again, as I said, those types of combinations get a little droll for me, seeing as how often I might be repeating them were I to only wear tights. I would also probably not mix many different combinations up, despite the colors all being neutrals (ex., I would likely not wear navy tights with a gray dress because I feel I would be carrying a black bag and wearing black shoes, and that’s just too many haphazard neutrals for me), and there’s another limitation for me regarding tights.

        Not sure how I would feel about ivory or camel tights, however- for my tastes, they are too much in the ‘colored tights’ realm and I am not sure what sorts of combinations/outfits they would work with that would be more in the ‘business formal’ realm (especially considering my aforementioned matching issues). Too much room for error and mis-matching in my style book.

        • I knew my color wheel before I knew my alphabet, so I understand the “green black” versus “blue black” distinction. I have lots of tights. I loathe wearing hose — they make my legs feel creepy crawly. I love skirts. So I weart tights and have a large selection of neutrals. I have been trying to find a medium shade of brown and that is vexing me (hence my reliance on camel for certain outfits). But I still hate hose. Perhaps its projecting the creepy crawly feeling, but I also think hose look weird for many reasons (bare looking legs in winter, weird texture to legs, etc).

      • Political Hack :

        I’m really glad you mentioned this – I’ve been curious about wearing tights for awhile but have been worried about whether it would make me look too young. I get cold easily so in winter especially, I need options or I just end up in pants all the time.

    • Law student here, but I’ve found that subtly patterned tights in neutral colors offer enough variety to keep me interested without being too trendy. I wore these BR tights with my black skirt suit to an oral argument this week and got many compliments (not gonna lie, it looked pretty sharp):


      • Man, they are beautiful! I have to try them.

      • Pretty! Love those.

      • Very cute! I’ve been a bit disappointed with BR tights though – no tearing/snags/runs, but they feel saggy and show through a little at the knee. Maybe it would be better if I sized up, but I’m normally solidly in the middle of my tights size. They do have cute patterns though.
        I want to put in a plug for tights from Benetton — I got them only because they had some weird mathematical sale where the tights ended up being free plus adding a second item reduced the price of the skirt I was buying – I don’t know if they have patterns, but I have an opaque black pair and they are pretty much perfect.

  16. I think I’ve said it before, but I love Spanx for all my hosiery needs — tights, pantyhose, “shapers,” and knee-highs (to wear with pants). Good quality, comfortable, durable. I buy them whenever Nordstrom has them on sale.

  17. In House Mouse :

    I wear No Nonsense pantyhose from the drugstore. They are durable, cheap, not shiny and the right shade for me. I wear them at least twice a week, and the only run I’ve had in the past 6 months was when they got snagged on a loose staple coming out of an upholstered chair. I put them in a mesh laundry bag and throw them in the washer with the rest of my clothes, then line dry. They are great!

    For tights, I have 2 pairs of American Apparel tights that have been going strong for a year with no sign of quitting. I do feel a little bit guilty shopping at a store owned by a total creep, but these are the best tights I’ve ever had. I sized up to make sure they were opaque on me.

  18. I like both Spanx control top hose and Hue tights. I consider tights more casual, trendier and less traditional, so I’ll wear my black tights with dresses and skirts in my business casual fed govt office, but nude hose with my skirt suits to court. Given this, I don’t yet see the benefit of spending more on tights, like I would on hose (although I got my Spanx on Rue la la for what I thought was a good deal). Today, I’m wearing a black and grey dress with black tights, black cardigan, black suede ankle booties and I got positive reactions to my outfit today.

  19. Buy a few pairs of Wolfords. They last forever, and just feel more comfortable.

    • I want to know if the Woldford super-thin/low denier nylons are durable. I feel I’d gladly fork over $50 a pair for them if there was a high assurance that they wouldn’t run after two wears. But I can’t bring myself to take the risk and potentially be out $50…

      • My Wolfords have lasted me years.

        The Wolford velvet tights are more like a traditional tight, but don’t stretch out. I washed and wore one pair twice per week and it lasted through 3 winters. Eventually they got “bally” near the seat because I actually wore them instead of long underwear sometimes…

        Their pantyhose are good too, I’ve never had a snag.

        • L from Oz :

          Mine have snagged occasionally, but after at least a year, so that’s about 150-times longer than most other pantyhose.

          For really thick tights, I think Falke are slightly better, but my office is informal enough that I can wear actual wool (usually cashmere or merino), which is not Wolford’s speciality.

    • Agree about Wolford’s. They are the best hose I have ever bought. I have even worn mine out dancing and not had any snags. Their styles are pretty great too.

  20. Donna Karan, ‘the Nudes’, hosiery collection is probably the best pantyhose brand I have tried, and I feel as though I have tried ever major drugstore and department store brand. The material is so sheer and the colors are so natural that they literally disappear on my legs. The downside is that they collection is only available at Nordstrom, and at $20 a pair, which is not exactly cheap. I use it only for those big events and try to make sure to be extra careful on those days. Then, of course, hand wash and hang dry. I have managed to get five wears on a pair.

  21. I have a little problem wearing black tights with boots. I have a pair of Louis Biagio leather boots that go to my calves, but the tights are too snug in the seat. As a result, people can see my underwear line and I have to loose at least 5 lbs in the tush before I can go out with this outfit. I have started to do Zoomba after work, but I don’t think it is going to focus on my tush. Are there any PROVEN exercise routines that can get me spot weight loss in my tush? Right now I weigh 125 lbs and am 5 foot 4″. I otherwise have a very tight body. Ideas?

    • Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce. Your body lets go of fat wherever it wants whenever you lose weight. My thighs are the last to go. I wear an AA bra and am very small up top, but have only just now started losing weight in my thighs, even after running for years. Stinks.

    • Another Sarah :

      My tights stretch…do yours not stretch? Where does one find non-stretchy tights? Do they even make non-stretchy tights?

      Also, how does one weigh specific parts of the body that are meaningfully attached to the rest of the body? Arms and legs, ok, but I wonder how I can find out how much my shoulder weighs without getting part of my lung and heart weight too. Sigh, dilemmas…. ;-)

  22. sensitive :

    OK. How do you all cope with itchy legs and sweaty, smelly feet (and possibly other parts) when your entire lower half is stuffed into these things all day? I’d happily do the garter/stockings thing to buy myself a little breathing room, but that still doesn’t solve the foot and itching problem. I love how tights look with shorter skirts and boots, but I usually wear maxi skirts to avoid feeling too warm and constricted. Am I just unusually sensitive or do others suffer, too?

    • I feel the same way too. I use a scented ultra-mosturizing lotion all over my legs and feet and then I have to apply spray powder to my feet to avoid unwanted smells and sweat.

      • Corporate Tool :

        Sneaker balls in the boots in between wears keeps that to a minimum. Also gold bond foot powder before you put on the tights.

  23. Anybody have a recommendation for tights that are particularly good for tall women? I have a 34 inch inseam and often find that I can get a pair of tights about halfway up my thigh and then can’t stretch them any further.

    • divaliscious11 :

      Spanx are very long!

      • Good to know – thanks! I’ve been wanting to try them but didn’t know how they’d measure up!

    • I’m also very tall and I have found that some of the Hue tights come in expanded sizes. (Their sizing is totally baffling to me btw.) If you can find a set that run from size 1-5, rather than the usual 1-2 or 1-3, then try the 4 or 5. My legs are pretty skinny and I did not find them baggy, but the extra material adds a couple crucial more inches of legroom.

  24. I keep a large drawer dedicated to tights, pantyhose and trouser socks/knee high hose. I arrange them with the socks on the left, then the tights, and sheers on the right. The darker colors/blacks are in the front of the drawer, and the paler shades are in the back. Everything is machine wahsed in little mesh bags. I keep a wardrobe of about 25 pairs on hand – any more would be confusing. One pair of DK tights is 16 years old and still in perfect condition. For the pantyhose, my favorite shade this year is a medium gray. I prefer no control and sandal toe.

  25. I, too, was raised to never show bare legs at the office, plus I am extremely fair, plus I usually have bruises, so finding nude, sheer pantyhose that don’t make me look like a Hooters waitress has been a decades-long endeavor. I recommend Hanes Absolutely Ultra Sheer or Berkshire Ultra Sheer. You can get control top or non-control top. Even though the denier is low, a pair usually lasts at least a year and sometimes longer. I just throw them in a mesh bag and wash with the delicates, then hang to dry. On sale at Amazon for great prices: http://www.amazon.com/Berkshire-Ultra-Sheers-Pantyhose-Hosiery/dp/B0006UH8UO

    (P.S. I did finally break down this summer and have some bare-leg days, since it was 100+. I used Sally Hansen leg makeup and it worked great! Doesn’t hold in the jiggles, though.)

  26. Does anyone have suggestions on brands for non-control top? They are really hard to find. I must have a senstitive stomach because anything tight drives me nuts all day.

    I wear tights or hose. Find both to be rather annoying but used to it. For those in NYC (I’m not now) a great place to get tights is the De Janeiro stores. I go once a year when visiting and grab a bunch. I think textured tights look great with suits if done right (not too much going on).

    On an unrelated note- great find last night! Was up the block near home to go to dry cleaner and drugstore- popped into my local consignment shop- saw some plain, great well-made looking work appropriate loafers, bought for $40 (perfect condition). Got home and googled the brand- they are $500 Tod’s from Italy! Never heard of it, but thrilled with the find. I knew they were quality when I saw them but wow!

  27. I reserve pantyhose for court or other formal occassions. Hate them. When I buy them, I always buy regular old L’eggs silken mist in nude control top. Every single time I splurge for nicer hose, the darn things run the first time I wear them. The L’eggs seem to last a little longer.

    I appreciate this link to the sale. I need some new tights very badly. My favorites, too, are DKNY. Nordstrom has good sales on them, but they sell out FAST.

  28. Love Hanes Silk Reflections tights. The opaque ones are perfect…comfortable, just enough stretch and not so thick -they look good with dresses or nicer suits. I would even call them a cross between hose and tights. The black is the perfect color. And, I can wear/wash many, many times!

  29. I swear by Jockey control top hose. They’re as comfortable as tights–not itchy at all–and last for months of regular wear. They cost more than most other brands but are definitely worth it.

  30. rapid butterfly :

    Late to the thread. I know that perhaps many of you don’t like to shop at Wal-Mart (for many reasons, no doubt – my partner and I shop there because as a legal services attorney, I make in a year less than what many of you Big Law types make in four months) but – I have good luck with the “George” brand of tights they sell there. Inexpensive, available footless and in some non-standard colors, and pretty durable.

    For non-control top I like the Target (Merona?) tights some of the others have mentioned, BUT, I do not find them to be as opaque as I like.

  31. Even in NYC, tights are only appropriate to wear in the workplace unless you work in a dance studio, or in an equally informal environment. However, if you work in a corporate office, especially in the front office, pantyhose is the way to go.

  32. Ladies: I think all of your posts are interesting. As for me, as a man, I do appreciate a woman who wears tan or beige sheer pantyhose. The dark opaque tights are getting old and reminiscent of school marm attire. The spray on tan look is also ugly and way too shiney. Sheer pantyhose on the other hand (the kind that appear soft rather than reflecting rays of light into your eyes) look professional and feminine. Although they may be uncomfortable at times, men really do admire your look and femininity when wearing them. I know, I know, we should appreciate women for their minds, etc., but can’t we admire your intellect and be attracted to you at the same time? That being said, women who actually wear tan/beige sheer pantyhose look professional and grab my attention much quicker than the “screw men, I’m going bare legged” brigade.

work fashion blog press mentions