Top 10 Most Popular Types of Tights


When people here the term “tights” as a kind of garment, what would mostly come to mind is a body sheathing piece of clothing from waist to toe, covering these parts of the body with tight fitting layer of sheer and lightweight fabric material. The fabric comes in neutral flesh color or variations of brown and black.

In the most technical sense this is entirely true, thus the name “tights” given to this piece of clothing, but there is actually much more to tights that this particular attribute, and you can understand this well enough as you browse through these top ten most popular types of tights the modern woman can wear today.

1. Control Tops Tights

At first glance, control tops tights would look the same as any other type of tights if you’re simply looking at the kind of materials and sheer attributes they possess. But what characterize control tops is their somewhat magical ability to give the wearer a smooth, shapely and beautiful figure by effectively “removing” the bumps, rolls and other extra lumps a body may have.

In the past, women need to wear girdles to keep their shapes and figures in check. Just watching movie or TV adaptations where women wear heavy and obviously restrictive girdles, you can immediately get a sense that these pieces of clothing are not comfortable in any way. Control top tights came to the rescue for the modern woman with its intrinsic ability to support the tummy and buttocks – and hide other figure flaws in these areas.

2. Seamless Tights

The term “seamless” for these types of tights were derived from how this type of garment is constructed – with the legs and panty areas knitted as a single piece. This makes it one of the most expensive types of tights but can be considered one of the ultimate choices women have in the form of sexy hosiery.

One benefit seamless tights give is the lack of the visible panty line, which many consider as a fashion fail. Because there is no ridged panty line, seamless tights provide a good alternative or even replacement. There are many manufacturers who deliver these seamless-styled tights and they can come in various forms and configurations including sheer, bare-leg look, black or brown, textured or vintage look.  

3. Support Tights

What many in the past consider a “glamorous granny” piece of clothing, support tights have evolved through the years as an important piece of clothing for many women of all ages. This is because of the intrinsic health benefits people can get (yes, both men and women) from wearing compression support tights.

Support tights can be full and cover up to the waist line, or it can be partial and cover only the legs and feet. But what support tights can do is to help people from the discomfort of poor circulation because of prolonged periods sitting or standing still. This is a dilemma people working in office experience on a daily basis. These tights can help relieve the heavy aching feeling people in these situations experience.

On top of that, support tights are also used to prevent the swelling of veins, pooling and clotting of blood suffered by people with deep vein thrombosis. Support tights are also used by pregnant women suffering from aching and swelling legs and feet because of their condition. They can relieve these symptoms by improving and supporting the proper circulation of blood.

4. Sheer Tights

During winter and cold months, it can be considered an ordinary thing for women to wear thick, black opaque tights. But things are a-changing and materials for tights have improved so much that is possible for women to wear shear tights during under their skirts or tunics during these cold months. These have grown so popular that brands like Marks & Spencer are reporting three times more sales for sheer tights as compared to opaques.

In hosiery, the sheer qualities of materials are measured in denier or den. The lower the number, the lower the thickness and weight of the materials used. Sheer tights are usually between 10 to 20 denier and comes in either in the shinier form or in the more natural, matt look, and comes in either sandal or sheer toe configuration. Ultra-sheer tights are usually 10 or less and are ideal choices for natural or bare-leg looking finishes.

5. Opaque Tights

Opaque tights may have the same materials as the sheer or ultra-sheer tight configurations but are characterized by a thicker set of denier materials. My Tights provide a good list of opaque types of tights differentiated by their denier qualities, as can be seen in the following summary:

  • Semi-Opaque – measures 21 – 40 denier and are more durable than sheer tights. Skin visibility is still possible but the material has more coverage over the legs as compare to sheer
  • Opaque – measures 41 – 69 denier have more leg coverage and less skin visibility. These come in a wide variety of colors that can match any fabric or pieces of clothing
  • Thick Opaque – measures 70 – 99 denier and provides more leg coverage, giving them additional warmth during cold seasons
  • Mega Thick Opaque – measures over 100 denier, making them great alternatives for leggings during winter months
6. Fishnet Tights

Characterized by diamond-shaped knits that exposes considerable skin makes some people raise their eyebrows when they see women wearing fishnet tights. These types of tights are great for giving bodies a more elongated, shapely and sexy look – but they do need a few tricks like the ones below from WikiHow that will help you look elegant while wearing fishnet tights.

  • Fishnet tights can be a bit tricky to wear so wear them only if you’re comfortable and like them
  • Pair your fishnet tights with the right clothing so you can appear elegant and not too sexy or suggestive. A skirt above the knee is a good choice
  • Fishnets are great for making bland or neutral clothing more interesting. Avoid wearing fishnets with other clothing and accessories that are too flashy
  • Choose fishnet tights with finer mesh sizes for a more toned down and less racy look
  • Choose fishnet tights color that is appropriate for the occasion you are wearing it
  • Closed toe shoes or boots are great for fishnet tights paired with knee-length skirts or dresses
  • Solid tights with an appropriate color worn under fishnets would be a good choice. Just choose the right color for the occasion or time of the day
  • Shave your legs. Need we say more?
7. Footless Tights

Tights are great clothing for dance routines, whether it’s a class, practice session or an actual dance performance, and the most preferred form for all practical purposes are footless tights. Most footless tights used as dancing clothes are made from high-quality and durable material and comes in a wide variety of colors.

But aside from its more popular configuration as dance clothing, footless tights are also getting good popularity as casual wear that can be worn daily at school, play or even at the office. They can really have a modern, sleek and stylish look when you pair these tights, in neutral or chic colors, with other pieces of clothing that matches your style – and a great pair of shoes for good measure!

8. Running Tights

People nowadays are into a good fitness groove. Many are getting more conscious about their health are actively engaged in various fitness activities like running and cycling. Running tights provide great alternatives to the common shorts and t-shirt combo people used to wear. They provide better protection particularly during cold days when people can literally freeze to death if not wearing the proper type of clothing.

It’s because of the high Lycra content most running tights are made of, giving them a warmer but comfortable attribute that’s great for running and other physical activity. Running tights also have compression features that can help protect the muscles and keep good circulation running. Other high end brands have added features like performance enhancing materials, as well as materials with inherent antimicrobial properties to prevent bacteria and odor build-up.

9. Cycling Tights

Another sports activity many enthusiasts are actively participating in is cycling and there are many variations of tights that are great to wear for this sport. Cycling tights are either full length or partial depending on the weather and temperature conditions you intend to wear them with. These types of tights come in many materials with protective and other specialized properties and this include Lycra, which is basically nylon spandex. Cycling tights also include a built-in chamois layer for friction reduction and moisture prevention features, as well antimicrobial and cushioning properties.

10. Ballet Tights

Lastly, there’s the ballet tights which are basically one of the traditional purposes and occasions where tights are worn. Used by either male or female dancer, ballet tights is a must for dance sessions and is a fundamental piece of clothing worn by both beginners and professionals. They come in different color, styles and fabrics and come full footed and seamless.

There are modern variations however particularly in terms of color choices, blend of materials and configuration such as footless tights, although they are not yet very popular in the tradition sense. At any case, tights for ballet are worn both for comfort, elegance and look that is true to the vary nature of this art.

These and some other variations describe some of the popular types of tights the modern woman (and in some cases, the modern man) can wear in a wide variety of applications and purposes. Whatever style you choose, tights have unique attributes that differentiate them well from other types of clothing – but in the end they would all make you look and feel good.

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