Lacy tightsIn our Tucker Webshop article, we recommended a dress be worn with nude tights. Reader Z asked:

"Nude tights = pantyhose, right?"

Answer: God only knows. There are a lot of varying opinions about what constitutes "tights," as opposed to nylons, stockings, pantyhose, et cetera. There are a lot of people who seem fairly certain of completely different definitions. We did a little internet research to see if we could come up with a consensus.

From eBay:

"Pantyhose are sheer and tights are more opaque. Stockings are measured in Deniers, a unit of density measurement for textile fibers. The lower the denier, the finer the yarn, the more sheer the stockings. The higher the denier, the more opaque the hosiery. Opaque tights also are heavier and warmer."


"In British English, the word "tights" signifies pantyhose, whereas American English uses this word only for thicker leg coverings, such as those worn by ballet dancers or men playing Robin Hood.

I've heard American women use the word "stockings" generically, to refer to any sheer leg covering, whether pantyhose, thigh highs, or stockings held up by garters. "Stockings" also used to refer to men's socks, but I haven't heard it used that way in the U.S. for years."

Wikipedia defines the stocking as a garment that covers the "foot and lower part of the leg," and tights as "sheathing the body from about the waist to the feet." Their definition of pantyhose begins with "also called tights."

Yikes. Lots of dissension in the ranks. Let's call it this:

  • Nylons - leg coverings made of nylon
  • Pantyhose - leg coverings made of nylon that go to the waist
  • Stockings - leg coverings made of whatever you please that come in pairs and cover the foot and lower leg
  • Tights - leg coverings that go to the waist and are made of whatever you please, including lacy styles (pictured), besides a sheer nylon
  • Hosiery - all of the above
Can we all be happy with that?