Leggings vs Tights: How To Wear Them

Leggings and tights are wardrobe staples every woman must-have.

Whether you want to avoid fashion faux pas or simply want to master your layering game, keep on reading for your ultimate guide to leggings and tights.

Though similar in appearance, leggings, and tights aren’t the same.

Both are skin-tight garments, but leggings are much thicker and commonly worn with long tunics or shirts. On the other hand, tights are sheerer and usually worn with flirty dresses, skirts, and shorts.

Also Read: 20 Stylish And Comfy Leggings Like LuLaRoe

Why Leggings And Tights Are A Fashion Must-Have?

Once designated as an athleisure and loungewear staple, leggings can be worn to almost all occasions. They’re the ones you opt for your morning workout, weekend errands, casual outings, and even date night.

Leggings are worn with sneakers during a workout, but depending on the design and material, you may also dress them up with boots or heels, and pair them with a long silky blouse or tunic.

Leather leggings are a favorite of fashion-forward women as they’re edgy and striking. They can be paired with classic pumps, dressy tops, and jewelry.

A great thing, they’re also great for channeling your inner rock star. Just wear them with a graphic tee, sneakers, or combat boots. As a stylish layering piece, leggings can keep you cozy during the colder months.

The sheerer alternative to leggings, tights are best for providing more coverage but are never worn as a standalone garment.

Most women wear tights with miniskirts and short dresses, making leg-bearing looks more appropriate. Tights are a great transitioning piece, taking your summer wardrobe into fall, or winter wardrobe into spring.

Tights in neutral colors are more versatile to wear and transcend trends, but you can also get creative with brightly colored or boldly patterned tights—think of animal prints, geometric patterns, colorful camouflage, and quirky designs.

At an affordable price point, they can brighten neutral outfits and lift your mood.

Tights

What’s The Difference Between Gym Leggings And Tights?

Covering the waist to ankles or calves, leggings are made of thicker fabrics like spandex, nylon, polyester, as well as leather. On the other hand, tights are always sheerer than leggings, though they come in different thicknesses and sheerness depending on the material and design.

Some gym leggings are even called compression leggings since they’re designed to reduce muscle fatigue and strain during exercise. Also, compression leggings feel much tighter than traditional leggings, but they shouldn’t dig into your skin.

Also, tights usually covered the feet, and those that don’t are often called “footless tights.” However, some manufacturers refer to these “footless tights” as leggings, so make sure to distinguish them in their transparency. Most tights are made from cotton and polyester blends. 

Also Read: 20 Affordable Organic Clothing Brands Made In The USA

What’s The Difference Between Leggings, Tights, and Yoga Pants?

Leggings and tights are both tight-fitting garments, but leggings provide more coverage during exercise than tights. On the other hand, yoga pants are loose-fitting and often flared at the bottom.

They’re usually made from cotton, nylon, or polyester, and also come with an elastic waistband. If you’re going to do yoga or work out in public, leggings or yoga pants are appropriate choices.

Leggings vs Tights: Comparison Chart

Leggings Tights
A skin-tight garment with good coverage, and is often made from spandex, nylon, polyester, as well as leather. Very tight, like a second skin, usually made from cotton and polyester blends
From waist to mid-calf or ankle Covers feet, but there are also “footless tights.”
Always thicker than tights, usually in a solid color or with patterns. Always sheerer than leggings, but can also be found in solid colors or with patterns.
Can sometimes be worn as pants, but always with longer tops like long shirts and tunics. Not worn as a standalone garment, and paired with dresses, skirts, and shorts.
Wear them to the gym, or dress them up for a date night and parties. Can be worn with casual and dressy outfits for better leg coverage.

What’s The Difference Between Leggings And Jeggings?

When leggings are designed similar to pants, they’re called jeggings. They’re skintight but thicker than standard leggings, and usually feature pockets similar to jeans.

In fact, jeggings are a comfy alternative to denim jeans, as they’re often made out of a combination of spandex and denim. You can wear your jeggings with your blouse or tee tucked in.

Should I Wear Tights Or Leggings?

The answer will depend on the occasion you’re attending to, and the outfit you’ll wear.

There are leggings and tights designed to wear for workouts, as well as ones for casual and dressier occasions. As a rule of thumb, tights are always worn with shorts, a skirt, or a dress, but not as a standalone garment.

Unless you’re going to the gym, always wear leggings with longer tops and shirts.

Can You Wear Tights As Leggings?

It is not recommended because regardless of the pattern and fabric, tights are always sheerer than leggings and don’t provide enough coverage.

Compared to leggings that are seen as standalone pants, tights are more opaque hosiery made with a heavier knit. You can only wear them with skirts, shorts, and dresses, but not with tunics or long tops.

How To Style Your Tights And Leggings For Any Occasion

Once you already know the rules, you can be creative in dressing your leggings or tights from the gym to the office and beyond. Designers are getting more creative, so you can find different styles in unique print, design, and construction.

Sporty chic gym look

Depending on your personality, you may opt for neutral-colored leggings, as well as bright-colored and printed ones. Some are designed to match your top, but others are meant to add a pop of color to the outfit.

Since running tights are more translucent than gym leggings, they must be worn with shorts. They’re often the choice of many for their thermal qualities. 

Sophisticated office look

Depending on your office dress code, you may opt for black leather leggings as an alternative to black trousers.

When it comes to tights, they pair well with sheath dresses and pencil skirts, as long as the hemline of your skirt hits on the knee or below. Just finish off with a pair of classic pumps and a structured blazer.

Date night or party look

If you want to make your little black dress more appropriate for a date night, pair it with black tights and heels.

Though some women break fashion rules by wearing tights with open-toe heels and sandals, think of black pumps or ankle boots instead. Sometimes, you can also wear leggings as tights, but they’re often thicker and can appear bulky.

Fashion-forward look

If you want to make a style statement, you can never go wrong with colored leggings or patterned tights. They’re the perfect pieces to rock fashion trends like color-blocking and print mixing.

In fact, you may also pair your little black dress with opaque cobalt tights! While you may opt for trendy graphics, polka dots and houndstooth patterns look classier.

Also Read: 10 Best Body Shapers That Actually Work!

Related Questions

What you should keep in mind when shopping for gym leggings?

A good pair of gym leggings should be comfortable, stay up during a workout, and squat proof. You may opt for compression leggings, but make sure they’re not too tight.

More than that, opt for a pair of leggings designed for your workout or running, as gym leggings don’t need fancy add-ons.

Which is better high-waist or low-waist leggings?

Everything comes down to one’s preferences, but high-waist leggings are better for workouts, especially if you want to focus on your session rather than your midsection.

When it comes to leggings for casual wear, you may opt for a low waist since they’re often paired with long tops and tunics.

Are colored leggings and printed tights still in style?

Even they’re a throwback trend from the 2000s, many celebrities, supermodels, and style bloggers are reviving the look.

Hailey Bieber was spotted in her orange leggings and fuzzy slides, while Kendall Jenner paired her leggings with a cozy sweatshirt and UGG boots. For an eccentric look, think of Dua Lipa who wore a full floral set of leggings and a jacket with matching heels.

Monika Dimitrovska

A makeup freak who's passionate about books, beauty products, vegan food, daydreaming, and stargazing.

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