Leggings vs. Tights – Difference and Comparison

You and your child probably have both leggings and tights in your closet already. Are you wearing each pair the right way? One of these is a fantastic piece to layer under professional clothing or cute dresses. The other is great to wear while lounging around the house or heading to the park. Let's explore where leggings and tights are alike and where they differ. 

How They're Alike 

These two articles of clothing share a couple of different aspects, which may be why people interchange them so often. Tights and leggings are both snug and comfy pieces to include in your everyday wear. Here's what else they have in common:


Both tights and leggings fit tight to your skin as you wear them. Neither should be loose when you try them on. They usually both start at the waist for an hourglass slimming effect. If you like the feeling of wearing pants without committing to heavy, bulky sweatpants or trousers, both tights (with something overtop) and leggings are a comfortable option for you. 


These pieces also share the ability to layer nicely with other articles of clothing. Tights or pantyhose are fantastic under more formalwear, while leggings are ideal for casual layering. We'll learn more about how to layer each item below. For now, we know that both tights and leggings can complement your outfit when you throw them on as a first layer. 

How They Differ 

While it's true that they have some things alike, leggings and tights have more distinctions than similarities. Once you know their differences, it might be easier to see how to wear each one well. Let's take a look at how these pieces are distinct:


Tights are thin and delicate, so wearing them in the cold can be an unpleasant decision. Meanwhile, leggings usually serve as a thicker, softer layer that you can wear under a pair of pants for comfort. Similarly, layering tights under a skirt is a professional look that enables you to stay cool while being covered appropriately. Knowing the right context for each piece is crucial to your comfort. 


Typically, tights are sheerer in their material. They usually consist of an elasticized cotton or polyester blend to maintain their stretch even with being so thin. 

On the other hand, leggings normally consist of a thick, elasticized cotton that is less breathable than tights. Tights feel light and airy, while leggings feel soft and have a higher coverage. 


Another evident difference between the two articles is the placement of seams. Though not as common, some pairs of tights still feature a seam running down the backside of each leg. More commonly, tights have one prominent seam running from the front to the back of the torso section and two seams closing at the toes. Alternatively, leggings have a front-to-back torso seam while also displaying stitching down each leg's sides and around the ankles.


Just like they're different in thickness, tights and leggings are also different in how see-through they are. Some pairs of tights may be more opaque than others, but they're generally sheer in nature. Leggings tend to be more solid and less susceptible to revealing your legs. Because of this, you can wear a pair of thick leggings as pants but probably shouldn't try to do the same thing with tights.

Mistakes to Avoid with Both 

Both pieces serve a purpose in your wardrobe. One isn't better than the other! We've gone over their similarities and differences to see what aspects they each contribute. Knowing the characteristics of both, let's look at mistakes to avoid with each article.

Wearing Tights as Leggings 

This mistake can turn into quite the fashion faux pas. Imagine slipping on a pair of tights with a top that doesn't cover your bum at all. If you thought you were wearing your leggings, you'd stroll through your day with confidence. Meanwhile, the sheer tights would be revealing your undies or more. Tights are best for layering under other clothing.

Cutting Holes in Your Tights 

Perhaps you love how sheer your tights are, but you wish they weren't footed tights. Children often feel this way, since they don’t like the way that seams feel on their toes. You might want to wear socks while still wearing tights and decide to cut off the feet to achieve this. Cutting off your tights can cause runs to develop that spread further than you intended. Before you do this, know that you can buy footless tights to free those toes. 

How to Wear Leggings 

Now that you know a few mishaps to avoid with these clothing pieces, let's look at how you can wear each one. For leggings, there are several comfortable options available to you.

1. As a Base Layer 

Try wearing leggings under your baggy clothes on a cold day for added warmth. The soft cotton can add a layer of defense against windy conditions.

2. With an Over-Sized Top 

One trend that's been back for a while now is oversized shirts. Pair an oversized shirt or hoodie with your leggings for a comfy, casual look. You can stay inside for a movie day or add sneakers for a dressed-down outing.

3. As Loungewear 

If you're relaxing around the house, leggings are a perfect middle-ground between sweats and no pants at all. This goes for both you and your little one! 

How to Wear Tights 

You've got several options for dressing up your tights. Their sheer fabric complements many other pieces of clothing to add an eye-catching texture to your outfit. Here are a few different ways to wear tights.

1. With School Uniforms 

If your child attends a school that requires skirts for their uniform, you can pair tights underneath for more coverage and protection from the cold. Our girl's microfiber tights are perfect for wearing as a base layer and for formal outings. They are durable against rips and runs, so your child can play in them without worry. 

2. With Ripped Jeans 

If you like to mix fabrics and textures in your outfits, try adding black tights to mix things up. Pairing black tights under ripped jeans of any wash adds an edgy touch to your appearance.

3. As a Slimming Base Layer 

A more practical use for tights is as a base-layer to smooth your skin. You can wear tights under your tight-fitting dress or skirt if you'd prefer your hips and legs to have a more smoothed out appearance.

One More Tip 

For our microfiber girl's tights, we recommend special washing instructions. If at all possible, handwash your tights with a gentle soap to preserve the quality. 

If you prefer to machine-wash them, try to turn them inside out and wash them in a mesh bag to avoid lint and other damage. We make our clothes with sustainable, quality materials and want you to get the most wear out of them.

Wrapping it Up 

Leggings and tights are very similar in shape and in the way they fit snug against your legs. Ultimately, their differences are in material and the way you can wear them. Wear a pair of tights to dress up your everyday wear, or choose leggings for a more laid-back look. The choice is yours!