Tights and leggings can be quite confusing to anyone at a glance. Both are skin-tight garments that cover the legs and to an extent, the waist.

However, there are subtle differences that can help you differentiate the two. For starters, both have different materials in terms of thickness and warmth. Thus, there will be a marked difference in the cost.

So, in greater detail, this article will discuss what differentiates the two.

Thickness of material

The material’s thickness is the number one distinguishing factor between tights and leggings. For leggings, the materials are heavier. In essence, leggings are not see-through as tights. To give a better comparison, tights are like the pantyhose in terms of material, while leggings are more like sweatpants of skin tights.

Leggings aren’t limited to the wooly material. There are faux-jeans and even leather leggings thus there is a greater degree of variety in terms of style. Owing to the thicker material, leggings don’t show the skin or your bum to an extent; they can take the place of regular pants. Men also wear tights for sports; something you can never witness with tights!

Tights, however, are much, much lighter. In fact, they are see-through. Thus they go better as complements to other outfits (shorter) by outlining your legs.


Undoubtedly, the difference in the material will make tights much cheaper than leggings. Tights are mostly very lacy, and can easily run when pricked. Leggings are more sturdy and will survive a brush or two with a rough surface, but not without a scratch!

However, their low cost doesn’t limit their designs. Some tights have lovely patterns that accentuate the shape of your legs, while others come with the now trendy patches. Impressive as they are, tights aren’t meant to be worn without any other outfit over your bum, unless you want to look like a misplaced underwear model.

Tights, though fancy, can’t stand any strenuous activity, so you best not wear them for Zumba or anything rigorous.

Universal wear

Compared to tights, leggings are more of universal fashion pieces. This is owing to the fact that they come in different stitching and pattern designs that can complement any cold-weather fashion statement. They go well with hoodies, waterfall vests, and boots of all kinds. Not so with tights – which require you to first wear something else on top of the tights (at least around the groin area). So, they naturally go with anything that goes with dresses and skirts.

Tights are more preferred during the warmer months while leggings are trendy throughout the year, though they mostly shine through the colder seasons.


Tights, being the dressier of the two, surprisingly go with most of your dressy shoes like ankle boots, heels, and open-toed heels. Leggings, being more casual are perfect for boots, sneakers, or ballet flats with something warm around your neck to complete the fashion statement. Just don’t go wearing leggings beneath jeans, skirts, shorts – that would look really out of place for this particular century!

Written by