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Pantyhose Types Explored: Discover the Variety and Find Your Perfect Pair

Editorial Team
Updated May 21, 2024
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What Are Different Types of Pantyhose?

Pantyhose, a fusion of underwear and stockings, have revolutionized women's fashion since their inception in the 1960s. According to Statista, the global hosiery market is expected to reach approximately $42.6 billion by 2025, reflecting the enduring popularity of these garments. Typically crafted from nylon, often referred to as nylons, pantyhose offer a variety of styles to suit different needs and preferences. The addition of spandex enhances durability, as noted by the International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, making them less prone to tearing. Consumers can choose from an array of pantyhose types, including sheer, opaque, reinforced, toeless, and control top, each designed to provide specific benefits, from aesthetic appeal to improved comfort and support. 

Sheer pantyhose are transparent so you can see through them. Their filmy, delicate texture can look more elegant than opaque tights, making them a good choice to wear under cocktail dresses. Since the toe areas have only a small seam that isn't that noticeable, they can be worn with open-toe shoes.

Opaque styles are thicker than the all-sheer types, and extra thick designs are known as tights. Tights keep the legs warm; they're popularly worn under fall and winter wool skirts. Opaque hosiery and tights are available in many more color options than sheer styles. Thinner styles are mostly sold in skin tone shades from black to white, while thicker tights are also made in fun patterns and textures as well as bright colors.

Reinforced one-piece hosiery undergarments have extra fabric at the toes and/or crotch. Cotton-lined crotches add more of the comfort associated with cotton panties. Some styles are lined with an extra layer of nylon where the two leg sections join to keep that area of the garment from tearing easily. Reinforced toe styles are best worn with closed-toe shoes, since the extra layer of fabric creates a darker area on the toe than the rest of the hose.

Toeless, as well as sheer, pantyhose are designed for wear with open-toe footwear. In toeless nylon styles, the fabric ends just above the toes. If sandal straps cover the band where the nylons end, the look can be flawless. A loop of nylon that fits around each big toe helps keep the hose in place.

Control top styles have a light, girdle-like panty that helps keep the tummy in; this type of hosiery smooths stomach bulges to create a neater line under clothing. Some kinds offer more support than others. If the hose is too tight, it may show through to the outer clothing as an unattractive line called a "muffin top." There are control top and "stay-up" hosiery styles designed to eliminate this problem.

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By Editorial Team
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Discussion Comments

By anon1000928 — On Feb 01, 2019

I've developed a new love for pantyhose. I love wearing them day and night. The best ones are shiny glossy and it makes me feel so sexy. I've also added crotch less to my ever growing collection. They are super erotic and my husband will love them too!

By anon982556 — On Dec 21, 2014

Pantyhose are the sexiest thing ever invented for women, as well as for men, especially sheer glossy pantyhose. Women look extremely sexy in ultra sheer glossy pantyhose. There are number of brands that offer ultra sheer ultra glossy pantyhose that give a glass like appearance to the legs.

By anon323071 — On Mar 03, 2013

Here in Ireland I buy gloss sheer nylon tights in barely black and wear them with an 18-hour panty girdle pulled up over them. They're very good value at 3 Euro from Penney's.

This outfit is really supportive and of course looks very saucy but really comfortable too. In fact, it's a relief to put on in the mornings.

It does wonders for my figure, too, especially the girdle's high waist band coming right up over me up to my bra and my breasts, stomach, bottom and legs relaxing into it all. Sometimes it's great to be a woman.

The heels top it all off lovely.

It's all quite easy to roll down for toilet, too.

By JackWhack — On Dec 07, 2012

@orangey03 – It's not just the design that qualifies them as tights. They have to be thick and more like leggings.

I've seen pantyhose with texture and designs. The designs are more of a pattern that is present at intervals, like a diamond shape with more material around the edges or something. The background is still transparent.

You will be more likely to find pantyhose with patterns if they are black. I don't recall seeing any skin-toned pantyhose with texture or designs.

By orangey03 — On Dec 07, 2012

So, if pantyhose have designs on them, they are considered to be tights? Are there any actual pantyhose that feature designs?

By StarJo — On Dec 06, 2012

I bought some opaque black pantyhose to wear with some of my darker winter dresses. I didn't know until I got them home and tried them on exactly how dark they would be.

They were too dark for me. It looked like I was wearing tights.

I bought some sheer black pantyhose, and these were much better. I could still see my legs through the fabric, even though they had a dark hue to them. I liked how the sheer darkness hid the extreme paleness of my skin.

By healthy4life — On Dec 06, 2012

I have never seen toeless pantyhose, but the concept sounds cool. I've heard of hose that stop at the ankle, but hose designed to stop before the toes would be really great for fancy open-toed heels.

I do have a question about the loop that goes around the big toe, though. Doesn't it show, since the toes are exposed through the shoe?

By sneakers41 — On Jan 17, 2011

Sunshine31-I usually like the opaque microfiber pantyhose best. They are so soft and comfortable and they never run. I love to wear them with dresses in the winter.

Since they are a little thicker than traditional pantyhose that is why I like them.

I also always buy some for my daughter as well. Since I don’t want to worry about her getting runs in her stocking I always buy either the microfiber pantyhose or the tights that are little thicker.

I sometimes buy the footless tights when I go to the gym. They are really comfortable.

By sunshine31 — On Jan 15, 2011

The right kind of pantyhose can really deliver a polished look. If you choose the right type of stockings you will not only look stylish but you will always be comfortable.

The thigh high pantyhose are nice when you are wearing pants. The nylon legs version of pantyhose with control top really make you look and feel thinner.

I always try to buy one size larger because I don’t want to get a run in my stockings. It really does not look good when you are wearing heels. I also like the colored pantyhose instead of the regular nude color.

I think they look better. I wait until they go on sale and stock up. Macy’s has a semi- annual sale on Hanes and that when I buy them. The only time I did not wear pantyhose was when I was pregnant. I just did not feel comfortable with maternity hosiery.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Our Editorial Team, made up of seasoned professionals, prioritizes accuracy and quality in every piece of content. With years of experience in journalism and publishing, we work diligently to deliver reliable and well-researched content to our readers.
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