Do you call it ‘Pantyhose’ or ‘Hosiery’?

If you have followed UK Tights for a while, you may have noticed we always refer to hosiery as a synonym of legwear. However, not everyone out there uses the word hosiery to describe the undergarments we use in our legs and feet. Some of you talk of pantyhose. So, what exactly are pantyhose? What is the difference between pantyhose and hosiery?

Fogal All Nude 10 Denier Tights collection

When we, at UK Tights, usually talk of hosiery, tights, stockings, hold ups and leggings, we, sometimes, we are lost in translation. These terms may sound funny to some of you, especially those of you based in the US. So, for some of you, pantyhose probably sounds more natural.

If you call it pantyhose….

If you say pantyhose, you’ll probably refer to what we call tights as opaques or nylons. We have noticed that pantyhose and nylons are often used a synonym by some of our customers. Sheer tights are usually made of nylon and, most commonly, contain a low percentage of elastane. This is what most people would define as pantyhose.

When tights are a gym garment

For many people in the US, tights are a simple pair of leggings. Weird, right? Well, both terms are equally right; there isn’t a right or wrong here. So, when we have customers from the States asking for tights, we always make sure to double-check if they are after footed or footless styles.

Other words for hold ups

Le Bourget semi opaque tri band hold ups

Do you call them hold ups or stay-ups? Or maybe none of them?

Along with the debate between pantyhose and hosiery, there’s a second question. We, at UK Tights, usually refer to all those stockings with a latex band as hold ups. However, many of our manufacturers in Italy and the US refer to them as stay ups.

The craziest thing is, many of you call them thigh highs for obvious reasons. We understand this can lead to confusion, even more if you notice that some brands, such as Ballerina or Dreamgirl, often shoot hold ups with a suspender belt. While some people do wear hold ups with suspender belts, you should always remember that you don’t really need suspenders with hold ups.

Which of these words do you use to describe your pantyhose and hosiery?

What are the best brands of pantyhose?

We have created an info-graphic with a little explanation of the meaning of pantyhose and our top 5 brands of pantyhose right now:

  1. Giulia
  2. Fiore
  3. Oroblu
  4. Pierre Mantoux
  5. Cecilia de Rafael

Take a few minutes to examine this infographic and let us know your thoughts. If you want to read more about this topic, you can always read our article about the importance of pantyhose. And, of course, feel free to check out our selection of pantyhose to grab a few of your favourite styles.

What are pantyhose? Infographic


  • Randall Pierce

    Well I myself use to label them pantyhose, tights or leggings but since got to know across the pond in the UK they call all 3 tights. So myself I refer all as tights now from low denier to the highest denier I group them as tights.

  • ilovehosiery

    Interesting article! I grew up in a British English environment, so I am more accustomed to the terms used by U.K. Tights. Frankly speaking, it is just one of the usage differences between British English and American English.

  • Damon

    I grew up calling them pantyhose. When, it comes down to it, I don’t care what they are called as long as they keep making women’s legs look awesome.

    • UK Tights

      hehe Well, the idea of the article is offering some sort of explanation on why we call them one way or another. You didn’t mention how you call them. Both ways then?
      Thanks. UK Tights team

  • Lesley Lant

    Hosiery is a general word for any garment worn on the leg.So that includes socks, stockings and tights.Pantyhose is the American term for a pair of tights with a panty sewn in for hygiene.

  • Steve Payne

    Tights, but I understand were the term Pantyhose comes from, well if they have a built in Pantie they must be Pantyhose! Tights are without!

    • UK Tights

      That’s right. In Latin America, they also say “panty-media” (media meaning stocking here), because of the influence of the word Pantyhose.
      Thanks for your comment, Steve!
      UK Tights team

    • UK Tights

      To be fair, it sometimes is. But we’ve noticed most people in the US prefers to call “opaques” to the opaque tights, hence pantyhose is more used for sheer tights. Thanks for reading our post and take the time to leave a comment! πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    Living in the UK I always call my legwear “tights” because in the main that is what I buy and wear. Besides that I don’t think that it matters. Pantyhose, nylons, stockings (including hold ups) and tights, surely all are “hosiery” anyway?

  • Paul

    I wear pantyhose (never call them nylons) and footed tights (sometimes under leggings, most comfortable way to spend the day).

  • Stephen

    Hosiery as it is a more male inclusive term. Arount 20 percent of tights are now bought by men. Market reports include mens sector now- (source)


  • RJ

    Canadian women typically refer to them as pantyhose or nylons; however, I’ve noticed that the word “sheers” is becoming more popular.

  • Gina

    Having first worn tights (yes, Mary Quant navy ones) in the 60s, they will always be tights to me. Pantyhose is a bit too mealymouthed, ‘panties’ is a sort of 50s word used in films to avoid/breach censorship and to separate knickers – UK use – from pants – US- and trousers – UK , (see ‘Anatomy of a Murder’ 1959 where the attorney uses the word ‘panties’ and tells the courtroom that this is the only time they may snigger about the term during the hearing, which says a lot about the times). Here endeth the lesson.
    A good old word for leg covering is hosiery and I salute your use of it as a general terms for any fabric covering of legs and feet. (Think doublet and hose, forsooth!) All controlled a long time ago by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.
    So, yes, hosiery and tights for me. Pedantically yours.

    • UK Tights

      Thanks for your insight on the topic, Gina. It didn’t sound pedantic to us, don’t worry πŸ™‚
      We’ll watch Anatomy of a Murder, but we are sure a “modest” language in movies may be one of the reasons for the use of pantyhose in the US. We always try to use the word hosiery and, sometimes also legwear, as many people don’t include leggings in hosiery (you see, as leggings are in between tights and trousers, it’s easier for people to picture them as part of legwear, rather than hosiery).
      Thanks for reading us and taking the time to leave a comment!
      Kind regards,
      UK Tights team

  • John

    I suffer with ILS. Irritable leg syndrome. Not pleasant I can assure you. Tried medication not a good idea so my doctor said I should try a pair of ladies thick tights, so I did with remarkable results but far to hot.purchased thinner tights yes that was better but expensive, ruined in a couple of nights. Found Wolford tights. Brilliant strong well made expensive but last a lot longer. And found that satin touch means you can slide about in your sheets with great comfort. And they feel nice to wear anyway. Hope this is useful to other ILS sufferers.

    • UK Tights

      Hi John,
      We are sorry to hear that you are suffering from ILS. Can I as you what denier or what Wolford style do you usually wear? I think this could be useful for other ILS sufferers. It’s important for us to give the right advice.
      Kind regards,
      UK Tights team

  • Matthew

    I prefer the name tights.Ive had some tights before that were 5 denier plain knit 100% nylon but they are hard to find they were extremely thin they were made by truwear and pretty polly the best tights ever .

    • UK Tights

      Hi Matthew,
      We only stock a handful of 5 denier tights, as they are so easy to ladder. That’s why you probably struggle to find some. Also, when you buy 5 denier tights, make sure you distinguish between “5 denier appearance” and “5 denier”. Some manufacturers don’t make it clear and it’s worth double-checking out.
      UK Tights team

  • John

    Hi team, I wear Wolford 20 denier satin touch tights. A pair will usually last about a month if I’m lucky. Great tights to wear very comfortable, if I had to I would wear them all the time. My wife found it a bit strange to begin with but now it’s the norm. Get home from work Chang straight into my satin touch tights and relax till I go to bed. If it’s cold out side on a particular day I wear them all day, lovely.

    • UK Tights

      Hi John, That’s a great style to wear every day. Can we ask you if you are subscribed to our newsletter? We sometimes run offers on this product and you can get discounts for buying multiple pairs (eg. 3×2 or buy one get one half price). We hope that helps. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
      UK Tights team

  • Anonymous

    As I was growing up it was always tights for girls and women (UK). I believe that in America it was always tights for girls and pantyhose for women. Personally i prefer the term tight. (its less of a mouthful). It also warms my heart that men are buying tights more and more. Which means that more people are getting to experience such leg-ware So for all those men, women, boys, girls and those of us that have yet to make up our minds lets keep enjoying our tights

  • Tony

    I use the word pantyhose for deniers between 8 and 40ish. 40 den on up I call them tights. When I hear nylons I think of them as the ones you wear up to your thigh with the garters and also if there 100% nylon. When I hear thigh highs, I think of the thigh highs with silicone on the inside that stay up. Hosiery to me means anything from sheers to high denier tights and also sheer socks. I live in the states and I’m starting to see the word tights used on active wear clothing like leggings or yoga pants. Even Leggings for men that are sold in stores are called tights.

    • UK Tights

      Hi Tony,
      Thanks for your comment. This confirms our theory πŸ™‚
      I’m glad you have all the concepts clear, even if it’s a little tricky to keep a record of them: hosiery, pantyhose, tights, leggings, thigh highs…
      UK Tights team

  • John

    Hi team, yes I always look for your special offers including the Wolford three for two. Unfortunately they never have the colour I like to get. There I’m being fussy now I know. But if I’m going to wear them I might as well look good and wear the colour I like.

    • UK Tights

      You aren’t been fussy, John. We totally understand that you need to get the right colour to match your skin tone or your outfit. Wolford doesn’t do the 3×2 pack on all colours as the individual packs. We always run offers around September (our anniversary), Black Friday and New Year’s, as well as some special offers. Fingers crossed!

  • Joanne

    Generally, in Canada, we tend to use pantyhose for sheer hosiery, tights for thicker, opaque, hosiery, and stockings/nylons for thigh highs.

    • UK Tights

      Just like in the US! Actually, in Mexico and other Latinamerican countries, we have also noticed more people use panythose (and ‘pantymedia’, in the Spanish version) than hosiery, like in Europe. Thanks for your comment, Joanne! Kind regards,
      UK Tights team

  • Anonymous

    Thanks to my late sister, I discovered the bury of tights as I used to borrow hers, and I have to say tights or pantyhose are the one female garment responsible for me wanting and enjoying dressing feminine

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