Tights (US: Panty hose) are a tight-fitting garment covering the legs, hips and buttocks.
They usually cover the feet (ones that do not are called footless tights) and come up above the waist. Generally they are made from sheer (see-through) nylon. They may be of fishnet and may be crotchless. Opaque nylon tights are common; opaque woollen tights are available for keeping legs warm in winter. However, tights are also available in rubber.
Modern tights rarely have seams, but seamed tights are still produced for effect; the seam should be at the rear of the leg and as straight as possible. At one time, tights had thick seams coming down from the waistband at front and back, but these are no longer necessary, due to modern manufacturing techniques.
Tights are usually regarded as a female garment, but are customarily worn by male ballet dancers; ballet tights are usually made nowadays of nylon or cotton mixed with lycra. Men may wear tights under trousers for warmth. Recently, shops have been selling mantyhose aimed at men.
Nylon tights for everyday wear by women have a thickness denoted by denier number. (It is the mass in grammes of 9,000 metres of the nylon thread from which the tights are woven.) The greater the denier, the more opaque the tights and also the stronger they are. Thin tights are sheer (transparent); the thinnest tights are 5 denier. Semi-opaque ones are usually at least 40 denier and opaque ones at least 70. Even "opaque" tights are not completely opaque, and have some show-through especially at the knees when they are bent. Totally opaque tights may be available from some ballet shops, made from the same material as catsuits and leotards.
Thin tights often have a reinforced top woven to be thicker and stronger than the legs. This top is darker and more opaque than the legs, and some people find a glimpse of this top under a miniskirt erotic. Sheer tights without such a top are sometimes labelled as "sheer to waist"; they may be preferred for wearing with leotards or hotpants, or particularly short miniskirts, if the wearer does not want the darker top to be visible. Tights may be described as "20 denier appearance", meaning that they are of heavier (hence stronger) thread but use modern techniques to be as sheer as ordinary 20 denier ones.
Many nylon tights have an area of opaque cotton material in the crotch area, to minimise any build-up of sweat there. Seeing that would be an extreme upskirt experience.
To make tights more opaque while appearing not to be, two pairs may be worn, with the inner pair being flesh-coloured. Semi-opaque pink tights available from ballet shops are ideal for this purpose.
Tights and pantyhose
According to one American source, tights are pantyhose of thicker material (30 denier or more) and usually have a dark colour.
Tights and transvestites
Transvestites often wear tights, firstly because they are regarded as a feminine garment, secondly because they can help to hide hairy legs displayed under skirts. The technique of wearing two pairs is especially useful for hiding hair.
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