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What Are Different Types of Pantyhose?

Toeless pantyhose.
Sheer pantyhose.
Control top pantyhose contains extra fabric near the belly and hip area.
A woman wearing tights.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2014
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Pantyhose combine the concept of underpants, or panties, with stockings, or hose. Most of these one-piece undergarments are made from nylon, which is why they are also sometimes called nylons. Hosiery made with spandex added to the nylon creates a stronger stretchy material that is more resistant to rips. The many different types of nylons include sheer, opaque, reinforced, toeless, and control top styles.

Sheer pantyhose don't have extra layers of fabric at the toes or crotch. Instead, these one-piece undergarments are completely transparent. 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.

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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 "pantyline." There are control top hosiery styles designed to eliminate this problem.

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anon323071
Post 7

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.

JackWhack
Post 6

@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.

orangey03
Post 5

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

StarJo
Post 4

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.

healthy4life
Post 3

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?

sneakers41
Post 2

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.

sunshine31
Post 1

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.

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