All about Hosiery: what is the difference between tights and stockings?

Hosiery as it turns out, is a huge topic! There are so many styles and details unique to hosiery.

One question I always get asked and that is “what is the difference between tights and stockings?”

Tights are often confused with stockings and not to be confused with their American counterpart, pantyhose or leggings, which they may be called in British english. OK, so we have a few terms and hopefully I can explain them simply below:

  • Tights - go all the way up

  • Stockings - go up to the mid thigh, often worn with a suspender belt (American english = garter belt)

  • Stay ups or hold ups (British english) or Thigh Highs (American English) - go up to the mid thigh and have a silicone band to keep them in place so you don’t need to use a suspender belt

  • Pantyhose - go all the way up, and their weight is up to 40 denier

  • Leggings - go all the way up. footed or footless made of heavier material

Another question I get asked is “where do I get stockings with the point at the top?”

The answer to this is that no stockings have the point at the top, the point comes from attaching the suspender belt and it will depend on the denier (weight) of the stocking. If the stocking is a light weight, then the suspender can stretch the stocking up so you get the lovely point at the top of the stocking.

Image - stocking point is created by use of suspenders belts. Image via

Image - stocking point is created by use of suspenders belts. Image via

Here are some other terms you might come across:

  • Cuban heel: A stocking with a heel made with folded over and sewn reinforcement

  • Fishnet: Knitted stockings resembling a fishnet

  • Fencenet: A wider knit than a fishnet, resembling a wire fence

  • Full Fashioned: Fully fashioned stockings are knitted flat. This way of making stockings was popular in the 1950s-60s. If you are tying out fully fashioned stockings do not be surprised if they seem very large in size, this is normal due to the fact they don’t have a lot of stretch

  • Opaque: Stockings that are not see through, made from heavier yarns

  • Sheers: Stockings generally of a 15 to 20 denier

Here are some of my favourite stocking brands:

Secrets in Lace - Secrets in lace have a beautiful range of fully fashioned, sheer and couture hosiery. They also have a ranged designed with Dita Von Teese, for the classic burly girl.

D Bleu Dazzled - For some modern hosiery bling you will find fishnets hand bejewelled with Swarovski crystals at D Bleu Dazzled. These are the real sparkle deal!

Swedish stockings - Sustainable stockings from Sweden! Swedish Stockings are made from recycled nylon and you can also trade in your old stockings for a discount at one of their recycling centres.

xo Amber Von Blonde