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stockings or tights

Stockings or Tights – How To Choose The Best Nylons For You

It is that age old question – Stockings or Tights? Tights or Stockings? Stockings have always been associated with all things suggestive and vixen-esque, whilst we’ve been dressed up in cutesy tights since we were in nappies. They don’t exactly scream ‘sex siren’ – or do they?


A glimpse of stocking…

The stocking wasn’t always synonymous with sexy. They were once pretty much the only solution for a lady’s legs in the 19th Century. A husband would go days between seeing an inch of flesh on his beloved wife. A little flash of an ankle (or if he was really lucky – a knee!) would peak the pulse of any red-blooded male, stocking or not. The association with sexy was born – “In olden days a glimpse of stocking. Was looked on as something shocking” – as Cole Porter wrote in 1934.


Throughout history, stockings have gone from a male fashion item (cue Shakespeare and his ‘hose’) to a cleverly engineered lady’s garment of warmth and dignity (no peeping please Mr Darcy), to a ‘come and get it’ calling card for Victorian ladies of ill-repute. Their apparent sexiness increased exponentially. Come the 20th Century, with the shrinking of the skirts and the invention of nylon, stockings became flattering, figure hugging (no Nora Batty legs here) and extremely fashionable items of luxurious lingerie. For those of you too young to remember Nora Batty from the TV series “Last Of The Summer Wine”, here she is in all her glory!

Nora Batty Stockings

Sexy or trashy…

Some have said that stockings are becoming all a bit too ‘obvious’ or ‘trashy’. Has time run out for stockings and suspenders? Have they really become all that bad? To find out, we ran a quick survey asking “Which are the most sexy? – stockings or tights. The results were overwhelming: stockings are the sexiest. (In fact, less than 1% thought otherwise.) But here’s a glimse of some stockings and tights from Ballerina’s Hush Hush range – some so well designed you can’t tell which is which! Tights certainly can be sexy.


It’s a good job that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Many people still believe that stockings couldn’t be sexier and are just as practically perfect as they were in the 19th Century – only with 21st Century materials. It seems that a stocking and suspender is just as much of a turn on as it was back in the day; the glamorous styling, the visual unwrapping of the suspender, the big reveal on removal – it all adds to the show.

Shopping for stockings…

Take these Black Swirl Lace Back Top Hold Ups from Ballerlina for example. Imagine parading your pins and peachy behind in these – what creature wouldn’t get a little hot under the collar for that spectacle?

Black Embroidered Hold Ups

Or add to the drama of an evening with these Nude and Black Jaquard Hold Ups from Ballerina. A hint of sensual mixed with a splash of burlesque to really sexy it up.

Nude and Black Jacquard Hold Ups

Stockings aren’t just for the brazen and sexy though. These days they can be worn for any occasion. From working at the office to a girly night out, many women still choose to wear stockings on a daily basis. Fashionable and feminine, not only do these garments look fabulous, they are also super hygienic too (no more sweaty gussets – they don’t have one!).

Girls night out? Have a bit of fun with these Multi Net Stripes Black Thigh Highs from Hauty.

Multi Net Stripes Black Thigh Highs

At the office, look professional whilst secretly hiding your inner vixen with these Red Lace Sheer Top Stockings from Obsessive.

Red Lace Top Sheer Stockings

Have a bit of fun on a day out with these Daisy Print Stockings from Leg Avenue. It doesn’t always have to be seriously sexy you know.

Daisy Print Stockings


Stockings can be all things to all people. Fashionable, feminine, practical, sexy, stunning… the list goes on and on. Hold ups can be fabulously simple to pop on (and off). Suspenders add to the sex-factor (even if you might need instructions on how to use them – and if you do check out my other blog – how to wear stockings and suspenders). But, if you don’t particularly like the thought of walking around with a draft up your skirt then maybe it’s time to talk tights…


Back to our history class…

There wasn’t always a tight, but they are probably older than you think. Most people believe that tights were likely a post-war creation following the invention of nylon. In fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. The first pair of tights were made in 1803, over one-hundred years before nylon. First seen as a replacement for the petticoat, they were a rather controversial invention and were frowned-upon for years. ‘How can a pair of tights replace a petticoat’ I hear you ask? Good question, it is one I asked myself. Well, just like a petticoat, the tights were intended to protect modesty (this is the time of Mr Darcy after all), offer warmth and coverage, and allow for a free-flowing dress to be worn over the top without stifling the wearer. However, it also meant dresses could be shorter and expose more leg (cue the furrowed brow and disapproving looks of yesteryear).

Of course, that is all true. The reasons for their invention over 200 years ago still form the many reasons why tights have over-taken stockings in their popularity today (some could say they have beaten the good old petticoat too – but that’s for another time).

Intricate Grey Dotted Backseam Tights

Intricate Grey Dotted Backseam Tights by Ballerina

Figure-hugging simplicity…

Tights cover a shapely bum whilst letting the skirt shrink as much as tumble-drying a cheap nylon top – there are no limits. They are figure-hugging and feminine, and what’s more they can be whipped off the wearer faster than a ringleader can thwack his whip (don’t believe me – buy one and check it out for yourself). Unlike their sisters (hello Miss Stocking and Mrs Suspender) – they don’t need a blog to show you how to wear them correctly, after all, we’ve all been donning tights for as long as we can remember.

Tights are easy to use and easy on the eye. They are temptingly toasty, wickedly womanly and seriously sexy (if you want them to be). With the addition of modern technologies and materials, the fashion styles, patterns and designs are truly limitless.

Shopping for tights…

Here are just some of the amazing styles and designs you can have fun with in tights…

Ever fancied yourself as a mermaid? Why not try these fun and frivolous Black Mermaid Lace Tights from Leg Avenue. Perfect for any casual affair, they flatter and lengthen your legs with this fun fishnet design.

Black Mermaid Lace Tights

Whoever said tights can’t be femininely fabulous have never set their eyes on this pair of Black Heart Printed Tights from Gabriella. Perfect with a longer hemline for work, yet cheeky enough to wear with a shorter hemline for a bit of playtime after…

Black Heart Printed Tights

Floral, delicate and uber luxurious. Revel in your sheer sexiness with these Dotted Backseam Sheer Black Tights from Ballerina.

Backseam Sheer Black Tights

Ultimately – just like your choice of material, style or colour – the choice between a sassy stocking or a tempting tight is a personal one. As long as you feel comfortable and confident in your choice then really that is all that matters.

What we do know is that neither are about to go anywhere anytime soon.

Of course, if you really can’t make your mind up – then cue the hybrid! Holà half-and-halfs, meet the garter stocking. This wannabe stocking and suspender set is actually a one-piece just like a pair of tights. Mind blown? Thought so. Try these Black Fishnet Cutout Tights from Livia Corsetti.

Black Fishnet Cutout Tights

If you want a fanny-drafting touch of sex-appeal to your tights then look no further. These Black Fishnet Nora Garter Stockings from Livia Corsetti will do the trick! You can have the best of both worlds: no clumsy suspender fasteners, no knee-dimpling wrinkles from hold ups not quite holding, yet extremely evocative and super sensual.

Black Fishnet Nora Garter Stockings

Stockings or Tights…

After all, who says it has to be tights or stockings all the time. Time to have your cake and eat it, and have the best of both!

About the Author Maggie Emstone

Maggie doesn’t hold back when it comes to helping you enhance your assets. A serial underwear shopper, with several top drawers to prove it, Maggie is a positive fountain of knowledge when it comes to your undies…