Styles & Cuts
The word “tights” has become quite an overarching term of late, with several styles and cuts variations taking residence in this “tights” class. The question is which style is which, and more importantly what type of cut is better suited for you?
Leggings are not to be confused with tights, in a world of fashion where lines of differentiation has blurred tights are generally used as an acronym for leggings. Leggings however are a type of skin-tight garment that covers the leg up until the ankle, and which is generally made from a thick material. .
Capri’s also known as “three-quarter tights” are pants that are longer than shorts but not as long as traditional full length tights or trousers. These generally sit between the knee and calf dependent on height of the wearer.
The “Short” tights
The short tight, quite simply put are tights that either cover the mid or lower part of your thigh and provide the same form-fitting look and feel as compression garments.
Compression & Base layer
Compression layers provide support and are generally used in sporting activities. They are form-fitting and are often made from a spandex-type material, and provide a whole host of benefits to those who wear them.
One of the most iconic garments associated with exercise and athletes is the workout pants or more formally known as sweatpants. Made from cotton and generally having an elasticated waist, these baggy or lose fitting pant are the by far the most comfortable item in most people’s wardrobes.
Generally are designed to sit high on or above the hips, usually higher or in line with the navel.
This style also known as a “hip-hugger” is designed to sit on or below the highest point of the hips. This fit however is generally found in compression or “tighter” fitting leggings.
The Sculpted “cut” as the name suggests, is one that is designed to provide the wearer with more support in “problem” areas to give a better aesthetic appearance but tucking and tightening specific areas of the bottom and upper thigh.
Compression Gear is designed to fit almost skin tight, aiding in the flow of blood and generally giving the wearer a feeling of being supported when wearing them.
The final cut we come across is the relaxed looser fit, generally found in yoga pants, sweatpants or joggers. Comfort is the main purpose of this cut, however in recent times the sacrifice of looking good while being comfortable has all but gone away with more and more “comfy” sweatpants looking even better than they feel.
One of the most important aspects of buying a good quality tights is looking at the quality of fabric it is made from, the thickness, stretch quality, feel-to-skin and lastly breathability. There are two major choices to make when fabrics are concerned, whether you want to stick with natural fibres or try the latest breakthroughs:
Before we dive into which are the best natural fibres your gym/active wear tights can be made from, we need to make one submission right from the beginning. This submission is cotton, although it is a great fibre for tees and sweaters it’s not the most appropriate material when it comes to tights. As it can hold up to 25 times its weight in water as well as boasts an exceptionally long time to dry.
Yes, you read it correctly! It’s pulped and processed into a rayon fiber that’s soft, anti-microbial, durable and wicking. Bamboo has recently gotten a lot of attention for being labelled as the alternative to synthetic fibers.
Merino wool is a great choice for both warm and cold weather training as its warm, breathable, wicking and antimicrobial. It is however less stretchy than traditional wools, but can be combined with spandex fibers to maintain recovery.
Synthetic fabrics are man-made textiles rather than naturally found fiber’s. These man-made fibers are becoming more and more common in apparel production practices, as it provides and easy to work with and cost effective means to product garments at the desired characteristic’s.
Lycra or Spandex
Is a registered name for a polyurethane-based synthetic fiber that’s also called “elastane”. Spandex is known for its exceptional elasticity, and is more durable than natural rubber. These synthetic fibers are almost always mixed with another’s, even the “stretchiest” of items have less than 40-percent Lycra mixed with another fabric. Spandex has been incorporated into a wide range of garments, especially in skin-tight garments such as tights.
Polyester is another synthetic textile that is very widely used in the apparel industry, much like Lycra you very rarely find polyester by itself in clothing rather as part of a combination with other fabrics to make a hybrid blend.
A tough, lightweight, elastic synthetic polymer with a protein-like chemical structure, many tights and tight fitting sportswear are made from Nylon.