Oh, my dears, yes! There is indeed.
This is a topic upon which we have spent far too much time discussing, debating and dissecting the subtleties and differences between the terms. In defining our brand and imagining our Manifesto pour le Hedoine, we have learned a great deal about this subject. And through copious research, scholarly investigation and ruthless digging, we have unearthed the answer to this timeless question.
As with many of life’s great puzzles, the answer lies not only in the definitions but also in the cultural nuances of the societal interpretations of the terms themselves. By that, we mean it depends on whether one is speaking British or American English. So, here’s what it is:
- Pantyhose (known as “tights” in the UK) is an American term that first emerged in the 1960s for sheer legwear that combined the notions of the nylon stocking and the control panty in a single garment. One piece, covering waist to toe, they are usually made of nylon, or other light fabrics blended with nylon.
- Tights (known as “pantyhose” in the US) are usually made of nylon or other knitted yarns. A form of close-fitting women’s hosiery which also covers the wearer from waist to toe. They may come in various designs or patterns, and they are often made of heavier and sturdier materials than pantyhose. They may be sheer, opaque or fishnet.
- Stockings (not known as “pantyhose” anywhere) are two separate pieces of hosiery, both of which are slipped over the toe and then extend to the upper thigh, where they are held in place by a garter or garter belt. Usually made of translucent nylon and silk, stocking may be embellished with any number of designs or patterns.
So, you see, it’s all just a matter of linguistics. That, and which side of the pond you’re on.