Tights
Overview
Tights are a kind of cloth leg
Leg
Łęg may refer to the following places in Poland:*A former name for the town of Ełk *Part of the Czyżyny district of Kraków*Łęg, Pleszew County in Greater Poland Voivodeship...

 garment, most often sheathing the body from about the waist
Waist
The waist is the part of the abdomen between the rib cage and hips. On proportionate people, the waist is the narrowest part of the torso....

 to the feet with a more or less tight fit, hence the name.

Wearing of tights has a long history going back several centuries, when they were worn by men. Today, they are worn primarily by women and girls and some men and boys, as well as infant
Infant
A newborn or baby is the very young offspring of a human or other mammal. A newborn is an infant who is within hours, days, or up to a few weeks from birth. In medical contexts, newborn or neonate refers to an infant in the first 28 days after birth...

s and toddler
Toddler
A toddler is a young child, usually defined as being between the ages of one and three. Registered nurse, midwife and author, Robin Barker, states 'Any time from eight months onwards your baby will begin to realise he is a separate person from you...

s of both sexes. In recent years, they have been sometimes offered as men's fashion
Pantyhose for men
In American English, the term pantyhose refers to a garment traditionally worn by women, at least since their introduction in 1959. However, some manufacturers also produce pantyhose for men .-History:...

.
Encyclopedia
Tights are a kind of cloth leg
Leg
Łęg may refer to the following places in Poland:*A former name for the town of Ełk *Part of the Czyżyny district of Kraków*Łęg, Pleszew County in Greater Poland Voivodeship...

 garment, most often sheathing the body from about the waist
Waist
The waist is the part of the abdomen between the rib cage and hips. On proportionate people, the waist is the narrowest part of the torso....

 to the feet with a more or less tight fit, hence the name.

Wearing of tights has a long history going back several centuries, when they were worn by men. Today, they are worn primarily by women and girls and some men and boys, as well as infant
Infant
A newborn or baby is the very young offspring of a human or other mammal. A newborn is an infant who is within hours, days, or up to a few weeks from birth. In medical contexts, newborn or neonate refers to an infant in the first 28 days after birth...

s and toddler
Toddler
A toddler is a young child, usually defined as being between the ages of one and three. Registered nurse, midwife and author, Robin Barker, states 'Any time from eight months onwards your baby will begin to realise he is a separate person from you...

s of both sexes. In recent years, they have been sometimes offered as men's fashion
Pantyhose for men
In American English, the term pantyhose refers to a garment traditionally worn by women, at least since their introduction in 1959. However, some manufacturers also produce pantyhose for men .-History:...

. Athletic tights are already considered unisex
Unisex
Unisex stands for the meaning that either gender or sex will be able to, but can also be another term for gender-blindness.The term was coined in the 1962 and was used fairly informally...

.

In American English, the difference between pantyhose
Pantyhose
Pantyhose are sheer, close-fitting legwear, covering the wearer's body from the waist to the feet. Mostly considered to be a woman's and girl's garment, pantyhose appeared in the 1960s, and they provided a convenient alternative to stockings...

 and tights is determined in the weight of the yarn used and the thickness to which the garment is knitted. Generally, anything up to 40 denier is known as pantyhose and anything over can be classified as tights, as for example 'running tights' and 'cycling tights'. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the word "tights" is used in all cases when referring to pantyhose, and "leggings" for hosery of heavier, normally opaque material. Tights can be sheer yet solid in colour, whereas leggings are opaque, not sheer.

There are many sub-classifications of tights/pantyhose that describe the precise construction (such as control top, seamless, support and sheer). Although most tights are mainly nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 or cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, lycra is normally included in modern blends to improve fit.

Unfooted tights are usually called leggings
Leggings
Leggings are a type of fitted clothing covering the legs, which can be worn by both men and women.Originally leggings were two separate garments, one for each leg....

. Athletic tights are often unfooted, although they may have a "stirrup" that goes under the foot to hold the cuff down near the ankle.

In both historic and modern times, the wearing of tight hosery by males has sometimes been associated with an accompanying garment fitted over the groin of the male genitalia. In the 15th century, men wore a cod piece to accentuate their genital endowment, as a symbol of their virility, similar to the sporan worn as part of highland kilt ensemble of males in Scotland. In modern times, male ballet dancers generally wear a dance belt
Dance belt
A dance belt is a kind of specialized undergarment commonly worn by male ballet dancers to support their genitals. Most are similar in design to thong underwear....

 beneath their tights both to provide support to the genitalia and to promote a smooth, regular appearance since tights are so skin tight as to be revealing of the contours of the male anatomy.

Historical background

Originally derived from the hose
Hose (clothing)
Hose are any of various styles of men's clothing for the legs and lower body, worn from the Middle Ages through the 17th century, when the term fell out of use in favor of breeches and stockings. The old plural form of "hose" was hosen...

 worn by European men several centuries ago, tights were made as close fitting as possible for practical reasons when riding horseback. For men of nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, the material would be made of silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 or fine wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

 rather than the coarser fabrics used by the lower classes. At the time of King Henry VIII of England, such was the male fashion for displaying a well turned leg that even the king padded the calf
Calf (anatomy)
In human anatomy the calf is the back portion of the lower leg . In terms of muscle systems, the calf corresponds to the posterior compartment of the leg. Within the posterior compartment, the two largest muscles are known together as the calf muscle and attach to the heel via the Achilles tendon...

 area under his hose. Portrait paintings of him and other nobility often portray the wearing of a cod piece covering the groin.

Examples of current use

Tights are common in the world of theater, especially in Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

-era costume
Costume
The term costume can refer to wardrobe and dress in general, or to the distinctive style of dress of a particular people, class, or period. Costume may also refer to the artistic arrangement of accessories in a picture, statue, poem, or play, appropriate to the time, place, or other circumstances...

s, and dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

, particularly in ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

.

The term "tights" has been used to try to ridicule certain traditional British uniform
Uniform
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates...

. Most famously the Serjeant-at-Arms
Serjeant-at-Arms
A Sergeant-at-Arms is an officer appointed by a deliberative body, usually a legislature, to keep order during its meetings. The word sergeant is derived from the Latin serviens, which means "servant"....

 at the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

, after a protester got past the security, were described in the media as "middle aged men in tights."

Athletic use

For horseback riding, "tights" in some equestrian circles can refer to tightly fitting riding pants of light material that extend all the way down to the rider's ankle and worn with a 'paddock' style (ankle height) boot. Such pants are worn in summer or as an undergarment in winter. In warm climates they can be worn all year round. These "riding tights" are cheaper to buy than jodhpurs or breeches
Breeches
Breeches are an item of clothing covering the body from the waist down, with separate coverings for each leg, usually stopping just below the knee, though in some cases reaching to the ankles...

 which are a type of riding pant made of heavier materia and which extends only to mid calf length and are intended to be worn with tall riding boots.
Tights can also describe the leg coverings worn in bicycling in cold weather and in other athletic activities, especially by runners. These tights are usually a thicker spandex
Spandex
Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fibre known for its exceptional elasticity. It is strong, but less durable than natural Latex, its major non-synthetic competitor. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymer that was co-invented in 1959 by chemists C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers at DuPont's...

-blend, and are usually footless. It has also been advocated by some sport scientists that the wearing of tights can reduce muscle tissue vibration.

Athletic tights received some publicity during the 2005–2006 basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 season, when players started wearing the ankle-length tights under their uniform shorts
Shorts
Shorts are a bifurcated garment worn by both men and women over their pelvic area, circling the waist, and covering the upper part of the legs, sometimes extending down to or even below the knee, but not covering the entire length of the leg. They are called "shorts" because they are a shortened...

. A prominent NBA
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 player, Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player who plays shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School, where he was recognized as the top high school...

, was one of the first to wear tights, and the style was subsequently adopted by several other NBA players, as well as some college and high school players. The style sparked controversy, leading to proposals to prohibit wearing tights with basketball uniforms.

In colder temperatures outdoors, American football players sometimes wear spandex tights next to their skin beneath their normal padded stretchy, tightly fitted pants.

Health and beauty use

Because the fabric used in tights is made of interwoven fabric such as nylon or cotton, there are pores in the fabric where modern manufacturers have been able to place other items which benefit the skin. They can use microencapsulation techniques to place substances such as moisturizer
Moisturizer
Moisturizers or emollients are complex mixtures of chemical agents specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable, by increasing its hydration by reducing evaporation. Naturally occurring skin lipids and sterols as well as artificial or natural oils,...

s and other skin creams in the tights. These creams are said to act against the skin to create a health and/or beauty benefit for the wearer. Some manufacturers have even put caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 in tights which they claim can reduce cellulite
Cellulite
Cellulite is a topographic skin change that occurs in most postpubertal females. It presents as a modification of skin topography evident by skin dimpling and nodularity that occurs mainly in women on the pelvic region, lower limbs, and abdomen, and is caused by the herniation of subcutaneous fat...

 for the wearer.

See also

  • Compression tights
  • Pantyhose
    Pantyhose
    Pantyhose are sheer, close-fitting legwear, covering the wearer's body from the waist to the feet. Mostly considered to be a woman's and girl's garment, pantyhose appeared in the 1960s, and they provided a convenient alternative to stockings...

  • Underwear fetishism
    Underwear fetishism
    Underwear fetishism is a sexual fetishism relating to undergarments, and refers to the sexual excitement which some people experience from observing or handling certain types of underwear. Some people experience sexual excitement from wearing certain types of underwear...

  • Dance Belt
    Dance belt
    A dance belt is a kind of specialized undergarment commonly worn by male ballet dancers to support their genitals. Most are similar in design to thong underwear....

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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