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What Is A . . ?
“Legging” is a pretty general category. When you look at our leggings section, you’ll find stirrup and capri leggings, along with true leggings and footless tights. Stirrup leggings cover your arch, but keep toes and heel free and capris end somewhere around the knee. Let’s pretend I meant for that to rhyme.
Now, sometimes we have folks talk about “leggings” but mean thigh highs, so it clearly can be a regional term. In the most general sense of how we use the word, leggings are like tights without the feet. They’ve got a waistband and end in the general area of your ankles. We and our suppliers also sometimes use the term “footless tights” to mean leggings—they’re practically interchangeable except for one thing: underpants visibility.
We’ve started to refine our terms the best we can, based on our experience and what words our customers (you beautiful folks!) use when looking for a specific style. Here’s what we’ve found. If you’re looking for leggings, more often than not you are looking for something with maximum underoo coverage. Leggings pair fabulously with tunic-length tops and dresses, things that don’t necessarily go with flashes of your undercarriage. Maybe they’re not perfectly opaque, but they’re at least tattoo-covering level of opacity. You can find all the straight-up leggings we carry with this search.
We’ve used a little bit of magic to sort together our favourite leggings that do the best at keeping things under wraps. Just search “opaque legging”, with the quotation marks around the phrase, and the most opaque of opaque leggings show up. And so do the Narita Sheer & Opaque Footless Tights, but we don’t know why, since they’re not opaque leggings at all. It is an unfortunate side effect of magic.
Make sure to check the descriptions and pictures, some styles listed there have two seams in the rear, which isn’t everyone’s favourite look (or feel). Of course, everyone is built a little differently, so opacity can vary. The more a style is stretched, the less opaque it can be. If you can, buy a size up for more opacity. The Thermo Fleece Lined Footless Tights are a good example of this. If you’re near the upper stretch limit for a size, they’re not very shy about what you’re wearing underneath.
We’ve found the Nouvella Cotton Legging and Cotton Capri are the most reliable for keeping you covered. One thing to watch, though: Charcoal and the Plum tend to run notably shorter in the leg than the other colors, but they’re super stretchy and soft. We also don’t think they’re as opaque as the other colours, so you might want to buy a size up for more opacity. Like a lot of true leggings, they’re a “cut & sew” style, with seams on the inside of the leg.
Okay, okay, so leggings cover your butt like a good friend backing you up that time you said you did a thing you didn’t. But what does that mean Footless Tights are?
Easy, everything else! Is it like tights but without feet? Then it is footless tights. It’s like identifying sharks. Bitey? There you go! Only, I guess, actually simpler than real taxonomy.
Clockwise from top: Side Stripe Footless Tights, Black Roses Printed Footless Tights, Foot Traffic Floral Footless Tights, Lycra Fishnet Footless Tights, Cherry Blossom Printed Footless Tights, Floral Flocked Footless Tights.
And one more time, here are some quick searches for you to bookmark or reference:
Knee highs are pretty straight forward. Our Measurements & Sizes page shows how they come to just below the knee, that’s pretty much the total of their definition. But you may have encountered the phrase “knee sock” when browsing our styles and wondered how it differed from plain ol’ knee highs.
There isn’t a whole lot of difference and sometimes we do use the phrase “knee sock” when we’re talking about knee highs. But, more often than not, when we call something a “knee sock” we’re talking about a sock that ends somewhere around the knee—sometimes below, sometimes above, sometimes right there in the middle of your knee cap—depending on your leg shape. The Bess Cashmere Slouch Rib Knee Socks are a perfect example of this, you can see how they end at different spots on different models’ legs:
Since we try on all the styles we sell and almost all of the models you see in our pictures are Sock Dreams employees, we get to see how socks act on different leg types. Long legs and fuller calves mean some shorter over the knee styles don’t fairly deserve the name “OTK”. But those same socks can’t properly be called knee highs either because just as many other folks had them go over their knees. So, we started using the phrase “knee sock” to highlight that ambiguity.
It was Sourpuss’ styles that made us first start using the phrase more actively, they’re shorter for over the knee styles and even though Sourpuss called them OTKs, we couldn’t after testing them, even though we love them.
The DreaM Stockings “knees” styles are another great example of a knee sock. Available in seven variations (with lots of varieties for each!), they can be worn as over the knee socks or knee highs, depending on your legs (or on your personal taste, I prefer them as knee highs, even though I’ve got short legs).
A way to find these in-betweeners is also to choose both “knee high” and “OTK” in Advanced Search then click the word “ALL” next to the header for Coverage. This shows you styles we’ve found fall both above or below the knee, depending on your leg. If you’ve got longer legs or fuller calves, you may already know the trick of wearing OTKs as knee highs, cuffing or double-cuffing to take care of any extra length.
A knee sock isn’t a style that couldn’t cut it as an OTK, nor is it just an over-achieving knee high. They straddle both coverage worlds, offering their stylish services to more leg types.
Just like you’d think, boot socks (whether you leave a space between the words is sort of up to you, but you’ll get better results in our search if you use the phrase “bootsocks”) are pretty self-explanatory. Boots are hardcore shoes and need a strong and sturdy sock with a decent thickness.
Coverage-wise, boot socks tend to be either midcalf or knee high—just like boots. And just like boots, there some shorter versions. These three are closer to that nebulous crew height (see What is a Crew Sock for more info on that!).
We like bootsocks a lot. Our Dream Stockings house brand even has two boot sock styles! Both have terry inside for extra durability and cushiness.
So sure, those are some bootsocks, but what are the factors that define a bootsock? Find out after the jump! Read more »
By general definition, a midcalf hits you right in the middle of your calf, or about halfway up to your knee. Our Measurements & Sizes page has a handy diagram of sock coverage, and you can see that the crew is close, but not quite, as tall as a midcalf.
On average, we’ve found that a midcalf is about 9-11 inches long from heel to the top of the cuff. They give you a little more coverage than a crew for a reason—a midcalf is one of the traditional men’s dress sock heights. When you’re wearing slacks and sit down, the legs of your trousers ride up, flashing ankle. A midcalf just covers that skin that might show and they are just the right height to be paired with old-fashioned sock garters. Crews are a touch too short to close that gap between shoe and cuff and knee highs are more sock than you need, but midcalves are just right.
More on what makes a midcalf (and a common misconception about them) after the jump! Read more »
The wonder of long socks is that they extend the life of a skirt—cozy thigh highs mean you can keep wearing some of your favourite pieces as the weather gets colder. But not all garter belts (also called suspender belts) are created equal, and some just don’t have the staying power to keep a hold on thick socks.
The bit that holds on to the stocking is technically called the garter, though we tend to call them “garter clips” more often than not. They come in basically two types, loop-and-button or suspender. The loop-and-button garter is the classic type more traditionally associated with garter belts. Suspender clips are called that because they’re the type of clip you see on modern suspenders, with little teeth to get a good grip on whatever they’re biting down on.
On average, suspender clips can hold more and better than traditional garter clips. They clamp down fiercely on even the thickest socks. That’s why our Suspender Clip Industrial Garter Belt has them and why we offer sock garters with that style of garter clip. They’re all-purpose and a good way for a person to start trying types of garters. They hold everything! And though they have little teeth, they still do well with thinner styles of stockings, though very delicate styles aren’t advised, because nothing is sadder than a laddered stocking.
However, the loop-and-button style is best for delicate nylons. And for the more flimsy garter clips, thin stockings are as much as they can hold. But how can you tell if a garter clip of any kind is going to have the holding power you need for your socks and stockings? Well, I’ve rounded up all the clips of the various garter belts we sell and after the jump we’ll go through them, from lightest to strongest! Read more »