How to Wear Girls Tights? Do I Let Them Show or Cover Them like Undies?

Updated on October 18, 2010
K.B. asks from Savannah, GA
21 answers

My 5-year-old daughter would never wear dresses or tights before and now this year they are all she will wear. She is a very active child, so when I put a little dress on her I put bike shorts or leggings underneath so her undies don't show. Now that it is a little cooler, she wants to wear tights. I have bought tons of the thick, really cute patterned tights so I want her to be able to wear them instead of the leggings.

She is old enough to understand modest behavior, but I haven't really started teaching that yet. To me, this age is all unbridled fun. She typically plays with a group of boys at school and they really go nuts. I figure as long as she wants to hang upside down & sit wide legged she can. I'd rather protect her modesty through clothing than behavior modification. I don't subscribe to the "ladylike" theory because first and foremost, she is not a lady. She is a child. A lady is an adult woman, not a five year old girl. Second of all, not one of the 5 year old boys is told to act like a gentleman and pull out chairs or hold open doors or sit a certain way. I am not going to start telling my 5yo to act a certain way just because of a pair of tights. I just don't know if showing tights is as immodest as showing undies. I don't know if tights are the same as undies or if they are the same as leggings.

So my question is do I have to cover the tights like I cover the undies or is it ok for tights to show when she goes upside down or sits wide legged, etc.? To me it seems that tights are undergarments and I should cover them for privacy, but I don't want to put tons of layers on her like dress, undies, tights and then shorts. This seems uncomfortable and might make it hard for her to use the potty. What does everyone else do? thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! I think I've realized there is no concensus on this. Some think tights can show & some not, so it must be personal preference. Personally, I think tights are like undies and should not show.

It is very important to me not to curtail her behavior or movement. I see no reason she can't hang upside down and sit however she wants just because she likes dresses. I don't think playtime and manners are the same. As long as her private garments are covered she can do whatever she wants. As for all the moms who think they have it covered by teaching their child "manners", I just want to let you know I see your kids undies everytime I go pick my kid up from school. Those girls don't follow manners at school, they have fun like they are supposed to and their undies show. I cannot believe how many moms send their kids to school in dresses with nothing underneath.

I've decided to cover the tights with bike shorts. I like crafty projects, so I'm going to cut the waist band off some of her old bike shorts and sew them to her tights, so it's not like she's wearing multiple garments... kind of like shorts with built-in tights. If that doesn't work out, she'll just have to get used to the multiple garment thing. Thanks again!

Featured Answers


answers from Albany on

Maybe get thicker tights? We wear fabric leggings when it gets cold, and they are like pants so there shouldn't be too much of a problem her running around in them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter is 4 yrs old and has 2 older brothers. So she can definetly handle herself. Anyhow she LOVES wearing dresses or skirts. She knows its not apporiate to have her legs wide open when she is wearing these type of clothes.
She loves wearing tights or wears shorts under her dresses or skirts.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Boston on

we never had shorts over our tights but we also didnt do certain things when we were a dress to school which was often in my house growing up. I would just tell her that its not lady like to wear a dress and sit wide legged or hang up side down on the jungle gym but there are plenty of other things she can do when she wears a dress.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

To me, tights equal panty hose for little girls. Would you lift your dress up and show your bottom in panty hose? This is the appropriate age to teach her how to wear them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

I have that same issue with my daughter. She's 3 and loves to wear dresses and skirts. Right now leggings are very popular, so we've sort of gotten away from the tights and went with leggings. They're basically pants, so if the skirt or dress comes up, it's not such a big deal. We regularly work on things we do and don't do while we're wearing a skirt. We don't sit wide legged. We cross our legs or keep them together like a lady. We don't hang upside down. We act lady like so others don't see our panties. She does surprisingly well for being only 3. I think at 5 your daughter could understand that when she wears a dress or skirt, there are some things that we just don't do.
If she wants to hang upside down while wearing a skirt, then she needs to have shorts on underneath, even if she's wearing tights. Do they make skorts for girls her age? They have the shorts sewn into them. I love them for me and my daughter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

Yes, they are an undergarment. Cover them with bike shorts or bloomers (that will help them stay in place as well).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm a man and am not up on current fashions.

To me, the upper part of tights are underwear and are different than the "tights" worn by people performing in the ballet. Non Ballet tights are partially see through. Ballet tights are not. And you wouldn't wear only a bikini to a black tie event, but you would wear an evening gown. To me, tights don't belong at school unless the panty area is covered up.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

If they are the thin tights (like nylons but colored) I would cover them. If they are the think ones (that you can't see through), I wouldn't worry about covering them....I have an almost 4yr old that is tall for his age and dresses tend to be short so I go through this all the time. Another option is leggings instead of tights.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Let them show and teach her.



answers from Spartanburg on

my daughter wears bloomers over her tights. i bought her a pair of white ones for 5 dollars when when was 18 months and they still fit now that she's 4. (they used to go over her diaper).



answers from Atlanta on

If the outfit comes with bloomers, those go on the outside of the tights, however, if it does not, the tights go on the outside of the panties...panties should be covered ...



answers from Atlanta on

Oh -just the tights are fine!



answers from Augusta on

ok what's the problem with teaching our girls to keep their legs closed? SERIOUSLY. What's the problem with teaching them to act like ladies?
Acting like a lady does not mean they can't play hard. I grew up with the Head of the girls athletic department for he city schools as my grandmother. There's no reason why an active , athletic girl can't be lady like and have manners. Saying the two can't happen at the same time is ridiculous. Your daughters ( directed to others that answered this post as well) can keep their dress below their waist and still play hard. Why wouldn't you want to teach your little girl to not show her undies?

As far as the tights, put shorts on her if you don't think she'll keep her dress where it should be.



answers from Boston on

My daughter is 5 too and has always loved to wear dresses. When she is with me, I let her wear tights and just remind her to cross her legs etc when she sits. When she goes to school, I typically have her wear leggings (warmer and more practical for sitting on the floor) or cover them with shorts. I don't think it is a huge deal if a girl's tights show, but you can definitely start teaching modesty.



answers from New York on

my daughter always wears dresses with leggings, its perfect. plus looks cute with shoes or sneakers.



answers from Atlanta on

It goes like this. Underwear, then tights, then dress or skirt. Leggings are thicker and can be worn with again, underwear, leggings (which are pants) then whatever top. I don't understand why you are confused. ??


answers from Pittsburgh on

I was in dancing and cheerleading all my young life, so I got very used to being in tights... and I agree with you, that I kind of feel that tights are more like undergarments than like leggings... so I'd feel compelled to cover them.

The reason I mention the dancing/cheerleading thing, is that we wore what we called "trunks" under our cheerleading uniforms, and when I wore a skirted uniform to school with tights, or anytime I wore a dress with tights, I ALWAYS wore my trunks over the tights, for the coverage factor (in case my uniform dress blew up in the wind at recess - which happened often - LOL), but also for keeping the tights up! I couldn't stand when tights would sag at the crotch, so wearing the trunks over them kept them pulled up and covered. Plus, they weren't too cumbersome, since they were shaped like undies, rather than a full bike short...

And they do sell them quite small, so you could maybe invest in a couple pairs of neutral color trunks, and she could wear those!



answers from Atlanta on

The tights are sufficient unless they have the stitching that appears to be undies.

Mom of four daughters and a host of nieces and nephews.



answers from Chicago on

When I was in school we had uniform jumpers and always wore tights in the winter time. Yes, it is a bit uncomfortable to wear an extra layer of shorts, but perhaps you can get her some boys' boxers, which are much looser and more comfy.



answers from Chicago on

I would never hinder my daughter in her activities for fashion. My daughter wouldn't wear a pair of shoes today to school that I picked out because she said she couldn't run in them. Fair enough. Put on a pair of gym shoes instead. No way am I going to tell her to act "lady like" while wearing tights! What generation are we raising our girls in???? Are we going to tell our girls to not play sports because they will sweat and smell and not be attractive to the boys???? I mean seriously! I would do what you planned on, the bike short thing. Don't let her feel that she can't have as much fun as she wants because she's female. Stress how fun it is to be a girl and wear such fun clothes but that are practical and easy to play in too.



answers from Atlanta on

I agree to cover, and bought my daughter bike shorts and leggings, skipping tights altogether. But, you could get "spanky pants" (like diaper coverups) that are large enough to cover and loose enough for easy on-off.

Good luck this season:)

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions