How to Make Leggings Not See Through


“I don’t know how to say this, but erm your leggings are totally see-through.” 

How much would any of us hate to hear this (and how many of us have come to the realization that it’s happened). It will likely take a brave friend, roommate or partner to break the news to you, which means countless strangers have been ogling your derriere for heaven’s knows how long.

But now you know, time for action!

First, Leggings Should Not Be See Through

Okay, let’s put this one to rest right from the get-go: Leggings or yoga pants should NOT be see-through.

Leggings often have a bad reputation because some of them are see-through (or they can become see-through after much wearing).

Basically, leggings are opaque (not see-through) skin-tight pants. They usually pull on and off (no zipper or other fastening) and while they may have pockets and other accents, most are unadorned with any pockets or seams beyond the seam that runs around the inner legs.

Leggings are usually made of cotton and lycra, though they now come in an astonishing range of finishes (shiny, matt), lengths (ankle and cropped), colors, cuts and even materials (from plain cotton to denim-looking “jeggings” and even leather).

Buyer beware the cheapest legging option. Often, cheaper leggings or yoga pants will become transparent after a few washes. Or they will lose their shape, becoming baggy in the ass or legs. You may also find the color fades, so your perfect black leggings soon become a sad grey version of themselves.

So, if you want leggings that will hold their shape, color and opaqueness, spend a little more. You’ll be the best judge here. But do try leggings on and keep an eye on them as they wash. Soon you’ll be able to separate the real deal from the pretenders.

Unlike tights, leggings should be completely opaque.

Why Do Some Leggings Become See-Through?

So why does this happen? It can boil down to a few reasons, or a combination of factors:

They Weren’t Good Quality to Start With

As mentioned above, some leggings are made cheaply to begin with. This means right off the hanger that can have some degree of transparency. You may not notice this at first, it may only be visible when you bend and stretch. So our advice is to shop with a friend, or even ask the store assistant to tell you (they’re there to help, after all ;)

You’re Wearing a Too Small Size

Leggings usually have a lot of stretch, but if you stretch a fabric beyond the point it’s meant to stretch, you might see the fabric separate and show skin. Leggings can be hard to shop for when it comes to sizing; they’re always smaller on the hanger due to the elastication.

But leggings should still go on comfortably. You shouldn’t have to wriggle into them, or experience any cinching or discomfort. If you do, you’re probably in too small a size and should try the next size up. 

They’re Mostly Cotton

Cotton can become very thin over time (just think of how your favourite t-shirt thins and breaks down). So leggings that have more cotton will become more transparent than leggings made of other materials. 

Now, most leggings do have a cotton component and cotton is a wonderful material for helping clothing be soft and breathable. But look for elastane, lycra and other blends to give additional strength to your leggings.

They’ve Been Washed & Worn Too Much

Any garment that has been laundered a lot will start to break down. Washing and drying fabrics is a bit of a double-edge sword: One the one hand, it helps protect clothes from the damaging effects of sweat and body oils, keeping them fresh and wearable for longer. On the other hand, it subjects garments to detergents and washing cycles that can be rough, stretching them, heating them and causing its own form of wear and tear.

Any garment will have a certain lifespan and leggings are no exception. Of course, the gentler your cleaning cycle the more they’ll be prolonged. Skipping the dryer is also highly advisable as those high temperatures can cause elastic to snap (you’ll sometimes even see little elastic “stubble” on an item where this has happened. But, eventually, your leggings will be “done” and the signs of this include increasing transparency.

What to Look for When Shopping for Leggings

Choose the Right Size

You’ll want the perfect “Goldilocks” just right fit when it comes to leggings. Too small, as we’ve discussed, and you might see some transparency. Too large, and your legging will be prone to sliding down or rolling.

As already mentioned, leggings can look deceptively small on the hanger (especially leggings with compression). So don’t be thrown off when you first see leggings. Try them on, move around in them, check for wrinkles or gaps where there should be none.

Consider Compression

Compression materials put pressure on different parts of the body (the amount of pressure can vary). Some compression garments are all-over compression and some (like Knix leggings) have compression zones.

The purpose of the compression pressure is to improve blood circulation, which can help with athletic performance, reduce fatigue and even aid with muscle recovery. Compression leggings usually look “sportier” than regular leggings. They will usually have a thicker waist band and are often high rise. You may notice more panels on the legs. Materials will look less like 100% cotton and you’ll probably notice greater elasticity, which may make these items look much smaller on the hanger.

Learn more about compression here.

Pay Attention to Seams

Leggings are great for preventing inner thigh chafing as the material creates a physical barrier to prevent friction, However, seams can sometimes cause chafing too. So pay attention to how seams are cut and look for seams that are offset on the inner leg so they don’t constantly rub together.

Rise & Length Are Also Considerations

If you experience leggings slipping or rolling down, think about opting for high waisted leggings. High waisted leggings will not only help you feel snug and contained, it will also be less likely to either roll or slide. High waists cover the abdominal area, which is most likely to expand and contract as you move, bend, sit, stand etc. By covering it up, you add some stability to prevent all that movement causing the fabric to move.

And when it comes to length, there’s a lot of choice too: Basically, you’ll have full length, ankle length (also known as 7/8 length), and cropped. Basically, be clear on the look you’re going for. Do you want to show a little ankle? Do you want to show a little bit of your lower calf? Or do you want full coverage? When you find a legging you love, you might want it in different lengths.

What to Do if You Discover Your Leggings Are See Through

Okay, this is all well and good. But what happens if your favorite pair of leggings is see-through suddenly?

It’s Time to Go Shopping

To be blunt about it; it’s time to buy a replacement. There’s no repair or hack you can do to turn a transparent pair of leggings back to opaque. Basically, take the hint and hit the shops.

Wear Nude Underwear Underneath Them

If you’re going to insist on wearing leggings that are losing their opaqueness, one tip would be to wear nude underwear. This will mean your underwear is less obvious beneath them. You could also opt for a boyshort style to protect your modesty.

Relegate Them to Layering Under Longer Dresses & Sweaters

If you really, really love these leggings you can also still keep them around for layering. Opaqueness is less important when leggings are worn under dresses or with long sweaters, so this is an option if you want to get every last wear out of them.

Wear Shorts Over Them

You can also pop a pair of shorts over the leggings. This look is actually quite popular for fickle weather and it allows you the benefits of leggings (compression, anti-chafing) but with the modesty of shorts.

Check Out Knix Leggings!

If you’re on the hunt for leggings, look no further!

Our leggings come in seasonal colors, but basic black is by far the most popular and versatile. Our seamless leggings put comfort first. They’re made with 360-knit BlissFit™ Fabric for body-hugging smoothness that moves with your body.

Plus, when it comes to compression, we’re here to support (yep, pun intended). A ribbed waistband for gentle compression that smooths and holds your tummy. 

Finally, they’re as versatile as they come. Perfect for lounging, for layering with whatever ensemble you’re putting together and, of course, as activewear. The flattering high rise silhouette is easy to style and easy to wear inside and outside.

Check out all our leggings here.