What is The Difference Between Cotton And Hosiery?

T&A Textiles and Hosiery is one of your best guides to understand all that is relevant to fabrics and hosiery. Although billions of people buy and wear textiles they do not know specific terms to what different sets of clothing are called and how one fabric differs from the others. 

Here is a brief guide to underline distinctions between two words that are mistakenly used as if they are interchangeable; Hosiery and Cotton.

What is Hosiery? 

Compression Hosiery. Medical Compression stockings and tig… | Flickr

Hosiery is a collective noun. The articles that come under its label are socks, stockings tights etc. In the UK, hosiery refers to all women stockings and coverings that are either woven or knitted. Particularly, they refer to coverings of legs which became an important fashion statement in the 17th century. 

Although these stockings were present for women quite before the 17th century, they were hand-knitted. With the progress of human innovations, when sewing machines came into being, the fashion altered to machine-knitted garments, and all these garments became to be called as Hosiery. 

The word hosiery is thought to be derived from two words. While the word hose means collective goods, the hosier means the one who makes these goods. When combined the word hosiery, we mean the under or over garments that people particularly the female gender wears. They have a tight-fitting. 

For different types of hosiery different knitting methods are used. Full-fashioned garments are stitched flat, then moulded by hand trickery and hand stitching up the back.  The weft knitting is done through a straight-bar machine which allows for the back and forth knitting of the fabric. In the 1960s, there was a trend toward combining stockings into a single garment, pantyhose and tights, that reached the waist and covered the feet, legs, and hips.

Many people confuse hosiery with intimate apparel as well. However, intimate garments are specifically for women but hosiery could be worn by both because the term does not strictly suggest women’s tights or stockings. Male leggings and socks could also be included in the hosiery. 

What is Cotton?

bed, cover, throw, colourful, moroccan, wear, textile, rug | Piqsels

Cotton is more of a material through which different hosiery goods be made. For instance, cotton leggings, cotton stockings or socks.  IT contributes to 56% share in the fibre community. Cotton is a staple fibre. Most of the women stockings in the earlier 20th century were cotton-based. Some research suggests that 88% of the garments of then times were mostly using cotton. Silk and artificial silk had yet not made into the market well. 

Cotton is produced on a huge scale agriculturally. Therefore, the products into which cotton goes are relatively inexpensive. They can make for lightweight voiles to velveteen. Different lace types that are used on apparel or draperies could also be made through cotton. They are affordable and at the same time materials using cotton do not mind a lot of washing in case of stains and spills. 

Furthermore, cotton fabrics can come in a variety of hues. It is because they are dye-friendly. Cotton also goes into making bedsheets and blankets. The long-staple cotton is what goes into the making of these as well as hosiery. Note that the long-staple cotton are difficult to grow. The blankets make use of much coarser cotton fiber. These are usually short-staple cotton. Cotton is admired for its moisture-retaining abilities and the strength that it gives to different articles. 

The Different Standards of Judging the Cotton Type

The criteria for judging the cotton quality includes its whiteness, cleanliness, and length of the fibre.This process is also called as grading or classing cotton.  The classes take a random sample. They discard the majority of the cotton until only a few well-aligned fibres remain. They determine the length of the fibres, which are known as staple fibres. Longer staple fibres are higher-quality cotton and are more expensive. Long staples range in length from 1.1 to 1.4 inches.


In nutshell, hosiery is anything related to garments, like stockings, leggings and leg wears as well as socks. Cotton is the material that goes into weaving these products as well as others like shirts, bedsheets etc. Other materials that could go into making hosiery are nylon and silk, with the former being popular these days.