Sublimation Print Leggings (also known as Footless Tights) – the Perspective of one Retailer and Consumer

Sublimation Leggings

Sublimation Print Leggings are all the rage and I have a large selection of them on my website (Carrie’s Closet, simply because, I cannot stop buying these fantastic prints!

However, what I feel I need to do is to do a little write up to share my personal perspective on these printed leggings, for the purpose of setting expectations for those who are purchasing these types of prints online. 

My disclaimer:  I am not writing this from the perspective of someone with any experience in the printing industry that has an in-depth knowledge of the processes that create these textiles.  My experience is also limited in owning them, since they are a relatively new trend in my closet.  I am speaking purely from the perspective of someone who wears them and retails them, and the feedback I have received from customers, and…. my own personal feedback.  I have rocked them, and I have heard customers talk about them when trying them on. 

The general, non-technical explanation is that these prints primarily work on synthetic fabrics.  From my perspective, that`s a good thing.  Polyester and other synthetic fabrics wash well and they are affordable, so when these prints eventually go out of fashion, they are a small investment to enjoy until they run their fashion course. 

Also, the polyester goes through the printer relatively flat, so once you "un-flatten" it (i.e., put a body into it) it can become sheer.  My personal recommendation with sublimation leggings is to rock them like tights.  Do not buy this product thinking you can wear them like pants. 

Another rule of thumb with most leggings, not only sublimation, is if you are paying under $20, this rule generally applies.  The leggings that I have wholesaled that would retail in the $10-$20 range are all sheer.  Be aware of that.  The ones that I retail higher than that, on smaller frames, can hide the color of your underwear a lot better.  

The Good

-          Based on my research, the prints are on the most part, permanent. 

-          They are affordable

-          The varieties are endless

-          They are extremely popular right now


What You Need to Know

-          Sublimation leggings can be sheer.  Wear them as tights, not pants  They are often referred to as footless tights.

-          They are rarely perfect, and often have white creases in the print (notice in the image at the top of this article, you can see the seam pretty clearly). However, it is tough to get a perfect pair with no blank spots (or white spots). The positive way to look at it, is almost every pair is original with their built-in flaws

-          I have been careful (and not careful) with washing my sublimation leggings ,and so far so good.  However, don`t push your luck like I have.  Wash in cold and hang to dry.  I have only owned many of them for a year, but the shelf life under my "careless care" is yet to be determined.

-          Most of the footless tights I carry come in one size.  That is not “one size fits all”, it simply means one size.  I have seen women up to a size 8 rock them.  But bear in mind, they are rocking them under shorts, skirts and tunics.  I am a size 8, and you can see my underwear loud and proud under them.  Cover up that butt, and put on some knee high boots and these leggings are awesome!  I can’t stress this enough:  these are not pants.


How to Wear Them

-          Wear them under a tunic with knee-high boots to give your outfit flair

-          Wear under a dress like tights

-          Wear them under booty shorts and short skirts

-          They are certainly not wicking material and appropriate as workout wear.  However, to intimidate other teams with my haute leggings, I have worn them under shorts in a beer league I have played on to show my spirit.  Bear in mind, I am not playing sports in a hard way where I need appropriate sporting gear.  I am more like the mascot in the back row when they need extra players. 


General Comments from friends, browsers at markets and my own comments (in no particular order)

-          These are absolutely wicked!  How do I choose which pair?

-          These are too sheer, you can see my butt!

-          Those tights are awesome, but I can see your butt (to customer checking herself out in front of the mirror happy, and her helpful friend looking at her from behind, slightly concerned)

-          Nice tights, where did you get them (I hear this every week from more than one female when I wear them under my black shorts at SuperJocks in the craziest of colors)


General Research

Here are some quotes directly from Wikipedia on Sublimation Printing on Textiles:

Advantages of dye-sublimation over other methods of textile printing:[1] 

  • Images are permanent and do not peel or fade.
  • Dye does not build up on the fabric.
  • Colors can be extraordinarily brilliant due to the bonding of the dye to the transparent fibers of the synthetic fabric.
  • Truly continuous tones can be achieved that are equivalent to photographs, without the use special techniques such as half-screen printing.
  • The image can be printed all over the entire item, with no difficulty in printing all the way to the edges.




  • The printer speed is low.
  • Any creases in the apparel during printing leave blank spots behind.




In Conclusion

I am not trying to talk you into, our out of Sublimation Printed leggings.  This article is genuinely and sincerely for the purpose of setting expectations of the good and bad of this product. 

In my opinion, I think they are awesome, or I wouldn’t be selling them. 

However, the expectation needs to be set with consumers ordering online that these are to be treated like tights – not pants. If you are looking for a perfect pair with no white spots or creases, then it just makes sense to pay the +$30 for a pair of leggings that use a different print process.

Rock those footless tights and hide that butt!


  • Carrie Paxson
  • Tags: Fashion

How to wear leggings correctly - are they pants, or an accessory?

I am a huge leggings fan, and honestly, I wear them more like nylons. They are stylist, forgiving on my belly, and they create a nice pop of color between my tunic and my boots.

Some people wear them as pants, and let's face it - they don't leave much to the imagination. They are often transparent and tight in all the wrong places, and unless you are a size six mannequin, very few people have a butt that can pull off leggings as pants. 

This article published in the Calgary Herald says it best!

Take advantage of this fashion item and wear them under a tunic or a dress. 

The last thing you want to do is wear them as an alternative to "pants". The more appropriate way to sport leggings is on your legs -- not your arse!

In my opinion, here are some examples of hot leggings worn right, thanks to an innocent google search:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42661473,d.cGE&biw=1093&bih=538&pdl=300&wrapid=tljp1361421333541059&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=I6QlUY-ZJYWvigKI-IDAAg#um=1&hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=leggings+tunic+and+boots&oq=leggings+tunic&gs_l=img.3.1.0i24l2.537822.538421.0.540298.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42661473,d.cGE&fp=7a68e2a084501af8&biw=1093&bih=538

Another google search that may show examples that I feel are leggings worn inappropriately:
  • Carrie Paxson
  • Tags: Fashion

A peek into Carrie's Closet

Today is January 9, 2013.  I am sitting in my mother's living room surrounded by suitcases filled with treasures.. 

My favorite thing to do is to spend time with my husband-to-be, Holger, in our home in Calgary, Alberta.  Or better yet... to spend time with him in the mountains, doing half day hikes in perfect weather.  I am trying to be a little more flexible to do full day hikes in medocre weather.  But I am working up to that.  Regardless, he is my knight in shining armour that grounds me to this earth.

A very close second, is spending time with my "besties".  I am fortunate to have lots of love and support in my life from "the" best women  on this planet.  My besties not only include my friends, but my mother as well.  I love spending time with any of them individually, or in small or large groups.  They tolerate my big capricorn dreams and watch me grow.  And we always have a laugh.  They are full of encouragement, fun and love.

My third favorite thing is to treasure hunt.  I love to shop and to find unique pieces of clothing, jewelry and accessories, and to pair the new items with the old items and see what I can come up with.  Since I yo yo diet, and trends are always changing, it is no surprise this is a constant process of finding items that fit me properly, and that compliment my classic wardrobe with some fun, funky pieces. 

I come by the love of treasure hunting honestly from my mom, Carol.  Neither one of us have any problem spending a lot of money on something we have to have -- or a little money on something that we have to have.  Its not about acquiring a pile of crap.  Its about acquiring special pieces in the places we frequent and mailing them back and forth to each other to keep, give away, or more recently for me with this online shop, to sell.  Mom has been living in Northern Ireland for nine years (her husband is from there and they are caretaking for his parents). 

This site is not dedicated to a Canadian with a resident shopper in Ireland though.  I tend to do treasure hunting everywhere else.  I have the tendency to travel near and far for both business and pleasure (mostly business).  In the last 12 months, I have been throughout the rockies, the oilsands, Northwestern Ontario (the land of amethyst), London (UK), Belfast (Northern Ireland) Paris France, Bogota, Colombia, Houston and Galveston, TX and a few more inconsequential locations that did not entail much shopping (sadly).

Tomorrow, I leave Ireland for New York City for two days, where I have booked a Garment District tour in hopes to acquire a line or two to sell in my online store.  I don't know what I am looking for, but I guaran-ass-tee that those of you following will find out soon.  Very soon!