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59 Comments

The next big thing from Europe: mantyhose

mantyhose

Tights from Emilio Cavallini

Some fads never make it from Europe to North America, but trend watchers are betting that men’s tights will overcome the odds. Last week, Victor Fiorillo from Philadelphia magazine waxed poetic about the women’s pantyhose he bought at a drugstore, noting that they’re warmer than long johns and would look good under ripped jeans.

Pantyhose for men, or “mantyhose,” were spotted in Givenchy’s spring-summer 2010 show and are showing up in such on-line stores as We Love Colors (we found an affordable $8 version) and Italian hosiery designer Emilio Cavallini’s on-line boutique (which showcases more expensive pairs).

But who would wear them? Says one store owner, “They’ll be über-chic in the next year, even for hipsters riding their bikes in the winter months.” Ah yes, hipsters.

Mantyhose: in defense of men’s tights [Philadelphia Magazine]

  • http://www.comfilon.com Mike

    I say, “Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it.” At the very least, they do make a much better (under) layer than old-fashioned long-johns (ughh). And if you can muster the confidence (unlike the other sheepish commenters above), they are also comfortable with shorts in cool weather.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    You media people are so far behind; this is old news! And what’s more, it didn’t originate in Europe; the first and still biggest supplier of men’s hosiery, ComfiLon (for whom we are pleased to be UK and European distributor) hails from Ohio, and has been in business since 1998! We commenced trading in 2004, and have seen the demand for legwear and associated garments for men explode in that time. Most of our customers are just regular guys, who wear for reasons of comfort, warmth, support etc. In recent times we have also seen a big increase in ladies buying for their menfolk. Also, please note, we do not sell women’s hosiery; all our products are made specifically for men (or in some cases are ‘unisex’) and are NOT repackaged women’s hosiery.

    With the exception of Mike’s comment above, the rest of the morons who posted here are just displaying their stunning ignorance and blinkered outlook; I bet none of them have even tried wearing men’s tights, and I suggest they withhold their thoughts until they do so!

    I have to say, though; I don’t think many guys would be seen dead (I know I wouldn’t!) in those awful Emilio Cavellini patterned offerings – they’re not exactly masculine! But there are many alternatives available that are designed specifically for men (the EC tights are not; they are ‘unisex’). As Mike says, ‘Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.’

    Legwear4Men

    PS It is incorrect to refer to men’s tights and legwear as ‘mantyhose’; that was the tradename of a dubious bedroom ‘toy’ which originated in the 1970′s, and is NOT a generic name for men’s legwear.

  • http://www.nylongene.com Steve Newman

    I have to echo what Legwear4Men said above. Media coverage of men’s legwear is an odd kind of paradox. On the one hand, it is rare to see feature stories on the plain ol’ tights or sheer hosiery the vast majority of guys wearing them actually have on their legs. Yet there’s a high level of coverage of the really splashy-looking tights (ie, the Emilio Cavallini checkered tights shown above) that only a tiny minority of male legwear wearers would wear. Myself, I wear tights/sheer hose for leg support, and wear them with shorts without reservation. Yet, I would never wear the checkered or striped tights in EC’s catalog.

    Why the disparity in coverage between what real men are really wearing, and the styles that maybe 1% would be seen in? Maybe partly because plain and ordinary doesn’t sell as news. Maybe because it’s more ‘fun’ to display styles that are much more likely to evoke a good, “ewwwww”, or “ROFLMAO”, etc, etc.

    I don’t get too excited over it, though. I’ve been closely involved with publicizing the emerging men’s legwear trend long enough (see my blog, The Nylon Gene, http://www.nylongene.com) that I can see the gradual, and sometimes grudging, increase in overall acceptance of ‘mantyhose’ despite the somewhat negative impact the wild patterns have on public perceptions.

    Little by little, people are coming to realize that they aren’t representative of the legwear that makes up the bulk of the market, that there are some very practical reasons for wearing it (as in the Philly Mag article), and guys can wear it without sticking out like a sore thumb.

  • chris spanks

    Yea who would wear them? Everyday I wear women’s pantyhose instead, sheer to the waist , tan or black or off black. I don’t like the checkers in mantyhose. I tear a hole in the crotch for coolness and convience so I can do EVERYTHING in pantyhose without haveing to pull them down from my gorgous hips .I think all women and guys should wear them. Any one want to see my pic in panthhose and highrise nylon bodysuit?
    I have legs better than 99% of the girls and love feeling like a girl and dream of having a lesbian experience wearing pantyhose. ilovehose@hotmail.com

  • http://www.nylongene.com Steve Newman

    … as with all things, men’s legwear has to have it’s bad actors, too. Please don’t let the preceding post color perceptions of all men who wear legwear. The majority are regular guys who wear them for practical, legitimate reasons… not for fetish/cross-dressing. Unfortunately, there are ample numbers that feel a need to post things like this and discredit the rest of us.

    If you decide to remove the foregoing post, you may feel free to remove this one of mine also.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    I agree 100% with Steve’s comment above. In our years of trading, we have sought to distance ourselves from such shenanigans as the previous poster’s comment as they are not representative of 99% of male hosiery wearers. We find many of our customers baulk at the idea of wearing women’s hosiery, but are quite happy to wear them if they are made for men (aside from the fact that men’s legwear will fit better, be more comfortable and generally last longer on men, than women’s hosiery would, simply because it is designed for men’s dimensions, which are (in case you haven’t noticed) different than women’s dimensions).

    When we commenced trading in 2004, we had maybe 3 or 4 manufacturers onboard; now we have eleven, with more waiting in the wings, and we also have a substantial own-brand range too. Five years ago, it was almost impossible to get a hosiery manufacturer to seriously consider producing men’s tights and legwear; now they are queueing up to join, so there must be something in it.

    So, if your readers want to stay with their blinkered, ‘Victorian’ attitudes, go right ahead; but I for one, prefer to live in the 21st century!

  • http://legwearisunisexfashion.blogspot.com/ JMoore

    Thanks for the Style article. I agree with Steve and Legwear4men. Most of the guys that I am aware of who wear full length hosiery are straight and even conservative politically. We feel people like Chris Spanks give us all a bad name and image.

    Mostly we just happen to share a fondness for the support and/or soft feel of tights and hose on our legs. We wear mostly for practical reasons or just because we like the feel. If you check it out on the internet you will find a great many more like us. Lots of us wear them under long pants and you would never know.
    Someday though those high fashion ones might be nice to try…

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    To Michelle_Lucid,

    Why ‘ewwww’? OK, so I don’t agree with the use of the term ‘mantyhose’, but men wore tights and hosiery for centuries before women did (dating right back to Roman times, when soldiers wore a form of leggings in colder climates). Don’t men get cold? Or have aching legs? Or want to be comfortable? I don’t understand your strange attitude. Us guys don’t go ‘ewww’ when you girls wear tights, do we? So what’s the difference? You need to take off those blinkers and get into the 21st century.

  • Nick

    Living in Europe, I have to say that while tights are sometimes worn under sports clothing by men, this is not something you are likely ever to see in a non-sporting context in public under shorts, for example. You have the same chance of winning the lottery as ever seeing a man in tights! Men’s tights are also conspicuous by their absence in shops, and where they are sold they are still firmly entrenched as female attire in women’s sizes.
    That some men for years have quietly put on tights for warmth in the bitter cold is an open secret and fair game for a bit of banter, but there is no way this could be described as a European fashion, and I doubt if that is likely to change in the near future, if ever.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    To Nick,

    Whilst I agree that this is not a European phenomenon, I have to disagree with your other points; as sales of men’s legwear have sky-rocketed in recent years, and particularly the last 12 months, it is becoming far more likely that you will see men in tights with shorts or whatever. It is true that men’s hosiery is not sold in shops, but that is because Joe Public (for the most part) is unaware that such a thing even exists, so it would be a bit of a gamble to sell over the counter. The web has a much larger ‘catchment area’, so to speak, and customers are much more likely to come looking for a particular product than someone walking around a shopping mall would do. So, your observations are a little out-of-date, particularly as more and more manufacturers come on board; but keep looking – you are bound to see a guy in legwear some time soon! We have thousands of male customers who will testify to that.

  • Matt

    I feel bad that legwear4men and Steve Newman have so far taken most of the burden defending full length hosiery for men. There are tons of men out in the world that wear pantyhose/tights for either their benefits or just because they like the way they feel.

    Personally, I wear pantyhose and/or tights nearly everyday. I started because of the pain in my legs and knees. I can’t hike on trails for more than a couple miles unless I’m wearing full support hose. My knees cause me excruciating pain after hiking for just a couple miles–to the point where I need to crawl. After I tried wearing full support hosiery on the next hike, I was able to go the entire route and run to my vehicle afterwards–raced my son.

    I really like the feel of the fabric too and I don’t see anything wrong with that. Even if you don’t wear pantyhose/tights just feel them and tell yourself that you don’t like the texture. They are really comfortable. I don’t buy the cheap stuff and my wife completely understands why now. The more expensive hosiery generally fits and feels much better, it is more durable and is a nicer feel to the fabric.

    I don’t wear my hosiery with shorts, but I don’t hide my feet and ankles with socks either. I don’t care if someone sees the nylon on my ankles. I know why I wear and I’m fine with that. So is my wife, kids, parents, etc. I know I’m masculine enough that I don’t have to defend myself to strangers making idiotic remarks. I’ll definately tell people how pantyhose and tights have enabled me to live a normal and active life.

    I’ll also let people know that many men buy pantyhose and tights for themselves from department stores and dance apparel shops. The sales staff have always been friendly and helpful to me. If they ask if I’m buying for myself I tell them the truth because they are only trying to help. I’ve NEVER had a problem buying from a store. The sales people have told me men come in all the time buying for themselves and not freaks, weirdos or perverts, but normal guys like me.

    Anyhow, I’m glad to see more companies enter the market because that will help increase competition and lower the price we pay for our hosiery. Steve Newman (Comfilon), sells a great quality product. His company gives great customer service too. Legwear4men has a great selection on his website and excellent cutomer service for us guys. There are more of us men out there wearing pantyhose and tights for more normal reasons than you can even imagine. It’s not crossdressing. It’s just a different choice of underwear for many reasons.

  • Nick

    legwear4men

    I agree sales of tights to men are increasing in Europe, but is it not true that the market is still very small? I could see tights replacing long johns or similar as an extra layer in athletic contexts, and have in the past worn them myself. But as a public fashion statement, I still have my doubts. The reason is that for public wearing, this is still perceived as being too feminine, and meets with resistance from both men and women because of this. It is also true there are many ‘oddballs’ about with a thing about tights which understandably reinforces the resistance to men wearing them. People are suspicious as to why men want to wear them, particularly if visible. And it remains true that men wearing tights is not something you yet actually ever see in Europe, despite claims to the contrary.

    I think this will only ever go mainstream if perceptions of it change pretty radically. Possible, but unlikely. In the end, time will tell!

  • http://www.nylongene.com Steve Newman

    …also keep in mind that fashion and societal change is typically more ‘evolutionary’ than ‘revolutionary’–1960s mini skirts and the like, aside. It’s been a big change in public perception just to reach the point we are now, where men are beginning to acknowledge in large numbers that they do in fact wear tights occasionally, under their trousers. It’s taken a number of years to happen, but the default presumption is no longer one of alarm, or deep suspicion.

    Also, the prevalence of tights worn outwardly in a sports setting has grown immensely. So, I wouldn’t be so overly optimistic as to predict that we’ll be seeing guys wearing shorts with legwear on every street corner by, say 2012. But I do think that as even the memory of the former stigma slowly fades into the past, we’ll definitely start seeing it with increasing regularity. It generally takes awhile before a style moves from the fringe, to the edges of society, to the ‘realm of the cool’ (hipsters?), and onward to social convention.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    Nick,

    Time has told! Perceptions have changed radically! There is no longer the assumption that if a guy wears tights or similar that he must be gay/gender confused/a cross-dresser (Apologies to any readers who are of the above persuasions; I’m not knocking it, it just isn’t applicable here.) See Steve’s comments above. The increase in uptake of men’s legwear is world-wide, not just in Europe or the US alone. Whilst it is true that more than 50% of our customers are in the UK, the other 50% are spread far and wide, literally, to the ends of the earth. And I don’t think most of them would consider themselves ‘oddballs’!

  • Christel

    It is ironic that several of the self proclaimed ‘normal’ men who wear hose etc. feel the need to distance themselves from the perhaps more obvious male consumers such as cross-dressers. The product is available, in demand and fills a need – it’s that simple. There is no such thing as a more or less appropriate customer.

  • Nick

    Christel – there are some really weird people around when it comes to this subject who have a life dominating obsession with tights, and I cannot blame anyone who wears tights say under jeans or running gear from wanting to distance themselves from this kind of fantasy world.

    There are two equal and opposite reactions whenever men and tights is raised as a subject. One is the euphoria of the ‘oddballs’, and the other is an overreaction to the effect that a man in tights should either be beaten to pulp or hanged from the nearest lamp post! Outside of these silly and irrational extremes, there is room for a genuine range of opinion for, against and everything in between. All too often, things get more polarized than necessary. The sheer (sic) heat this generates is fascinating in its own right!

  • shirley wilson

    If I ever went out with a guy who wore those tights I would throw up.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    Christel,

    I am not talking about ‘more or less appropriate customers’ here, it’s just that in our experience, there are many men who would consider wearing male tights for ‘normal’ reasons, i.e. as an everyday item of clothing, but who don’t want to be associated with the more extreme or fetishistic (if that’s a word!) aspects of wearing. We don’t want them to be alienated or frightened off by ‘extremists’. As Nick above points out, we are seeking to stay in the middle ground, and avoid the extremes. I (and no doubt, many of our customers) would be happy if men’s legwear was a non-subject, and as un-noteworthy as t-shirts or jeans (and it is heading in that direction), but it hasn’t got there yet, and silly, finger-pointing articles in the press don’t really help.

  • Bankman

    There is always the biblical prohibition against a ‘man putting on a woman’s garment’, but even though this influence has receded in the West, I think there is still an innate sense that this is wrong. You see this in comments that men wearing tights is ‘weird’ or ‘just plain wrong’, where the writer is only making an assertion and cannot articulate why it is wrong, but is sure it is. Men in sheer nylon is a step too far, and most women I reckon do not want any feminization of men, which this is perceived to be. They are not fooled by the exaggerated ‘benefits’ of wearing either.
    Even on sensible discussion forums, you see a schizophrenic attitude, in that men write of wearing tights whilst shopping etc. with ‘no hostile reaction’, but they cannot make up their minds as whether they want to be seen or not, and so have to support each other in overcoming the fear or what others think because this isn’t mainstream. Why the constant need to justify this? Their conscience is telling them something isn’t right about what they are wearing, a point emphasised by an unwillingess to use real names in case others find out.

  • Matt

    I use my real name. I have nothing bothering my conscience either. I don’t make fake excuses to justify why I wear either. The reason I don’t wear my hosiery with shorts isn’t because I’m afraid to be seen in them. It’s not a fashion statement I’m trying to relay. It’s not a look I’m after and that’s it.

    As far as buying at stores, I never needed encouragement from others to overcome any fear. I’ve always gone to the store and bought hosiery not caring if anyone saw me. I’ve been asked if I was buying for myself and I’ve always told them the truth because they were trying to be helpful. I can’t go on nature hikes without wearing support hosiery because my knees hurt extremely bad and will/have gone out on me. I have the hardest time walking downhill.

    As far as wearing sheers, I don’t see a problem with it either. I wear sheer hosiery. I like the way tights and pantyhose feel. I’m not trying to look like a woman nor do I feel feminized in them. They are comfortable and I have a right to enjoy the comfort is the way I see it. My wife knows I wear and she doesn’t think I look feminized either. My kids, parents and close friends know I wear hosiery and there is no issue with it.

    I know I don’t see the world in the same way many people do. I don’t see my preference for wearing pantyhose and tights as an attempt to crossdress. It’s a unisex product to me. That’s how I’ve always felt about it since I started wearing them. I guess if I were to start wearing lacey tights or ones with flower prints and stuff like that, I would feel like I was trying to feel feminine, but I don’t nor do I want to.

    Anyhow, I just want people to know there are guys like me that are perfectly normal that wear hosiery. I speak up on commentaries like these to give equal argument to the irrational and negative comments left by others. If people read this stuff and see that normal guys wear hosiery they may understand we’re not freaks. The more guys that buy hosiery, the more companies enter the market, which lowers prices and delivers a wider selection of products. There is a demand for male hosiery hence money to be made.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    Bankman,

    We are not advocating that a man ‘put on a woman’s garment’; as stated previously, men wore tights for centuries before women did, and in any case, we are talking about tights which are designed and made specifically for men, so there is no question of cross-dressing here. Besides, the passage you quote from the Bible which refers to not wearing clothes intended for the other gender, relates to wearing of those garments with an intention of passing yourself off as the other gender; we are not trying to pass ourselves off as anything of the sort. And as for ‘exaggerated benefits’, I for one know the benefits to be real, as do most of our customers.

  • Bankman

    Matt & Legwear

    I used to wear tights under sports clothing, so I know there are some benefits, but they are often talked up by advocates to justify wearing. (I’m not, incidentally, ‘having a go’ at anybody on this.) I also realise that tights made for men is the subject, but when worn under shorts in public, it is impossible to tell this, and the default position is still imo that sheers especially are a quintessentially feminine garment. Men dressed like this may no more be trying to look female than if they carried a handbag, but the reaction from onlookers I think at best is this is eccentric behaviour, or worse kinky. This is reinforced by the fact men want to wear when women almost never wore, namely with shorts. You don’t need to wear tights in warmer weather with shorts, so is it not reasonable to assume the reason for wearing is sensual? Doesn’t this account for the fear of wearing in public? The loss of inhibition to do this is not a sign of being secure in your masculinity, but rather a retreat into a world where you aren’t worried by what others think of you.

    Personally, I gave up wearing because I felt silly, couldn’t fool myself any more I wasn’t wearing ‘a woman’s garment’ even though it was to keep warm and wasn’t visible to others, and on reading a ‘non-fetish’ UK tights site was overwhelmed by the number of advocates who couldn’t resist talking about the ‘thrill when they first put them on’ or similar. Worse still are those whose accounts of wearing, with a little reflection, are clearly just fantasies (lies!), and who really hate to have this exposed for what it is.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    Bankman,

    You say that you used to wear tights, but stopped because you ‘felt silly’, and couldn’t fool yourself that you weren’t wearing a woman’s garment. I take it from that, that you were wearing women’s tights, in which case you are quite entitled to feel the way you did. But we aren’t talking about wearing women’s tights here, just men’s, so the foregoing doesn’t apply. And I would strongly disagree that sheers are ‘quintessentially feminine’. Either gender can benefit from sheers. Most men’s legs, when bare, look particularly bad; hairy, lumpy, often white as a milk bottle. A decent pair of men’s sheers will improve the look no end (except for the ‘hairy’ bit; it is still necessary to shave/wax/whatever – nothing looks worse than matted leg hairs under sheers – yuck!)

  • Bankman

    Legwear – ” Most men’s legs, when bare, look particularly bad; hairy, lumpy, often white as a milk bottle.” Oi, don’t tell everybody!! To get back to your post, I sometimes wore women’s tights and sometime those sold as unisex, though there was no real difference. I know the issue here is men wearing men’s tights, but as for wearing publically (which I didn’t), there is no difference, and in the eyes of the beholder I still maintain this is considered wearing feminine clothing hence the reaction against it. I do think men who want to wear sheers this way need to consider the effect they have on others, i.e. others may find this extremely embarrassing, and still others kinky. I also gave up due to the ‘weirdo’ element in this it’s not difficult to find. That aside, Steve Newman is a very articulate exponent of tights for men, but I have to be honest and say the final straw for me was seeing his picture in tights on his blog, and I thought ‘it’s wrong, it’s not the right thing to do’ despite what the tights subculture says. Publically, it is a loss of inhibition that goes to far. Tights for sport may yet catch on, and I still wear running/cycling tights without a problem, but I feel you have to draw the line somewhere.

  • Def

    Effeminate: “Characterized by excessive softness or self-indulgence; having unsuitable feminine qualities; Having some characteristic of a woman, as delicacy, luxuriousness, etc.; soft or delicate to an unmanly degree; womanish; weak;
    To grow womanish or weak.”

    Synonyms: cissy, emasculate, epicene, sissified, sissy, sissyish, soft, unmanful, unmanlike, unmanly, weak.

  • Ray

    I don’t see what the problem is. If it’s practical – fine; that’s logical. If the wearing of hosiery is for aesthetic reasons, then there is logic in that too. I could see how shiny flesh hosiery could highlight the muscularity of a man’s leg in a similar fashion to moisturiser / oil etc. wearing with shorts? Of course! You don’t expect every bloke to don a skirt just because he wants to wear hosiery, do you? Did women stick on a moustache when first wearing trousers? Did they feel the need to throw on a tie? Women wear trousers with heels. Should they give up and wear brogues because that’s what men do? Face it – if a guy is wearing hosiery, he’s ripped up the rulebook. He can wear them with whatever he wants. That’s freedom, isn’t it? As for biblical prohibition – sorry, but that work of what some see as fiction has no legal enforcement (and worse, is usually misinterpreted) so let’s leave that one out of it if that’s okay. I’m fine if an individual wished to live by a 2000 year old (or thereabouts) codex, but many others don’t.

    I think that the advent of hosiery designed for men is a great thing. It brings choice. It’s certainly not going to turn men off, oh, manly things, like going to the football, baseball, downing a few beers, driving like a loony, chilling out with a playstation, running after women etc. Does a small piece of clothing really have such a powerful impact? If so, let’s force terrorists around the world to wear ‘em – that’s going to make them submissive and femimine!

  • ned

    “You don’t expect every bloke to don a skirt just because he wants to wear hosiery, do you?”

    Actually, I’m afraid you do.

  • Ray

    Actually, Ned, I don’t. You see, I use cognitive skills to judge a situation for myself, and can easily separate hosiery from skirts. They don’t necessarily go together. Pretty much every guy I have seen wearing tights (and there haven’t been many!) was not wearing a skirt – or any other item of perceived female clothing. They tended to be doing sports in my part of the world, which is quite cold. They may be onto something. I thought it was unusual at the time, but it makes sense.

    Please do try and think instead of judging, kneejerk style, on lame stereotypes.

  • Ned

    Ray – my comment was very much tongue in cheek. Going by what you can read online when this subject gets brought up, it is fair comment, as many tights enthusiasts openly want acceptance to be the first step to wearing skirts and other items of female attire.

    In a sporting context, however, you are right and this is probably being a bit unfair. Sport is the only time you are ever likely to see a man wearing tights, though most that do go out of their way not to advertise the fact they are wearing, they are not a bunch of Rudolf Nureyevs! I don’t think most people have too much of problem with that kind of wearing.

  • Keith Smithe

    Bankman

    I’d have to disagree with how you are interpreting Deuteronomy 22, as you have taken it out of its original context.

    If one looks into what was going on at the time Deuteronomy 22 was written; men were dressing as women and performing Canaanite worship rituals,
    women were impersonating men for purposes of seduction, or in an attempt to join the military.

    In the west women have largely trampled your interpretation of Deuteronomy 22, and not a word is said about it in the modern christian church.

    i.e women are in the military and wear styles of clothes once reserved for men.

    The tights made for men are slightly different from those made for women, as are the differences between mens and womens trousers.

    By simply wearing a pair of tights with shorts without the intention to perform ritual worship, deceive or fornicate, I’d say that he is doing nothing wrong.

    In my opinion God is a lot more interested NOT in what you are wearing, but WHY.

    Please stop inflicting you misinterpretation of Deut. 22 in order to make people feel guilty about something that they shouldn’t be.

    You have made your own decision to stop wearing, based on something you have incorrectly interpreted from the bible. That’s up to you.

    BTW I hope you are obeying the rest of what Deuteronomy says too. :)

  • http://www.shiverswear.com masonbo

    I have been making mens long underwear for years (www.shiverswear.com) and selling them all over Europe as well as the US and Canada. Shivers long underwear came the idea of men wearing womens pantyhose just to have another lightweight layer under their slacks to keep them warm, we added more polyester and spandex and added a fly for men and even a sock is attached to keep the warmth in from toes to waist. Men in Europe love them because they are long underwear, not fancy women’s nylons and they can wear them all day and stay warm and dry without worrying someone will think they are wearing pantyhose.

  • Ray

    Ned,

    Thanks for the response. You are right about some of the responses one can get – I can see your point now! Damn – where’s the edit function – don’t think I need the last line on my response any more!

    Anyway, I’m just off to get my thigh high boots on – off to the gym, you see…;-)

  • Bankman

    Keith – the Deuteronomy passage reads “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God”. Taking the text simply as it stands, it answers the question whether God approves of wearing the clothes of the opposite sex, and the answer is no. This is OT, and we are under the New Testament, but there are passages there which carry on the same principle. (I’ve posted on/discussed this on Geraden’s blog, more nuanced!) The secular West is indeed trampling all over this principle.

    You point that God is more interested in why we wear something rather than what we wear is a very good one. It might well be that some can wear tights under sports clothes (for example) with a clear conscience because this really is for warmth or support, and I wouldn’t want them to feel guilty about this. Men wearing in public to me is different, and this is where the whole sensual/fetish/feminising angle comes into play, especially sheer nylon.

    I still do wear tights (publically!!) for bike riding, as these are clearly unisex, but the kind of tights in this discussion are too feminine and too associated with the ‘weirdo’ element for me to regard them as unisex.

  • Keith Smithe

    Therefor most women are an abomination to the Lord :P

    The references made in the new testament are just as vague. Each Translation has its own way of interpreting it, and then a another person reads it and colours it with their own agenda.

    By taking the scripture at face value you have also thrown away its intent!!

  • Cody

    Hello everyone. I just turned 18, I’m a senior in high school, and I enjoy wearing sheer hose. There’s no “rush”, no fetishistic element, no desire to feminize myself, no “weirdo element” in my wearing of a “feminine garment”. If I were wearing lacy stockings or something, I couldn’t deny that it would be wanting to be feminine, but I feel like tights are just an equally useful garment for either sex, just like pants. A common trend among girls of my generation is wearing guy’s boxers, perhaps along with a baggy shirt for comfy pajamas. How come they can do that, and it’s “cute”, but I can’t wear a pair of tights without some judgemental person on the internet calling me a weirdo or a crossdresser. I’m not obsessed with them, I don’t wanna wear skirts or slip into some heels, I don’t want to shove my foot in your face and say “Lookit, lookit, I got pantyhose on, I feel so sexy, ah haha!” So what if I find something comfortable that isn’t completely socially accepted? Most people who comment on my hose either think it’s kind of cool, cute, unique but okay, interesting, or theres the bulk of them that just don’t care. Which is great, because I don’t care if a portion of people think I’m weird. It’s not a loss of inhibition- it’s the confidence that I’m enough of a man that I don’t have to stick to gender stereotypes and macho-man BS. Those things are for the insecure ones who are the REAL femmes on the inside, who have to externalize their supposed manliness, either that or just plain jerks, etc. I’m proud that I wear hose, because I’m a little bit unique in my choice of clothing and I have the balls to do it amidst possible stigmatization from ignorant and/or conformist people. That said, I can undestand why people can be weirded out or hostile, because they just don’t get it. And you have the fetishists, of course. Oh well. Whatever arguement or agreement or men’s hosiery topic people continue to talk about online, I’m just gonna keep wearing sheer hose once in a while, because I just like how they feel, and kinda-sorta how they look. And the support kinda helps with my RLS. So whatever! Peace out, folks.

  • Bankman

    Keith – you should see the mental gymnastics that those who advocate men wearing women’s clothes go to to try to justify this in the light of the Deut passage. That’s why I suggest taking the text at face value. Whilst this is not explicitly mentioned in the New Testament, there is enough to establish the confusion of the sexes is wrong, and this includes clothing. I don’t think we should ‘interpret’ away the meaning of the text.
    I don’t deny there is a cultural element in this, which can change what is considered male or female attire, but we haven’t got there with tights yet. On this point, hasn’t the feminist movement actually ‘masculinised’ women?
    Cody’s post is fascinating, and a great insight into the confusion in the minds of many tights wearers. He can’t decide if wearing sheer tights is unisex or whether it doesn’t matter even if they are still regarded as feminine, and his lack of argument (to my mind) is seen in the ad hominem attack on those who think it is wrong in some way. He ‘doth protest too much’, me thinks!!

  • Keith Smithe

    bankman – OK then I give up, I concede that you are determined in your views even if they’re wrong.

    The bible is ALL about interpretation and examining the reason i.e what was going on at the time it was written as this indicates the verses TRUE intent.

    If you can’t get that then you’re less intelligent than I first thought.

    The church is clearly hypocritical when it comes to confusion of the sexes.

    These guys are only doing mental gymnastics because of people like you effectively telling them that they’re weird and will to hell for wearing tights. I wear support tights, I have circulation disease in the lower part of my legs. If they help, (which they do) I’ll wear them.

    You say “I don’t deny there is a cultural element in this, which can change what is considered male or female attire, but we haven’t got there with tights yet. On this point, hasn’t the feminist movement actually ‘masculinised’ women?”

    Yes, women have been mascuinised and they don’t seem to be condemned to hell because of it. On the other point “it isn’t there yet”, to say that the pioneer wearers will be consigned to damnation until its widely accepted as OK is pure rubbish.

    OK that’s it, I’m not wasting any more time on this pointless argument ;)

  • Bankman

    Keith – I actually wrote “It might well be that some can wear tights under sports clothes (for example) with a clear conscience because this really is for warmth or support, and I wouldn’t want them to feel guilty about this. Men wearing in public to me is different,…”

    No mention of hell, damnation or condemnation! Further, I do differentiate between ‘private’ unseen wearing and public wearing. The latter is part of the drift into secular or even pagan androgyny, with the differences between the sexes being increasingly reduced. The ‘weird’ element for me is the desire to be seen to wear nylons in public, and this is often the motivation, though buried under claims about ‘comfort’ and ‘benefits’.
    Invisible wearing is much more a matter of individual conscience, and some people do wear with a clear conscience, others don’t.

  • http://www.nylongene.com Steve Newman

    I’ve just got caught up on the posts on this page since I last visited… a whole lot of activity, I dare say. I’m disappointed that my pics on my blog were what pushed Bankman over the edge. But oh well, you win some, you lose some. Please know that one of the reasons I have made myself so visible in shorts and obvious legwear on my blog, etc, is to encourage others who’ve been too reluctant to step forward in the past. If I posted pics of myself wearing tights under trousers, what good would that do?

    However, I obviously disagree with the assertion that sheer legwear is unequivocably feminine. There is a legitimate reason for wearing sheer instead of opaque legwear (if you’re going to wear legwear, that is). Since I wear it primarily to ease discomfort arising from poor leg circulation, I need to wear it year-round if I want the benefits from it. No, I don’t HAVE to wear it year-round, but I want to because I enjoy the benefit of improved comfort, and yes, I have come to just plain enjoy the way they feel–just like I like the way a pair of microfiber dress pants feel, for instance.

    Anyways, if I’m going to wear them year-round then I either have to wear long pants year round, or wear opaque tights in warmer weather along with shorts. That is, if I subscribe to the assertion that sheer legwear is 100% feminine. Yet, in fact, I like wearing shorts as much of the year as I can, and I find that opaque tights are generally too hot for me most of the time. That leaves sheer legwear, which I don’t agree are irretrieveably feminine, if they are worn in conjunction with an otherwise masculine outfit. Which, is what I do and is what photos of me on The Nylon Gene depict, too.

    Some may raise the question of whether sheer BLACK legwear is more or less masculine than TAN (or skintone) legwear on a man. That’s a question that was raised in a blog article of mine back on June 24 of last year. Some would contend black is more masculine than tan or beige hosiery, yet it is also much more ‘out there’ as far as noticability. Others would say men should stick to neutral skintone hosiery, for the very reason that it’s not very noticeable.

    There were a few comments about some men doing all sorts of mmental gymnastics to justify their tights-wearing, and also hiding behind false names when posting comments on websites such as this one. I’ve recently written an article on Examiner that focuses on how men are gaining the confidence to stand up for themselves using their real names and faces while acknowledging that they wear legwear. (http://www.examiner.com/x-23141-Mens-Legwear-Examiner~y2010m2d11-As-male-legwear-trend-spreads-new-sense-of-confidence-reflected-in-blogosphere) I agree that this concept has been harmed in the past my men’s failure to step forward and take ownership of it, but that is definitely changing. I’ve tried to set a good example for that myself.

  • Bankman

    Steve – you might have ‘pushed me over the edge’, but I’m not hurt and its nothing personal!! Seeing pictures of men in sheer tights is different from theorising about it in the abstract, and I am not too sure how I would react to seeing someone out shopping wearing sheer tights with shorts, but the chance to find out is still virtually nill in my neck of the woods.

    I did recently see a ‘man in tights’ for the very first time, flesh colour and in freezing cold weather under cycling shorts – so the sheen didn’t come from sun cream. It did seem a strange thing to do, as you never see women as traditional wearers wearing tights under cycling shorts, so it is inevitable that the question of the motivation comes to mind. Was he wearing for support and warmth, or to get a kick out of anyone noticing him? The latter is imo the reason this concept is kept from being mainstream, as this is still the default assumption.

  • http://www.nylongene.com Steve Newman

    I think one of the primary reasons you wouldn’t see a woman wearing tights like that with cycling shorts, for instance, is because women don’t often wear them for functional reasons. They wear them almost exclusively for aesthetic reasons. If they saw hosiery as a functional item more often, you might start seeing women wearing them more often in situations where the added warmth-without-bulk was a desired benefit, or maybe some of the other practical benefits provided.

    I know that when I go running while the temps are in the 30s or 40s (F), the sheer legwear is preferable over opaque tights. That’s because they provide just enough insulation from the cold to keep the chill off my legs when I first go out. But after my body heat builds up, they don’t retain so much heat that I feel overheated. Someone not already wearing them for other reasons (in my case, leg support), might not ever discover that benefit. Certainly a woman who wears them for fashion reasons wouldn’t be likely to discover this feature of hosiery for runners/cyclists.

    Most men aren’t wearing them primarily for aesthetic reasons, although that’s not off the table for guys who are already wearing them for other, more functional, reasons.

  • Bankman

    Steve – that’s an interesting answer. I think you have also unwittingly given an answer as to why so many women tend to object to men wearing tights (unless for athletics?), namely they don’t wear for the benefits, in fact are sceptical of there being more than nominal benefits, and consequently assume men are wearing for less savoury reasons – if I can put it like that. Men who have never worn will take the same view. This is sometimes confirmed by the belligerence or defensiveness of men who wear tights, although I would admit belligerence doesn’t help either side in this current debate.

  • Ellen

    I wonder if Mr. Newman wears tights to go jogging, or goes jogging as an excuse to wear tights.

  • http://www.nylongene.com Steve Newman

    I think I can answer Bankman and Ellen in the same response. I don’t know if it would’ve ever occurred to me to try wearing tights while jogging, had I not already been wearing them for leg support. As it turns out, if you have trouble with leg circulation (cramps, aching, etc.) and decide to try wearing support tights or hose, you find that they provide relief–which equates with comfort. Since they aren’t excessively tight and uncomfortable like the medical grade tights, you don’t mind wearing them every day as you are supposed to if you want to get the benefits of improved leg circulation.

    Wanting to still wear them even when you are wearing shorts, you become more comfortable with the idea of wearing them out in the open, as I did long ago. You also discover quite a few ancillary benefits to wearing them, that may never have come to light had you not already been wearing them in the first place.

    For instance, I discovered that they provide just enough insulation from cold air to keep the chill off my legs when it’s in the 30s or above–yet not so hot as to overheat me when I’ve started exercising. Another benefit discovered along the way was that the leg support provided by the support hose also do the same thing that compression shorts do for athletes, only for you entire leg. They increase stamina and endurance by preventing muscles from bouncing around as much.

    Hope this sheds some light on both comments/questions that were raised.

  • Jim

    I hope this is a growing trend. Its time for men to step out and show some leg.

  • Nick

    Jim – this is not a trend that is growing. Consider these quotations on a tights forum of men discussion the subject of men being seen in public wearing nylons/tights (each sentence is a different contribution):

    But (apart from myself) I never see men openly wearing tights or pantyhose.
    Well, I am living in Belgium and I still have to meet the first man in pantyhose and shorts.
    It’s not THAT common here in Europe either!
    I feel that outside the cities a man in tights would not be tolerated openly.
    [Rome] Well, it happened just once to me to see a man wearing tights and it seemed to be a tourist.
    [New York and London] … In either city, I’ve only seen maybe 2-3 other guys wearing hose over 10 years.
    I too, wear hose with shorts in a very noticeable way, and I’ve been doing it among friends and family as well. As yet, my example hasn’t caused anyone else to give it a try,…
    I live in north Eseex U.K. and I am the only person I have ever seen wearing tights openly.
    I’m the only guy I know around my neck of the woods who wears tights for warmth reasons.

  • http://tights-for-men.com Legwear4Men

    Nick,

    You say ‘this is not a trend that is growing’. That’s not what my company’s sales figures say. We have shown marked growth year-on-year since we commenced trading in 2004, and in the last few months since the start of our financial year in October, we have sold more product than in the whole of the previous year. So the numbers don’t confirm your statement – they shoot it down in flames. I’m sure Steve Newman will confirm similar astronomical growth for ComfiLon as well, and they have been trading since 1998. If the trend wasn’t growing, we wouldn’t be seeing new manufacturers coming on board as regularly as has been happening lately, so I think you need to reconsider!

  • Nick

    Legwear – I should have qualified my remark about ‘this not being a trend that is growing’. I was specifically referring to the claim that men wearing tights is regularly being *seen* in Europe or the US. Going by the in-house discussion amongst the tights wearing community, this is not the case.
    However, you are clearly in a position to track sales, which would indicate an increase in men who wear tights under trousers/pants or sports gear etc., so I don’t doubt what you say. I would be interested in the absolute number of tights being sold compared with the male population to guage how mainstream this could be considered. Is this not still a very niche market?

  • http://nukanton@gmail.com opispacuapync

    Let others think about them. It was almost full daylight. For instance, to spend it. Have you ever met him? There are other issues involved, besides questions of fact. I cant help what people think—if they think at all! Its the truth that you want, isnt it? It has ceased to disturb me, long ago.

  • Nick

    opis – I suggest increasing the medication …

  • breagerey

    I wore striped, checked, and tie dyed leggings under shorts or under pants (often with holes in them) throughout the the 80′s and early 90′s.
    The kept me warm.
    I did the same with thermals but not as often because they were *too warm.

    .. never considered them “unmasculine” and I doubt anybody else did either.

  • Marvin

    Women are allowed to wear anything that men were are they are never teased about, then why is it a big deal when men wear tights. besides men used to wear tights decades ago before women did. I just don’t like the name “mantyhose” because it sound like sexual discrimination because there is no “womentyhose”

  • Mong65

    What’s wrong with longjohns? Did they become a bad design all of a sudden? Isn’t that what men wear if it’s freezing cold outside, and they will be outside for extended periods of time? That’s what I wear if it’s -20C outside and I go for a long walk. Aside from that kind of situation, if it’s just a little bit cold outside, I simply go with regular pants as-is… and if I’m chilly, I’m chilly… great! Makes me feel alive. If someone needs to wear more sheer tights in warmer conditions (indoors) for blood circulation reasons, that’s great!

  • pieter

    This whole discussion is what we had in the fifties and early sixties about girls wearing jeans with the zipper in front instead of at the side. People would condemn girs in front zip jeans as displaying suggestive sexual signals to boys. As time went by mankind accepted the front zip jeans as unisex. It will hopefully go the same way with men in pantyhose. I like the feel and wear them for the comfort they give me in winter. And that’s it. Period!

  • dtex

    Well over a year has gone, the fad is still not being seen in Europe, and there is nothing to cross over to North America. It’s not mainstream, probably never will be. Those who wish to wear are going to have to continue waiting for cool, moonless nights!

  • raystaubli

    iwear tights for over35 yearsInever had any comments receivedabout it just questions like how does it feel

  • raystaubli

    Iam wearing tights for many years

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