Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April's over!...

Gerbe logoJust a last minute reminder that April is almost over, and that means the end of ACTIVSKIN's promotional offer on orders containing a Gerbe legwear product. [UPDATE: April IS over. While this post is now obsolete, I'll leave it up for the benefit of those who've provided comments below]

You'll recall me posting reviews of several Gerbe products I had tried out around the beginning of the month. And, that ActivSkin is offering a 10% discount on your entire order, if placed in April and containing at least one Gerbe legwear item. For details, see the ActivSkin website.

Gerbe Luxury Men's LegwearThis is a great chance to try out some of this luxury legwear at a lower price. The more other items you purchase, the greater the discount you'll realize on the Gerbe product. For instance, if you purchase one pair of Satin 8 (GS8) at $31 and another $50 worth of ActivSkin (total purchase: $81) you would receive an $8.10 discount, which is like getting the Gerbe legwear for more than 25% off.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Pantyhose for the Military?

ActivSkin Military ApplicationsSome who may have followed the topic of men's legwear for more than a couple of years might recall seeing a flurry of newspaper articles back in 2003-04 regarding pantyhose being sent in CARE packages to our soldiers in Iraq. With the continued presence of our troops over there, it seems there should be no less a need for the various items from home that they've always asked for--and that would include the legwear...

This came to mind for me recently because of a conjunction of two things. First, I received an incredibly supportive e-mail letter from a former military man who encouraged us to keep up the good work in promoting men's legwear and described how ActivSkin products had helped him and his compatriots so much while he was still serving in active duty.

The other thing came to my attention as I was sharing the letter with my wife (Mrs. Nylon Gene), who was also very taken with its content. She reminded me that we are in the process of sending in goods to the elementary school one of our sons attends, to put in one of those CARE packages for a soldier who lives in our neighborhood, who is preparing to redeploy to Iraq for a second National Guard tour of duty. She said, "Wouldn't it be great to send some ActivSkin along for him to try out? If he finds them helpful he can share the news with his buddies." I agreed of course, and will be including a package of A677s along with a copy of one of those old articles, by way of explanation in case he hasn't been aware of the benefits they can provide.

Of course, I'm realistic. I don't picture a squad out on patrol and one of them saying something along the lines of, "Hey, Spilcowitz, you won't believe the way these pantyhose energize my legs!

Most guys just aren't that open about sharing their underwear details with their buddies. But, I can see Spilcowitz saying, "Man, these forced road marches are killin' me! I've got blisters upon blisters on my feet, and the sand flies are gettin' what's left over." Then, his buddy says, "Not me. Somebody sent some hose called 'ActivSkin' in my CARE package. I said 'I dunno about this', but I tried 'em on anyways. Guess what? I don't have any blisters, and not one sand fly's gotten to me yet."

Does anybody out there have any anecdotes about using pantyhose--even if they were of the women's variety--to help avoid pitfalls of active duty military life? I'd like to hear about them, as would the other readers of The Nylon Gene. And, if you have a loved one serving overseas and would like to purchase something to send him, you can use the military promo offer code '42ML22' and receive a 20% discount [please be advised, the former code that was shown in the original posting was incorrect and should not be used]. As I hinted to above, I would probably recommend Style A677 for this application. This style is sheer, so it's lightweight and thus shouldn't be too hot. The material glides well under clothing, which makes it good for avoiding blisters and chafing. And, it's got a fly as well. If the fly isn't a big deal, you can save a few bucks and go for A577, which is basically the same as A677 minus the fly opening.

Also, I'm thinking of posting a thread to share some of the mail I've received from our many supporters. If you should write to me, please indicate if you don't object to me using your name and city. I won't include more specific details like address, e-mail address, etc. We get a lot of nice letters and I'd like to share them with the rest of you.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blog Post: "My Son Wears Tights--Good for Him!"

Here's an interesting blog post that is certainly related to what we're all about here at The Nylon Gene. See the post and comments here

Here's the full URL in case the link doesn't work for you: http://doctormama.blogspot.com/2009/04/my-son-wears-tightsgood-for-him-too-old.html

Anyone have any thoughts on this?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hilliard Man Markets, Struts in Stockings for Men

Steve Newman shows ActivSkin Mens Legwear product

"How can I expect other guys to give this a try if I'm not willing to show that it can be done while still maintaining a masculine look". -Steve Newman [quote from Hilliard (Ohio) Northwest News article]
This article ran in today's edition of the local suburban newspaper where I live. Hilliard is a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Read it here and tell me what you think?

Overall, I like the article. I think it portrays men's legwear in a positive light. Would I have chosen another word besides 'Struts' in the headline to describe what I do--most definitely. But, aside from that they basically got it done pretty well.

One other correction. ActivSkin began in 1999, not 2000. That may have been my mistake in the information I gave the reporter, so it's probably not his fault.


Hilliard man markets, struts in stockings for men

Published: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4:31 PM EDT

The upside down economy has resulted in quite a few job transitions in the past year, but few are as odd as that of Hilliard resident Steve Newman.

Taking advantage of an increase in a little known market niche, Newman, a former practicing civil engineer, is now marketing director for ActivSkin, the sole domestic manufacturer of leg wear for men.

"We are getting orders from all over the United States and even overseas," said Newman, 48, a customer of ActivSkin before the company owner, Steve Katz, offered him the newly created job of marketing director. Katz founded the Granville-based company in 2000.

Newman was cut loose from his job as a civil engineer at Korda/Nemeth in March and did not consider his prospects of finding an engineering gig at another firm to be good.
The day after his lay off, Newman called Katz about possible suggestions for alternative employment.

He learned ActivSkin had just finished its best year in sales and Katz was in need of someone to handle marketing.

"(Katz) said sales were brisk in 2008 and he needed help in marketing so he could focus on his other responsibilities," Newman said. "I started right away."

Newman purchased men's hosiery from the company to help with blood circulation in his legs.
For men whose circulation is not so poor as to require medical-grade compression hose, the hosiery ActivSkin sells is less expensive and more comfortable, Newman said.

Bicyclists, distance runners, hunters, horseback riders and outdoorsmen are also among the growing number of clientele.

"The public perception of men wearing leg wear is rapidly shedding misplaced associations with cross-dressing and other negative images," Newman said.

ActivSkin is the only U.S. firm selling leg wear for men. Seven overseas companies market similar products.

ActivSkin products are available exclusively online as product demand has yet to rise to the level to make availability at big box retail stores profitable.

Manufactured in North Carolina exclusively for ActivSkin, the hosiery has a male comfort panel in the front proportioned for a male body.

"And they are more durable," Newman said.

Some models have a fly in the front.

As an increasing number of men wear their products, it becomes more accepting for other men to do so, said Newman, who continues to wear the product.

"How can I expect other guys to give this a try if I'm not willing to show that it can be done while still maintaining a masculine look," Newman said.

For further insight from Newman, visit his Web site and blog, "The Nylon Gene" at http://www.nylongene.com/.

For additional information about ActivSkin, visit the Web site http://www.activskin.com/
"How can I expect other guys to give this a try if I'm not willing to show that it can be done while still maintaining a masculine look."
--Steve Newman

Copyright © 2009 - Columbus Local News


Monday, April 20, 2009

Men's Legwear Capital of the WORLD

Yes, that's right! I am referring to Granville, Ohio. That is of course, the home of ActivSkin Legwear for Men. Being the world's first company to sell hosiery made especially for men--and the only one in the U.S.--by extension that makes Granville the Men's Legwear Capital of the world.

Today, I spent most of my workday getting myself familiarized with how our operations work at the warehouse. I stocked shelves and basically learned the ropes so I can be more knowledgeable of all aspects of our operations. It's a lot easier to market a product that you know everything about. Anyways, just a quick little update on the whereabouts of The Nylon Gene, on this rainy, rainy day in Central Ohio.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Opening New Vistas in Men's Legwear

ActivSkin Style A2019 in TanFormerly, as an ActivSkin customer, I had my favorite style: A569, which is a full support style with a well-designed male-comfort front panel. In my new capacity as marketing director, I now have not only the opportunity, but--dare I say it--the responsibility, to try the other styles we offer so I'm familiar with them. Yes, it sounds like I'm about to say something like, "it's a dirty job, but SOMEBODY'S gotta do it." Or, "I'm a DOCTOR, Jim--not a pantyhose tester!" (...apologies to all the Star Trek fans out there).

Anyways, I must say the experience is teaching me something about how easy it is for us to get into patterns of thinking (ruts) that are hard to break out of. As new styles were added, I was always happy to keep gravitating to the old standby, A569. They've been a very good style, but are being phased out as we sell the remaining stock. But, in the process of sampling the various other styles we offer, I've had my eyes opened about what I had been missing by not at least trying out some of these other styles.

For instance, today I have on a pair of the A582s, which are very comfortable indeed. They're a full-support micro-fabric. product that does very well for someone is looking for a fair amount of leg compression without giving up comfort. I've had them on most of the day already and my legs are not feeling at all achy, tired or sluggish.

Yesterday, I had on a pair of A2019, which are also a full-support, microfabric product. These have 36% Spandex, compared to the 24% Spandex found in the A582s. If you are looking for some serious leg support, these are definitely the ones for you. Although we don't bill them as 'graduated compression', they feel like it to me. You can actually feel the leg getting snugger as you pull them up over your arm (i.e., sticking your hand down into the foot to bunch them up and pull on), and so to me they seem to provide a 'graduated compression' fit when I wear them.

Being made of such a high Spandex content, they are not what you could call 'stealthy' if you are looking to wear them with shorts and not have anyone realize you're wearing them. For me, that's not a problem since I make it my job to be seen wearing legwear just about wherever I go. The pair that I wore yesterday were tan color, and I thought they looked pretty good on my legs, but that's a decision everyone has to make for himself. The A582 is more sheer and if the color is a decent match to your skintone you may be able to wear them with shorts and not attract much, if any, attention.

Of course, these are but a couple of examples of ActivSkin styles I've recently worn and thought to myself, "Wow. I've been missing out. I've gotta start wearing these more often!" So, if you're reading this and are thinking about placing an order, just remember that ActivSkin's generous return policy takes the risk out of trying a style you're not positive you'll like. We offer full refund or replacement with another style within 10 days of receiving your order. If you decide to try the A2019s because Steve said 'they'll rejuvenate your legs like nobodies business' and you find they're too tight through the brief to suit you, all you have to do is send them back and ask for a refund. It doesn't get much easier than that.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Batmobiles & Mantyhose

At first blush, this article (Holy Honda Mod, Batman! Hawk 3-Wheeler looks like Batmobile Meets Rocket) looks like it has nothing to do with our mission here at The Nylon Gene. But scroll down to the fourth paragraph and you'll see.

The following line appears there, "Sorry. Have to save the mantyhose for another day." Not really a big deal at all. Except that it's an example of how the terminology for men's legwear is creeping into our everyday lexicon, right? I mean, this article had nothing to do at all with men's tights, did it? It was about a radical 3-wheeled motorcycle and nothing more.

I think as we continue to do our job here, we'll all begin to see more and more instances of the word 'mantyhose' or off-handed comments about men's tights or pantyhose being bandied about even when that's not the primary topic of consideration.

Readers: Send me any examples you come across of this sort of casual mention, name-dropping of this sort. Use the e-mail address from my profile.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Legwear Down Under

"Love them or hate them, meggings - that's leggings for men - have arrived in Melbourne, with trend-setters praising the comfort, flexibility and look of tight, stretchy pants on men."

That's the lead for this article that ran today in the Herald Sun in Australia. While it's not the same as the tights and/or sheer hosiery we've been discussing here at The Nylon Gene, it IS legwear technically speaking. Of note in the article is the statement that hosiery maker Ambra has a prototype of men's pantyhose in case a trend for 'mantyhose' explodes.

14 Apr 2009

Guess what, Ambra? You're a little late. ACTIVSKIN has been on the ground running with it for 10 years now. If the trend is going to explode, it's going to be because we've been working long and hard to make it happen.

One last thing, I really wish those writing for the media would move beyond the habit of adding an 'm' in front of every new trend where men begin to borrow things from the women. 'Mantyhose' is a mildly annoying term that I've begrudgingly added to my occasional vocabulary, because it's become so widespread it's hard to ignore. But I've seen such grotesque words as 'murse' (man purse), 'mirdle' (man girdle) and now we've got 'meggings'. Oh where will it all end?!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Shorts with Tights/Springtime

Steve in black opaque tights at PetSmartIt looks to me like some of the people who have found our blog are searching for info on the suitability of wearing tights with shorts, and also whether it's getting too late in the year to wear tights.
Firstly, in this case we're probably referring to 'tights' in the U.S. usage, rather than the British usage, which can refer either to opaque tights or sheer pantyhose. I say this because these search engine queries are originating on this side of 'the Pond.'

I've attached a few more pics of myself wearing opaque tights with shorts to allow readers to visualize what the look can be like. (Also see the pic I attached to the post on Gerbe pantyhose review)

IMHO, it's not a bad look at all. In fact, I think many guys may have fewer misgivings going with a look like this than with taking the larger leap to wearing sheer hosiery--whether black or skintone.

A couple weeks ago, I volunteered to help at my middle school-aged son's track practice. I was wearing black opaque tights similar to what are shown in some of these pics, and was assigned to work out with the shot put and discus kids. Although opaque, they can still be seen through slightly when you stoop and bend, etc. (Don't worry, I was modestly dressed, with loose black athletic shorts on, too). Anyways, I could tell that the kids were taking extra looks at what I was wearing on my legs, and probably found it to be a little unusual. BUT, as the workout went on, they pretty much forgot about it and we got along just fine.

Steve at the library in black opaque tightsIf you wear something a little out of the ordinary, people WILL take a second glance at it. But if you're carrying yourself with confidence you won't equate that with disapproval and will realize that it is most likely simple curiosity. Think about how YOU react when you see someone wearing something you've not encountered before. You tend to take a 2nd or 3rd look, don't you? Doesn't mean you're secretly thinking, "What the hell is that weirdo wearing?" though. So, if you want to wear tights with shorts, I encourage you to get on out there and show people that a guy can wear them with confidence and be as masculine as the next guy.

As for whether you can still wear them in the Spring, I would say, "Yes." Just the past couple of days here in Central Ohio have been rather chilly, and I've been back in opaque tights again. I tend to opt for sheer hosiery when given the choice, so today it was past my threshold and I was out of the opaques again. But I don't think they look out of place at all when the temps are still in the 40s or low 50s--especially if it's windy.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

A Blessed Easter to everyone!

No new postings for today. We'll talk some more tomorrow...


Gerbe Promotion at ActivSkin

Steve shopping at Wal-Mart, black opaque tights
If you've been wanting to try out Gerbe luxury men's legwear, April is the month. ActivSkin is running a special where you can get 10% off your entire order if it contains at least one Gerbe item. BTW, Gerbe is pronounced with a 'g' sound like 'large') Gerbe is produced by a French hosiery company, who launched their men's line in 2007. ActivSkin is the U.S. distributor for their men's product.

I typically wear the ACTIVSKIN products, but this month I'm making a point of wearing the Gerbe line of full-length legwear so I can share a review with Nylon Gene readers. I've been a little delinquent in getting something written on my experiences so far, but I promise to get some more info on here very soon.

For now, let's just say that I've been quite impressed with the quality of the Gerbe products. I'll edit this post with more details this coming week...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: OK, here's the lowdown on the Gerbe products I've been wearing this month. First up are the Satin20 (Product GS20) which I tested in beige. These are very comfortable and with 18% Lycra Spandex, they hug the contours very well. The flat seam construction is a nice amenity that is typically not found with U.S. manufacturers. (Since our ActivSkin products are made in the USA, we have not been able to incorporate this feature into them, as none of the U.S. knitters have this capability). All of the Gerbe products feature a wide waistband (about 2") with the name knit into it in a unique raised pattern (see photo). They also come with a well-designed fly, using a horizontal lower flap over the upper panel. This design works well in keeping things where they belong, if you get my drift. Both the Satin20 and the Voile20 (see below) have reinforced toe, and heel. Reinforced toe is not uncommon in other U.S. styles, but the reinforced heel is quite unusual. This style has a matte finish that is not very noticeable to others, if that is important to you. I was wearing the beige color, which is a little light for my skin color, and so was probably a little more noticeable than on someone with more pale natural skin color. They don't run easily, either--although I did manage to put a small snag in one leg with a sharp zipper edge on my zip-off pants legs. The good news was that the snag did not turn into a full-fledged run, up the side of my leg. That's a big plus when the inevitable sharp object meets such an expensive pair of hose. The Satin 20s cost $36.99 per pair.

The next pair were the Voile20 (GV20) in tan. The same waistband and fly are featured in this style, as well as the reinforced heel and toe. This style is constructed from 100% nylon. Obviously, I want to put the best face on all of the products we sell at ActivSkin, but I also want the readers of this blog to see it as an objective source of information that will tell it like it is. Therefore, I have to report that I did not care for the 100% nylon. They felt just great when I first put them on, although the Voile style does not claim to provide any leg support--and I knew that. You would not order these if you were looking for leg support. However, having no Lycra/spandex at all in them, they tend to not hug the leg very well as the days goes on. They were getting a little loose feeling by afternoon, and I found myself wanting take them off. The tan color I was trying out looked very good when over my slightly darker natural skin tone. If you happen to prefer the 100% nylon construction, you may like this style--as the other features common to all of the Gerbe products are present here as well (flat seams, wide waistband, good fly design, RT heel/toe). Retail price: $30.99

The next style to try out was the Drain-up40 in black (Style GT40). These are opaque, footed tights. The 40 denotes a 40 denier thickness (denier is a measure of sheerness or lack thereof). I have to say I really liked these. Even though I'm not much for wearing opaque tights except when it's really cold outside, I thought these felt great to wear. The 'Drain-up' style name is derived from a translation of the French that means that they provide full leg support, or compression, which causes the blood to 'drain up' into the rest of the body. (Yet another example of how we can wind up with some rather unusual words/names when using literal translations of words from one language to another). In any case, I could feel the leg support provided by these tights, and I liked the somewhat 'hard' yet smooth feel to the fabric, as opposed to the very soft feel of the next pair I sampled (just my personal preference). They are made of 74% Nylon and 26% Lycra/Spandex, and incorporate all the design features described in the foregoing paragraphs. This style retails for $49.99

The last of the group are the Opaque70 (Style GO70) tights, which I tested in black. (BTW, both of these last two styles of opaque tights only come in black). These also come in a footless version. While the 40-denier fabric retains a slight amount of see-through, these are completely opaque. If you prefer a softer feeling fabric, you'll like these (94% Nylon, 6% Lycra/Spandex). As I said above, I tend to prefer the 'harder' feel of the DrainUps--but that's just me. I also go for the ones with the leg support, but then again that's the original reason I first began wearing nylon legwear in the first place. The Opaque70 tights cost $44.99 each.

Obviously, the Gerbe products cost a good deal more than our own ACTIVSKIN products, but they do provide a certain luxury aspect that can typically only be found in European-made hosiery. Many of our customers consider that to be worth the price. I hope the foregoing reviews have been helpful to my readers.


Monday, April 6, 2009

John Tesh: A Growing Number of Men Are Wearing Mantyhose

John Tesh shared this story on the 'Random Intelligence' segment of his radio show: A Growing Number of Men Are Wearing Mantyhose. In it he related how guys all over Europe, and now North America, have been stoking the growing trend of wearing nylon legwear--aka 'mantyhose' in the article. He also made mention of ActivSkin, except that he used Comfilon, which is the overall company name under which the ActivSkin brand resides.

Now, personally I don't really care much for the tag 'mantyhose' that's been attached to the legwear trend, but it's better than some and it seems to have 'gotten legs' with the media so to speak. So, I guess we shouldn't complain too much. Especially when the piece is written from such a favorable viewpoint.

Mr. Tesh goes on to note the health benefits that support hosiery can provide while at the same time energizing the legs. A point that readers will note that I've raised here at The Nylon Gene as well is that it takes a man who's confident in himself to be able to pull it off. While there are a lot of guys who wear legwear that are up to the challenge, it's often their wives or girlfriends who get skittish about it. That's an issue I'd like to take up in the near future. I'm planning to take an in-depth look at the dynamics behing that dichotomy soon, hopefully with the help of Mrs. Nylon Gene as well. ;-)

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Some Tweaks to 'The Nylon Gene'

You'll notice a couple of tweaks to the blog, which is why I haven't been particularly active in posting...The blog now features expandable posts, so that it won't be a tedious chore to scroll down through a long post (that you may have already read) to get to one further down the page. The expandable posts are thanks to some of the excellent help that can be found on Blogger. I hope everyone likes this. It's not too difficult to modify things so that all new posts use the expandable feature. But, to make existing posts behave that way requires going back and making modifications to each one individually. Glad I discovered this before having built up too much of a history on here.

I've also been tweaking the text on the right-hand column to summarize what you'll find when reading 'The Nylon Gene'. Enjoy...


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring in Central OH - Keep Your Legs Warm

It's definitely early spring in Central Ohio. That means it might look warm, but there's definitely that certiain chill in the air most mornings. Not a bad idea to keep a pair or two of opaque tights on hand in your drawer, just to keep your legs warm when it's sunny but only 35 degrees or so. Of course, they can still be a bit too warm when the temp climbs to the upper 60s in the afternoon. But... that's life!


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