Monday, June 1, 2009

Men's Hosiery and Business Attire

ActivSkin Men's Legwear - for the officeReaders have brought it to my attention that while I've been featuring mostly photos depicting men's hosiery worn with shorts, I've ignored examples of legwear worn with dress clothes and business attire. So, I will attempt to rectify that oversight here...

Admittedly, it's more difficult to find images that adequately show men's hosiery paired with business attire. The reason, of course, is that long pants mostly cover the hosiery in question unless the wearer is seated such that a trouser leg rides up to reveal sheer legwear underneath--and if he does not make any moves to conceal it. More on that aspect below.

Steve, at the office with ActivSkin legwearThose photos can be found, but they are a little more difficult to come up with. I have a few of myself--taken over the past several years--which I've posted here for the benefit of The Nylon Gene readers. In addition, I've included a few random photos found on the web of men in the business world who appear to be wearing sheer legwear with business attire. These could be sheer dress socks or full-length support hose; it's impossible to tell, but it's sheer legwear nonetheless.

Men who wear ActivSkin full-length legwear soon discover that it can take the place of socks and underwear, making both them redundant. This is a beneficial feature when wearing it in an office setting, with a suit and tie. The complaints we typically hear from women about pantyhose are that they're too hot. While this doesn't seem to be so much of an issue in an air-conditioned office environment, the addition of socks and underwear certainly constitute an unneeded layer of insulation in the warmer months of the year.

Steve, in a meeting, wearing off-black ActivSkin legwearThe most likely reason for wearing ActivSkin legwear to the office is a desire to alleviate leg cramping and achiness, or prevent advancement of varicose veins. Many office workers spend untold hours sitting at their desk in front of a computer. Working in such a sedentary environment contributes to leg circulation troubles, and support legwear can ease some of the resultant discomfort. Therefore, if you must wear a suit and tie, it does not follow automatically that your legwear must be too hot. A few minor variables can make a big difference in how they feel under your suit. Sheer legwear is cooler than opaque. In fact, I would submit that sheer legwear is no hotter to wear than the socks and underwear they replace.

As an aside, I'm going to risk provoking the ire of my female readers here, but I have something to say on the issue of pantyhose being 'too hot'. Since I've regularly worn hose to the office and I've worn a suit and tie, I can objectively speak on which of them is the most uncomfortable. I say: the necktie wins hands down. If women were required to wear a necktie on a daily basis, and were then given the opportunity to stop wearing it on the condition they never complain about their pantyhose again, I would wager we would never again hear a word about it. You want to talk about hot? The dress shirt and necktie combo takes the cake. And, that applies whether you're in the typical air conditioned office environment or if you have to go on-site and it's hot out. Admittedly, having hose on beneath dress pants while out in the sun and heat is pretty uncomfortable, but no more so than the necktie. I could go on some more about this issue, but I think I'll save it for a separate post.

Misc. men's legwear--from the webThe question of men wearing sheer support legwear beneath a business suit--and foregoing socks--brings up the issue of, "what will other people say?" For the most part, no one will know the difference, since long pants conceal what you're wearing on your legs, especially dress pants, which are usually tailored a little longer. However, there will be those inevitable instances where you're seated in a room with others and cross your legs and reveal that you're wearing some sort of sheer legwear. I say, "some sort", because it should be remembered that there are such things as sheer men's socks on the market. These have been worn for many years. They were more popular several decades ago, but have never gone completely out of style. In fact, if one were to notice sheer legwear on your ankle, it would be as likely that they think you're wearing sheer dress socks as full-length support hosiery. For this reason, even those men who are somewhat self-conscious about their peers knowing they are wearing 'mantyhose', are not averse to wearing sheer legwear with business attire.

During the time I've spent working in an office environment, wearing a shirt and tie on a daily basis, I also wore sheer support legwear every day, except in the coldest months. Then, I switched to opaque tights. The sheer and opaque tights took the place of socks for me. While opaque tights are indistinguishable from regular socks, there must have been many instances where co-workers, subordinates or superiors took note of the sheer legwear on my ankles. I made no bones about covering it up, because I've always been very confident in my decision to wear legwear, and would've gladly explained to anyone who asked, why I was wearing sheer hosiery. However, it never came up in conversation, and it wouldn't be the sort of thing I would bring up myself. ("Hey, Jim. Whaddya think of these pantyhose I have on?"... huh uhh...)

Steve, opting for the more noticable 'tan' ActivSkin legwear at the officeSo, either my co-workers didn't pay enough attention to notice (unlikely on the days I wore tan legwear, as in this photo, at right), or they thought I was wearing sheer dress socks, or they figured out I was wearing 'mantyhose' but didn't think anything of it and went on about their business. Had there been anything else--such as gossip about, "How come Steve wears pantyhose?"--it would certainly have made the rounds and gotten back to me eventually. But it never did.

I had one or two conversations surrounding my wearing men's hose over the years, and these came about not because anyone made mention of seeing sheer nylon fabric on my ankles, but because the person knew about my association with ActivSkin in some way. Even before my current capacity, I have been a periodic contributer of publicity pieces, or an interview subject for media articles, for G. Lieberman & Sons over the years. So, from these activities a number of people were aware of my legwear advocacy.

Misc. men's legwear--from the webThe bottom line is that wearing sheer legwear with business attire will not cause men who do so to be ostracized by their co-workers, shut out by their bosses, or disrespected by their subordinates. Men who are confident in themselves will succeed in the working world regardless. If wearing legwear solves a problem for you, but you wish to be as cool as possible while at the office, follow my advice above and wear sheer styles and forego the socks. Instead of fearing, "what will people say?", be more concerned over how much that lack of self-confidence itself could limit your career opportunities.


  1. hey, I found a tiny spelling mistake: "consitutute" should be "constitute" :)

    nice article btw and thanks for explaining the "too hot" issue also.

  2. Thanks for a very enlightening article, Steve. I have worn sheer men's dress socks since my teens - I'm now 59 - and switched to sheer pantyhose about 5 years ago. I don't know if my colleagues ever really took note of my choice of sheer legwear but the switch to hose was truly a non-event. The look is definitely similar, the pantyhose being slightly sheerer and a bit less shiny than men's filament nylon sheer socks.
    I notice that you include several photos of Latin American men in sheer legwear. My guess is that they are wearing calcetines ejecutivos, which as I understand are basically sheer nylon knee highs. I think it is interesting that they are referred to as "executive" hosiery, denoting a certain dressiness or formality, making them and, by extension, sheer pantyhose, most appropriate for business wear.

  3. Nice pics of sheer hosiery under work pants ... I wear opaques under my work pants daily.

  4. Hopefully, Len, men who have reason to wear sheer (or opaque, for that matter) full-length hosiery will be encouraged by the discussion here. Of all places you might consider wearing legwear without covering it up with another layer of clothing, I would say an office environment is about the best venue for getting acclimated to it. As you pointed out, probably no one around you would've even been able to tell the difference from the sheer men's dress socks when you switched to pantyhose.

    BTW, from the looks of those photos I posted from the web, they would be virtually impossible to distinguish from what we here at ActivSkin are currently selling as socks.

  5. I would say that in most cases people do not pay attention to someone elses dress sock, but I had a funny experience the other day that proved me wrong, at least with one person. I was at work and I was doing some networking, and spoke to a bunch of people. The next day I followed up with some of them. One guy after we finished our work said to me before I left nice socks you had on yesterday. I chuckled and said thank you. I was wearing my Harry Potter socks, because it was laundry day, and didn't have any of my other socks available. Lately I have been wearing activskins sheer dark grey knee socks. So the fact that he noticed my costume socks, but didn't say a word about my sheer socks was funny to me.

  6. Hi Steve -thanks very much for posting the sheer nylon hose w/ your dress attire. I really enjoyed seeing them. Ive been wearing both opaque and sheer socks for years for the feel/look of them and rarely have a comment from anyone about them, but believe me when I see a man in attractive (specifically nylon!) socks I always speak up and say how nice they look. :-) Jack

  7. Hi Steve
    I have not had the chance to try ActiveSkin but I have worn legwear for about a year noe on a daily basis after complaining how my leg's ached at work my wife said why not try wearing pantyhose and see if it helps. Now this is not the first time I have worn leg wear as I used to wear hose when we would ride our motorcycle in the fall and winter to keep my leg's warm and also when I would ride horses during the winter, and I remembered my legs never felt tired so now it's everyday for me and under buisness pants and you are right no one ever notices. Thanks for the great article I showed it to my wife and though she recommened I try panthose she was a little uncomfortable about it until she read this now she is coll with it. thanks. Bill

  8. Glad you liked it and that it was helpful with your wife.

  9. 6/4/10 Great Post ! I recently found this post,so I know I'm late.
    I'm 39 , and have allways worn Knee hi's , sheer sock and trouser socks with suits and dress clothes.(And yes , pantyhose in the winter.
    As my girlfriend know ,I could never go back to socks.
    Bit I am surprised no one talks about how great hose feel on your feet.
    Its liberating to join the ladies , and slip my shoes off!

  10. Yes, you're right about that. They do feel good on your feet in a good pair of dress shoes, too.

    Sorry I didn't post your comment sooner. I've been away from the blog for a bit recently.

  11. Very useful information about men's clothes that what should they wear. This information is especially for businessmen. they can get perfect personality by following this information.

  12. you have provided very useful knowledge about the dressing sense of businessmen especially about socks. its very important for business men to wear socks according to their dressing sense to get attractive look and you have provided very amazing knowledge about it. really really thanks for it.


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