Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Follow-up on Selfridge's Mantihose line | Metro.co.uk

A quote from an article entitled Male Grooming: Setting the Muscle Tone for the Future in the Lifestyle Section of Metro UK:

"Oh yes, and let's not forget mantyhose - otherwise known as tights for boys. Selfridges sold a whopping 50 per cent of its stock in two weeks."
Sounds like, for all the valient attempts at mockery by the UK press, these things still sold like hotcakes. Nothing more to say...


Friday, November 20, 2009

Informative Article on Support Hosiery

Compression Support HosieryThe following article appeared on the Jobst website: The Benefits of Compression Socks - Dealing With Varicose Veins. Jobst is a maker of medical compression hosiery, targeted toward those with more severe leg circulation problems. Although they provide products for those with beginning stages of leg problems, anything more than support socks for men seems to be treated as an afterthough--which I will discuss later.

The article provides useful information on leg circulation problems and how support hosiery can help alleviate them. It's worth reading as long as you include a few caveats while doing so...

First, the articles are primarily directed at those suffering from more advanced leg conditions, which tend to require more specialized (and more expensive) products like those in which they specialize. The effect of non-medical grade support hosiery is given only only passing notice. This is understandable since there is less experimentally-quantifiable information available regarding the contribution of non-medical grade support hosiery on leg circulation. That's not to say there is none, however.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, "The single most important thing a person can do to slow down the development of new varicose veins is to wear graduated compression support stockings as much as possible during the day." They also list "wearing elastic support stockings" as a means of reducing the chances of getting new varicose and spider veins. In addition, a 2001 study cited by the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery concluded that, "Use of lightweight (low compression), ready-to-wear gradient compression hosiery is very effective in improving symptoms of discomfort, swelling, fatigue, aching, as well as leg tightness."

As I have written elsewhere on this blog, the article acknowledges that a significant portion of the population will eventually suffer from some sort of leg circulation problem, including venous insufficiency and related issues. And, of course, it's important to consult your physician when these problems become worse and varicose veins begin to appear, to make sure medical intervention is not necessary.

The article is also limited in that it focuses entirely on compression socks, although I've seen similar ones that include discussion of support hosiery as well. The trouble with focusing only on compression socks is that oftentimes the problems extend above the knee. In those cases, thigh-high or waist-high hosiery is obviously more appropriate. This is where the advice given in this article and others like it becomes confusing and a bit awkward.

The awkwardness comes from the fact that there are multiple varieties of waist-high support legwear styles (e.g., tights and sheer pantyhose) offered for women suffering from poor leg circulation. But when it comes to men, very few of the companies offer anything above the knee. Those that do have very limited options and one has to read between the lines to discern which are intended for males.

One could infer from the product offerings that there is a physiological difference between men and women that precludes any sort of venous insufficiency from occuring further up than the calf. Of course, there is no reason to believe anything of the sort. In fact, studies indicate that men are nearly as likely as women to suffer from some sort of leg circulation problem by the time they reach age 50 (see above: Health & Human Services). Yet none make any distinction about men's problems being confined to below the knee.

Why, then, would there not be equal numbers of men's products available to address those with leg circulation problems higher up? The answer seems clear. Prior cultural inhibitions against men wearing tights (sheer or otherwise) have prevented them from availing themselves of a viable solution to the aching and cramping of which so many complain. I personally discovered this when I was first directed by my doctor to try wearing support socks. I found that the elastic band at the top binds at the knee, and they did nothing to relieve achiness higher up. My doctor subsequently responded by suggesting I try wearing L'eggs Sheer Energy pantyhose.

This was because there were no male products offered by Futuro, Jobst, Ames-Walker, or other providers of medical compression hosiery--unless one is suffering from more serious leg problems. Products directed towards those conditions are very expensive, ranging from $50 a pair and up--and also quite uncomfortable to wear. You have to be in a lot of pain and discomfort to make the trade-off to wear these. Fortunately, I discovered ACTIVSKIN around that time, and was able to buy comfortable, inexpensive legwear that alleviated the chronic leg aches and heaviness I was feeling.

Futuro Men's Product Line: socksFuturo Waist High Pantyhose - for WomenAlthough ACTIVSKIN does't claim to provide any sort of standardized compression in its legwear, for comparison sake I've tried on the Ultra Sheer by Futuro in 8-15 mmHg. To me, it feels very similar in compression to ACTIVSKIN's Style A2019 or A677. The UltraSheer cost around $20, placing them at the very low end of the medical compression hosiery price scale.

As for men's products from other companies, little has changed in the ten years since I first started wearing support hosiery. If you look at a Jobst Product Guide, you'll see that 8-15 mmHG compression (mild) is recommended for tired, aching legs; or minor ankle, leg and foot swelling. For women, the guide recommends UltraSheer pantyhose and forJobst 20-30 mmHg Seamless Soft Support Hosiery men: the Men's Dress product (socks).

Moderate compression (15-20 mmHG) is recommended for minor varicosities; tired, aching legs; and minor ankle, leg and foot swelling. For women, the guide recommends the same products, plus their Opaque compression socks. For men, it recommends a heavier support sock. There is an added category of Unisex, which includes two kinds of socks (ActiveWear and Relief) and one type of waist-high legwear, called Custom Seamless Soft. However, the product page for Custom Seamless Soft doesn't give any indication that is intended for men as well as women. One has to look very closely to discover that Jobst has any thigh- or waist-high products intended for men.

Ames-Walker Men's Waist LeotardAmes-Walker, another leading seller of medical compression hosiery has little different to offer men with upper leg circulation problems or a dislike of elastic bands in support socks. Although they offer 17 varieties of support socks, there is only one waist-high product available for men, the Men's Waist Leotard that retails for about $90.

Solidea comes the closest to providing leg support products specifically tailored for men, with their 'Panty Plus'. It's a full-length, body-hugging compression pant with a built-in fly opening. At $110 each, men will be hard pressed to buy more than one, however. Otherwise, their offerings are either calf-socks or shaper briefs.

Solidea's PantyPlus for MenThe bottom line is that Futuro, Jobst, Ames-Walker, Sigvaris, et al, are an excellent choice if you suffer from serious leg circulation issues and your doctor recommends compression therapy with a higher level of compression, say 20 mmHg or more. Although they don't cater to men who need above-the-knee products they do have something that can help if you look closely.

ActivSkin provides a masculine alternative for men's leg supportHowever, if your problem doesn't rise to the level of medical treatment, and you want to proactively help 'energize' tired, achy legs by improving circulation, ACTIVSKIN may be the ideal solution for you. I know it's helped me keep my legs in good shape after the beginnings of spider veins began to creep in. They've not progressed in the 10 years since I've been wearing support hose. At the time I first started wearing them, I never dreamed I'd end up working for the company that sold them. If I weren't such a believer in what we do, I wouldn't be here now.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ActivSkin TV/Radio Interviews: Links Posted

I've finally identified a convenient location to upload audio files so that I can make available the various radio interviews that have taken place over the past few months. Previously, I've made some of them into video slideshows that were then uploaded to YouTube (audio-only files cannot be uploaded to YouTube), but that's not always the best solution. PodBean.com allows users to upload audio files so they can be accessed by others via the internet. So, if any Nylon Gene readers would like to listen to these radio interviews, here they are... You can follow the link to my PodBean profile and download these files from there. I've also included below the embedded links to the TV appearances I've made on behalf of ACTIVSKIN, as well:

Nov. 10, 2009 - LA Talk Radio/Broad Topics: Steve Newman of ActivSkin is interviewed about 'mantyhose' by a panel of four ladies from very different backgrounds. (Total Length = 22:29, On-air Interview approx. 17:00)
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Oct. 27, 2009 - The Mancow Show: Steve Newman was to be interviewed by Eric Muller about 'mantyhose'. When the interviewer was not successful in ridiculing the interviewee, the interview was pulled before airing, despite all of the 'teaser' promos featured in this audio file. (Length = 3:48)
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Sept. 30, 2009 - KUDO 1080-AM Talk Radio, Anchorage Alaska: Steve Newman is interviewed by Kathy Philips about 'mantyhose' and it's applications, as well as how he went from civil engineering to men's pantyhose marketing. (Length - 11:55)
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Sept. 25, 2009 - BBC Radio Wales: Steve Newman of ActivSkin is interviewed by Jamie & Louise about the men's tights trend that seems to be sweeping Britain of late. (Length - 6:34)
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Sept. 25, 2009 - BBC Radio Kent: Steve Newman of ActivSkin is interviewed by Andrew Garland about men's tights in the UK. (Length - 5:36)
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Aug. 28, 2009 - BFBS Radio (British Forces Broadcasting System): Lynne Duffus interviews Steve Newman about 'mantyhose' growing in popularity in Britain. (Length - 9:33)
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Feb.22, 2002 - NPR Radio/All Things Considered: Steve Katz, founder of ComfiLon Men's Pantyhose is interviewed by John Ydstie about the new men's pantyhose product. (Length - 2:57)
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History of Men In Pantyhose

Once all the rage, men's tights are once again becoming in fashionHere's a link to an article posted the other day on HubPages, about the history of men's legwear (e.g., pantyhose, tights, etc.). It covers the time periods in the past when tights were worn by men only, as well as the modern time period where the situation reversed itself and women became primarily associated with tights and hosiery. The article goes on to describe the current situation, where men have been taking up the fashion of wearing tights and pantyhose yet again.

Several blogs that focus on the men's legwear trend were mentioned, although a notable exception was our very own Nylon Gene, which seeks to be the most visible and up-to-date source of information on men's legwear to the rest of the world.

I just discovered that the author of the HubPages article has also launched a new blog on Blogger. It's called, "Legwear is Unisex Fasion" The author has only yet published one posting, which is the same one posted on HubPages. I'm glad to see other men taking bold steps forward to help advance the growing men's legwear trend. The more that regular guys allow their name to be associated with men's tights, the quicker it will become a 'non-issue' with others who don't wear them.

It's notable that more people are seeing fit to write on this topic all the time. Guys who were once reluctant to be associated with wearing hosiery for fear of being mis-labeled a cross-dresser are now coming forward and writing articles. That's a good sign in my book. The article's interesting reading, so I would recommend taking a look...


Friday, November 13, 2009

Men's Legwear: Library of Articles

I've written a number of articles, in press release form, over the past nine months or so, with the intent of having them published to a wider audience. However, I thought Nylon Gene readers may appreciate having access to them here on the blog. The links will take you to my Google Docs storage location, where you can read or download these documents. I would encourage you all to share them with acquaintances, colleagues or family members who might benefit from the many and varied practical benefits of legwear...

Click on links below to be taken to a downloadable PDF document. [NOTE: The list is not yet complete. Check back frequently, as I will post the remainder of the documents soon]

Men's Hosiery: A Little Background

Leg Circulation Problems Know No Gender Boundaries

For Runners, Mantyhose Fends Off Chill, Energizes Legs

For Cyclists, Mantyhose Fends Off Chill, Energizes Legs - July 20, 2009

Hunters Turn to Mantyhose for Relief From the Elements

Mantyhose: Golfers' Latest Weapon Against Weather, Fatigue

Ladies, Does Your Guy Wear Pantyhose? Maybe He Should.

Civil Engineer to Mantyhose Marketer: A Very Unusual Career Transition


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'Mantyhose' Interview on Broad Topics/LA Talk Radio

LA Talk Radio/Broad TopicsJust finished the latest interview, this time with the ladies of "Broad Topics" on LA Talk Radio and it went very well. My sincere thanks go out to Laura, Joan, Kelly and Jillian for making it such an enjoyable experience. We had fun as we chatted for about 17 minutes on air about a wide range of topics related to legwear ... [NOTE: Audio/slideshow link now available--see below]

We started out with me describing how I made the transition from civil engineer to marketing men's pantyhose, and they thought it was pretty cool how I took that risk to follow something so different from what I'd done up to that point. From there, we moved on to a discussion on how support hosiery helps promote good leg circulation and ease discomfort that so many men complain of as they enter their late thirties and beyond.

After that, the discussion ranged from what sort of reception I received from people I encounter while doing my job promoting 'mantyhose', to what's different about men's pantyhose, or how my wife felt about my new career path. Their follow-up discussion was very positive, too.

Broad Topics Hosts: Laura, Joan, Jillian & Kelly (CW from upper left)Basically, we had a lot of fun with the interview. If you didn't have a chance to listen live, follow one of the links above to the show and download the audio. The beginning has a good intro, and the rest of the interview begins at 30:00. I'll be making my own recording of the audio available in some format as soon as I can. A podcast will be posted on the Broad Topics website at the following location (http://broadtopics.podomatic.com/), keep checking back as it wasn't there the last time I looked.

AUDIO/VID LINK: You can listen to the complete audio here (Length = 22:29):

The audio was previously made into a video slide show on YouTube also. To listen/watch the slideshow, either go to YouTube or you can see each of the three parts by clicking the embedded links below (YouTube limits uploaded videos to a maximum of 10 minutes in length, so the interview had to be divided into three segments.):

PART 1 OF 3:

PART 2 OF 3:

PART 3 OF 3:


Monday, November 9, 2009

New European Retailer for Men's Tights

It seems the men's legwear trend continues its spread overseas, not confined to North America by any means. PH Balanced--a husband and wife blogging team that, like The Nylon Gene, focuses on legwear--reports that a company called EuroTights (http://eurotights.eu/) is the latest addition to the growing men's legwear market. Based in Latvia, EuroTights is selling both men's and women's legwear made by ELA, a Czech hosiery manufacturer.

The retailer still seems to be in start-up mode, with all ordering being placed through eBay for the time being. However, the fact that there are a growing number of companys willing to stake a capital risk to launch a company selling pantyhose and tights to men is a testament to the viability of the product concept as a whole. The long-term viability of company's like ACTIVSKIN and others who followed them has emboldened those who may once have scoffed at the idea of men wearing tights, much less making a profit off them.

ELA's recent launch of a range of men's tights was reported on last month by another legwear blogger, SheerGeek. ELA Trebic has been in business since 1990, making women's hosiery in the Czech Republic. Only recently have they made their entry into the men's market, with the introduction of three styles of tights carrying the names, David, Patrik and Adam.

These tights come in 20, 40 and 64 denier, respectively. Each is sold in two colors, beige and black. They are constructed with a 'gusset' in the front similar to ACTIVSKIN's male comfort panel, designed to provide extra room to accommodate male anatomical differences.

While early reports from London distributers give the ELA/EuroTights products good marks, they probably won't be showing up on the legs of North American males in large numbers. While the products themselves are priced competitively enough, overseas shipping and EU export costs add considerably to the overall cost of purchasing them.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ladies, Does Your Guy Wear Pantyhose?... Maybe He Should

ACTIVSKIN Men's LegwearI've published a new article on The Examiner as titled above. It deals with the issues wives and girlfriends may have when they first discover that their husband or boyfriend has begun wearing sheer or opaque legwear for one of the various reasons for which men have been taking up the trend of late. The full article can be found on my Columbus Men's Legwear Examiner page, or by clicking here. Please feel free to ReTweet this or share it on your Facebook pages, etc. as much as you like.


Friday, November 6, 2009

LA Talk Radio: The Latest Interview Scheduled...

LA Talk Radio/Broad Topics

Here's the latest interview news. I'm scheduled to be interviewed on-air on LA Talk Radio on Tuesday, Nov. 10th at 7:30 pm PST (10:30 pm Eastern Time). I've made arrangements with Laura Nickerson, who is one part of the 'Broad Topics' Show that airs from 7-9pm on Tuesdays. The show can be heard online and usually attracts about 4,000 listeners per show. Billed as, "Talk Radio for Smart, Funny Women" it's hosted by: The Feminist Mom, the Young Christian, the Southern Lesbian, and the Republican Catholic (as noted on the website, http://broadtopics.weebly.com/).

Be sure to mark your calendars and listen in by going to http://www.latalkradio.com/, or you can also download it later. They've already done a segment on 'mantyhose' this week, before I got in contact with them, so this will be some sort of follow up. Sounds like it should be fun.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Day...

Steve Newman of ActivSkin in black legwear, at the Polls on Nov. 3rdOnce again, your fearless blogger helped keep America safe for democracy by working the polls. The fact is, once the County Board of Elections gets you on their list, they never let you forget Election Day is approaching and it's time to get trained again. In all honesty though, even though it's a LONG day (5:30am to 8:30pm), it's also pretty enjoyable--especially since the turnout in my area was better than expected.

What's all this have to do with The Nylon Gene? Well, as in previous elections, my pollworker 'uniform' included ACTIVSKIN legwear worn with shorts--this time in black, as pictured at right (ACTIVSKIN A575 in case you're wondering). The more obvious legwear provided a good opportunity to observe reactions of a large number of people who may not have otherwise been acquainted with this emerging trend. Read on for a synopsis...

I have to preface my observations by noting that by now most of my friends and acquaintenances are well aware of my work in marketing and publicizing the men's legwear trend, and thus take it completely in stride. Working a precinct close to my home meant I encountered a good many of these today. There were some whom I hadn't seen in awhile, so we had an opportunity to chat and catch up on things. Without exception, they expressed interest and support for my (somewhat) new career direction in marketing men's legwear.

During the course of the day, I alternated between sitting at the provisional voter table, guiding voters to machines or just walking around talking to people when there were no voters needing paper ballots. This gave me a good opportunity to watch people unobtrusively and guage their reactions to the 'mantyhose.' In past elections, I've worn tan colored hosiery that, while still fairly noticeable, was possible to overlook if one was not paying close attention. Today, it was impossible to miss the black legwear. More than 800 voters came through during the course of the day.

The overwhelming majority took little or no detectable notice. While they may indeed have wondered, "why's that guy wearing pantyhose?" they gave every appearance of giving it no more concern than one would over the color of one's shirt. This could be an indication of having been already aware of the existence of men's legwear, and thus there being no novelty factor to it. There were probably 4 or 5 who did double-takes and may have been unfavorably disposed to it. Another dozen or two could be seen glancing out of the corner of their eye while waiting in line, or otherwise looking when they thought I was not noticing them. These could fall into either the positive or negative category, as their facial expression betrayed little. Looking can't be equated with disapproval, however. As I've written elsewhere, when we are confronted with something new and/or unexpected, we all tend to linger in our gaze because of the novelty factor.

Steve Newman of ActivSkin, wearing I also engaged in several conversations about the legwear with voters who asked questions or expressed interest. There were several women who had family members who were runners; have leg circulation issues; or similar, as well as a few men who expressed interest for similar reasons. After they finished voting, we chatted briefly about the various benefits and reasons for wearing legwear and I gave them one of my cards. If you are one of these and are reading this blog as a result, "welcome, and enjoy..." The high school girls' cross-country/track coach with whom I recently made acquaintance at the MMOC stopped to chat briefly and wished me luck with my work.

As a final note, the folks I worked with were without exception great people, and, this time I was joined by my 18-year old daughter, who was one of three high school girls assigned as part of the "Youth At The Booth" program. One of them, a family friend, has seen my TV appearances and thought it was 'pretty cool'. My fellow pollworkers, by the way, took the legwear in stride too. A couple of us have worked together before, so it was nothing new for them.

The bottom line in all this: while a guy wearing sheer black legwear is still highly unusual to be sure, it's not something that will draw the condemnation of the average person as one might once have intuitively expected. When done in the context of masculine attire such as this, by one who conveys confidence in oneself, there's no reason for it to draw ridicule or mocking. Furthermore, those who have reason to wear it, but do so in a less noticeable manner (under long pants, or in skintone-matching colors) certainly should be able to do so without concern over anyone questioning their masculinity. It's been my experience that if there's no reason to do that in the first place, the addition of legwear should not change the equation.


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