Tuesday, December 7, 2010



The author has recently discovered not only the existence of Spanx, but that there are Spanx for Men, and... that there is even such a thing as 'mantyhose'! Read and enjoy...


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Polls Closed: It's 'Miller Time!'... (Mantyhose at the Booth)

After 16 hrs. on my feet, it's time to
hoist a pint and celebrate 'democracy
in action'.
Faithful 'Nylon Gene' readers may have been wondering what's become of me since I left employment with ActivSkin. Fear not, I haven't fallen from the face of the earth. Yesterday, I participated fully in the annual ritual of democracy and served as a poll worker in my local precinct. And, after more than 16 hours on my feet, I tipped a nice cold beer at home to cap the day. Notably, as can be seen in the photo, I wore a very comfortable pair of tan ActivSkin A560 semi-sheer support hose, which kept my legs from feeling like the reincarnation of Mount St. Helens.  These hose are fairly dark in color (darker than indicated by the photo), so they're hard to miss. 

Turnout was 'moderate' in Ohio, as they said on the news. For us, that meant about 1,000 voters in our precinct. I served as a machine judge, meaning that I was one of those people who lead you to your electronic voting machine and prepare it to accept votes.

As such, virtually all the voters who came through the precinct had a chance to see the emerging men's legwear trend firsthand. Many hardly even seemed to notice anything out of the ordinary, while many others took a glance or two at my considerably darker tan legwear and proceeded on with their business, or our conversation, with hardly a sign of anything they considered radically out of the norm.

Many friends and acquaintances came through the precinct, too. However, at least half or more of those have become aware of men's legwear through past conversations or news media activities of mine. So, they wouldn't be expected to behave as if there were anything out of the norm anyways.

As regular readers will recall, this is far from the first time I've worked the polls on Election Day, nor is this the most noticeable style of legwear I've worn while working. Last fall (November 2009) saw me wearing black legwear with black shorts--with nearly the same lack of concern over it from the public who were in attendance. (See previoius Nylon Gene posting for details).

My reason for recounting my experience here is to further encourage those guys who have been wearing legwear for some time, but are still trying to work up the nerve to wear it more openly. As evidenced by this experience and others like it, no one is going to chastise you for wearing legwear with your outfit. As long as you stick to well matched clothing that is otherwise masculine in appearance, you'll be more than fine if you decide to give it a try.

Let us know here about your experiences... good? bad? indifferent?...


Friday, August 20, 2010

Pantyhose For Longer Life...

A reader shared this link to an old story from 2003.  Not sure how I missed it, but I'm reprinting it here for he benefit of all Nylon Gene readers.  Needless to say, this certainly bolsters the reasons behind the latest mantyhose trend.  [-Steve]

Photo courtesy of  The Nylon Gene
Pantyhose Linked to Longevity. May Even Reduce Cancer Risk?
March 1, 2003
By:  AP Medical Correspondent (from CNN.com Archives)

NEW ENGLAND – A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine today touted some remarkable claims in life extension and cancer research.

Describing the discovery as "nothing short of a breakthrough", Dr. Brian Schiff took to the podium for yesterday's press release. "We may have a few doctors smirking now, but of most them have not yet seen the research."

Schiff explained that the research project has been on-going for the last 15 years, compiling data, reviewing medical records, and conducting case studies. "Our team includes some of the most respected medical professionals from around the world. -When we say this reseach is valid, we are staking our reputations on it".

The theory behind the study comes from a Johns Hopkins University study that found a correlation between telangiectasias (spider veins) and longevity. An ancient oriental cure was to bind the legs of the afflicted person. It not only aided, but often cured this malady. The side-effects of which were noted to be: reduced sicknesses, longevity and a recovery of strength.

"The trick to 'ancient leg binding' was not to bind the legs too tight", explained Schiff. "restiction of blood flow (arterial insufficiency) is not what is intended here. Systolic blood pressure in the two major arteries of the body has to be increased, but not restricted. Pantyhose seem to achieve this perfectly. The correct systolic blood pressure (systolic blood pressure is maximum pressure exerted when the heart contracts) forces the plaque build-up out of the heart and arteries harmlessly into the liver to be filtered. It also prevents cancerous cells from attaching themselves to the pulminary walls or other cells".

"We are talking about two major blood arteries (pathways) sped up by mild constriction, similiar to a garden hose when gently squeezed. The increased speed of the blood flow without constant calistentation (extreme excersize) not only improves the purifying process but also (in effect) 'wipes clean' the interior vascular (vein) linings". Dr. Schiff also noted that even patients with existing heart conditions due to plaque build-up in arteries -sinus and atrioventricular nodes, may benefit. "We're finding increasing proof that the use of a mild arterial restiction during sleep can actually increase health".

"Whether this study is embraced is not our goal. Our findings are clear and we will continue our research.".


Sunday, August 15, 2010

St. Augustine.com: The Case of the Subborn Pantyhose

Too many ladies have their pantyhose
in a bunch over nothing
I couldn't resist commenting on the recent article published in the St. Augustine Record, entitled "The Case of the Stubborn Pantyhose" (July 18, 2010). Anne Heymen, the woman who wrote the article, doesn't sound like one who has an axe to grind when it comes to wearing pantyhose, but she typifies the reason why the misconception that hosiery is an uncomfortable burden to wear has taken hold so firmly in recent years.

And, the corollary to the mistaken view that women's pantyhose are so horribly uncomfortable, of course, follows: Why on earth would MEN be wearing them if we women can't stand them? Is there something 'wrong' with a guy who wears them--since it can't possibly be for comfort or practical reasons?

Yet, the thing is, for the most part guys who have taken to wearing them over the past 10 years or so have found them to be comfortable, and to provide practical benefits, too. For those interested, you can access my posted comment here ("Lucky?... Not Quite."). I've also taken the liberty of reprinting it here, below:
Having worn both neckties and pantyhose, I can assure you--the person who 'has' to wear the necktie most certainly has the worse end of the deal than the one who's required to wear pantyhose.

It is in fact true that we men don't "have" to wear pantyhose. However, a growing number of guys are choosing to wear them because we're discovering there are definite benefits to be had, which you ladies have been downplaying all these years as you carry on about how uncomfortable they supposedly are. I suppose that may be because most women assume no guy is ever going to call them on that claim.

Not so anymore, though. There are thousands and thousands of guys across the U.S. who are trying them on, and finding they're not really all that uncomfortable after all. I know this from working in the men's hosiery business for some time. In fact, if you're like myself and suffer from a bit of venous insufficiency that makes your legs achy and tired during the day, you may even discover that they feel pretty darn good. The support styes can make your legs feel energized instead of lethargic--and that makes it all worthwhile.

I think one of the main reasons women find pantyhose to seem so uncomfortable is because, 1). they go cheap and forego spending a few extra bucks on a brand of hose that will last longer and won't itch and sag, 2). they buy them one or two sizes too small, possibly in hopes of kidding themselves that they're really smaller than they really are. (my advice: just bite the bullet and get the size you need--nobody's looking over your shoulder to see whether you buy 'Q' or '2X'), and 3). they don't think they need "control top". What many don't realize is that the control top isn't just for keeping your tummy tucked in. They also keep them from sliding down in the crotch area, too.

So, even if your girlfriends won't tell ya, take it from a guy: buy better quality hose that FIT, and most of your complaints will go away. And, your newly energized legs will make it all worthwhile. Also, to read more about the growing men's legwear trend, read some of the articles on my blog, The Nylon Gene at www.nylongene.com


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Walking Mantyhose Advertisement at Amusement Park

About a week ago, my family and I took a little day trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park here in Ohio, with another family with whom we're good friends. While there I was, in the words of my 14-year old son, "a walking advertisement" for mantyhose in general, and ActivSkin in particular. It wasn't so much the legwear I wore for the trip--it was the T-shirt. 

I've long ago discovered that in most settings, other people don't readily notice when I'm wearing suntan-colored hose with shorts. The color blends in well enough with my skin tone that few people notice, unless they have reason and opportunity to focus on my legs for more than a second or two. (That does seem to be changing a bit, but more on that in another post). In any event, wearing suntan pantyhose (or, mantyhose, if you will) with shorts to an amusement park full of the biggest, fastest roller coasters in the U.S., as well as tens of thousands of other people, does NOT get noticed.

Sooo, if you're an active advocate for men's legwear such as I am, you might wear something like the T-shirt that I wore to Cedar Point when we went last Friday. As I've said, wearing skintone hose with shorts isn't likely to get noticed among the crowds making their way through the park or the lines for rides. However, it's another case entirely you underscore it with the shirt pictured here.

For those who may have trouble reading the graphic, here's what it says (below the ActivSkin logo and URL):

Changing Hearts & Minds... From Pantyhose, to MANTYHOSE!
  • Warmth-Without-Bulk for Athletes & Outdoorsmen
  • Enhanced Leg Circulation for Energizing Support of Tired, Achy Legs
  • Muscle Compression for Improved Performance & Stamina
  • Protection Against Chafing & Blisters for Horseback Riders and Others
Why Not Try A Pair Today?

Of course, the first thing readers will want to know is how people reacted to my 'walking advertisement'? (BTW, my son wasn't bothered by it at all, he was merely making a casual observation when he said it).  In a nutshell... nothing.  They didn't.  I could tell a certain amount of people with whom we waited in line (for all those hours) were checking to see whether I was wearing what my T-shirt was promoting.  Yet no sign of disapproval or disdain could be detected, even when they weren't aware I noticed that THEY had noticed.  Nor were there any whispered comments from behind, accompanied by giggling or snickering.  I was paying attention to the reactions of others, and not a single person gave any evidence of negativity. 

What's the 'take home' from all this?  Basically, that people are slowly becoming more aware of the growing mantyhose trend, and when they encounter it, they don't really care if a guy's wearing hose or not.  Mind you, I was wearing them in an undeniably masculine context, meaning that the other clothing I wore was typical 'guy clothes' and didn't call into question my masculinity.  I can't speak to how people might react to someone dressing in a less-than-masculine outfit along with a pair of pantyhose.  But then again, we're exploring the emerging male pantyhose trend here on The Nylon Gene, not dressing in feminine clothing. 

So, maybe you've been considering finding out what this new trend is all about, but are afraid of how it might be received by others.  Hopefully, the experience I've shared above will help get you past that.  As the T-shirt says, "Why Not Try A Pair Today?"


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Online Poll: How many women are ok with men wearing pantyhose?

Poll: How many women are OK with men wearing pantyhose?

This question was posted at Clothing Home on Aug. 8th. Nylon Gene readers should weigh in on this...


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Politics of Mantyhose

This article, "The Politics of Mantyhose" was originally published on Feministing.com in January 2009. Now, The Politics Place has picked it up again (July 25, 2010). The article raises some interesting points about how differently things are perceived when one gender wears clothing typically associated with the other--depending on who's doing the wearing. I posted some thoughts on the issue--as it relates to men's pantyhose--and I've reposted them here, below:

[Steve's comment]: An interesting article here. I’ve been wearing pantyhose or tights for about 10 years or so—-primarily for improved leg circulation, but along the way have found them to have other benefits as well. There've been dozens and dozens of articles on the rise of men's pantyhose over the past 8 or 9 years, but not that many scratch below the surface of the issue as this one does.

  In the recent past, I've worked for a leading company that produces men's pantyhose, or 'mantyhose'. As such, I've developed a fairly popular blog (The Nylon Gene, www.nylongene.com) and have posted many articles asking such questions as why there's such a disparity between the way 'cross-dressing' is treated when it's a man versus a woman who's doing the crossing over. For instance, everyone thinks its ‘cute’ or sexy when a woman wears a man’s shirt or boxer briefs—or if she’s wearing a necktie or power suit, she’s not typically ridiculed for it. But, let a man wear something that’s in the least bit associated with ‘feminine’ and he’s laughed at, ridiculed, and treated with so much disdain and scorn as to make most guys afraid to so much as pick up a piece of women’s underwear for any reason at all.

So, you’ve got to ask yourself, why the difference? It seems that maybe the idea of a woman wearing men’s wear is seen as ‘reaching up’ to take on the air of the ‘superior gender’—while a guy wearing something associated with women’s wear (in this case, pantyhose) the negative reaction makes it seem as though he is ‘lowering himself’ to the level of the inferior sex. Mind you, I don’t subscribe to that notion—just making the observation. And, as was asked at the end of the article, why is it that some wives and girlfriends of those men who aren’t afraid to wear hose more disturbed by it than the men? Is there a certain inferiority complex ingrained in the women that makes them do that? Or, is it just recognition that society makes that judgment on the relative merit of male vs female, and they don’t want their guy getting degraded?

While many guys will take a ‘live and let live’ attitude towards men’s pantyhose, it’s interesting to note that the guys who DO get really stoked about it (‘he oughta have is ass kicked…’) sound like the ones who are most likely to consider women to be an inferior species.

I do value the differences between the sexes, and believe that men should be men and women should be women—just as God intended us to be. However, I don’t agree that pantyhose (other than the name, maybe) should be considered to be an inherently female garment. I also don’t believe that anyone should consider male or female to be superior to the other. Different DOES NOT equate to better/worse. Each has their own gifts and burdens and those should be embraced. But, wearing pantyhose or not, does not matter, if you like wearing them.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Puttin' on the Spanx (Shapers for Men)

The Nashua Telegraph published an article entitled, "Puttin' on the Spanx", about how Sara Blakely's company is now selling a shaper product in the form of a T-shirt for men (6/29/2010).

Here's my $0.02 worth, which I posted as a comment below the article on the Telegraph website:

Thanks for reporting on this, Mike. Spanx probably has a prototype in her basement for the lower half for us guys, too. However, she's too late on that count, as ActivSkin's already beaten her to it with their full support 'mantyhose'. You can find them at http://www.activskin.com/.

I've been maintaining a blog called The Nylon Gene for the past year or so, which documents the emerging men's legwear trend and how it's gradually catching on--albeit on the sly underneath the average guy at the office's trousers. See more at www.nylongene.com and let me know what you think.


Friday, June 25, 2010

The Stupidest Men's Products Ever Invented (PICTURES)

I posted the following comment to The Huffington Post's June 25th article, The Stupidest Men's Products Ever Invented:

"There's no question most of the things on the list are downright stupid. However, I would plead the case for granting 'mantyhose' a little more slack. While the name can be a bit much to take when paired up with all the copycat 'man-names' for things (i.e., manpris, guyliner, etc, etc) the basic concept is fairly sound. Guys have been discovering what a lot of women have known for a long time, but won't own up to: hose can energize your legs when you've got a job that keeps you on your feet all day, or the 40s hit you hard with some varicose veins and such. There's as many men as women who are bothered by these, yet there's nothing out there to address it.

That's why so many men are starting to try them out these days. I know from firsthand experience, since I spent all of last year working as a marketing director for a company that sell tights and sheer hose made especially for men. Our sales were strong and consistent, and my blog, The Nylon Gene www.nylongene.com) consistently draws about 4000-5000 new visitors per month, looking for more info on the growing men's legwear trend.

So, before we are too quick to rank it among the most stupid men's items ever--try them out and see what you think. My blog provides tons of background info on the practical benefits provided by men's hosiery."
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost. To find my comment and replies, look for 6:49 pm on 6/25. I was about the 130th person to comment, and currently there are 200 comments.


Monday, June 21, 2010

TIM Male Legwear, from Bulgaria, Is Latest Entry to Mantyhose Market

The following article was published on Examiner.com under my byline (Men's Legwear Examiner). 

If one needs any confirmation that the market for men's pantyhose and tights, aka mantyhose, is growing, the fact that companies are getting into this business rather than leaving provides ample evidence. For-profit companies don't lightly enter new markets, and only if they sense a potential for growth. In announcing plans for U.S. distribution beginning in Fall 2010, Bulgaria's TIM Legwear is the latest example of a women's pantyhose maker offering a new line of male hosiery.

Speaking from Borovo, Bulgaria,TIM's marketing director, Martin Panoyotov reports that they began working on the male hosiery line in mid-2009 following numerous inquiries during the preceding year and a half. Two styles, in 70 and 90 denier (a measure of hosiery sheerness), were first introduced as a market test . These were highly successful and led to the decision to introduce a full line of male tights and pantyhose. The TIM Male Legwear line includes the following styles:

  • Dynamic - 20 den Semi-sheer hosiery with comfort band, reinforced toe and brief, and no-fly front panel
  • Force - 40 den Semi-sheer hosiery and same features as Dynamic
  • Lord - 50 den Opaque tights with comfort band, sheer toe, reinforced brief, and no-fly front panel
  • Denim - 70 den Opaque tights and same features as Lord (available in footless or footed style)
  • Action - 90 den Opaque tights and same features as Lord
Each style is available in eight colors (natural, beige, tropic, cafe, white, light grey, graphite and black), and five sizes. They plan to extend the male legwear line in the future by adding more leggings styles, patterned tights, and stockings.

TIM Male Legwear is currently available in Europe and set for U.S. distribution in late 2010. U.S. distribution will be launched under the LegsArt brand. Based in Chicago, LegsArt was established in 2008 as the official distributor of TIM Legwear in North America. Beginning in the fall of 2010, LegsArt will offer the entire range of TIM Legwear for shipping to all 50 States and Canada. They have received several inquiries from retailers and wholesalers. TIM Legwear/LegsArt maintains a rigorous approval process for companies wishing to retail or wholesale their legwear. Both companies are privately held.

TIM's entry into the men's legwear market represents a vote of confidence in the growing acceptance of male hosiery as a legitimate product providing tangible benefits for men. Although women have long taken these benefits for granted, men are discovering unisex applicability, and manufacturers are stepping forward to fill the demand.

For more information on these benefits, refer to the list of related articles. For a review of TIM Male Legwear, refer to the related Examiner.com article: "Bulgaria's TIM Male Legwear Provides a Comfortable Line of Mantyhose Products".


Thursday, June 10, 2010

A New Adventure Awaits...

As regular Nylon Gene readers have surely noted, for the past few months I've not been posting with near the frequency with which I once did. Due to reasons related to the economy, it was necessary for ActivSkin to curtail my marketing and publicity activities beginning around January of this year, which has necessitated seeking fulltime employment opportunities elsewhere.  That search came to a successful end this past week...

Beginning in July, I will begin working for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in the District Office located near Newark, OH.  I will be working with traffic, safety studies and public involvement, among other things.  This is a bittersweet turn of events.  I am eagerly looking forward to my new employment and getting to know what seems to be a great group of people, and it is a mixture of the engineering-related background for which I was educated (see my Sept. 16, 2009 article: A Very Unique Career Transition) and some of the things I've been engaged in during my past year as Director of Marketing for ActivSkin.  That is, engaging the public, writing, working collaboratively with others, etc.

On the other hand, I've thoroughly enjoyed being so deeply involved in bringing ActivSkin, and the men's legwear trend, more visibly into the public eye, and raising awareness of the many benefits that men have been missing out on all this time.  I believe we've made considerable strides in persuading the public that sheer and opaque hosiery have legitimate applications for men complaining of achy, tired legs or wanting warmth-without-bulk for athletic and cold weather outdoor activities--and many others. 

Since this effort began, the word 'mantyhose' has begun to enter the public lexicon.  Yes, it may sometimes be used derisively, but the same was once true of male earrings, too.  More often than not however, it has come to be used in a generally neutral context--if not actually positive in some cases.  I believe we can take some credit for that. 

Now, before any loyal Nylon Gene readers get ready to go out and hang themselves using a pair of ActivSkin A677 mantyhose out of despair--fear not.  I won't be shutting down the blog.  It has served us well for the past 15 months, and I see no reason it shouldn't continue.  I will still post the occasional article as time permits.  It will just be as a peripheral effort rather than a central focus, and of course occur outside of my normal day-to-day activities.  I'll still be an active proponent of men's legwear and it's benefits.  My new colleagues will certainly learn of whom my former employer was, if not already aware.  Of course, my resume included ActivSkin/GLS Hosiery at the very top, though it didn't come up during the interview.  Who knows, maybe some will be reading these words I'm typing right now.  Being in a traditional office environment, I'll have to become accustomed to long trousers once again.  One thing I'll miss is having my work attire include shorts most every day.  Ah well... can't have everything, can we?

Finally, I'd like to thank all the thousands of people who have read this blog regularly since it began, or just occasionally stopped in to see what's new.  Keep coming back, as I'll try to still provide new content as time permits.  Keep the comments coming and feel free to email me as well.   


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Your Fearless Blogger's Photo Featured on Toronto Life

I was flattered to discover that Karen Liu used my photo on an article in The Goods section of Toronto Life yesterday. In fact, the article was not focused on men's hosiery, but just happened to use it in the featured photo. The article was entitled, "Michelle Obama doesn't wear pantyhose, so neither should anyone else

The article focused on a tongue-in-cheek review of the First World's ever-growing crisis, spawned by the First Lady's pre-inauguration comments that she never wears pantyhose. (BTW, one of the commentors pointed out that Ms. Obama has begun wearing them since moving into the White House). This was juxtaposed against a recent Charlotte Observer article questioning whether pantyhose were on their last legs?  Maybe the subliminal message is that while women's pantyhose may be on their last legs--the men's lines still continue to pick up steam. 

To be sure, there was a parenthetical reference to mantyhose in the article. So, we can be sure that writers out there have definitely become aware of its presence as a real trend. As for the photo, it looks like one that we did sometime last year while having a little fun with those de-motivators posters--a website where people can create their own satires of those smarmy motivational posters we've all seen in offices around the world.

-Ciao for now...


Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Plus, the chicks go crazy for guys in tights..."

John Hart, the creator of the Wizard of Id comic strip, apparently knows something we at The Nylon Gene have been advocating for quite awhile:

April 22, 2010 - Wizaard of Id
Wizard of Id

...and there's more below:

... here's an interesting one from several years back. Not a widely distributed comic (I've not seen it before in Columbus), but obviously of interest to Nylon Gene readers: (Obviously, Teddy is a 'fashion-forward' Nylon Gene reader, isn't he?)

Nov. 10, 2004 - Big Nate
Big Nate

Nove. 11, 2004 - Big Nate
Big Nate

And, a couple of funny Frank & Ernest strips, of uncertain age:

Finally, this Monty comic strip represents the undercover tights-wearer in many of the guys out there:


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Get Ready to Kiss Cargo Shorts Bye-bye

The Star-Telegram (Dallas-Ft. Worth) published an article today titled, "Get Ready to Kiss Cargo Shorts Bye" today. I for one consider this welcome news. For nearly a decade, guys have been doomed to wear the most ridiculously over-sized monstrosities, nominally named 'shorts'--but in reality just very short flood pants. Now, it seems, we'll be able to opt for some cleaner lines in warm weather wear...

From a men's legwear perspective, there's little question it looks much better when paired with shorts that fit the wearer's body style, and size, appropriately. As many readers will certainly attest, it can be very difficult to find shorts that do this, when most of them are tailored more akin to clown pants.   While I, myself, do in fact wear cargo shorts (as can be seen in the photo at right), I always go for those that fit well, and aren't excessive in the number of pockets, zippers, etc.  I will probably wear them less often once these cleaner styles start becoming more available in stores. 

For what it's worth, I posted the following comment on the article's webpage: 
I'm sure I'm not alone in welcoming the demise of the ridiculously oversized, so-called 'shorts' that have been the scourge of menswear for nearly a decade or more. I'm about 5'-7" and have always had the hardest time finding shorts that look halfway decent on me, since they look huge even on larger guys.

The cleaner lines will be a huge improvement on the clothes we can wear in warm weather, now. They'll also be accentuated by another emerging trend that's slowly gaining some sway on the edges of men's fashion. That is, men's legwear. I've been a publicist for a company that's been selling sheer and opaque tights for men (aka, mantyhose) for more than 10 years.

Sometimes misconceptions get in the way of understanding, but the guys who are wearing them are basically regular guys who wear them for leg support and like the way they improve their look. Not so much about the wild patterns that often get featured in news articles, this trend is more about subtle shades that closely match skintone and will also add to the smooth lines referred to in the foregoing article.
I'd like to hear from you readers out there.  How do you feel about the slimmer style shorts discussed in the article.  What about the big, baggy style?  Anybody going to be pining for them once they disappear?  Also, one thing I noticed about the photos accompanying the article were that the guy pictured had very hairy legs.  Of course, that's not going to work well with sheer hosiery--so it'll be necessary to at least closely trim leg hair if you're among those with lots of dark hair.  In my mind, this would probably be a good idea even if the wearer weren't going to wear legwear.  What do you think? 


Monday, March 29, 2010

Mantyhose: What It's NOT--What It IS...

Men's Legwear in Real LifeI posted a comment on an article on "Men In Tights" on Mancouch.com (a blog about stuff guys like) today. With all the buzz going on these days about the topic of men's legwear, I thought my comments might be useful to repost here on The Nylon Gene. They may prove useful in helping those who read superficial treatments of the men's legwear trend get past some of the misconceptions out there...

We generally fear, or mock, that which we don't understand. So let's take a look at what 'mantyhose' IS and what it's NOT (generally speaking):

This is NOT what we mean by 'mantyhose'In general, it's NOT what's pictured on the guy standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, pictured at right. That's definitely something that's pretty far out there on the fringe of things. It doesn't represent what the vast majority of guys who wear legwear want to wear.

It's also NOT a gay thing. From what I've read on a variety of blogs and forums, gay men for the most part feel about the same way about pantyhose as the stereotypical woman does. They don't like them and don't want to wear them.

It's NOT an attempt to revert back to fashions of the 1700s. If it's sometimes pointed out that men were the ones who wore the tights in the Middle Ages, it's only to illustrate that they're NOT exclusively a female garment.

It's NOT a secret desire to cross dress, either. Guys who are wearing the male hosiery on the market today (which does come with a fly, BTW) aren't typically combining it with other female items to start dressing as a woman.

It IS a recognition that men are as likely as women to have tired, achy legs due to poor circulation, and that support hosiery provides relief if worn consistently. Sometimes they're worn under jeans or other pants--sometimes they're worn with shorts. Sometimes they're in virtually invisible colors that closely matches skintone--sometimes they're worn in more visible colors like black or dark grey.

It IS a way to attain added warmth beneath outer clothing without the added bulk of long johns or sweatpants. Some guys can live with long johns, others prefer the thin fabric that moves with them.

It IS a way for athletes (especially runners and cyclists) to keep the chill off the legs when they first go outside--yet avoid overheating after their body temperature rises with exercise.

It IS also a way for those athletes to enhance stamina somewhat with the moderate muscle compression provided by support styles of hosiery.

It IS a garment worn for fashion in some cases, in that guys are recognizing they can successfully add them to a masculine outfit if properly coordinated (i.e., not as shown in the photo above, by the Eiffel Tower).

Steve Newman/Legwear AdvocateHowever, for the most part, it IS something generally worn for more functional purposes. For my part, I initially started wearing tights or sheer hose for leg support. But after a few years I recognized I didn't want to give up wearing shorts for good, just because I needed to wear support-style hosiery to keep my legs from aching. I've been wearing them openly among friends and colleages for years now, and nobody questions my manhood because of it.

If you're a basically masculine guy in the first place, wearing legwear doesn't detract from it. Yet, if you're an effeminate guy it doesn't matter if you wear a Rambo outfit--you'll STILL look like a girly-man. (anybody here old enough to remember Michael Dukakis wearing the tank commander helmet during the 1988 presidential campaign?)

As with most everything, there are no absolutes. The foregoing statements represent the bulk of men who wear legwear today. Yes, there will be a few who will wear ostentacious patterns and colors out in public with shorts. Yes, there are gay men who wear pantyhose and like them. Yes, there are certainly cross dressers who wear pantyhose with their outfits, too. But, by and large those are NOT representative of the majority of men wearing nylon legwear--and on behalf of them I hope to shed a bit of light on the subject. Hopefully, this will cause more writers to stop and take a more reasoned approach to the "mantyhose question".


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mantyhose & the 3 Secret Weapons for Entrepreneurs

Renee and Don Marton published an article on the Huffington Post on March 4th, entitled "Three Secret Weapons for Entrepreneurs". In reading it, I couldn't help but mentally evaluate how well ActivSkin Legwear models these weapons in their business model. The three weapons listed were: ...

Finding Underserved Niche
ActivSkin's underserved market is men who suffer from poor leg circulation--cramps, achy/tired legs, feeling of 'heaviness'. Although men are as likely as women to suffer from these complaints, there has not been a product analogous to support pantyhose (thus far) available to men. Yet, wearing support hosiery has a beneficial effect on this condition, and can prevent it from getting worse, too. Because of the nearly insurmountable association of sheer legwear and tights with women's wear, and the fact that no male products have been widely marketed prior to ActivSkin, men have been forced to just 'suck it up' and not complain too much about how their legs feel. That is, until the pain or discomfort gets so bad their doctor prescribes medical-grade hosiery--which everyone finds to be too hot, too tight, too expensive and too uncomfortable.

Buck The Conventional Widsom
ActivSkin certainly bucks the Conventional Wisdom, which says, "tights/pantyhose are for women ONLY!" ActivSkin has been in business for 10 years now, and has grown nearly every year since its inception. That shows that the conventional wisdom is mistaken, when it comes to men wearing this sort of legwear for legitimate, practical reasons. The CW also says that men wouldn't wear pantyhose or tights--even if they're beneficial--out of fear of being negatively labeled by peers. However, despite an uphill battle in the beginning, we've perservered and those mistaken misconceptions are slowly, but surely, fading away. Some men are still tentative about this emerging trend, but every month more and more are willing to give it a try--and once they do, many decide their leg health overrides those misplaced fears... A few even venture out wearing them with shorts--like myself.

Spot a Trend and Pounce
Steve Katz, the founder of ActivSkin spotted a trend years ago when he discovered an online discussion board at the leggs.com website. Surprisingly, the bulk of discussion was being carried on by... men. Most notably, these men were focused on how they had discovered that women's support pantyhose provided definite, practical benefits to those with leg circulation problems. Others noted how they were also a good base layer beneath clothing for added warmth without the bulk of long johns. This discovery led him to circulate a survey exploring this hidden trend further, and ultimately led to the formation of ActivSkin (originally marketed under the brand name, Comfilon).

The company was a success from the beginning, finding enough customers for this underserved niche to maintain and grow the business for the past 10 years. ActivSkin still works to 'get over the hump', achieving breakout status, but believes it to be within reach. The current economic conditions in the U.S. and around the world continue to depress sales in all market sectors. However, ActivSkin has been able to hold its own despite being a small company. One additional entrepreneurial weapon that the Sarah Blakelys of the world need is perserverance--the ability to stay the course until the right combination of factors can launch you to the next level. And, that's what ActivSkin has demonstrated all along.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ActivSkin Legwear News

ActivSkin A876 Footed Full Support Male TightsMany have been asking about ActivSkin's A866 footed and A876 footless opaque tights with fly opening. ActivSkin has been out of stock in some sizes of both styles since late 2009. No longer! I've just received word, they FINALLY came in yesterday!

The beloved tights were delayed due to supplier issues, first the holidays and then came difficulties acquiring the needed yarns to make them. ActivSkin regrets the long period during which they were out of stock, ActivSkin A876 Footless Full Support Male Tightsbut is glad to begin selling them once again! These are two of the more popular styles and offer a comfortable level of full support that energizes your legs while providing some added warmth. If the weather where you are has been as cold as this winter in Ohio, you'll appreciate that!. You can check them out here: http://www.comfilon.com/catalogoptights.asp

To make up for the non-availability of these great tights for so long, ActivSkin is lowering the price on Styles A866/A876 for one month. Instead of the normal price of $19.99 (still a good value!), ActivSkin is selling both styles for $16.99 during the entire month of March. After that, they'll go back to the normal price of $19.99 a pair. So, hurry and get yours before they sell out again! Don't be be the last on your block-–act now and stock up.

Additionally, ActivSkin customers can save big on the overstock supply of Size Medium A549 Sheer Pantyhose for Men (with fly), now at HALF PRICE.

Go to http://www.comfilon.com/catalogsheerpantyhose.asp, and scroll down to A549. Look for the Overstock Sale block just below the main item and place your order.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Origin of the Name "Nylon"

I received the following article from a Nylon Gene reader, in response to discussion and comments on the previous post titled, "History of Hosiery". Apparently, the popular story of it arising from a contraction of the letters 'NY' for New York, and 'LON' from the first three letters in London, is nothing more than a popular legend. Here's a reprint of the article, written by William B. Jensen, a Chemistry professor at the University of Cincinnnati, OH.

The story of the development of nylon and the tragic suicide of its discoverer, Wallace Hume Carothers (1896–1937), are well known. Nylon’s importance as a landmark in the evolution of commercial synthetic polymers is uncontested and its preparation is still used as a demonstration in introductory chemistry courses. Consequently, it comes as a disappointment that its name is totally devoid of both chemical and historical significance and was selected, not by the chemists involved in its synthesis, but by the managers and executives at Du Pont.

As detailed in Stephen Fenichell’s highly entertaining history of modern plastics and polymers, the more than 350 original contenders for the name of the new polymer included such choices as Amidarn, Amido Silk, Linex, Lastrapon, Moursheen, Poya, Rayamide, Syntex, Tensheer, and Wiralene. Among the more imaginative suggestions were Duparooh(short for “Du Pont pulls a rabbit out of the hat”), Dupron (short for “Du Pont pulls a rabbit out of nitrogen, nature, nozzle, or naphtha”), Delawear (Du Pont is headquartered in the state of Delaware), Duponese, and Wacara (short for Wallace Carothers).

Though the final choice of “nylon” has no intrinsic meaning, this has not prevented others from reading unintended interpretations into the name. Thus many of the visitors to the New York World’s Fair of 1939, where its discovery was first publicly announced, came away believing that it was named after the fair’s famous “Trylon” tower, whereas others believed it was a contraction of New York (NY) and London (LON). Reflecting the growing tensions between Japan and the United States shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, the most bizarre interpretation came from a Japanese newspaper, which contended that Du Pont had developed the polymer for the explicit purpose of destroying the Japanese silk industry and that the name was an acronym for an anti-Japanese (Nipponese) slur.

(Chemical Education Today)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

History of Hosiery

I am reprinting information here that was gathered together by Christopher James, a young graphic designer who also happens to share a great interest in men's legwear. Chris has a website, called Graphic Illusions, to showcase his work, and has recently added a "Leg-Gear" page to his site. I included a brief mention of Chris in my recent Examiner article (Male Tights-Wearers Gaining New Sense of Confidence), and I'm hoping to do a profile of Chris a little later on. For now, I just wanted to reprint the great information he's pulled together--mostly from Wikipedia. Although Wiki-info can sometimes be of suspect accuracy, I can attest to many of the facts cited herein, and believe all of it to be sound. Read on ...

How many people know that men were the first to wear pantyhose?

Centuries ago men wore hand knitted stockings made of wool. In 1589, William Lee of Calverton, Notts, invented the first Knitting Frame. Excited about his invention, Richard Parkyns (a member of the Parliament for Nottinghamshire) arranged for William to meet Henry Carey and Lord Hunsdon (members of Queen Elizabeth Privy Council).

With a pair of wool stockings to show what great work William’s new invention has done, they presented it to the Queen for approval. The Queen at first rejected the idea in consideration of what it would do to her poor subjects. It would bring them to ruin by depriving them of employment, thus making them beggars.

The Queen turned to Lord Hunsdon and declared, “Had Mr. Lee made a machine which could give me silk stockings, I would perhaps been justified in granting him a patent”. Then looking at William she said “To enjoy the privilege of making stockings for everyone is too important to grant to any individual.”

Not giving up on the dreams William had for his invention he worked making and selling wool stocking until 10 years later when he had finally perfected his invention to knit silk stockings. Unfortunately the Queen passed away in 1603, a bit too late for William to present his improvements.

William took his invention and moved to France where he met the De Caux brothers, and drew up a very complicated but precise contract in partnership for the manufacture of stockings made from silk and wool.

Tights were made as a close fitting garment for men of nobility such as King Henry VIII of England, the material would be made of silk or wool, rather than the coarser fabrics used by the so called “lower classes”.

The technology remained reasonably the same, until the 1930’s when a new circular knitting machine meant garments could be made in one piece, and no longer needed to be sewn together. A man named Julian Hill discovered that by pulling a heated rod from a mixture of coal, tar, water, and alcohol, he could create a filament that was strong, sheer, and silk-like in appearance. Further research led research led to the first synthetic fiber, which soon came to be known as Polymer. In 1937, Du Pont patented his discovery.

At the World’s Fair in New York in 1939, synthetic fibers were first shown to the public. Taking the “NY” from New York, and adding “Lon” from London (the origins of stockings) came the word “Nylon”. The first Nylon stockings appeared in New York stores on May 15th, 1940. Women of course started wearing the newer, lighter, softer, nylon stockings and well over 72,000 pairs were sold in the first day alone, causing the Japanese silk market to collapse overnight.

In 1942, during World War II , nylon production was switched into tent and parachute manufacturing for the military forces. During this time, women who desired the look of wearing stockings would shave their legs and oftentimes draw a vertical line up the back of their legs to simulate the effect.

In 1953, Allen Grant Sr. of Glen Raven Knitting Mills developed a commercial equivalent named “Panti-Legs”, but didn’t introduce it to the markets until 1959. During this time another North Carolinian, Ernest G. Rice invented his own design (similar to what’s used today) and in 1956 submitted a patent titled "Combination Stockings and Panty".

It wasn’t until the 1960s that a combination of factors made them a veritable fashion necessity: improved manufacturing made them cheaper; spandex (or elastane) made them more comfortable; and the miniskirt made thigh-high stockings obsolete.

After the 1980’s pantyhose sales to women started to fall, as they began to prefer the “bare-legged” fashion. Pantyhose where no longer required in many workplaces as part of the female dress code. While sales remain low today by comparison, alternative styles are seeing growth. Fishnets, patterns and colors, opaque tights, low-rise, footless shape wear, and pantyhose for men.

About 14 years ago, L'eggs introduced an online discussion board on their website. Although intended for women, they soon discovered that the majority of respondents were men discussing the fact that they wore women's pantyhose. More surprising was that the reasons given were practical, legitimate uses such as leg support, added warmth, and so forth. More recently, L'eggs has done research and discovered that nearly as many men enjoy buying, and wearing their product as women. Currently, there are many companies, worldwide, making or selling pantyhose for men, sometimes referred to as 'mantyhose'.

Some of these are:

* ActivSkin
* Aries
* Doyeah
* Ela
* Levee
* Collanto
* Emilio Cavallini
* Gerbe
* Levee WoMan
* Lexwear
* Legwear 4 Men
* Lida
* Shapings.com
* Hosiery Museum
* Luxelegwear
* Hosieria

Some examples of men today who wear pantyhose are:

NFL football players (who wear them under their uniforms for warmth); Hunters/Campers often wear them for warmth and to protect against ticks and other insects; Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have worn them under their uniforms for protection against sand fleas; Men with varicose veins or other circulatory problems often wear support pantyhose in lieu of medical hose to improve blood circulation.

There are thousands of men in the U.S.--as well as overseas--wearing pantyhose for hundreds of reasons. Men have been wearing pantyhose since the invention of stockings, and men are still wearing pantyhose today.

Many decades have passed since women have taken over legwear fashion, and men are finally taking back what was originally theirs. Although not really "taking back," since we don't want to be selfish... Women look great in hosiery, too... Men just want to show the world that tights and pantyhose are indeed a unisex article of clothing.

[Thanks, Chris, for assembling a great piece on legwear history. -Steve]


Friday, February 12, 2010

Examiner.com: Male Tights-Wearers Gaining a New Sense of Confidence

Just a quick little heads up for any Nylon Gene readers that may have missed it: I published a new article yesterday on The Examiner. It's titled: "Male Tights-Wearers Gaining a New Sense of Confidence." In it, I spotlighted a few of the men who are beginning to shed the old reluctance guys have often felt in the past about acknowledging to anyone that they wore tights or hosiery. The reluctance arose from a fear of insinuation that they might secretly be a cross dresser, when in reality they wear them for completely practical reasons like leg support or added warmth, etc. Guys like these in the article are who are going to make a difference in changing public perceptions of men's legwear. Read it and send these guys some kudos!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Charnos Launching a Men's Legwear Line?

Yes, you read that right. Unfortunately, it was a misunderstanding, Charnos--the British women's hosiery company--is not actively planning to launch a men's line of nylon hosiery. The notion surfaced late last week as a result of a Twitter conversation between the owner of the SheerGeek blogsite and Charnos Hosiery, which I picked up on with TweetDeck and chimed in with my own $0.02. (Click on the preceding link to see the complete conversation on SheerGeek's website)...

In a nutshell, Charnos posted the following on Twitter: "Tweet us your height, and what size hosiery you usually wear (S,M,L,XL)"

SheerGeek replied with, "When can we expect to see you enter this growing market?"

To which, Charnos replied, "We actually are testing the mantyhose market as we tweet! One of our tights testing team is a male: http://bit.ly/8HZsDP"

Well, you can imagine how many bells and alarms a bit of information like this is likely to set off. Many of the thousands of men currently wearing tights and sheer legwear are wishing to see an established major hosiery company launch a men's line, and thus would probably inundate them with calls and emails.

However, I don't know if this happened. I emailed them to inquire further, with the thought of writing an Examiner article on the topic after obtaining further information. Shortly thereafter, the following was posted to SheerGeek's blog by Ali Maynard of Charnos:

"Great to hear you are a fan of Charnos hosiery, but just to clarify Charnos is not going into the 'Mantyhose' market but we are really pleased to know that there are men out there who also love to wear Charnos hosiery.

Our resident male tights tester, Dan, is simply testing our existing range with a male perspective.


So, there you have it. It would seem, according to Charnos anyway, that they have no current plans to get into the 'mantyhose' market anytime soon. That's probably just as well, since we can't necessarily expect any of the large hosiery makers to cater much to a market that--while growing considerably--is still only a small percentage of the women's hosiery market. I still believe men who wear legwear are best off supporting the companies, like ActivSkin, who have been there from the beginning, working to provide what men are looking for and not trying to drive the market somewhere it doesn't want to go.

Still, this whole episode strikes me as rather strange. A Tweet was posted that DID say, "We are actually testing the mantyhose market as we tweet!" An odd way to phrase it if all they were doing is getting a male perspective on women's pantyhose. It could be there's more than meets the eye, and this was some sort of 'trial balloon'.

It is encouraging that a major hosiery maker acknowledges the fact that men do wear their products--as evidenced by their including one on their testing team. We'll see what happens...

[Follow Steve's Tweets on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/newmansa]


Monday, February 1, 2010

If You Like The Nylon Gene...

I'd like to ask all my loyal Nylon Gene readers for a quick little favor. You may have noticed the little 'Blog Catalog' widget on the righthand side of the page (just below the 'Examiner' button). It's been there for quite awhile, and I should've pointed it out when I added it. Basically, if you like the blog, you can rate it using that pulldown located there. The ratings help boost The Nylon Gene's page rank with Blog Catalog, and others. Sooo... if you'd like to help promote this blog with me, just click on that little button. It'll only take a second. Thanks.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

GoGo Therafirm Legwear

GoGo Therafirm's Compression TightsI read a post on "Ruminations of a Twenty-Something Momma" about this graduated compression legwear. The tights, pantyhose, and trouser socks that GoGo Therafirm sells are for women, which would not normally be a topic of conversation here on The Nylon Gene. However, I liked the discussion of benefits provided by compression hosiery. It reads very much like the reasons behind male legwear, or 'mantyhose' that we've been discussing and promoting for some time now.

Longtime Nylon Gene readers are aware of the means by which compression hosiery facilitates improved leg circulation (Leg Troubles Know No Gender Boundaries). The Ruminations posting describes the following activities that are made more comfortable by wearing a pair of GoGo Legwear:

  • Flying - Leg and foot swelling is a common occurrence during air travel because of increased pressure in the leg veins. Compression legwear can help reduce this swelling and make you feel relaxed the whole flight through.

  • Sitting - Sitting for extended periods of time causes blood to pool in leg veins. Compression hosiery helps counteract the pooling by aiding with circulation, keeping blood moving and the added benefit of feeling more alert and awake in the process.

  • Standing - On your feet all day? The increased pressure of standing for long periods of time makes you more likely to develop complications, such as spider and varicose veins. GoGo Legwear is scientifically proven to aid in the prevention of these complications, granting your body the proper circulation needed to supply you with the necessary amount of nutrients and oxygen.

  • Running - When you're on the move, GoGo is moving right along with you, providing your body with the blood flow needed to maintain energy and alertness. As an added bonus, the soft microfiber yarns massage your legs as you go, providing the ultimate comfort during work-outs and exercise.
In addition to the foregoing, GoGo Healthy's website includes two additional activities where women with tired, achy legs can benefit from wearing them:

  • At the Gym - It goes without saying--when you are working out, GOGO is working with you! You can actually feel the soft yarns massaging your
    legs as you go!

  • On a Date - Read above and repeat. I highly recommend the thigh-high stockings.
Our Twenty-Something Momma blogger describes women dealing with all sorts of unpleasant discomforts at the end of the day: tired, aching legs, swollen feet, appearance of varicose veins or spider veins over time. She identifies GoGo Therafirm hosiery as a solution. I say, "you bet!"

The only thing I would add: If women who engage in the foregoing activities suffer from these things and can benefit from compression hosiery, wouldn't the same thing be true for men?


Friday, January 29, 2010

A New Men's Legwear Blogger on the Scene?

male tights to 'take the U.S. by storm'?My Google Alerts notified me yesterday of a blog post entitled, "Tights For Men the Latest Fashion Trend" on a blog I hadn't noticed before. It's called Men's Tights Fashion/Fashionable Tights for Men and Pantyhose.

Currently, there are three articles posted there:

"Men's Tights for Slimming Underwear"
"Mantyhose: The Male Pantyhose"
"Tights for Men, The Latest Fashion Trend"

The articles are fairly well written, incorporating many of the points supporting male legwear we've been discussing here on The Nylon Gene for some time. Some graphics or photos would be a welcome addition, and dates for the articles, but more importantly it would be nice to know who the author of the blog is.

The world is beginning to pay more attention to the men's legwear trend. So it behooves us to capitalize on it and provide as much credibility as possible by letting people see who these guys are, who want to transform men's tights and pantyhose into a regular male garment.

It is encouraging to see many more voices begin to speak up and chime in the chorus to support this emerging trend. It reflects an increase in confidence of the men who are stepping forward to place their name and face alongside the legwear--in effect saying, "I truly believe there's nothing at all wrong with men wearing hosiery for practical, legitimate reasons... and to prove it, I'm putting my reputation on the line to help make the case."

Likewise with the new offerings on the market for men's legwear--most recently from Bulgaria. Those capital ventures reflect a growing recognition that there's a market there to be tapped. These are all encouraging signs that have come about in only the past year. Let's keep 'em coming.

[PS, I plan to write more on the new developments in men's legwear products soon. Keep an eye out for it here, or on my space at The Examiner.com]


Another Manifestation of Philly Mag's 'Mantyhose' Story

Another article, entitled "Mantyhose is 'Great European Fashion Trend'" appeared on the SockShop website Jan. 27th describing how it is expected to, "...take the U.S. by storm, according to a new report." I suppose being "uber chic by next year," as the original Philly Mag (In Defense of Men's Tights) article puts it, is similar to taking the country by storm. In any case, this example shows the value of getting coverage from a larger, established news organization. The more prestigious the original venue of the article, the more spinoff articles there are elsewhere in the ensuing days and weeks.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mantyhose Story Is Getting 'Legs'

Emilio Cavallini's Unisex TightsI wrote to tell readers about the Philadelphia Magazine article, "In Defense of Men's Tights" last Friday. Now it seems to have been picked up on by Toronto Life. Karen Liu published an article yesterday called, "The Next Big Thing From Europe: Mantyhose". This story may have the potential to be picked up and reprinted in a number of markets. That's always a good thing for raising the awareness level of men's legwear--even when the legwear in question tends to evoke some strong negative reactions because of the style depicted.

Givenchy Spring/Summer 2010, male tights as part of outfitIt's a fairly short article that mostly refers to the previous one from last Friday. However, Ms. Liu does note that, "pantyhose for men, or mantyhose, were spotted in Givenchy's Spring/Summer 2010 fashion show", and also that We Love Colors, a company specializing in tights in a wide range of colors, now offers several lines of tights for men.

Givenchy's Fall 2010 Men's line features several outfits incorporating spandex tightsI did a little searching on the Givency line and found the referenced legwear that showed up subtly in the Spring/Summer 2010 line. Even more notable is how much more pronounced it was in the Fall 2010 lineup. Some of us who follow these things have seen hosiery show up in designer fashion shows in the past, but these were typically from John Paul Gaulthier, et al, and tended toward the more bizarre end of the spectrum.

Detail: Givenchy's Fall 2010 Men's line includes spandex tightsWhat's notable about the Givenchy items is how the look is somewhat closer to something you could actually see on a street somewhere, someday. Very little that appears on any fashion runway is something the average guy would be wearing in the foreseeable future, but the appearance of male tights and shorts in this lineup appears to bode well for the eventual entry of men's legwear into the mainstream. That's the trajectory that trends often follow. First, the fringe elements, then the 'hipsters' (as referred to in the article), and eventually the fashionable--where it begins to be truly commercially viable-- and finally the vast mainstream.

I posted a comment on the article's website, following one from Darrell at Legwear4Men taking the writer to task for overlooking the true U.S. roots of the male legwear trend (Ohio's very own ACTIVSKIN Legwear for Men). In it, I commented on the paradox of media coverage focusing on the wilder patterns that only a small fraction of men are wearing, compared to the basic, non-flashy legwear that most men wear today. I've reposted it here below:

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.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Philly Magazine - Mantyhose: In Defense of Men in Tights

Emilio Cavallini's Unisex Tights
Nylon Gene readers will be interested to read the following article in Philadelphia Magazine, Mantyhose: In Defense of Men in Tights, by Victor Fiorillo. It's a great article that includes the author revealing that he had purchased a pair of tights at CVS to wear under his suit to work this winter. He goes on to tell how he was vindicated to his co-workers by consultations with a couple of reknowned fashion experts.

He goes on to share several suggestions for those 'daring' men who decide to try out tights to fend off winter's chill, or otherwise energize their legs. These include a recommendation and weblink for Emilo Cavallini's new unisex line (which cost $27), or for a cheaper alternative, visit a local drugstore and buy a pair of women's tights.

Two of my own additions: First off, unless they've recently changed this, the Emilio Cavallini tights are not available in the U.S. direct from the maker. You'll need to find a reseller from whom to purchase them.

Secondly, there's definitely a middle alternative that the author must not have been aware of, and that of course is ACTIVSKIN's male tights. These can be had for $14 to $20 a pair, for opaque styles. If looking for a lower insulation factor beneath one's trousers, the sheer styles can be had for $9.99 and up. Visit the website and check out the catalogue.

Related Article:
Evona's 'Adam' men's hosieryHere's another one, (Men In Tights, Loving It [Hose]) which quotes and links to the aforementioned Philly Mag article. The predisposition is basically favorable toward men's hosiery, or 'mantyhose'. However, one misconception appears in need of clarification.

The author concludes by stating that the 'fingertip rule' should apply to tops men might wear with their tights. The fingertip rule is used for women's tops and skirts, and says that they should be long enough to extend to the tips of your fingers when you extend your arms down your side. Like so many who are newly acquainted with the men's legwear trend, she supposes that we're going to be wearing tights with no other lower body garment (i.e., either shorts or long pants). Those of us in the know understand that this is a non-issue. Very few, if any, men would ever venture out in tights without wearing pants over them.

Otherwise, these are two good articles that should further advance the acceptance of men's legwear by society as a whole.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Save Our Legs. Support Men's Legwear

Facebook Cause: Save Our Legs/Support Men's Legwear There's a new 'cause' to support. If you're not already familiar with them, Facebook allows users to start a 'cause' to generate support or donations for something the user strongly believes in. These causes allow other Facebook users to read about it, without requiring them to belong to a Facebook page if they don't want. A loyal Nylon Gene follower, Kevin Wright, has created one called "Save Our Legs. Support Men's Legwear"...

Kevin is an example of the 'second wave' of male legwear proponents that have started to move to the forefront in the effort to promote nylon hosiery as a legitimate male garment with practical applications. For some time now, there have been a select few men who have stepped into the spotlight to proclaim that, "yes, we wear tights, and you can wear them while retaining your masculinity." These included Steve Katz, Chan Kraemer, myself, and a limited number of others as well. Now, a new wave of men are taking up the challenge that was laid down, and are themselves stepping out in front and encouraging others to see for themselves the practical benefits of 'mantyhose.'

Kevin Wright/ActivSkin A577 in blackThat's where the 'Save Our Legs' cause comes in. Kevin is asking men (as well as sympathetically inclined women) to join the cause on Facebook, so it can be a visible sign of how many supporters there actually are out there. When joining, you are asked if you would be willing to commit to share the cause with five others. If everyone who joins is willing to share their information with at least a few of their friends, it will begin to spread 'virally' and take on a momentum of its own.

One of the biggest obstacles limiting the growth of the men's legwear trend is the men's own reluctance to let others in their circle of friends to know that they wear it. Fear of ridicule or rejection plays a big role in this reluctance. However, the new reality is that there are now more than a dozen or so companies selling tights and pantyhose made for men--most notably ACTIVSKIN, of course. Media coverage of the trend has reached the point where the default assumption on the part of most people is that a man wearing nylon legwear must be doing so for leg health reasons, or maybe athletic benefits. The days when unfavorable presumptions of cross-dressing and the like are just about long gone.

I was chatting online with Kevin when he launched the 'Save Our Legs' cause last night. That was less than 12 hours ago, and already it has grown to 12 members, and surpassed the first two growth milestones. That's a pretty strong start! So, if you are a friend of male legwear in the slightest, please help us (I'm an admin for it, too) keep growing. (When you sign on, you can use my name as the recruiter)


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