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:

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, 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
* 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 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:"

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:]


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.


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