We caught up with popular male hosiery blog ‘Hosiery For Men’ to get his thoughts on the world of male hosiery!
Why did you start wearing tights?
I first wore tights when I was asked to wear them for a school Shakespeare production when I was 14. I recall that they were opaque and dark green. I was amazed at how comfortable they were and unlike any clothing that I had worn previously.
I did feel that this was probably I should keep to myself at that stage, as I grew up at a time when if any boys were ‘different’ in any way at school they might be bullied..
But from that time on I became interested in wearing them more. I didn’t get that many opportunities when I was younger, but later on I started to buy pairs from myself. I experimented with different brands and styles (sheer, opaque, support etc) until I found what I liked.
It did feel somewhat lonely at first as in those days there were not many men wearing tights openly or admitting that they liked wearing them. Of course men wearing tights were visible in obvious places like theatre and dance, but not as a practical, every day item of clothing.
I think the breakthrough for me was in the early 1990s, when the upmarket tights brand Wolford made and marketed a style of black opaque tights for men. They called them ‘waist socks’, rather than tights (probably for marketing reasons). They got quite a lot of media coverage at the time and I actually remember going to the Wolford flagship store in Bond Street and trying to buy them but they didn’t yet have them in stock. I wish I had gone back as those tights are a very rare collector’s item now!
But with the internet, I have found that there were very large numbers of guys that were wearing tights and almost all the leading tights retailers, such as My Tights, were starting to cater for them.
Did it affect your confidence when you first started to wear them out?
Well, at first I was quite wary of sharing this preference with anyone, for fear of stigma etc. But actually those demons are just in one’s own head really. I have always worn them under trousers, and wear occasionally with shorts. Although I know there are some men who are very open about wearing them with shorts and this is also a look that many leading fashion designers have been developing.
I used to be worried that someone would notice, so used to always wear socks over them, Now I don’t bother if anybody notices whether I am wearing opaque tights or sheers.
I feel very confident wearing them now and in cold weather the feeling is wonderful. They seem to have this ability to warm the whole body.
What issues do you have when choosing tights for yourself, such as sizing, fit etc?
I have learned a great deal from buying different brands and styles, and also from testing the samples that I am sent for the Hosiery For Men blog that I write. Good quality sizing information is essential for men buying tights for themselves. We tend to be taller and of course have a different anatomy, particularly in certain areas! In general I look for tights that are available in a wider range of sizes and avoid one-size sizing as that almost always doesn’t work out well. I look for sizing that caters for 5’10″ and taller. Another key factor is whether the brief/panty has good depth – low-rise waists are not good for most men. They need tights that can comfortably stretch above the waist. Not all women’s brands do that. Plus size ranges often have good potential.
I particularly look for quality fabric and tights that are going to wear well and not ladder very easily, probably because we expect more wear from them, and we may not always handle them as carefully as women.
I also look at the Lycra/Elastane content in the fabric as that is a key factor in getting a good fit.
What styles and brands do you like?
I prefer the better quality and slightly more expensive brands. Basically when it comes to buying hosiery, you do get what you pay for. My preferences include Falke, Wolford, Aristoc and Cette. You pay a bit more for some of these brands but it’s worth it for the quality and how much wear you get from the tights.
Falke, in particular, are really superb. Every product they bring out seems to have been carefully designed and developed. The range of sizing is excellent and the XL sizes always fit me perfectly. They use premium yarns and their tights always make your legs feel amazing. I love their Pure Matt 100 tights in really cold weather. The Pure Matt 50 tights are also great when it is cool. The Falke Cotton Touch tights are another favourite of mine, as they are so comfortable and the fabric breathes well. The Falke Pure Matt 20 tights are a great premium sheer tight and seem to last for ever if you look after them.
Falke used to make men’s tights also. They know that their products are popular with men across Europe but I am convinced that they now design their ranges to be unisex.
Why are tights a good idea for guys as well as women? What advantages do they have for men?
Well tights were invented by men so they have never really not been a good idea for us. Firstly they are practical for keeping your legs warm and healthy. Secondly they can provide support for the legs and circulation for men who work outside or who work standing up for long periods. Tights are very beneficial for men with leg cramps or circulation problems. Finally, they simply feel great. I can’t see why only women should be able to enjoy the benefits of wearing tights.
How do you like to style your tights?
I like opaque tights more than anything in dark colours such as black, brown and blue. I don’t really have a style as such as I wear them under trousers and jeans. But I do try and match the shade with the shoes or boots, and trousers I am wearing. I quite like argyle, ribbed and diamond styles as well. Thick black opaque tights look just like socks unless they have a shine to them.
I also like sheer and semi-sheer tights when it’s not very cold. They feel great under trousers, especially if they have a slight sheen to them.
What have been your experiences when buying tights for yourself?
My experiences, to be honest, have only been positive. A couple of times, sales assistants have assumed that I was buying the tights for someone else until I told them they were for me! Occasionally that has been met with surprise, but usually people have been really professional and helpful. I think that is because it is less unusual than people might think. One of the best experiences I had was in Harrods in London, who have an extensive range of Falke hosiery. The assistant talked me through the range and based her recommendations on her expertise and experience. That was the first time I tried the Falke Pure Matt 100 tights.
Of course, it is easy to but tights online now. My Tights, for example, has a huge range of brands and styles to choose from. This makes it so much easier to choose what you need. The selection is much more extensive than any high street store can offer.
To me it’s been such a positive development that there is such a great selection of tights available online now. There always seem to be new styles and brands to try. From a quality perspective, tights now are the best they have ever been. With modern technology and great fabrics, it is much easier for men to find great quality tights with good fit. My advice is to go for quality brands and you won’t be disappointed.
Shop our tights for men before you leave!