Thursday, November 28, 2013

Legwear Gifts for Men

If you're looking for a holiday gift for a man, legwear is probably not the first thing you think of. Yet there are men's legwear products that make great gifts. In this entry I'll mention two basic and versatile products that every man should have to complete his wardrobe, and take advantage of the benefits of modern men's legwear products.

Men's Athletic Tights


Athletic tights, also known as running tights or sports tights,  are the single most useful legwear product for men. While nominally for sports, they have many applications:
  • for warmth playing sports and other activities in cold weather
  • for compression during sports and afterwards for recovery
  • as a base layer under pants in cold weather
    Under Armour Men's ColdGear® Tights
  • as a fashion item layered with shorts or worn alone
  • as comfortable clothes in a non-social setting
Athletic tights are a modern replacement for sweatpants and long underwear. They use high-tech fabrics that provide warmth without bulk, and do not retain moisture. Their second-skin like fit allows for full freedom of movement for activities, and provides the comfort of clothing that moves perfectly with you. Recently, they've also become a fashion item for men, as I've described in previous entries.

With so many uses, almost any man will appreciate a gift of athletic tights once he experiences their benefits. They're also available in youth sizes for boys.

Buying Athletic Tights


Athletic tights are made by well-known sports gear companies, such as Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas. Under Armour ColdGear® products are among the most popular, including the tights shown above. Athletic tights are available in sporting goods and department stores, and some discount stores sell less expensive brands. They're also widely-available online. An online site with a good selection is Eastbay, which sells name brands and their own brand, such as these tights that are available in black and a range colors.

Men's Opaque Tights


Men's opaque tights are similar to women's fashion tights, and have sometimes been described as mantyhose. Like athletic tights, they are a product for men, and provide warmth and compression. However they are much thinner. They complement athletic tights in a man's wardrobe, providing an alternative when less warmth is needed or thinness is a benefit. They excel in two applications:
  • all-day wear under pants in the winter
  • as a layer for extra warmth that works under skinny jeans
These are perfect to wear all day under pants in a cool home, school, or office. They stay comfortable  and don't get too warm. The feeling is of cozy extra warmth, without any feeling of extra clothes. They're also convenient to wear all day because the tights I recommend have a fly opening.

Opaque tights are also perfect to wear as a base layer under skinny jeans. Many men now wear skinny jeans, but the fit of skinny jeans doesn't allow for traditional long underwear, or even for athletic tights.  However, the thinner opaque tights work well, and provide a good amount of extra warmth.

Buying Opaque Tights

Activskin® A866 Men's
Opaque Tights
Men's opaque tights are a relatively new product, with fewer options than for athletic tights. The tights I recommend are Activskin® A866 Tights (footed) or A876 Tights (footless) by G. Lieberman & Sons. These high-quality tights are a true men's product, designed and sized specifically for men, and also include a fly opening.  In the U.S, they're available online at the links for the products. In the U.K., you can order locally from Legwear4Men, which also offers other brands of men's tights. Their Activskin® tights are here.

For most men, men's tights provide the best and most reliable fit. Men's tights are also most appropriate as a gift. However, in some cases women's opaque tights may work as a more readily-available alternative, especially for men who don't require larger sizes. Women's 80-100 denier tights are roughly comparable to the men's tights. An example would be these ASOS 80 Denier Black Tights. When buying women's tights, the size charts usually work for men, but if sizes overlap or a size is close to not fitting, it's safest to buy the next larger size.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Men's Legear for Fall 2013

In this entry, I discuss current men's legwear fashions, and describe products that are available and where to buy them. If you found this entry because you're ready to buy meggings or other legwear, you can skip to the Products section.


Fall Is For Legwear

Fall is upon us, and while it's a time to leave summer behind, it's one of the best times of the year for men to wear the latest legwear fashions. The Fall climate is perfect for these fashions, and they've also been gaining in popularity. While they're not commonplace yet, they have new legitimacy they never had in the past, including support by retail stores, and increasing visibility as streetwear. If these fashion styles interest you, now is the perfect time to give them a try.

What Are the New Fashions?

Skinny jeans were a fashion breakthrough for men. They extended to men a range of slimmer jeans fits that were formerly only for women. With skinny jeans now mainstream, men as well as women can wear any jeans fit they prefer, from the most baggy to the most leg-hugging. These new fashions take that concept one step further, and extend to men the full range of legwear options formerly only seen in women's fashions. They add various kind of leggings and tights for men, with items worn either alone or layered with shorts.  Sometimes plain skirts are added to the mix, as a substitute for shorts. However, men's skirts for these styles are not readily available, so I won't be discussing them at this time.

While there are several variations of these fashions, two looks are very common, and are the ones I'll be discussing. One is men wearing leggings instead of skinny jeans or other pants:


and the other is wearing shorts layered with tights or leggings:





What's the Appeal of these Fashions?

Besides the aesthetic appeal that any fashion may offer, these fashions offer remarkable comfort. Only rarely is a fashionable style also so comfortable, but these styles achieve that. Are you a man who would like skinny jeans that have more stretch and are far more comfortable than any you own now? Then leggings are for you. If you're like many men, you'll find that leggings are the most comfortable piece of clothing you own. Do you enjoy the comfort of shorts for as long as you can in the Fall, then only reluctantly put them away until Spring? Then shorts layered with tights is for you. The tights add warmth, to extend the freedom of wearing shorts into colder weather, but without almost no extra weight or bulk. Women have already discovered how comfortable leggings and tights are, and with these fashions that kind of comfort is becoming available to men as well.

Are These Really Legitimate Fashions for Men?

Givenchy style by Riccardo Tisci
Absolutely, although they are new, and not as well-known as more established fashions, such as skinny jeans. Fashion designers have been showing these styles in men's fashion shows for several years now. Givenchy, for example, has shown shorts layered with tights consistently in recent years. A classic look from Givenchy, designed by Riccardo Tisci, is shown on the right.

For a comprehensive set of photos of designers' versions of this style, check out this web site: Men Wearing Tights Under Shorts. I find the sheer number of photos there impressive. The web site is also a great source of ideas for putting together an outfit.

While most new fashions never make it past the runway, these styles are now visible in the media and on the street, and retail stores are selling men's jeggings and leggings, along with suitable shorts to wear with them for layering. The photos above show some streetwear examples. From the media, the second photo on the right shows a member of The Neighbourhood performing on network television in layered shorts and tights. The all-black look in that photo, and some of the others, is a new style known as street goth.

Performer from The Neighbourhood
on Jimmy Kimmel Live
It's also worth noting that these fashions are not completely new looks for men. Leggings have a more perfect skintight fit than skinny jeans, but still an overall look not too different than the tightest skinny jeans. Also, leggings alone, and layered with shorts, are common men's styles for training and sports in cold weather. A conservative way for men to try out these new styles is by repurposing sports gear they may already own for their fashion looks. Indeed, the shorts and tights in the photo on the right may very well be sports products.



Products for Your Legwear Look

Ready to give these new styles a try? Here are products you can use to put together an outfit.

Jeggings
Topman Super Spray On
Skinny Jeans
Jeggings, or jean leggings, are leggings that are styled to look like jeans.  They have the same stretchy fabric and skintight fit of leggings, but have jeans features such as pockets and a fly, and may also have a print that looks like denim jeans. Jeggings are perfect as a way to transition from skinny jean to leggings.

Men's jeggings are available from Topman, although they are described as Super Spray On Skinny Jeans. An example is shown on the right. Get them here: Topman Super Spray On Fit Jeans (search)



Meggings

sTitch Logo Leggings (meggings)
Meggings refers to men's leggings, leggings that are made specifically for men. While there are men's leggings for sports and other activities, meggings usually refers to leggings intended to be worn as a fashion item. They are designed for comfort rather muscle compression, and often have patterns or designs.

The preeminent source of meggings is sTitch Leggings, a company that was founded to produce meggings. A typical pair with their logo pattern is shown on the right. Their leggings are available here: sTitch Range of Leggings

An increasing number of retailers are including meggings in their selections of men's clothing.

Topman, mentioned above for their jeggings, also offers several styles of meggings: Topman Meggings (search) Note: the products offered by Topman vary from country to country. Often their UK site offers the largest selection.

Zara Ankle Length Leggings
Asos is another retailer selling meggings. At the time of this writing, they offer megging in many different styles, including plain and with various patterns: ASOS Meggings (search)

Selfridges, based in the UK, is another source of meggings. They have meggings in several different fabrics and styles, including popular Boy London meggings: Selfridges Men's Leggings (search)

Finally, Zara offers the leggings shown on the right. They have the look of shorts layered with leggings, but are actually a pair of leggings, with the section above the knees fashioned as shorts. Get them here:  Zara Men's Leggings (search)

Athletic Leggings

ASICS Running Tights
While not intended for fashion styles, men's athletic leggings can also work well for fashion, alone or layered with shorts. Some have a very sporty look, but other are plain and hardly distinguishable from meggings. Athletic leggings are also more readily available than meggings, and many men may already own a suitable pair.

Athletic leggings are widely available at sporting goods and other stores. As an example, Road Runner Sports, a well-known online site, offers the plain ASICS running tights on the right. Get them here: RRS Men's ASICS Tights

Some regular men's clothing stores also offer athletic leggings. For example, American Eagle offers their AEO Performance Running Legging that is very plain, and could also be used for fashion. That may not be a coincidence. Some retailers may not be ready yet to endorse meggings, but may still want to offer products for men who desire them.

Women's Leggings and Tights

BlackMilk Snitch Leggings
Leggings and tights are popular and fashionable for women. As a result, they offer the advantages of being readily available at many stores, and being available in a wide range of styles. In many cases, they work as well as men's products, and often at a lower cost. Most are very stretchy, and easily fit men as well as women.  However, men must be careful to get the correct size, and the largest available size may be too small for some men.

Nearly every store that sells a full range of women's clothing offers standard leggings and tights, but I'll mention some stores and products of particular interest. BlackMilk has an exceptional collection of leggings with photographic and patterned prints, including Harry PotterStar Wars, and Lord of the Rings themes, and many others.  Many are appropriate for a men as well as a women. An example are the Snitch Leggings on the right. Check out their collection here: BlackMilk Leggings Collection Retailers with large selections of leggings and tights include  American ApparelH&M, and Urban Outfitters

Urban Outftter
Fleece-Lined
Footless Tights
Often women's products intended for colder weather are particularly suitable for men's use, because the extra thickness makes them more rugged and opaque. These products typically use extra thick nylon or fleece (and some spandex.) For thick nylon, an example are the H&M 200 Denier Tights, which are true tights, but nearly as thick and warm as leggings. Fleece leggings and tights, such as the Urban Outfitters Fleece-Lined Footless Tights shown at the right, are even warmer, but still extremely comfortable. Also, American Apparel offers these Winter Leggings that are totally opaque, and allow wearing leggings on all but the coldest days. 

Here are search links:
American Apparel Leggings
American Apparel Opaque Tights
H&M Leggings and Tights
Urban Outfitters Leggings
Urban Outfitters Opaque Tights

Men's Tights

Activskin A866 Tights
(layered with shorts)
Men's tights are commonly though of as something a male ballet dancer might purchase. However, men's fashion tights are also available, and have been gaining in popularity. They have been publicized in the media as mantyhose. A common way men's tights are worn is under long pants in the winter, where they look like dress socks and provide extra warmth. However for the new men's legwear fashions, another use is to layer them with shorts. They can have nearly the same opaque appearance as leggings, but are thinner, lighter, more stretchy, and a good choice for layering when leggings would be too warm.

In the U.S, an established source of men's tights is G. Lieberman & Sons. Their Activskin products are designed and sized for men, and many styles include a fly. The photo above shows their A866 opaque tights. Get Activskin tights here: GLS Activskin Opaque Tights (search)

UK-based Legwear4Men, dedicated to men's leg wear, offers Activskin as well as a range of European brands of men's tights. They also offer global shipping. Get their opaque tights here: L4M Men's Opaque Tights

Men's Shorts

Pyrex Vision Gym Shorts
For layering with leggings and tights, many kinds of shorts may be worn, including dress, cargo, and basketball shorts. In most cases, the same shorts you'd wear alone will also work well for layering. Retailers are starting to show combinations of shorts and leggings, such as these Black Acid Wash Callum Shorts from Topman, that are shown worn with blue leggings.

For a street goth look, you'll want black shorts to match the overall black look, and black basketball shorts are common. If you're into making a fashion brand statement, Pyrex Vision offers their Gym Shorts shown in the outfit at the right.

 

Tips For Your Outfit

These new fashions are very versatile, with many possibilities for putting together an outfit. However, there are some issues to consider:
Leggings with
a long shirt
  • When wearing leggings instead of jeans or pants, be careful what you're wearing on top is long enough to provide adequate coverage. When leggings are worn for fashion, it's not appropriate to reveal the details of your man parts. Typically, men might wear a long shirt of some kind, or a long sweatshirt or hoodie.
  • When layering shorts with leggings or tights, pay attention to the length of your shorts. Typically men layer with shorts that are close to knee-length. In general, shorter shorts are a more extreme look, and longer shorts are a more conservative look.
  • Most importantly, put together an outfit that you really like, both for comfort and appearance. Adapt the new looks to your personal style. Since these fashions are still new, it takes confidence to wear them. There's nothing better for confidence than to be wearing an outfit that looks and feels great.

A Challenge

Because these are new fashions, some men may find the claims I've made about them hard to believe. Maybe you don't believe they're really as comfortable as I say. Or maybe you don't believe they're actually legitimate fashions for men, that you can wear in public without problems. If you doubt these claims, then I challenge you to put together an outfit, and try wearing it out for just a day or so. Everyone is different, so I'd be foolish to claim that everyone will like these fashions. But I firmly believe a large majority will be surprised at how easy these fashions are to wear, and how comfortable they are. If you take the challenge, consider telling us about your experiences in the comments.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tights Under Shorts Is Here

I've written about meggings in recent entries, but another prominent style for men's legwear is tights under shorts. It's a common look for male athletes in cold weather, and also a uniform of sorts for bike messengers in cold weather:


It was also a popular grunge look, such as in this grunge-era Pearl Jam picture:


In recent years, Givenchy and other designers have shown this style, such as this Givenchy pre-Fall 2012 look:


But unlike many runway looks, tights under shorts appears to be taking to the streets now.  Rather than write more about this myself, I'll refer you to an excellent blog entry by Tobe Okocha: Tights Leggings and Meggings which includes history as well as current trends. Like Tobe, I give this style two thumbs up, and have been wearing it myself:


While this isn't suitable for hot summer days or cold winter days, it's great for much of the year. It can be adjusted to the temperature with thinner or thicker tights, and by adding lightweight and heavier hoodies, sweatshirts, or jackets.

What do you think of this new trend? Have you seen it yet where you live? If you're a guy, would you wear it yourself?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Where to Buy Meggings

Note: The Products section of my Fall, 2013 blog entry has my latest information about where to buy meggings.

Meggings continue to be a cutting-edge fashion item for men, with many references to them in the media and the Internet. But if a man wants to give meggings a try, where can he buy them? They're not available where most men buy their clothing, such as popular mall and Internet clothing stores. However, there are some alternatives that can work well. One is snug-fitting men's long underwear, such as these "Men's Baby Rib Long Underwear" from American Apparel:


which are online at: Men's Baby Rib Long Underwear I like this alternative least, due to how they bunch up instead of having a smooth, skintight look. There have been some suggestions that American Apparel sells these for men who want meggings, even though American Apparel is not prepared to actually describe them as meggings.

Another alternative are men's sports leggings, such as the Nike ones this college student is wearing:


Other names for these are track tights or running tights. These have the same smooth fit as meggings, but usually do look somewhat like sports gear rather than like a fashion item. Leggings such as these are readily available online and at most sporting goods stores. For example, eastbay.com has these: Eastbay EVAPOR Tights - Men's

 Finally, perhaps the closest alternative to meggings are basic women's fashion leggings, such as this "BDG Long Legging" from Urban Outfitters:


which is online at: BDG Long Legging. These are essentially indistinguishable from meggings, and because they are very stretchy, easily accommodate a male body as well as a female body. This situation is reminiscent of when skinny jeans were new for men, as meggings are now. Many men bought women's skinny jeans in order to get the "super skinny" look that later became available in men's jeans.

Recently though, actual meggings have become available, with no need to resort to alternatives. They're being offered by ASOS.com, which is one of the U.K.'s largest online-only fashion stores. They also offer meggings on their U.S. web site. Here are some examples:





and links to them on their U.S. site:


ASOS seems to think patterns are good look for meggings, and I'd agree. Many may consider these patterns a more bold and more masculine look. I applaud ASOS for offering meggings as a fashion item for men, clearly distinct from long underwear or sports gear. From what I've observed on the Internet, while it's very unusual to see megging worn in public in the U.S., meggings do have some degree of popularity in the U.K. So perhaps it's to be expected that a U.K.-based retailer would be among the first to offer them.

Topman, another retailer based in the U.K., is now also offering meggings. They offer these black knee panel meggings:


They also offer a version in bright blue without the knee panel:



The knee panel is an interesting addition. To me, it gives the meggings more of a sports gear look, which could make them more acceptable to some people. Here are the links for them on the Topman U.S. web site:


Another source of meggings is sTitch Leggings, also in the U.K. There's an interesting story behind the company. The proprietors commented: On the 28th of October 2012 two young city workers wore ill fitting female leggings to a fancy dress party in north London. These two individuals alongside another mutual friend have now tasked themselves with designing, manufacturing and selling male leggings to the fashion conscious male

They offer a few styles of leggings, including these Logo Leggings:


You can find their leggings at sTitch Leggings. A unique feature of their leggings is that they include a back pocket, which I think is a great idea.

It will be very interesting to see how the meggings trend develops. What options will be available for purchasing meggings a year from now? Will more retailers join those I've mentioned, with meggings becoming more entrenched in men's fashion? Or will we look back on it as a short--lived fad? Feel free to add your predictions in the comment section.

Update June, 2013: Information about Topman meggings was added. Also information about sTitch Leggings was added.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meggings: New and Old

This is the time of the year for fashion shows, and meggings, or male leggings are one of the hottest new styles among the male fashion crowd. It seems like practically every media outlet has picked up on it. For example, ABC News had some men give them a try:
A Google search for meggings will turn up numerous recent news articles about them.
Just last weekend at the Emmy Awards, the lead singer for Fun. wore shorts and leggings:


This might seem like a new fashion for men, but styles from the 60s and 90s are reminiscent of it. For example, the 60's rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders:
Grunge in the 90's was more rugged look, but it included men wearing tights or leggings with shorts. A classic example is Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam (top, left), and in this photo even Eddie Vedder (middle, right) has leggings:


What will be the fate of 2013's meggings? Will only an insignificant number of men outside of the mainstream wear them, or will they prove to be the successor to skinny jeans? As far as I know, they never reached mainstream status in the past, but there are some signs it's different this time. We have the precedent of men's skinny jeans, which seem to be getting more and more skinny. Leggings and Uggs are a popular combination for women, and a few men have been sighted wearing that combination as well:
With or without Uggs, many women now wear leggings instead of jeans as casual clothes, due to their extreme comfort. Some men have noticed that, and don't see why they should have to forego that comfort. Checking Twitter, while there is much opposition to meggings, there is support as well:

I think boys look so good when they wear stuff like skinny jeans, ugg boots, leggings, tight tops..

i LOVE how more and more boys r wearing leggings without a care !!!!!!!!!!!!

5 years from now it will be socially acceptable for guys to wear leggings. It happened with tight jeans and low cut shirts

jeans are getting tighter and tighter. soon boys'll be wearing actual tights again - medieval style

Boys should wear leggings,they have no idea what they're missing out on

If it was socially acceptable for guys to wear long spandex tights everwhere, I would! #MuchMoreComfortable


What do you think about meggings, and their future in men's fashion?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Urban Outfitters Male Shorts and Tights

I've been a long-time advocate of shorts and tights as a fashion for men, and the style is not new in the men's fashion world. Many men's fashion designers have shown the style, including well-known designers like Givenchy. For some examples, see this set on my Flickr page. However, I was still astonished to see the style go from the runway to a mainstream retailer, Urban Outfitters.  I mean astonished in the best sense, and I applaud UO for bringing this style to the public.

Here's the picture of the model from the product page, which is for the shirt:


Admittedly, they're just showing a single style, but it's right there in new arrivals and in their regular products pages, just like the more conventional men's styles. Urban Outfitters is a hip store, that many young people and hip people of all ages love. They're in a perfect position to help popularize a new style among people who are the most open to new fashions. I hope that happens in this case, and that this is the start a new mainstream fashion style for men. Go UO!

If any reader knows the background behind how Urban Outfitters decided to sell the shirt using the shorts and tights style, I'd be very interested in that.

Update February, 2013: UO no longer sells the shirt, and I have replaced the link to the product page with the picture of the model from it.