Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
This is a revised reprint of the 'Hints and Tips' page on our web site.
Washing your hosiery. We recommend you wash your tights in one of the easily-obtainable netting wash bags which are available from most supermarkets these days – we stock one if you have problems getting hold of them; see the 'Accessories' page on the web site – and wash as ‘delicates’ on a 40 degree wash. Most manufacturers recommend that you wash new tights before wearing them; this removes any residual dyes etc., from the manufacturing process and frees up the fibres, which could otherwise stick together due to these residues. The result is that your tights will feel more comfortable; you may find (as we have from years of experience) that the tights will feel softer and silkier with each subsequent wash.
Putting your tights on. Advice on this point varies; most of the traditional manufacturers (i.e. those who make tights for women) suggest sitting on a chair or the edge of your bed, and gathering first one leg of your tights up, pulling them gently over your toes (making sure the toe seams are straight – aligned with your toes) whilst ensuring your toes have room to move – if you pull your tights on too tightly, it will be painful for your toes, by cutting off the blood circulation, and can also cause the premature demise of your tights, when the fabric fails because the tension is too great at the toe seam! Then pay the leg fabric gradually and gently up your lower leg to the knee, again being careful not to pull too tightly and risk damaging the fabric. Repeat the procedure with the other leg till you have both legs of your tights snugly pulled up to the knees, then stand up. Again, pay the fabric of first one leg, then the other, gradually up to the top of your legs, being careful all the while not to put too much tension on the fabric, and ensuring the leg fabric is paid out straight and not twisted around your legs, and finally pull the brief section up to the waist. Make sure the centre seam is straight (or the centre or ‘male’ panel is correctly positioned, if fitted). If you are wearing your tights over briefs (preferences in this respect vary from person to person! – see next section) you may want to position the waistband of your tights so it corresponds to the waistband of your briefs – this will reduce the tendency for the waistband of the tights to roll down; unfortunately, most men don’t taper in the same direction as women, so this can happen ;-). Alternatively, you may be more comfortable standing to put your tights on; as long as you can balance safely on one leg while you pull them on! I prefer this latter option personally.
Underwear – to wear or not to wear! All the tights we stock can be worn without any other underwear if desired (just to be clear, underwear, if worn, goes UNDER your tights, not over (unless you are Clark Kent!):-)), as most have a ‘male panel’ or extended centre gusset (or even a fly opening) designed to accommodate the male anatomy, but we would suggest from experience that certain styles which have just a ‘conventional’ centre gusset are probably best worn over cotton or micro-fibre briefs, or else the centre seam may dig in and be uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, it is down to personal preference; for example I prefer to wear lightweight cotton/Lycra or micro-fibre briefs under tights – I just find it more comfortable – but I know of others who prefer to wear nothing under their tights – to each his own!
Personal Grooming – skin, nails & leg hair. It goes without saying that hosiery is relatively fragile in comparison to other male garments, so this section may be news to male wearers, particularly if they are new to the concept of tights for men.
Make sure your nails are filed smooth, and not too long; jagged nails will destroy your tights very quickly!
Ensure the skin of your hands and feet is not rough; if necessary, wear gloves (hosiery gloves are available, or disposable vinyl ones which are available in many supermarkets will do) when putting on/taking off your tights. If possible, use hand cream to keep your skin smooth – many men’s grooming product ranges now include skin products for men – and ensure your feet, particularly the skin of your heels and soles of your feet, are not rough – again, there are many suitable men’s grooming products available these days to take care of this.
Leg hair is another ‘personal’ issue; on the purely practical side, leg hair acts as a ‘lubricant’ to tights causing them to fall down over time; most inconvenient! And on a visual level, nothing looks worse than matted leg hair under sheers! Yuck! Now, if you intend to wear opaques all the time and don’t mind having to periodically sneak off to ‘adjust’ your legwear, then fine; you don’t need to shave or ‘exfoliate’ your legs, but we would strongly recommend that you do. Apart from the fact that your tights will stay up better, and look better (at least, sheers will) you will find that your legs will feel much better in tights when hair-free – it’s difficult to describe quite why; but trust me! You will never look back – I haven’t! As to how to exfoliate your legs, that’s up to you; shaving is probably the most obvious, as us guys all have shaving gear anyway! But there are many options; wax strips, exfoliating creams, or purpose made male body hair shavers are all available, even from your local supermarket these days – how things have changed in recent years! If you intend to shave your legs, I would suggest doing it whilst taking a bath; the warm water will soften your skin and make shaving easier and more comfortable; use plenty of soap or shaving cream, and a different razor blade than the one you shave your face with! Shave towards the direction of growth of the hairs; you will find what this is with experience. You may need to make more than one ‘pass’, and don’t forget the backs of your knees – they may be out of sight to you, but not to anyone walking behind you if you are wearing shorts! – these are best shaved whilst standing, with your knees locked straight.
Choosing which tights to wear. Obviously, this will vary with individual preferences, but as a rough guide;
In the summer, choose sheer tights that match your skin tone as closely as possible, or maybe a shade darker; Beige and Tan are the order of the day, depending on your skin colour. These will look great with shorts or ¾ length trousers. (If you are feeling really daring, there are a number of companies producing skirts and/or kilts for men; these can look really good, when properly partnered with other suitable garments.) Remember, we are not setting out to look feminine (in any case, men wore both skirts and tights (or similar leggings or ‘stockings’ – these were invented by the Romans!) for centuries before they were ‘stolen’ by the womenfolk!) and in some cultures they still are commonplace items for men. It’s nice to have a choice – skirts offer a degree of freedom unknown to men, even in comparison to shorts.
In autumn/winter/spring or just cooler days, or under long trousers, jeans or combats, you may prefer to choose suitably colour-matched opaques; say black, navy blue or grey, depending on the colours of other garments you are wearing. These can look great, particularly if you are going for ‘stealth’ (watch out for that word – you will see it more often in the future!) and want your tights to look like good quality dress socks, and they also offer warmth and a degree of support.
Also available are other types of tights, like ‘control top’ (which have a tighter brief section usually comprising a larger percentage of Lycra) which can improve the look of your, er, rear end? and, of course, support tights, which are great if you are on your feet all day (or even if you aren’t!); they can make your legs feel a lot better at the end of a busy day than they would without! I speak from much experience!
Other variations are; STW (sheer to waist) tights which have no noticeable ‘boxer brief’, although these are less common in men’s tights, as the need in men is not really there to have legs visible up to the, er, armpits! Most men’s tights have a ‘boxer brief’ or darker/heavier section from the waist to the top of the legs; the reason for this is to extend the life expectancy of the tights by reducing the likelihood of the ‘sheerer’ leg fabric failing due to the greater tension around the tops of the legs and the rear end. You will find examples of all the above on the web site.
We do not currently stock any thigh-high (stockings) or knee-high (socks) products, as the demand is so small as to not be worth the major logistical problems of all those additional SKU’s! But we will monitor the situation – we are always open to customer requests and feedback. That is how we came to stock Footless, High-Gloss and some brightly-coloured products. Oh, and we don't stock Fishnet, back-seamed or patterned tights, as there aren't any made for the male market, and as already stated, we do not sell women's tights. We think it is unlikely that such styles will become available for men in the future; we can think of no legitimate reason why men would want to wear such styles, unless for cross-dressing purposes, a practice which we seek to distance ourselves from.
Colours. Most tights made for men come in skin tone colours – Beige and Tan for sheers, as well as one or two other colours, like Dark Brown, Off-Black, Jet Black and Grey, and in opaques they are available in Black (by far and away the most popular colour by miles), Navy Blue, Grey and occasionally Brown or Beige. Most of our ranges fall into these categories, with small variations, and we also carry one or two bright colours (like Red and White) and a few High Gloss/Shiny tights, but these are probably less useful to the male wearer except maybe in the local Amateur Dramatics troop!
One last hint – if you snag or ladder your tights, the best short-term fix can be found in the form of clear nail varnish. A small dab on the damaged area will prevent it getting worse and ruining your tights! You may be able to persuade your wife/girlfriend/SO to buy you a small bottle next time she goes shopping (of borrow some of hers; with her permission, of course! ;-)), but I think you will find no one cares if you buy it yourself!
We hope these hints have been helpful (and hopefully, a bit of fun too!), but if you have any other points or questions, feel free to e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.