Saturday, 1 November 2008

Discussions about women's tights - why???

It saddens me when I drop in on the various legwear forums and see threads discussing the ins and outs of various women's tights. Now that would be fine, if those doing the discussing were women, but they're not; they are men. These guys just don't seem to get it; men should not be discussing women's legwear - leave that to the girls! As long as men buy and wear women's tights, men's tights will never become mainstream, for a number of reasons. First, Joe Public will assume that all male wearers are just looking for an excuse to wear women's tights, and that assumption will not go away as long as ANY men wear women's tights. Now, before there were men's tights available, there was no choice if a male wanted to wear tights; he had to wear women's. Aha, you say; but men's tights are a lot more expensive than women's, and I can't walk into any supermarket or department store and buy them - I have to order them online. But don't you see; that situation will not change until all male wearers make a conscious, inviolable decision NEVER to wear women's tights again. This will send a message to the manufacturers that they cannot get away with just producing tights for women; if there is a large male market out there who are voting with their wallets, the manufacturers will sit up and take notice - that is the basis of 'supply and demand'. If men continue to buy and wear women's tights, a number of things will happen (or not happen); the remainder of the manufacturers (who aren't already making men's tights) will think 'Well, these guys clearly will buy any old thing as long as it is hosiery; they don't seem to care if they are made for men or not. Why should we spend valuable time and money on developing special ranges for men, when they really don't care; they'll buy anything.' So they are laughing all the way to the bank, while companies like those who make the men's tights such as we here at L4M carry, are going bust because so few men are buying them. We should support the manufacturer's who make ranges of tights for men, and not send them to the wall through our lack of patronage. I recently found out that one of our suppliers, Czech manufacturer Evona, stopped making tights for men, nor are there any on the Belly Star web site (another of our former suppliers); they also used to make (very good) men's tights, but not anymore, because our company was the only one buying them. And, Polish manufacturer Lida told me they are not going ahead with three new planned styles of men's tights, and they are cutting back the options to one men's model in one colour (black), because they found out they can make more profit selling women's maternity tights. And Ergee of Austria, makers of the excellent Climaxx men's tights, have now ceased trading completely. We really need to get behind these manufacturers such as Gerbe, ComfiLon, Collanto, Aries etc, who have gone out on a limb and risked financial doom by making and marketing tights for men; if we can't be bothered to support them with our male £'s, $'s, €'s etc, in another five years WE WILL NOT HAVE THE CHOICE, because no one will make them for men any more. So, if that happens, and a man wishes to continue wearing, he will be back to having to wear women's hosiery, with all the issues that raises; cross-dressing/fetish, incorrect sizing and proportions (in case you've not noticed, men are different to women, in various ways, and even aside from the other issues, women's tights will NEVER fit men as well as they do women; plain and simple) and, if you've never tried tights which are made for men, you won't know how much more comfortable and better fitting they are than women's (unless you are a woman!).

I made the decision years ago that I would not wear women's tights (once I had realised there were tights made for men available - that's why I started L4M, and that's why we will continue to only sell men's tights - it's a principle thing). Now, if you are content to wear women's hosiery (I'm sure there are some men out there who wear women's tights BECAUSE they are women's; now obviously, I don't expect them to rally to our cause) then fine; you will have to settle for tights which don't fit you properly, and contend with the feelings of guilt brought about because you are basically cross-dressing (there is no other name for it). But as long as the option exists, I (and my company) are going to continue to support the men's hosiery manufacturers. In fact, just to show that I am putting my money where my mouth is, L4M now works with two hosiery manufacturers (on opposite sides of the globe) who now produce some excellent value-for-money men's tights under our own brand name (prior to that, we have only resold existing products from other manufacturers, which we will continue to do), and hopefully, in sufficient quantities for economies of scale to come into play (that is why, up to now, men's tights are dearer than women's; they just aren't made in sufficient numbers to come out as cheaply as women's, which are made by the ton - I recently read about one European manufacturer who produces 200,000 pairs A DAY!)

Sorry to rant on, but it is up to us guys to make this happen; if we don't (and we just continue to buy and wear women's tights) then the choice will be taken away from us - and we will be the only ones to blame!



dougaa said...

I largely agree with what you've written, but there are a few points I'd like to make. The existence of men's tights is very important for legitimizing men wearing tights. However, when wearing tights in public, unless a man wears something bizarre, no one will be able to tell if they're men's tights or women's tights.

I think what makes this issue difficult for many men is a conflict between wanting to support men's tights, and concerns about cost and variety of styles. It's certainly worth paying somewhat more for men's tights, but what about a situation where, due to cost, a man would have to wear tights less often than he would want to unless he purchased less expensive women's tights? With respect to styles, for me life is too short to forego wearing a style that appeals to me while I wait for the men's tights market to grow. I give a strong preference to buying men's tights, but I'm not willing to make that absolute.

I think many men are able to find women's tights that fit them well, although certainly not all men. It's important now for there to be men's tights. But I can see that changing sometime in the future if tights become fully-accepted as unisex. In that case, it might make the most sense for manufacturers to use gender-neutral marketing and packaging, and make tights in a range of sizes to fit everyone from small women to large men.

El hurĂ³n said...

I agree with a lot of what dougaa has written. Its true that some women's tights fit really well. The packets usually have good sizing information as do websites such as mytights and tightsplease. This is something that is missing from the Legwear4Men site and has been one reason I haven't purchased from it yet.

I have also found that some unisex styles are also good. The Levee Dimenion tights are great - the best I have ever worn to be honest.

bozeman1941 said...

Don't forget, when you say the 'packets have good sizing information', they are based on women's sizes and dimensions, not men's, so they are unlikely to be accurate (in our experience). And we do have a sizing page on our site; it is
but not all of the manufacturers have published size charts for their men's ranges. However we are quite happy to make sizing recommendations based on our considerable experience - just e-mail us at