Sunday, 22 February 2015

Reviewed: Falke Warm Deluxe 80 Tights

Hosiery retailer Tightsplease sent us a pair of the Falke Warm Deluxe 80 Tights to trial and review for Hosiery For Men readers.





The Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are a new product launched by Falke as part of their legwear range for Autumn/Winter 2014/15.

When I visited the Falke flagship store in December last year, the sales assistant showed me these tights and explained that they were a new and innovative product from Falke.

Material and features

The Falke Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are described by Tightsplease as follows:

/Made using an exquisite soft plush technique, these opaque tights from German brand Falke are set to take pole position on every hosiery lust list this season. Constructed using over 400 needles, small plush loops are formed, which create a clever air cushion for heat conservation and a wonderful warming effect. Perfect for chilly winter days, your pins will be beautifully soft and smooth to the touch, making these matte tights a luxurious and fashion-forward addition to any hosiery collection. Choose between classic black and a variety of stylish autumnal shades to find the perfect pair for your wardrobe. Redefining cosy!'


Packaging is the same as other Falke models. The tights are folded around a rectangular card, and then housed in a card enclosure that folds into a kind of box. Everything is then inserted into a cellophane envelope.



These are 80 denier tights made from 94% Polyamide and 6% Elastane.


They are sheer to waist with no demarcation between the leg and brief.

Seams are flat throughout, including the toe seam.

The size V (XL) that I trialled has a rear comfort panel. Small sizes have a conventional net gusset. There is a 3cm wide waistband with a Falke tag sewn onto it that indicates the style and size. That is a quality touch.

Opacity is very good; the tights provide a deep, even coverage on every part of the leg. The fabric is completely matte and very soft to the touch.

What is unique about these tights is the plush yarn inside which is delectably soft and warm. But unlike some styles of thermal tights, these are not bulky at all. The fabric is made with an extremely fine knitting technology that seems to be a genuine Falke innovation, as I haven't seen anything similar before.

Sizing and fit

The Falke Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are available in three sizes: S/M, Medium, Large and XL.



I tested the XL size.

I have never worn any Falke tights that didn't provide a great fit. The Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are no exception.

The XL size extends to a height of 6'0" and comfortable accommodated my 5'10".

The legs stretch and fit with ease without any over-stretching.

The brief, like that of all Falke tights, is deep and very comfortable.

I wore these tights twice as part of the trial, and both days the temperature was freezing. The insulation and comfort was absolutely top notch. On one occasion I was at a football game and wondered how I could possibly have kept warm without them. Traditional long johns might be the choice of many guys, but the Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are simply on another level!

Colour range

The Falke Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are available at Tightsplease in seven colours:
  • Anthracite
  • Burgundy 
  • Marine 
  • Black 
  • Cigar 
  • Brenda
I tested a pair in Black.



Price and availability
The Falke Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are priced at £26.00.

Conclusion
The Falke Warm Deluxe 80 Tights are a really superb product from Falke and a welcome addition to their fantastic range of opaques.

For thermal tights these are certainly a huge step forward technically, providing warmth and insulation without bulk.

As a wearing experience, this is as good as it gets. Wonderful fit and comfort, alongside functionality.

Although price-wise these tights are a premium product, I would argue that they are good value for the quality.

They can be worn under trousers, with shorts and would be welcomed by anyone doing winter sports, outdoor activities or working outside in cold temperatures.

Highly recommended.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Reviewed: Veneziana Cover 100 Denier Opaque Tights

The Irish hosiery retailer DressMyLegs recently sent Hosiery For Men a selection of tights to trial and review.

You can read our reviews of the Cecilia de Rafael Ave 70 Denier Opaque Tights and the Steven Laura Cotton Rich Opaque Tights.



We now focus on the Veneziana Cover 100 Denier Opaque Tights. This is the first time we have reviewed any Veneziana hosiery. This style was highly recommended by DressMyLegs.



Designed in Poland and manufactured in Italy, Veneziana has been present in the European hosiery market for over 20 years and is renowned for its combination of sophisticated design and highest quality standards.










Material and features
The Veneziana Cover 100 Denier Opaque Tights are described by DressMyLegs as:

Incredibly smooth with flawless matte finish, these luxurious 100 Denier opaque tights are made using new 3D technology for superior 'second skin' fit and comfort all day long. With all the premium hosiery features and total coverage for your legs, you'll feel every bit classy and elegant.


They are attractively packaged. The tights are folded over a card rectangle and then wrapped in a cellophane sleeve. Everything is then housed in a sturdy card envelope.





The tights are made from 93% polyamide and 7% elastane.

I was interested to see that the yarn used includes Dorlastan®, a technologically advanced fibre with excellent elastic recovery properties.



These are 100 denier tights. They looked really quite small as I removed them from the packaging, but they have amazing stretch. They feel extremely soft and velvety.

Opacity is excellent and pretty much total, with even coverage and a matte appearance. There is a slight sheen.



Seams are flat. There is no rear comfort panel in the largest size; all sizes have a plain gusset. Toes are reinforced.

The tights are not sheer to waist and have a boxer-style brief with a clear demarcation from the leg. The brief is made from a denser fabric. It also has impressive stretch.



There is a 3.5cm wide waistband.

Fit and sizing
The Veneziana Cover 100 Denier Opaque Tights are available in three sizes: 2S, 3M and 4L.



I tested the 4L size.

I was slightly worried that this size is designed to fit up to just 175cm in height (5'9"). However any concerns were completely misplaced as these tights have incredible stretch properties. They easily stretched to my 5'10" height. Fit was excellent in every respect.

These tights do indeed fit like a second skin. I am really impressed with the Dorlastan® yarn used as the elasticity and stretch was exceptional.

The brief is particularly impressive, stretching as far above the waist as needed.

These tights also feel great when worn. They provide what I can only describe as a hug for your legs, as well as really good warmth and insulation.

Colour range

The Veneziana Cover 100 Denier Opaque Tights are available in five colours: 
  • Nero (black) 
  • Marine (a very dark blue/black navy) 
  • Prussia (a rich dark teal colour) 
  • Coffee (a rich dark chocolate brown) 
  • Vino ( a rich red wine colour) 
I tested a pair in Black.



Price and availability
The Veneziana Cover 100 Denier Opaque Tights are priced at €8.95.

Service is excellent at DressMyLegs and items are despatched quickly.

International postage is €5.95 and free for orders of over €50.00.

Conclusion 
It's always great to get the chance to try a new and unfamiliar brand. I can see why DressMyLegs were keen for me to try the Cover 100 tights. I was convinced about them just seconds after putting them on. Fit and overall quality are excellent and at just €8.95 euros they are something of a bargain.

Lots of boxes are ticked here for me:
  • Flat seams
  • Reinforced toes
  • Deep and comfortable brief
  • Reasonable price.
I would be quite keen to get the Cover 100 tights in the Marine and Coffee shades now as well. In fact, I am eager to try more Veneziana styles.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Reviewed: Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights

US-based hosiery retailer The Stylish Fox very kindly sent us a sample of the Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights to trial and review for Hosiery For Men readers. 



We love Kunert tights! They are one of the very best European brands, and their sizing options are excellent.

The Stylish Fox now stock a range of Kunert hosiery, making these excellent products available to the north American market.








Material and features
The Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights are described at The Stylish Fox as follows:

Semi-opaque to opaque tights with actively warming soles and thermal insulation effect for cold days. The special WARM FIBER by Kunert retains heat emitted by the body.

  • elegant matte look 
  • reinforced sole and heel made from actively warming fiber WARM FIBER by KUNERT for a greater wellbeing 
  • perfect fit and comfort thanks to pressure-free waistband and flat seams 
The tights are packaged in the same way as other Kunert products we have reviewed. The tights are folded around a card rectangle, which actually has a handy guide to how to put the tights on should that be needed. The tights are then housed in a card sleeve which is then wrapped in a cellophane envelope.



The Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights are manufactured in Germany.

They are made from 89% Polyamide, 5% Cotton, 4% Elastane and 2% Acrylic.

The size V(5) that I trialled looked quite long as I took from out of the packaging.

The fabric is soft to the touch. They didn't feel like thick and heavy winter tights.

However, these tights have been developed by Kunert as part of their WARM UP range, that uses a special yarn that aims to retain heat emitted by the body.

The tights have even coverage and good opacity, although at 60 denier it is not total.

They are sheer to waist with no demarcation between the leg and the panty.



The size V has a rear comfort panel; smaller sizes have a conventional cotton gusset. Seams are flat throughout and expertly engineered as you would expect from Falke.

The brief is very deep and comfortable. There is a 4cm wide 'pressure free waistband. The waistband also has a Kunert label sewn onto it.



A further unique feature of these tights is what is described as an 'actively warming sole'. This has been knitted to a higher density and provides reinforcement as well as additional insulation.

Fit and sizing
The Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights are available in four sizes at The Stylish Fox: II, III, IV and V.



The size chart above, provided by The Stylish Fox, is slightly different from the sizing information on the packaging. This indicates that the size V extends to just 5'9" in height. I found this slightly odd and a bit inconsistent with other Kunert tights I have reviewed. For example the V size in both the Leg Control 70 and Satin Look 20 tights fits from 5'6" to 6'1".

However, these did tights did fit me pretty well without any overstretching. I am 5'10" and I found that there was sufficient length in the legs for me. The brief was deep and comfortable.

I tested the tights on a couple of fairly cold days and they provided good insulation.

I didn't notice that the 'actively warming sole' made in terms of hear retention, but it was comfortable and provided some additional cushioning. I imagine that it would also make the tights quite durable and hard wearing.

Glide under trousers was good.

Colour range

The Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights are available in four colours from The Stylish Fox: Anthracite, Marine, Black and Mocca.

I tested a pair in Marine, a rich dark blue shade.

Price and availability
The Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights are priced at $17.99 (US dollars).

Conclusion
The Kunert Warm Up 60 Tights reflect the very high standards we have come to expect from Kunert.

These are great quality tights that provide good insulation but are not too thick or heavy.

Having read reviews of this style on the websites of other retailers, I can see why they are so popular. The price is also very reasonable for the level of quality.

The Stylish Fox also stocks the Kunert Satin Look 20 Tights and the Leg Control 70 Tights, both of which we have reviewed previously and highly recommend.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Spotlight on musician Billy Bottle

In January 2015, the UK media covered the appearance of Musician Billy Bottle and his partner Martine Waltier on the BBC talent show, The Voice.



Billy and Martine's version of Snap!'s 'The Power' was a hit with the audience and viewers, though sadly not the judges.

However, Billy's outfit gained a lot of attention in print, online and social media. He wore bright orange tights under a pair of blue shorts.



We were pleased to be able to interview Billy recently.

Hi Billy, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your music?

I was born a northerner to mongrel parents (Geordie dad and North London mum and raised on Moorland walks, summer carnivals and industrial grit).

I wrote songs from the age of seven, learnt piano and taught myself guitar having been immersed in the folk scene of the north, indie scene of the 90s and through a vinyl time-machine, the psychedelic sounds of the 70s.

I studied music formally but then forgot it all on the road with a circus.

Now, I write songs about now…


Photo © Jack Gorman 


How can people find out more about your music and the band The Multiple?
For everything about The Multiple tune in to our portal: www.billybottle.co.uk.

Earlier this year, you and your partner Martine appeared on the BBC show The Voice. How was that experience?
We both remarked that when we came out on stage it felt like we were actually inside the TV!

It was lots of fun and that's the spirit in which we went into it - just to be ourselves. I'm not a very competitive person so it was certainly a voyage of learning.



Your appearance on The Voice led to some media coverage of you wearing tights and shorts. Can you tell us more about why you wear tights?

Ultimately, I like how it feels. There's something similar to being naked about it (which is also enjoyable of course). I have a little Honda SH-50 (which goes even slower than it used to since a trip to Cornwall) so long-johns already feature heavily in my wardrobe. I was looking for something which suited my androgynous nature and the tights and shorts combination I thought balanced each other out nicely.


Photo © Jack Gorman

What kind of reaction have you had to your choice of clothing?

People seem to love it. We've had so much support (!) it's nice to know there's so many other like-minded people around. Reactions have ranged from hilarity to complete indifference. It feels good to be able to be yourself.


Photo © Jack Gorman

Do you have any favourite brands of tights?

To be honest I haven't dabbled too much, I think I only have about three pairs to my name. Looking around it seems to be quite hard to find small organic retailers that offer different colours but I'm always open to suggestions.


Photo © Jack Gorman

There has been a lot of media coverage of tights for men recently. What are your thoughts about the greater visibility of men buying and wearing tights?

I've only ever been an accidental follower of current fashion but I say 'show us your legs gents!'.


Photo © Jack Gorman

What projects are you currently working? What can we expect to hear from you and The Multiple in 2015.
We have a new single out, La Belle Epoque (the video in which I wear slightly less than tights!). There'll be festival appearances throughout the summer and we'll be sunbathing safely as much as possible...



Thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men Billy. I hope readers will check out your music and we look forward to hearing more about your music over the coming year.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Spotlight on Ella B 'Nude Tights For All Skin Tones'

There has been quite a lot of coverage in the UK media in recent weeks on the issue of tights to match different skin tones. For many women, and perhaps some men too, this is clearly a challenge and the needs of a diverse population is not always being addressed by the hosiery industry.

We recently interviewed Ella Bennett, entrepreneur and founder of Ella B 'Nude Tights For All Skin Tones'.

Ella has been developing a range of tights that perfectly match each and every skin tone, including very pale and very dark skin tones.

We are pleased to now publish our interview with Ella.





Can you provide Hosiery For Men readers with some background to Ella B 'Nude Tights For All Skin Tones'? Why did you start the business and how has it developed?


Certainly! I had fallen ill with fibromyalgia, which led to me being unable to work in an office on a conventional basis, so I was looking for an alternative way to make good use of my education and work experience at a time when I needed tights to wear to synagogue each week, but was unable to find nude tights that perfectly match my skin tone.



At the time, there was one shop on the UK high street that stocked tights in a colour fairly close to my skin tone, but which was by no means a perfect match, and I was anxious that should this shop stop selling them, I would be without nude tights.

I then spoke to ladies in London’s Oxford Street, and asked them where they buy their nude tights. The answers I received were overwhelmingly unanimous. They said: “we’ve tried to find them, but we gave up long ago..because they don’t exist. They’re either too light or too dark, or they make our legs look grey and ashy..they do not match our skin tones.”

The vast majority of ladies I spoke to said they had never found nude tights that perfectly matched their skin tones.



When did you first have the idea and how long has it taken to develop it?


I first had the idea in 2010. I wrote my first draft business plan in 2011 and started to execute it from then onwards. It took a while because I had to learn how to translate a business plan into a fully-fledged start-up.

What research did you do to develop your concept of 'Nude Tights For All Skin Tones'?


Following the initial feedback, I carried out some market research. I designed a questionnaire and invited shoppers on London’s main high streets to complete it, in order to find out exactly how big the problem of not being able to buy perfectly matching nude skin tone tights is, and whether the public would be willing to pay for a perfect solution.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?


The initial challenges were of an operational nature. As a founder and director you need to be able to make qualified executive decisions and you can only do this properly if you understand your chosen industry, so a lot of time was spent building relationships with key experts and professionals within the industry and learning from them.

To do this I connected with London's start-up entrepreneurial networks in Shoreditch and Soho and was amazed at how much I was able to learn, and at how many people were willing to support Ella B 'Nude Tights For All Skin Tones'. I put an advisory board together which proved invaluable particularly when it came to doing deals and considering offers from other entrepreneurs.

Did you consider the needs of men who wear tights also when developing the concept?


Yes and no. I spoke to men who said they would definitely want this product. But, when they completed their questionnaires they did not give sufficient information for me to realise that men’s hosiery needs are subtly different to women’s and really quite specific in terms of design and durability.

It’s actually this blog that has opened my eyes to the existence of a definitive hosiery ‘market’ for men, and for that I am very humbled as well as grateful.

What have been the highs and lows of Ella B so far?


The main highs would be getting my hosiery range designed and produced here in the UK and then sending out samples and receiving excellent feedback from the ladies who have sampled tights from my range. Another high point would be pitching to and receiving offers to stock my product from three major retail partners.

The lows included having to decline major stockist offers even though deep down my advisory board were right, and realising that in business, as a director you have to prioritise profit and sustainability over passion.










How will you ensure that your tights will also appeal to men? Do you welcome enquiries from them?


As founder and director of Ella B ‘Nude Tights For All Skin Tones’ I welcome enquiries from everyone, male, female, transgender and so on. Ella B ‘Nude Tights For All Skin Tones’ welcomes everyone without question and the more people that sign up to receive a sample and complete the questionnaire, the more influence over the design process they will have.

There has been quite a lot of media coverage of tights for men in recent years. What are your thoughts about the greater visibility of men buying and wearing tights?


I think that more reaching out to the public and the media is massively advantageous for the men’s hosiery market because from my experience of talking to men about their hosiery requirements, there is keen interest, but this may not translate into a tangible demand unless they know they can buy what they need, that it’s easy to access, and that they can shop for men’s hosiery without getting nudges, sniggers and any other inhibiting responses from their friends and family who might incorrectly think that hosiery is for women only.

More education through blogging, and media campaigns would definitely benefit men and the hosiery industry, and it’s very encouraging to see a blog like Hosiery for Men really pioneering and championing hosiery for men.

That’s why I have so much respect and admiration for this blog, because this is the only one of its type that I have seen that specifically caters for men’s hosiery needs.

To men thinking about trying tights, what would you say are the main benefits of wearing them?


The main benefits of wearing tights are that they keep you warm and they conveniently hide hairy ‘winter’ legs if you choose opaque tights. Sheer tights give your legs a silky sheen when bought in a perfectly matching nude skin tone of 10-20 denier. If you wear matte sheer tights, no one will know you’re wearing them but you. If you want 'Beyonce legs' then you would opt for a glossy 20 denier pair of nude skin tone tights. Overall, tights add elegance, a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to an otherwise ordinary leg.

Tights, for either gender can up-shade and down-shade your skin tone to suit your requirements. If you want to appear more tanned than usual, opt for a darker shade, if you want to appear paler than usual, opt for a lighter shade. When you don’t want to go barelegged or wear trousers, black tights or leggings instead, Ella B’s nude tights are the perfect solution because they perfectly match your skin tone.

Just as for women, tights for men can also provide essential support by smoothing out any lumps and bumps around the body and giving the appearance of a smooth silhouette.

There are also compression tights, which aid the circulation of blood flowing around the body and which can help if you do activities that require you to stand or sit for long periods, or have blood circulation related medical conditions.

What are the next steps for you?


The next steps are to increase the brand’s media exposure and to attract an appropriate backer who will help Ella B ‘Nude Tights For All Skin Tones’ launch on a high street near you!

How can people learn more about the Ella B 'Nude Tights For All Skin Tones'?


To see images of Ella B tights as worn by our models, or to keep up-to-date with Ella B or to leave a message please visit the Ella B Nude Tights For All Skin Tones Facebook page. 

For a free sample, please go to www.ellabladiestights.com.

You can also send an email to: info@ellabladiestights.com.

Thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men Ella. We hope this interview will raise more awareness of your concept and that readers will get in touch. Do keep us updated with how things develop.

Just arrived: Glamory Thermoman 100 men's footless leggings

The German hosiery brand Glamory has just sent us a pair of their brand new Thermoman 100 Men's Leggings.





The Thermoman 100 Leggings have just been released by Glamory. The style is very similar to the Microman 100 Men's Tights, but footless. We will trial and review them shortly.

The Microman 100 Men's Tights were recently featured in The Independent newspaper in the widely-read feature by Oscar Quine:


Stay tuned for news of a fantastic competition, in partnership with Glamory, to win a pair of the Thermoman 100 Men's Leggings! Details will be published shortly.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Reviewed: Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings/Footless Tights

The leading Japanese hosiery brand Tabio recently sent us samples of the new Tabio 80 Denier Men's Tights and the Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings to trial and review.



We have already reviewed Tabio 80 Denier Men's Tights and you can read our review here.

We now focus on the Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings.



Material and features

The packaging of the Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings is the same as for the 80 Denier Tights.The tights are folded around a long piece of card and then wrapped in a cellophane envelope. Everything is then housed in a sturdy card box. The overall presentation is excellent and has clearly involved design for the male hosiery market.








The packaging also provides product information, although this is in Japanese.

The Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings are made in Japan. According to the Tabio website (translated from Japanese) they are made from 91% Nylon and 9% Polyurethane. 

The leggings appear to be a footless tights version of the Tabio 80 Denier Men's Tights.



The leggings don't look particularly long when removed from the packaging, but, as with the tights, they do have an excellent amount of stretch.

The fabric is soft and smooth and provides even opaque coverage. Opacity is very good but not total, as when the leggings are stretched at the knee and thigh, one can still see leg hair.

Legs are tapered, being wider at the thigh and narrowing towards the calf. The bottom of the leggings are finished with a 1.5cm wide cuff.


There is a wide band, knitted to a slightly thicker density, at the top of each thigh as it joins the brief.

The brief is the same as the 80 Denier Tights: deep and with plenty of stretch. At the front and rear, it has been designed to support the male anatomy with a panel on both sides with conventional seams. The front panel, which has been constructed with double fabric, has a well-designed fly opening. Where the two panels join under the crotch there is a well-engineered flat seam.

The waistband is 3cm wide and has been sewn onto the tights. It is very robust and provides good support.

Inside the brief there is a label (in Japanese), that provides washing instructions as well as other information.




Fit and sizing

The Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings are available in a single M-L size.

The Tabio website states that the leggings will fit the following dimensions:

Waist: 72cm (28") - 88cm (34")

Height: 160cm (5'4") to 180cm (5'11")

As mentioned above, these Tabio men's leggings./footless tights have lots of stretch.

Fit was very good even though, at 5'10", I am almost at the limit of the M-L sizing.

The fabric fits on the leg really well with no wrinkling or bunching.

The brief is deep and comfortable, stretching comfortably above the waist and hips.

Colour range
The Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings are available in Black and Charcoal Grey.

I tested a pair in Black.



Price and availability
The Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings are priced at ¥1,728 (Japanese Yen)

According to the exchange rates at the time of writing this is equivalent to:

£9.77 (UK pounds)

€12.98 (Euros)

$14.70 (US dollars)

According to my communications with Tabio, these tights are currently available only in Japan. I am still checking with them regarding international delivery if ordered from the Tabio website. If they become available at Tabio stores in the UK and elsewhere I will also provide an update.

Conclusion

The Tabio 80 Denier Men's Leggings, like the Tabio 80 Denier Men's Tights, are a welcome addition to the growing range of men's legwear that is now available.

After trialing both the tights and leggings/footless tights I would definitely say that Tabio have aimed to create quality products for men, and not simply rebrand women's tights. This is reflected in the packaging that clearly states 'TABIO MEN'S LEGWEAR'. This seems like a smart move and may make more men decide to give the tights and leggings a try.

Let's hope Tabio can make both products available for the European and north American markets.

A L-XL size would also be welcome.

Recommended.