Sunday, 28 October 2012

Reviewed: Philippe Matignon Noblesse 50 Tights

I have already reviewed several styles of Philippe Matignon tights, thanks to Philippe Matignon US providing Hosiery For Men with samples.



You can read reviews of the following Philippe Matignon styles:

Dorella semi-opaque tights

Revitalise 70 support tights

Jade 20 denier sheer tights

Oro 40 tights

You can still read the Hosiery For Men feature on Philippe Matignon and an interview with Maytal Sharifi, Brand Consultant at Revival Brands who are the distributors of Philippe Matignon in the US.

Philippe Matignon US kindly sent me two samples of the Nobless 50 Opaque Tights and here is my review.





Materials and features

The Nobless 50 Opaque Tights are made from 92% polyamide, 7% elastane and 1% cotton.

The microfibre fabric with Lycra 3D is very soft indeed and these tights have a really impressive amount of stretch.


The tights are completely sheer to waist with flat seams throughout.

The waistband is 3cm wide, is comfortable and provides good support.

The sizes from 1-XS to 4-L have a cotton gusset. The 5-XL size that I tested has a rear comfort panel.



Fit and sizing
The Nobless 50 Opaque Tights are available in 1-XS, 2-S, 3-M, 4- L and 5-XL sizes. I tested the 5-XL size.


As mentioned above, the Nobless 50 Opaque Tights have plenty of stretch and I found that the 5-XL size provided a good fit, especially in relation to the length of the leg.

The microfibre yarn with Lycra 3D clings to the body amazingly well.

The brief/panty stretched comfortably over my waist, although it did look as if it had been designed as more of a low waist style. I have to admit that I do prefer the higher waist design that is a feature of the Dorella semi-opaque tights and Jade 20 denier sheer tights.

The tights stayed up very well and were really comfortable under trousers.



Colour range

The Nobless 50 Opaque Tights are available in seven shades according to the Philippe Matignon website.
  • Lana (Wool)
  • Camello (Camel) 
  • Coffee
  • Carbone (Coal) 
  • Platino (Platinum)
  • Blu (Blue)
  • Nero (Black)
All of the above shades, apart from Blu, are available at the Philippe Matignon US store.

I tested pairs in the Coffee shade, a deep brown colour, and Black.

Price and availability

The Noblesse 50 Opaque Tights are priced at US$32.00 at the Philippe Matignon US store. Items can be shipped to international destinations.

Conclusion
All the Philippe Matignon tights I have tested have been top quality. The Noblesse 50 Opaque Tights are very good quality semi-opaque tights that have been manufactured with the care and attention to detail one sees in all Philippe Matignon hosiery.

The high Lycra 3D content in the fabric means that these tights will mould themselves to your legs whatever shape they are.

They are great for cool autumn days - I really appreciated the insulation they provided in the recent cold spell we are having in the UK.

For semi-opaque tights, my first choice, however, would still be the Dorella 40 tights: they have excellent stretch, a deep panty/brief and a glossy appearance that provides superb gilde under trousers.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Reviewed: Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights

The leading Belgian hosiery manufacturer, Cette, sent me a sample of the Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights to test and review for Hosiery For Men readers.



I have previously reviewed the Cette Dublin 60 Denier Opaque Tights.

Cette have recently introduced a Plus Size collection. Although primarily aimed at women who need a larger size, Cette have told me that they hope their male customers will also be better catered for by this range.

Material and features

The Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights are nicely packaged. The tights are folded around a rectangular card and then housed in a cellophane envelope. This is then enclosed in a card box which has two windows so the shade of the tights is visible.

The tights are made from 93% (Polyamide) Nylon, 6% Elastane and 1% Cotton.

The fabric is a very soft microfibre. The finish is satin, with a slight shine.

As they are 60 denier tights, the opacity is not total, but coverage is consistent and even throughout.

They are sheer to waist with no visible demarcation. The waistband is a wide 4cm, and has an additional 5cm reinforcement strip below. Toes are sheer. Seams are flat throughout and there is
 a rear comfort gusset.



Fit and sizing

The Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights are available in three sizes: Super, Super XL and Super XXL.

I was a bit confused with the sizing information on the packaging. The main size chart indicates that the Super XXL goes up to a height of a not very generous 5'9". See the chart provided by MyTights below.



However, the packaging also provides a second chart indicating that the Super XXL extends to a height of 5'11". See the chart below provided by The Tights House.



I tested the Super XXL size and can confirm that this sizing information appears to be accurate.

The tights actually looked quite lengthy when they were removed from the packaging and they fitted by 5'10" with ease. They would certainly have stretched to 5'11" and perhaps even further.

Compared to the normal Cette Dublin 60 Denier Opaque Tights, the Dublin Plus Size style provided a much better fit in every respect. Length is more generous, and the fit on the legs is excellent throughout with no sagging.

The brief/panty area is extremely roomy and will stretch well above the navel if needed. These tights would be a good choice for men with a larger stomach or waist area in general.

The Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights were very comfortable indeed. I wore them over a weekend that was generally quite cool, although warm and sunny for periods. Worn under jeans, my legs didn't overheat and the fabric seems to breathe well. They also stayed up and in position really well. The Elastane content really supports a close fit.

It would be a great idea if Cette produced alternative sizing information for the Plus Size collection that focused on men rather than hip and dress size.

Colour range
The Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights are available in a wide range of shades. These are the shades indicated on the Cette website.



However, some UK suppliers stock a wider colour range. For example, The Tights House has the following shades:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Blue Black
  • Chartreux (Grey)
  • Coca (Dark Brown)
  • Green
  • Nearly Black
  • Purple Black
  • Red Orchid
  • Ristretto (Chocolate)
  • Violet
  • White
I tested a pair in Black.

Price and availability

The Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights are widely available from UK retailers. They are priced at £13.95 at:

MyTights
UK Tights
Stockings Direct
Tights Please
The Tights House

At The Tight Spot they retail for £12.30.

Conclusion

The Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights are excellent quality in every respect. I think that for most men they would definitely provide a better fit than the standard Cette Dublin Opaque style. Being designed for larger figures, the fit overall is much more generous and the larger brief/panty area is a very definite plus.

If additional sizing information was developed for men, Cette could certainly market these tights to male customers.

I hope I can try some further styles in the Cette Plus Size collection.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Reviewed: Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights

Hosiery retailer Style Imaginaire sent me a pair of the Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights to test and review.


Material and features
The Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights are made from 86% Polyamide, 11% Lycra and 3% Cotton.

The fabric is extremely soft indeed.

As a 50 denier tight, opacity is not total, but the coverage is even throughout once the tights have been adjusted to fit.

In appearance they are almost completely matte, with no shine or gloss.

Seams are flat throughout and the tights are sheer to waist. There is a cotton gusset. Toes are reinforced. The waistband is 3cm wide. The fabric overall feels very robust and these tights look as if they would be quite hardwearing.




Fit and sizing
The Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights are available in three sizes: Small, Medium and Tall. The sizing information on the packaging suggests that an X Tall size is also available, but this is not the case.

I tested the Tall size.




The Tall size fits heights up to 5'10" (my height) but also for someone who is overall smaller than me.

These tights do have plenty of stretch and with some careful adjusting I did find that the fit was reasonably good. Once on they stayed in place; the high Elastane content meant they fitted really closely with no wrinkles or bagging.

The brief had plenty of room and the waistband was comfortable.

Although the appearance is quite matte, the smooth texture of the tights provided a good level of glide under trousers.

Colour range

The Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights are available in Black and Anthracite.

I tested a pair in the Black shade.

Price and availability

The Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights cost £6.99 at Style Imaginaire.

Conclusion

The Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights are the high quality one expects from Italian manufacturers.

They provide a comfortable wearing experience and are the kind of lighter semi-opaque style that are perfect for autumn days.

Spotlight on Slinky Pins

Every month I hear about new online hosiery retailing businesses being set up here in the UK. This is good news from the point of view of the selection of tights available. However, it also seems that the new entrepreneurs on the hosiery scene are also very aware that men buying tights for themselves are an important and growing part of the market, and are keen to grow this part of their customer base.

A new retailer on the scene is Slinky Pins and I was pleased to interview the owner Karen Goldstraw for Hosiery For Men.

Can you tell Hosiery for Men readers a bit about Slinky Pins? Why did you start an online hosiery business? 
Several years ago, I started working for a department store in their hosiery department. I quickly developed a passion for the products, but it was clear that the buyers for that company were not in tune with what the customers were asking for. After more than a year of passing on feedback to the powers that be, and requesting more fashion tights etc., but getting nowhere, a colleague and I thought ‘we can do better than this!’

After a couple of brainstorming sessions, we came up with the name for Slinky Pins but, with my colleague soon to be moving away, it looked to be a non-starter. Another year down the line and the idea was still nagging me, so I took £130 of my month’s wages and bought the smallest amount of tights I could from a single supplier, with the idea of selling them on eBay. I first uploaded these first items on Boxing Day last year, and Slinky Pins has grown from there.

There has been a huge amount of media coverage of 'mantyhose' (tights for men) in recent months. What are your thoughts about the greater visibility nowadays of men buying and wearing tights?
I think that if men want to wear tights, then they should be able to! Society tends to forget that hosiery was first created for, and by, men, and that it only became the norm for women to wear stockings in the early 1800s. As well as being practical, tights have always been a part of fashion – why should men be excluded from this?

   

Are male customers buying tights for themselves becoming part of your customer base? Do you welcome their custom at Slinky Pins?
Yes, I have sold tights to male customers since the beginning of Slinky Pins, both purchasing for themselves and for others. I think it would be extremely foolish NOT to welcome these customers, especially at a time when more and more men are purchasing hosiery for their own use. Everyone is welcome at Slinky Pins, regardless of who they are!

Are there any particular styles of tights or brands that have sold well to your male customers? 

Whilst working at the department store, I found that the Aristoc Ultra tights sold well to men, both in Large and Extra Large (XL is available in 2 colours in this range). Also, the Charnos 24/7 High Shine range was quite popular. I plan to introduce the Aristoc Ultra tights to Slinky Pins very soon.



Have you considered stocking tights that are specifically made for men? 

Yes, it is something I am looking into for the future, and hope to bring in next year. 

To men thinking about trying tights, what would you say are the main benefits of wearing them?
There are many benefits to wearing tights, both for men and women. You can get added leg support, extra warmth, and extra comfort, to name just a few. If you get the right fit and colour, tights can give you a great shape, and make you feel very sexy. And of course, there is the feeling of the material against your skin. If you’re thinking about trying tights for the first time, I’d say ‘Do it’ – you might just like it!



What kind of service will male customers receive at Slinky Pins? Do you welcome enquiries and requests for advice?
Male customers at Slinky Pins will receive the exact same service as female ones – courteous, professional, and (I hope) helpful. I always welcome enquiries and requests for advice, and also feedback – if there’s something you’d like to see me stock, let me know, and I’ll endeavour to get hold of it.


Thank you Karen for speaking to Hosiery For Men. I hope Slinky Pins will continue to grow into a successful business and readers of this blog will visit the store and check what is on offer.

Just arrived: Cette Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights

The leading Belgian hosiery manufacturer, Cette, have sent me a sample of the Dublin Plus Size Opaque Tights.

I am looking forward to trying these and will post a review shortly.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Spotlight on Shapings: Part 2

Shapings, an online hosiery business based in Ontario, Canada, stock an extensive range of tights and pantyhose for men.

I recently published the first part of my interview with Robert Safko, the director of Shapings.



In Part 2, Robert discusses if tights for men are becoming more acceptable, the demise of the Gerbe men's tights range and the Levee Woman unisex tights, and plans for the future at Shapings.

Do you feel that tights are becoming more acceptable for men, both for practical reasons as well as for style and fashion? 

For practical reasons for sure. Support pantyhose is very important and should not be offered to women only. Men have venous issues and for a full waist garment to help with the pain should be available for both sexes.

For fashion, I don’t think so, unless you are within a city that is fashion forward. A man in tights, especially fashion tights with shorts will always draw attention from passers by. The same outfit on a woman will not. If a man was to wear a sheer, they would most likely be seen as weird and most people would not ask if they were a man’s pantyhose, they would just see nylons on him. Hopefully, men’s fashion will be advanced to include over the knee hosiery and we are seeing some designers showing this on the runway but again, the outfit would have to be fashion forward as well to make it work.



Some of the brands of men's tights you stock are no longer easily available, such as Levee Woman and Gerbe. It appears that they have both been discontinued which is a disappointment as in my experience they were both excellent products. Can you comment on these developments?

The male market is smaller than we think. Men wearing pantyhose may be large but it is hard to tell as we search for support groups about this subject so we think it is large just by monitoring an already sourced out group. A site like E-Mancipate is about one man’s vision on men’s fashion options with tights. It has grown to be source for a fashion that may not even be real, but news writers see this site and think it is a trend.

So companies like Gerbe, who in my opinion is one of the best manufacturers of hose, to make a man’s product was huge for the fashion. A full line from product development to marketing and packaging was a great boost for this market. It was I who suggested to them to make the Sun Satin 8 for men, and they did. They asked me what man would wear such a sheer. I talked them into it and it became their most popular style.



The price was their demise. Yet, we expect women to wear good hose to be happy in them and to look good so it seems that this company still survives on women spending the money on this brand. It is very disappointing that men did not step up and support this brand. We still have stock of the Gerbe for men and once they are gone, they are gone and every pair will be a collector’s item never to be seen again and will mark a segment in time when a quality hose maker stepped out for a market that in society’s view as just not proper. It is a shame.

As for Levee, it was a a matter of them going out of business and another company taking over. The Levee brand is no longer.



Are you planning to stock any new brands of men's tights in the future? What can Shapings customers look forward to?

We are in negotiations with Knittex of Poland. If their quality and design are up to our standards we will carry them. Samples are on their way and we will see what makes them a man’s product. Having a man posing on the package will not suffice unless it is truly made for the male anatomy.


Knittex Men's Active Tights


Many thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men. I hope readers will agree that it has been a very interesting and informative feature. I hope readers will check out Shapings if they have not done so already. Mainstream hosiery retailers that show a commitment to stocking men's hosiery deserve our support.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Spotlight on Shapings: Part 1

Shapings is an online hosiery business based in Ontario, Canada. They are one of the very few mainstream hosiery retailers that stock an extensive range of tights and pantyhose for men. A look at their website will confirm that they put a great deal of care and attention to this side of the business, including organising their own photo shoots that showcase men's hosiery brands.



I was very pleased to be able to interview Robert Safko, the director of Shapings. The interview will be published in two parts on Hosiery For Men. In Part 1, Robert discusses the background to Shapings  the decision to offer men's hosiery products and some of the advantages of tights for men.

Can you tell Hosiery For Men readers something about Shapings?

Shapings was born from an idea back in 1995 when Nicole Safko could not find a proper bustier to go under her wedding gown. The first store opened in August 1995 and in 2000 the internet store made its first appearance selling many different items from the shop.

Unlike most mainstream hosiery retailers, Shapings stocks a very wide range of men's pantyhose and tights. Why did you decide to develop this part of the business?
The idea to sell many different items on the site branches from the store’s selection. However, our bra business is strictly for the stores as it is very hard to maintain our policy of perfectly fitting women into this very important garment. We found that the hosiery was the main focus with our customers and building on this market was the logical direction.

As manufacturers were starting to roll out men’s products we felt that it was important to offer both genders a choice for a product that in our eyes should be a unisex garment.


Lida Men's 100 Denier Tights

Can you say something further about why you consider tights to be a unisex garment?

Seeing that men and women both have legs and feet, this garment is useful to women other than just making their legs look good. Ask any woman if they have ever worn tights under pants and most would say yes. This is my go to question when women ask me why a man would wear pantyhose or tights. She wears the tights for warmth and bulk free comfort with a pair of microfibre tights so why not a man? Men are forced to wear layers, a brief, long johns and a pair of socks. Stand back and he looks like he is wearing tights so why not just put on a single pieced garment. Functionality is the main reason for tights being unisex. 

Support pantyhose is a prime example: as venous problems do not discriminate between men and women why is it that women have all the options to help with aching legs while men are limited to a garment that does not go above the knees? As soon as a support garment rises over the knee it becomes a feminine product. Why is the knee the border between sexes? It's like crossing into Russia and getting asked for your papers.


What do you feel are some of the advantages of tights designed and made specifically for men?

The main advantage is the panty design. You can’t have a true male pantyhose without a modified panty. Men and women are anatomically different in this area and having a pantyhose just longer and larger doesn’t cut it. There are large women out there that would benefit from a large pair of hose but having a pouch or open fly design makes the hose strictly a man’s.

You stock Comfort4Men men's tights at Shapings. I have reviewed and featured several of their styles at Hosiery For Men and they are a product that are specifically made to address the needs of men. What are the features of this brand that made you decide to stock them at Shapings?

Being a sufferer of varicose veins I have worn compression waist high hosiery for over two decades. Until Comfort4Men came along you could not find a medical grade compression tight that was anatomically correct for men. The design is quite ingenious and the cost is justified. Compression hosiery is not inexpensive and to have it modified perfectly for men to wear comfortably is quite special. You can easily get two months of wear from a single pair so the cost per wear ratio makes for a comfortable therapy at minimal cost per wear. Any man suffering from aching legs will certainly find relief and for the $55 spent for this relief is money well spent. You can spend $100 on a bottle of Scotch, you drink it, it's gone, a pair of Comfort4Men can help you perform better throughout the day without having to sit down.



Of the brands that you stock, which ones have been particularly popular with your male customers? 

It is across the board, just like our women’s brands.

Hosiery is such a personal item and offering many types makes for a wide range of personal tastes to suit. The benefits of pantyhose for men is support, warmth, sheer pant liners and comfort and with all these different needs it makes for a wide spread of personal requirements in a pantyhose.



Shapings based in Canada. Do you get enquiries about tights for men from other parts of the world? 

We receive orders from around the globe. There are men in every country that like to wear tights.

Although you stock tights for men, have you found that men are also buying women's tights? Which styles and brands are popular? 

Of course, the selection of women’s hose on our site is extensive and the choice of yarns is the key. There is not enough men’s products out there that offer the many yarn options that women have. Again, the brands that sell the most is hard to say as we can’t interview each male client as to whom the hose will be worn by. Many men buy for their wives. There are many men that love pantyhose on women and have the need to buy and be knowledgeable about about hose.

Regarding the tights for women that you sell, are there any brands and styles that might work well for men in terms of the yarn, size choices and depth of panty/brief? The Cecilia de Rafael Coral tights, for example, work well for me and are superb quality.
Honestly, there is no rhyme or reason for what works well for men. Men come in all different sizes and shapes and tastes for yarns. Some like 40 denier, some like 8 denier, some like high waist, some low. Men have different reasons for wearing them as do women. 

The Coral tight by CDR is a fine tight but if you were to review any of our selection of tights you will be impressed with the quality for the money. A higher priced tight, better the yarn and finish. Our prices reflect this and if it does not pass our test for quality it doesn't get posted and we don't buy them. 

This is why our men's selections are limited to what is presently showcased as some products made for men just don't cut it. Sticking a man on the package doesn't do it either. We are plagued with $5 products in a $50 package. If a man finds a tight that works well for them, then I say keep buying it. 

What I do know is that men are more inclined to buy up many different styles as possible, yet they have multiples of the same pair of underwear in their drawer. It becomes almost like a curiosity of what else is out there instead of just stocking up with what works.

Part 2 of this interview will appear shortly. Stay tuned.

Just arrived: Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights

The hosiery retailer Style Imaginaire has kindly send me a pair of the Levante 50 Denier Suede Matte Tights.

I will review these tights soon.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Reviewed: Janira Panty Wonder 40 Tights

Janira are a Spanish hosiery brand that I have started to check out.

You can read my recent review of the Janira Panty Wonder 70 Tights. I also have some other styles to test and more Janira reviews will appear soon.

Janira tights were recommended to me by Mercería Gari, a hosiery store based in Zaragoza, Spain. All hosiery sold by Mercería Gari can be ordered online and their service is first class.

You can read the Hosiery For Men feature on Merceria Gari.



Materials and features 

The Panty Wonder 40 Tights are described by Janira as 'Opaque pantyhose with highly resistant matt finish, and a soft touch that will surprise you. Extremely opaque 40 denier pantyhose, very resistant and adaptable with a smooth satin finish.'

I am not sure about description that they are 'extremely opaque' given that they are 40 denier; however they certainly are more opaque than some other 40 denier styles.

These tights are made from 88% Polyamide, 11% Elastane and 1% Cotton. The fabric is very soft indeed, but also seems quite robust. They are mainly matt in appearance, although there is a touch of shine if caught in the light.

They are completely sheer to waist. Seams are flat and toes are not reinforced.

The waistband is 3cm wide and has a deeper 4cm reinforcement band below.

Sizes P (Small), M and L have a cotton gusset. The ME (Extra Medium) and GE (Extra Large) sizes both have a rear comfort panel.

Opacity is not total - I would say these are very much a semi-opaque style.



Fit and sizing

The Panty Wonder 40 Tights are available in five sizes: P (Small), M (Medium), ME (Extra Medium), G-L (Large) and GE (Extra Large). I tested the GE size.

The GE size fits heights up to 178cm 5' 9"). As with the Panty Wonder 70 opaque tights, the Panty Wonder 40 looked quite small when removed from the packet but they have an impressive amount of stretch. The fit for me was very good indeed, although I am not sure that they would stretch to a greater height than my 5'10". 

The sizing information on the packaging does however indicate that G-L (Large size) reaches to 183cm (6'0"), so that might be a better choice for a taller man or woman. I might try a G-L size next time and compare it with the GE size.

The brief has is deep and very comfortable. The waistband stretched comfortably over my waist.

I found these tights to be very, very comfortable indeed. The high Elastane content ensure that they adapt perfectly to your shape, with no sagging or bunching. They stayed in place really well.

The satiny texture of the Panty Wonder 40 also made for excellent glide under trousers.

Colour range

The Panty Wonder 40 Tights are available in thirteen shades according to the Janira website:


At Mercería Gari the following shades are currently available:

  • Anthracite 
  • Burgundy
  • Brun
  • Cappuccino
  • Chocolat 
  • Cuir 
  • Marino 
  • Navale 
  • Negro
  • Petrol
  • Prune 
  • Slate 
I tested a pair in the Navale (Blue) shade.

Price and availability

The Panty Wonder 40 Tights are priced at €8.87. At current exchange rates that works out at:

$11.42
£7.07

Conclusion
This is second style of Janira tights that I have tried and my impressions again are positive.

The luxuriously smooth fabric is a plus point. The fabric is also clearly quite strong, meaning these tights will wear well.

The high Elastane content provides a very close and comfortable fit.

For a semi-opaque style for the autumn season these are an excellent choice. The price is also reasonable for the level of quality.

Emilio Cavallini unisex Cult Edition for men and women #8

Here is a further preview of the new collection of unisex tights for men and women from designer Emilio Cavallini.

Today we feature the Bicycles Opaque Tights from the Emilio Cavallini Cult Edition.