Sunday, 4 December 2016

Are Compression Tights Redefining Legwear as Unisex?

Are Compression Tights Redefining Legwear as Unisex?

This is the title of another reflective blogpost by Christine Nicholson, the founder of online hosiery retailer Divine Legs.

In the article Christine reflects on the difference experiences men have shared about the reasons why they wear hosiery.

We are posting, with Christine's permission, the full article as it will interest Hosiery For Men readers and deserves a wide readership.

You can read our feature on Divine Legs and interview with Christine.

You can also read our review of the ITEM m6 Beauty Tights, one of the styles of tights stocked at Divine Legs.

Are Compression Tights Redefining Legwear as Unisex?

Ask anyone randomly in the street "What do you think about men wearing tights?" and sadly the usual answer will be that its for those who are trying to look like or be a woman. Men and women with particular health issues have been wearing medical compression tights and leg-wear for decades - usually really thick and quick ugly things! In more recent years the advent of more fashionable compression tights means that we are thankfully on the verge of a tipping point were tights are becoming mainstream in men's fashion.

Fashion Forward or Medical Necessity?

Having recently started in the hosiery retail business, my first surprise was the number of men who were visiting my website, which is shamelessly focused on the women's market, and the positive feedback my customer service team had from the men who contacted us. Thankfully there are many true gentlemen out there to counter act the numerous "pests" who thought our live chat service was a "sex line"!

What's most surprising is the journey that many men have travelled to find their hosiery - and the challenges in public perception. One dominant theme seems to be that wearing hosiery as a man isn't anywhere as daunting as it might seem. Most people are so obsessed with themselves that they really don't care or worry about what anyone else is wearing (unless it's totally outrageous in which case you are probably wearing them to get attention!).

I recently joined a forum called Leg wear As Unisex Fashion (LAUF) so explore men's experiences of hosiery and was made very welcome and equally had my perceptions challenged.

A New Lease of Life

Dave contacted me with his story which started, before the internet and social media, with a fascination of the look of hose on women at a young age. He put thoughts about hosiery on the back burner for about 39 years until in his late 50's he had to have varicose veins removed. The doctor instructed wearing support tights for the rest of his life. As a shorts guy he thought this would put a real damper on wearing shorts. "I thought I was the only guy in the world who had to wear support Pantyhose" says Dave. "I would wear the hose only under jeans when out in public. I did this for about 6-8 months, when my wife started to encourage me to wear shorts and I started wearing Pantyhose while I was bike riding every day and I found out that I had no issues. My confidence level started to grow. I then started to wear with shorts on small trips late at night and gradually morfed to daytime and from there I never looked back. I found that people didn't care what I was wearing".

"This was still before the internet. Getting on-line was a blessing because I eventually I found LAUF and this WONDERFUL family that gave me so much support and my confidence level soared. Now I try and help other folks who have to or like to wear Pantyhose under jeans or with shorts get more confident"

Just Being "Me"

There are valid medical/health reasons for wearing compression tights, many men's engagement with hosiery is purely pleasure, as Steve told me:

"That is not my story. For me, pantyhose is not something that I feel I choose or like to wear, rather a part of who I am. Now may sound strange or extreme to you, but that is how I feel. I can not recall a time in my life, from early childhood until now (42), that I haven't wanted to wear pantyhose. I don't really know how/why it started and trust me I have given it much consideration. As you can imagine as a teenager this was very confusing, especially in rural America and in the 80's with no internet to help or to meet or know about others like me. I'm still not sure I completely understand it all, but there are some things I know for sure. I am not gay, transgender, a transvestite or a cross-dresser, although a case could be made for the last one. I have no desire to dress as or try to pass as a women, I just find that there are some traditionally women's items that I like, pantyhose being one. I do not see the clothing world as black and white, or male and female. Instead, like many things in life, there are a million shades of grey. I fit somewhere in that grey area".

"Over the years the reason I wear, or want to wear has changed. Earlier in my life is was more of a fetish, but the older I get, the less it is about the fetish and more about just wanting to wear what I want. I actually have very little issue with wearing openly and have done so many times without one comment. My biggest problem is my wife. She just absolutely does not get it, doesn't want to get it and does not approve of me in pantyhose. This is not unusually, in fact I dare say that for the vast majority of us who do not have a medical/health reason to wear, have spouses that do not understand or approve". 

Not Quite the Final Word (for now)!

Having read a lot about men being men and women being women I prefer my own long standing way of thinking - "humans just being themselves" - and hope that in some small way with each connection I have with the world I can make sure that philosophy can be passed on even if its one person at a time. We are not defined by what we wear - we are defined by how we behave towards others.



You can check the collection of tights at 
Divine Legs here.

You can also connect with 
Divine Legs at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Divine Legs website also has more contact options including a live chat facility.

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