Tights for men, known as mantyhose, are surging in popularity, not only as an alternative to long-johns for keeping warm, but as a fashion statement. It's not really surprising as men have been wearing hosiery since the Middle Ages.
Roman soldiers first strutted in tights to complement their mini-skirts and by the fifteenth century men boldly displayed their legs encased in the finest silk hose. Their popularity dwindled over the years and pantyhose became associated with the female leg. Times are changing and the resurgence in male tights now comes with a selection of names including mantyhose, brosiery, and beau-hose.
Francesco Cavallini, vice-president of Italian design house Emilio Cavallini, told the Daily Mail why he was prompted to design tights for men. He explained "When we started our online shop we noticed that a lot of tights sized medium-large were being purchased by men.…So I did a search on the Internet and discovered there is a cult following for mantyhose."
TheEmilio Cavallini online boutique advertises the hosiery as unisex tights that make a bold fashion statement in black and white, featuring checks and stripes, and retailing at $18 a pair. Of course men have one advantage over women if they opt for mantyhose: there is less chance of them snagging a run with their shorter nails.
Cavallini says the mantyhose are primarily snapped up for warmth, pointing out that sales to colder countries are highest. They are popular amongst men from Germany, Canada, France, Scandinavia, and the U.S. Style setters are even teaming their mantyhose with shorts.
According to Sloshspot male tights are not the preserve of trend setting gay men, but enjoyed by straight men too. They say "pantyhose are absolutely sensuous under jeans while keeping all the right bits warm." For men not in the know Sloshspot provides a handy illustrated guide on "how to put on mantyhose."