It’s not an uncommon concept, the idea of unisex clothing. Something is designed neutral enough so that it could be worn by a man or a woman. The item has no gender identity, so it is perfectly acceptable for either gender to wear it. Sometimes women buy items made and marketed for men, because there’s enough unisex appeal that it is appreciated by women too. But for the other way around? Well… that’s another story!
There has certainly been a “gender advantage” for women, where it’s perfectly acceptable for them to adopt male clothing items into their wardrobe. In fact, there has even been a fashion sub-trend for women’s clothing designed with the flair of men’s styling, pioneered by a number of well known fashion designers. Of course, there has also been some attempts on the other side, where some men’s clothing has been designed with a slightly feminine flair. Of course, the target male audience for this is much more narrow, well outside the mainstream.
Although the fashion styling for men that incorporates tights has been touched on briefly across the last few years, the actual wearing of them by men is rather significant. From what I’ve been able to tell, most are wearing them for comfort reasons, usually under long trousers. Some dare the edges of publicly accepted fashion to actually reveal tights covered legs with shorts on.
Note: I’m distinguishing fashion tights from tights made for running, ballet, or other athletic activities. Hence forth, tights in this context will mean “fashion tights”.
So, what tights are men actually wearing? Up until recently, there was little choice but to buy women’s hosiery. Tights made and marketed specifically for women. But just as there is unisex clothing, or clothing made for one gender that could fill a unisex use, so follows tights. A number of brands making women’s tights fashion them in dark colors, with a more opaque appearance, and fitment that suits a reasonable number of men in the population. And there are several women’s brands making tights designed with men in mind, like Gerbe and Adrian.
For a list of brands making tights specifically for men, click here.
So there are indeed tights made that are crafted for men and marketed to men. There is quite a range of products, with the sheer styles being the more affordable, and the denser opaque styles typically costing much more. I won’t cite specific prices, but you can easily check them out on-line.
Quality wise, you will find some tights made for men to have an excellent fit and quality. But unfortunately, at this time the pricing is comparatively high. As I progress through my reviews of tights for women in large sizes, there are certainly more affordable alternatives. Some designs are “unisex” enough that they can pass for being worn by either gender, subjectively viewed as it may be. The typical problem with women’s opaque tights being worn by men are the lack of toe and heel reinforcement, and no crotch accommodation for extra room. They usually have a more semi-opaque appearance, which is fine for a woman with open toed shoes, but not for a man who wishes to maintain a masculine appearance even when taking off his shoes.
As a man, your best bet is to have at least several pairs of tights made specifically for men, and then fill the rest of your full length hosiery needs with quality women’s tights. But that is of course all up to you and your budget. Ultimately, it’s great to have a choice and balance it according to what works best for each individual.
So, to wrap up, yes–tights can be unisex, even if marketed for a specific gender. It’s all relative to how open minded you are. :-)