Can fashion tights be Unisex?


Tight wearing family b&w

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.

Lida Men's tights 406
Lida tights (courtesy of Shapings.com)

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.  :-)

12 thoughts on “Can fashion tights be Unisex?

  1. I mean in the Middle Age men wore a kind of tights!! Unfortunatly today a man who wears tight is considered as a homosexual or a transgenre and every thing else . But as you can see on my own blog many women said it ‘s pretty nice and tights can fit to men to.
    I’m fed up with the “sexual connotation” of clothes !!!!

    • It’s not quite that “black and white”. Just as there are places you will go that discriminate on race without a second thought, and think it to be normal, there are plenty of places that are accepting of all races. Male cross-dressing has long been looked at as a comedy thing, with only in the last two decades more of an acknowledgement of men who do this as part of their personality. Yet, more often than not, they will be quickly labeled as homosexual when in fact many are not. Most homosexuals wear traditional male attire. The labeling of tights wearing as sign of homosexuality is clearly wrong. But where the issue lies is in social perceptions. These days it seems there are plenty of people who think it’s perfectly fine, don’t really care either way, or are motivated to have a problem with it (be quickly judgmental or even derogatory to the guy wearing tights).

      Let’s face it. A guy wears a skirt (not a kilt), and he’ll be thought of as effeminate and that it’s wrong to do it. A majority of women see tights as a feminine article, because they are predominantly sold and marketed as such. So, they will judge it as if it were a dress. What’s required is a change of social awareness, and that’s what people like you and me are trying to do with our websites. To educate those who are unaware, and to help advise those who are aware. And what needs to happen is for hosiery makers to promote more of a gender neutral or unisex marketing for tights that are passable as such (certainly they should market the effeminate tights styles for women only). This is done with denim jeans. There are styles that are clearly unisex, while there are some tailored specifically for women.

      • Well said, and for a site promoting skirts as an acceptable men’s garment in the west have a look at http://www.facebook.com/mensskirts. Just like tights, skirts are originally a men’s garment that suffers the same taboo and social conditioning as tights. Just like women wearing pants, tights and skirts will become just as common for men once us men get out there and wear and promote them as a masculine garment, ending the prejudices and double standards in men’s fashion.

  2. yes it should mentioned as unisex as tights is cover your legs that can protect from bug bites, etc… men can wear shorts or skirts that ok to wear as i dont see anu problems. i wear black tights with purple cord hot pants with white and pink stripe cotton traders shirt that match prefect colour, need change to look nice fashion for men as trousers are so boring as black/white. i never wear boxer short or socks that ive binned it cos it feel like newspaper crushing… tights make your legs so comfortable as velvet – still best to shave legs first cos hairy make u feel itchy plus look like ape legs… anyway tights still unisex so wear it :-)

  3. “A guy wears a skirt (not a kilt), and he’ll be thought of as effeminate and that it’s wrong to do it.”
    Just have to share this —
    I just finished a topic similar to this just yesterday [another site]. I explained my Aunt [RIP] , a devout Catholic, felt men should be able to wear skirts [not just kilts] and should be free of gender issues. For reasons of hygiene [lot's of air] and style. As long as their “bag-o-beans” didn’t show [her term, not mine ]. Yes, leggings would be deemed appropriate when called for.

    What a great outlook, eh?

  4. There are some mens brands, but over time, sometimes the manufacturer gets sloppy. This is where I wound up with the Platino Luxe Fata. Completely opaque. Unfortunately, there is no way it will fit a fat person. It is very glossy, so before you men say you hate glossy, just get one pair of this satin brand, and you may overlook the shine after feeling the huge comfort they provide. Extremely durable, most mens dress shoes are hosiery friendly, but stay away from shoes with a rough fabric insole. I found out the hard way!!! I threw out those shoes afterwards.

  5. Obviously, this is a long post, but stick with me and you may be very satisfied! I am a 26 year-old male who has recently experimented with trying to find a good, simple, reasonably modest, masculine, and fashionable way to wear tights/leggings for myself. After much experimentation in my bedroom mirror, I am excited to say that I believe that I have found a solution for all of the aforementioned parameters, in regards to my own wearing of legwear. Here begins my observations, revelations, and solution-

    Firstly, most tights-wearers (or would-be tights-wearers) are surely well aware of the North American social consciousness’ generally negative regard for the male body in relation to the female body (this might be called a gynocentric-misandry aesthetic); this manifests itself primarily in regards to what is and isn’t acceptable to display of the body (women have many more modes of fashion and clothing choices, and can be more revealing of their bodies, if they so choose). Furthermore, I believe that American culture’s aforementioned relative distaste for the male body manifests itself most strongly in regards to cultural ideas about the penis, as well as the unwritten rules concerning the display of the male “bulge” outside of an athletic or performance environment; in consideration of this, I think that, unfortunately, to the detriment of both some men’s self-image (I am one such man) and the sexual psyches of probably many women, the penis has been mystified, through society’s dictate that it be hidden, and the propagation of many myths and fallacies about it (e.g. wearing tight pants [or underwear, for that matter] is Uncomfortable [capitalized because there’s no way it EVER could for ANY man {this idea seems to largely be a female construct; amusingly, it’s as if they think that not having a penis gives them greater insight on what is and isn’t comfortable for the other half of humanity who does have one- how subversively arrogant and sexist!}; wearing tight pants drastically lowers a man’s sperm count and can even make him sterile [I think at least a cursory glance of men's pants in the 1970's along with the fact that there are no shortage of thirty and forty-something walking around is an obvious contraindication!] .

    I’ll admit, in regards to comfort level, it probably is more “comfortable”, overall, for many women to wear tight legwear as opposed to many men; as somewhat of an aside, I grew up in the boxer shorts revolution of the early-mid 90s and started wearing them around age the sixth grade- I have since given up wearing them since about the time I headed off to college and switched to tighter and more supportive types of underwear, mostly trunk-style boxer briefs, but also some briefs and even a few thongs [I personally think that the wearing of boxers as an everyday underwear choice can be bad news, in terms of the seemingly higher likelihood of sustaining an injury to an unsupported package, or simply because of my belief that, if you simply let your penis and testicles “hang” for a majority of your life without much support, your scrotal skin is likely going to be much more stretched out and thus, your testes will be much closer to dragging the ground [maybe that's why I've seen plastic surgery websites that offer a 'scrotal tightening' surgery]. I also have switched to more fitted cuts of bootcut jeans that flatter my butt and legs (what objective person could possibly say that the dumpy-diaper-butt/old man/mom jeans or gangsta baggies that many men have continued to wear for so long are so much better looking than a nice cut of jeans that reveals at least a bit of your male curves [we do have them!].

    Moving onward in my analysis, I asked myself why, aside from American culture’s low view of the penis, women get away with showing their crotches- since about the early, ’90s tight pants for men seemed to descended toward fashion oblivion, while nearly all cuts of women’s pants and jeans have remained more-or-less tight, especially in the legs, butt, and crotch. Furthermore, in considering the much more recent phenomenon of women wearing yoga pants, as well as leggings/tights as pants (for example, as opposed to tights/pantyhose under a skirt or dress), it is almost impossible for me to go out, say, to the grocery store or a restaurant without seeing at least one, if not several women wearing such fashions. Conversely, I think when, again, considering that men’s fashion, at least up until very recently with somewhat more form-fitting cuts of jeans, men have become basically obligated to obscuring our crotches, butts, legs (the whole lower body, in general!) in baggy shorts, baggy jeans, and even long oversized shirts and jackets that cover most or all of the lower torso (this seems most prominent in a lot of male hip-hop fashion).

    Anyway, I think the biggest and most basic women reason get away with this is, while considering that women can now wear pants and tights freely in contemporary culture as they never have before, society has deemed that a woman’s crotch area doesn’t really “have” anything “there” to “offensive” or “obscene”. For women, pulling up and wearing a pair of tights or jeans or leggings all the way up into their crotch is arguably less revealing, and somewhat more of an intuitive mode of fashion- their legs meet perfectly in conjunction without anything much of anything to “bunch up” down there (although I often think there is a little something there worth a quick and modest glance!). In a sense then, women have an advantage to displaying their crotches aesthetically and modestly, which is simple and doesn’t require much consideration (they can just put on most any kind of underwear and pull up your tights/leggings/pants and go). Thus, I think many women probably have a devil-may-cry “so what?” regard for how they wear legwear in this way. On the other hand, male genitals, although basically symmetrical like a female’s, can tend to be much more awkward to display to their aesthetic potential- as an obtuse and hanging organ that disrupts the conjunction of the legs, the male crotch area is very different from a woman’s, and arguably, is much different than anywhere else on the human body (it’s basically the only part of the body where a relatives large and prominent organ that resides at a conjunction of two other body parts- in this way, a woman’s crotch is much like an armpit, the junction of the upper and lower arm, and the back of the knee, while a man’s crotch is something much unlike these).

    I think wearing tight legwear comes basically comes down to figuring out the best way to show the male “bulge” appropriately in a consideration of good aesthetics, and as I said, this requires more effort and consideration than it does for a woman. I think it all comes down to a basic notion that neither men or women wish to receive a full and detailed anatomy lesson on a stranger’s genitals, especially in day-to-day fashion- for women, although they can surely display their crotches with much fewer societal hang-ups, it is almost universally a faux paus to show a ‘camel toe’, which, for the uninitiated, means seeing the visible outline of a woman’s labia and the cleft between them. Men have an analogous hangup that is often referred to, though somewhat less commonly, as a ‘moose knuckle’, which usually implies that one is displaying the cleft between the testes (often caused by legwear that has a centre seam through the groin), or a general asymmetric mashup of the male genitals. Arguably, it is much easier for women to avoid ‘camel toeing’ than it is for a man to avoid ‘moose knuckling’, considering the aforementioned physicality of the genitals of both sexes.

    How do you show the male genitals most aesthetically? My solution involved turning toward an art hat has prominently and unabashedly displayed the male genitals for centuries- ballet. If you’ve ever been to a ballet, you’ve undoubtedly seen a lot of bulges, if the ballet involves male dancers; furthermore, you may have also noticed that the bulges of such male dancers are very symmetrical and “smoothed out”, and really don’t put the outline of the different parts on full display- certainly, one can see that this is definitely not a woman’s groin, and that there is definitely (something, lol) there, but this “something” is much easier on the eyes than what society typically wants us to this of when we imagine male genitals in tight clothing. The basic gist of how male dancers achieve this is by wearing what is called a ‘dance belt’ under their tights, which is basically a tight thong; although a wearing a dance belt helps to create an idealized male bulge, it’s more primary function is to prevent a man’s genitals from being smashed between muscular legs which are constantly crossing and scissoring the crotch area. Wearing a dance belt correctly requires that the dancer pull their penis and testicles up high from out between the legs (penis pointed up) and then pulling on the dance belt, which holds everything in this position (interestingly, I have always positioned my package like this in my underwear as I have found it the most comfortable and supportive position, much more so than leaving my package hanging and pointing down in the pouch area).

    So, considering all this, I put on one of my thongs and put on a pair of black fitness tights- success! The bulge looks much less menacing but still very much masculine. Still, I thought I could do better- I wanted to avoid the “pulling” of fabric around the groin that can often be noticed, usually in thicker legwear, and especially men’s jeans (this is most prominent when either sitting or when standing with the legs together when standing, versus their being more spread apart [this also happens with women, but generally only when their legs are completely pressed together]). I noticed that if I provided more upward tension on the waistband that this “pulling” almost completely disappeared. Perhaps ingeniously, I attached a pair of suspenders to my tights to provide this tension, and voila- an idealized bulge that looks in-place and masculine without showing the world that I’m circumcised.

    I think you’ll find that the suspender idea, although it may seem cumbersome or absurd, is really neither, if you try it for yourself. Still, if this seems too silly for you to try, maybe consider a pair of men’s suspender tights or a unitard, which has fabric that stretches over your shoulders. Still, most importantly I think wearing a thong is essential- I personally think it’s the most supportive kind of underwear, plus it doesn’t leave any underwear lines under your leggings/tights, which is a bonus, as well.

    As far as men’s tights/leggings and fashion, I have found that one style that I am very happy with for myself is to wear a pair of reasonably thick black fitness/dance tights with the suspenders, and wearing a “wife beater” or tank top over it (I’m wearing purple, right now), finishing with a contrasting hooded sweatshirt. Depending on the weather, I will see how this look feels and wears in public, very soon (I live in Kansas, and the weather is all over the place from day to day!). I wear a pair of hoop earrings most days, and also like to wear a necklace every now and then, usually a silver ball and chain type (some days when I’m very confident and want to go wild, I rock a bit of black eyeliner, in the right situations (okay, so admittedly, I’m very much a ‘metrosexual’). I generally think my look, as far as my clothing and hair, is definitely an inspired ‘rocker’ look, although I’m also a regular gym-goer and have a lean and muscular body with wide shoulders, muscular pecs, and a good lower body (basically, I’m muscular and certainly not skinny, but I only seem ‘huge’ to my girlfriend when I’ve got my shirt off [think Taylor Lautner]). I think my outfit goes along with my self-image and overall style without being ostentatious or over the top- I might be noticed for my tights, but I’m not going to be noticed for an otherwise “loud” outfit. I know a lot of women, such as my girlfriend, feel that, if you’re going to wear leggings/tights as pants, you ought to wear a top that is at least long enough to cover most of your butt- I agree with her, and for myself, this is how I wear my aforementioned getup, with the tank top going just slightly past my crotch and covering most of my butt. I actually rather like this because when I’m moving around, I do end up revealing a tiny bit more than if I’m just standing still, which I think combines my own standard of modesty with just the right touch of sex appeal.

    Overall, I think that darker shades of opaque leggings and fitness tights work for me and my desired look (and maybe I’ll experiment further down the road with more colors, etc.). As an aside, I really think that, unfortunately for some, it will be quite some time before sheer stocking and hosiery become acceptable for men to wear in public. Although, I am definitely fighting the battle for male fashion liberation in my own small way and think we should be able to wear much of what women can if we so choose, I really think that sheer legwear on a male body is definitely very difficult to do; honestly, I can’t imagine how the vast majority of men could successfully pull off such a look while still looking reasonably masculine. I guess I believe that there are probably at least one or two types of relatively cross-gender clothing that just aren’t going to look good on the vast majority of persons of the opposite sex- maybe for me it’s sheer hosiery for men, and maybe suit jackets with lapels for women (I dunno, haven’t thought this part through, too much). However, a total fashion revolution might change this (for example, men wore tights as everyday wear in a lot of Europe for many many years).

    Anyway, from my own perspective, I think that probably the best way for most of us to start inspiring a push for more versatile legwear in men’s fashion is to try to incorporate legwear into a look that we already might sport- figure out how to combine tights or whatever with your outfit instead of your usual pants/jeans. This might be tricky at first, but with one or two thoughtful modifications, you might discover something really neat and fashion-forward that isn’t immodest or over the top! Maybe if we use such an idea as a starting point to finally suck it up and start wearing legwear in public, hopefully other closet legwear fans will say “screw it!” and join the party to make such a look a more common and societally-approved mode of fashion

  6. men should wear tights. And young boys should me made to wear them as kids. As early as 5 and 6. Once it becomes mainstream, society will eventually evolve!!

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