Have you heard of Comfort4Men (or C4M)? It’s a hosiery company based just outside of Nuremberg (Nuernberg) Germany that makes anatomically correct tights for men. It was started by a woman of great determination, and I think her story is best told by her:
“I worked in the fashion industry for many years and was always surprised that fashion and health care products such as support tights were only ever made for women. Support stockings and support tights would also help men to get through the day more comfortably if they have to sit or stand for long periods of time.
My story begins with a relative who suffered a serious thrombosis. From this point on he needed to wear medical compression tights. As no difference in fit was made between women and men, they were very uncomfortable to wear, particularly in the genital region. Up to this point in time, no-one apparently had troubled to find a solution for this problem. This was the basis for my idea.
Tights are ‘unisex’. Although in the world of fashion women have ‘taken over’ tights, they were originally exclusively men’s clothing. Today there is no reason why a man should not wear tights. Through their simplified production method and the way they are cut, modern tights are specially adapted to the female anatomy. So it is understandable that a man may have difficulties with the fit of support tights. For as the name says, support tights “support”, providing a compressed fit. For a woman, this effect in the panty part of the tights is often even desirable. But for a man, it can be quite uncomfortable.
Our soon to be patented solution now also enables men to utilize the health and aesthetic advantages of tights without having to forgo comfort. With today’s technology there is no longer anything unaesthetic or even unpleasant about the support effect! It has nothing more to do with the earlier ‘Granny look’. Try it for yourself and you will see it and feel it, I assure you. That is what I have determined, and that is also Comfort4Men’s motto.”
— Angelika Weiss
C4M produces an impressive line of tights specifically for men. There are 3 main style choices: support, luxury, and opaque. Within each style, there are several choices of color, denier, high/low brief, gusset color, fly option, and size. The result is approximately 60 variations, for just one style! The founder of C4M has taken a very thorough approach to the art of creating tights for men.
Just as people are aware of the electronics brand named “Apple”, so are most people familiar with the material called Lycra (spandex). Lycra was invented by Dupont as a stretchable synthetic fiber, made by a more complex technique than nylon. The most common brand neutral references to the material is spandex or elastane. While similar to nylon, it is much more stretchable. However, it is not as durable as nylon. A garment made completely of spandex would be prone to tears and have difficulty keeping form. This is why spandex is frequently blended with nylon, so that you get the benefits of both materials. I should point out that spandex is made in four different ways, and each method may result in some characteristic differences.
The percentage of spandex versus nylon results in different benefits and drawbacks that are important to be aware of when buying hosiery.
Day after day, thousands of fashion models adorn the pages of magazines, websites, and the canvases of billboards. What appears before us is a collaboration of model, clothing designer, fashion stylist, director, producer, and photographer. The result can be just your everyday display of clothing, or a flaunt of daring haute couture that strains the seams of social tolerance.
Some fashion photo shoots go the extremes of edginess, and for some reason certain models get picked for this. Maybe it’s their facial features, their personality, or a combination thereof. But some seem to attract this kind of fashion display on a regular basis, in between the usual modeling. They are well within the norm one moment, but in the next they barely resemble what we’ve known them to be. Sometimes it’s scary, mind boggling, or even horrific. One such model I recently discovered who frequently appears in edgy fashion shoots is Guinevere Van Seenus. Well, even the name sounds unusual, like some strange character from the realm of Harry Potter.
(Yes, this is a picture of the same person, made up to extreme differences)
I just took delivery of some tights from Comfort4Men, a hosiery business out of Germany that specializes in hosiery and undergarments for men. They have their own special line of tights for men that have an innovative fly design for easy access. Keep an eye out for an upcoming review in several days. 🙂
UPDATE: The review is now available, HERE.
These photos are from an Alberta Ferretti photo shoot in 2007. Alberta is an Italian fashion designer who produced her first collection in 1973. Ferretti is known for her designs featuring twisting, tucking, and draping techniques. To learn more about her, visit the Wikipedia entry.
“Double your pleasure, double your fun.”
“Well, shouldn’t we get going?” “I don’t know. Let’s just sit a while.” “OK.” Continue reading
Shapings.com is an on-line business that started out in 1995 as a physical store located in Ontario Canada, founded by Nicole Safko. They added Internet sales to their business in the fall of 2000. Shapings sells a wide variety of shapewear, bras (store only), girdles, panties, fine hosiery, and corsets. They have become one of the worlds largest retailers of fine European pantyhose, stockings and fashion hosiery, with 99% of all items in stock ready to be shipped to customers all around the globe.
I had an opportunity to interview with Robert Safko, the director of Shapings.com. Here’s what he had to say:
*** UPDATE ***
This was apparently a limited time sale and ended January 31st. Sorry.
I happened to notice that Emilio Cavallini is having a super 40% off winter sale on their website, although I have no idea how long it will last (probably as long as inventory lasts). This includes a number of clothing styles, as well as tights from their Winter/Fall 2011/2012, and Unisex collections. Their exchange rate looks seriously favorable for the USA, as the prices shown in USD are just about the same as GBP (hopefully this isn’t a mistake and the price will carry over to check-out). I’m not sure if USD prices shown include VAT, so they could be even cheaper for non-EU customers. And if you spend over 100 EUD, you get free shipping (in Europe). However, shipping is relatively high for the USA ($25 for up to $300, but free over $300), so you’d be best to buy at least several items. Anyway, they have a fabulous array of patterned tights, as well as basic unisex styles. Just one drawback I’ve found: their “M/L” is the largest size, tapping out at 5’11” and 176lbs. So for someone like me, I have to pass on this one.
I recently reviewed a pair of DKNY Super Opaque control top tights and found them to be very acceptable for the price. This was a pleasant discovery, as in the past I had found the plain opaque DKNY tights to be less generous in sizing. I then decided to have a look at the Donna Karan line and noticed several styles that appealed to me. They have a “Luxe Layer” version that is micro fleece lined and results in a very deep and uniform opaque appearance. But unfortunately the sizing offers only two choices, the larger being M/L, reduced by 30lbs in maximum weight from Donna Karan’s Tall size.
Donna Karan seems to experiment a lot style naming, resulting in a little confusion about what their product names really mean. I’ve noticed “Perfect Opaque”, “Signature Luxury”, “Signature Lux 90”, and “Sueded Jersey”, all looking to be about the same in terms of description. I decided on the “Perfect Opaque”, after being able to feel the material first hand at the Bloomingdale’s flagship store. This has a 90 denier material, heavier than the Sueded Jersey style that is described as 70 denier. They aren’t control top, but there is mention of the brief offering light support.
Courtesy of ItSocks, I’ll be receiving several Gatta tights styles, ranging from a light 40 denier to a heavy 600 denier fleece. Keep an eye out for reviews, the first upcoming next week! Be sure to stop by ItSocks, as they’re having a great winter sale on select hosiery. There’s also now a Men’s Tights section, which currently lists tights with XL sizes available (still tights marketed to women, but have a good fit for most men).
Rad Hourani is a fashion designer, who was born in 1982 to a Jordanian father and a Syrian mother in Jordan. After his high school graduation, he worked full time as a modelling scout and a stylist. Eventually he moved to Paris, where he designed his first clothing collection. Somehow, a mere two years later, he launched his namesake label for a fashion show and received notable attention. All at the young age of 25 (he’s 29 now).
What sets Rad apart from most other designers is his conceptional direction being predominantly focused on unisex designs, with a flair for goth. His fashions have become cult classics, often compared to established designers known for technical precision. In 2009, he hit the ground running with some outfits incorporating tights for women… and men, exuding a bleak-urban-future aesthetic. Rad has his own website where you can view the breadth of his designs: Rad Hourani. Meanwhile, please enjoy a few images I’ve located and posted below. Also, there’s a great interview with him on YouTube.