Kingsize, Not Queen: Some Men Have Taken to Wearing Pantyhose – WSJ

Robert Rodgers used to carry into stores a list of items such as milk, eggs and pantyhose, hoping others would think he was shopping for a wife or girlfriend. But he is no longer hiding the truth. “ The pantyhose are for me, ” says Mr. Rodgers, a 34-year-old San Francisco fiscal director for an entertainment union. It ‘s not news program that some men like to wear women ‘s clothe. But a different classify of man is discovering the virtues of ladies ‘ hosiery. No transvestite, he wears hose for heat, comfort or the compaction they provide as a possible antidote to circulatory problems or varicose veins. How his pantyhose look — or what other people think of them — becomes arguable once he puts on his slacks. “ I do n’t broadcast what I wear under my pants, ” says Steve Newman, an Ohio engineering-firm director who wears L’eggs Sheer Energy Active Support under them, among other brands .
Determining the amount of hosiery hiding below male trousers is impossible because storehouse cashiers do n’t normally record the buyer ‘s sex. But statistics online, where a man can buy hose without raising eyebrows, degree to an authentic recess. At, a lingerie Web locate offering European brands, approximately 85 % of women’s-hosiery sales go to males, many of whom station two orders — large sizes for themselves and smaller ones for their wives. A “ belittled ” share of sales of the No nonsense stigmatize go to men. Based on communications with these customers, rear Kayser-Roth Corp. estimates that 40 % are cross-dressers, and most of the pillow are men who plainly like or need to wear pantyhose .
A generations-old jobber of women ‘s hosiery called G. Lieberman & Sons has restructured itself into a manufacturer and on-line purveyor of pantyhose made entirely for men, called Comfilon. “ There ‘s a whole underground polish of normal, mainstream guys who wear hose, ” says Chief Executive Steve Katz. Most buy women ‘s brands. Mr. Katz says he sells hundreds of thousands of dollars a year worth of three-year-old Comfilon, which has male-specific features such as a fly in front. The company’s motto : “ Comfilons are not your mother ‘s pantyhose. ”

work force working outdoors sometimes find that nylon, unlike thermal underwear, provides warmth without bulk and without absorbing perspiration. For that rationality, master football players occasionally wear pantyhose during cold games. Men whose jobs require farseeing hours of standing say that pantyhose can reduce leg pain, swelling and fatigue. Increasingly, doctors recommend that long-distance fliers wear tight-fitting hosiery or socks, to prevent getting blood clots in their legs .
serviceman ‘s sense of freedom to wear pantyhose is growing at the like time that women feel detached not to wear them. It is much less common these days for companies to prohibit bare legs. A adult trouble for the hosiery diligence is that many young women now eschew pantyhose even when wearing skirts .
The diligence sells $ 1.4 billion a year in pantyhose in the U.S. alone. But unit bulk has been declining. At Sara Lee Corp., the largest player through its L’eggs and Hanes brands, unit of measurement book of bluff hosiery fell 8 % in 2001, “ reflecting the continuing refuse in the ball-shaped sheer hosiery grocery store, ” the ship’s company said .
The prognosis of a whole newfangled customer base would be enticing — if not for the decades-long promotion of pantyhose to women, based on sex appeal. That old motto, “ Gentlemen Prefer Hanes, ” did n’t mean they liked it on their own stage. The estimate of pantyhose on men was so unthinkable that quarterback Joe Namath got a boastfully joke by donning them for a television receiver commercial in 1973 for Hanes ‘s Beauty Mist brand .
If the industry suddenly tried marketing to both sexes, would it alienate women in greater numbers than it attracted men ? Sara Lee has no plans to market to men. At Kayser-Roth ‘s No nonsense, Vice President of Development Diane Warren notes that the electric potential problems extend beyond market. “ It would be unmanageable to get a retailer like Wal-Mart to devote ledge space to a pantyhose for men, ” she says .
still, it is n’t a big rise to pantyhose from nylon running tights, or cycling pants of the sort that are increasingly popular among men eager to look like Lance Armstrong. besides bridging the break are subscribe hose prescribed to men with phlebitis or a history of blood clots. Although nonprescription pantyhose do n’t provide sufficient compaction to combat serious vein or circulative problems, support hose can help child cases, doctors say.

But whether the incentive for pulling on that beginning pair is acrobatic performance or improved circulation, many men keep wearing women ‘s hosiery because it feels full. Mr. Rodgers, a erstwhile college athlete, substituted his girlfriend ‘s pantyhose for his running tights one day as an experiment. A ten later, “ I wear them every day under my clothes to work, ” he says, praising not just their comfort but efficiency. “ It combines underwear, socks and thermals all in one. ”
For the diligence, a cardinal to marketing to such men might be the diagnose of the product. so many men were buying women ‘s brands at Wolford AG, the luxury hosiery caller based in Austria, that four years ago it started offering male products. Its tights for men — a $ 90 cotton velvet extend — aren’t called tights. They ‘re called the Waistsock. Amid last year ‘s recession, Wolford America posted double-digit sales growth in that class. “ There’s nothing womanly about our men ‘s products, ” says Karen Schneider, Wolford’s headman executive officeholder .
But Waistsock does n’t seem sufficiently macho to Rob Safko. A structure contractor in Ontario, Mr. Safko has such severe varicose veins that a doctor ordered checkup patronize hose. He wears them as prescribed during long-pants season — but not under shorts in the summer. “ I ca n’t see the guys being excessively understanding about that, ” he says .
Mr. Safko has given considerable thought to how the pantyhose industry might marketplace a intersection for guys, and not only because he uses them himself. His wife, Nicole, founded, and he moonlights as her adjunct. In selling women ‘s brands online to early men, he has learned that many wear hosiery during athletic endeavors, such as cold-weather cycle. thus, Mr. Safko asserts, the diligence should devise a diagnose that suggests potency and endurance. He would choose “ Men ‘s Power Skin, ” he says .
Legwear purveyors contend that men wearing pantyhose belong to a tradition dating back to European gentry. “ There are portraits 200 years ago of royalty who wore precisely this dress, ” Mr. Katz says of his Comfilon male pantyhose .
But since most people do n’t regard male pantyhose wearers as conventional, let alone traditional, many men hush it up. Larry Sobczak, a Michigan diarist and avid cyclist, secretly has worn pantyhose for a decade, without mentioning it even to his brothers. The mark bothers him. “ I once had a girlfriend steal a pair of my boxers, ” he says. “ Why is that OK — women wearing men ‘s boxers — but it ‘s a big trouble if I steal a pair of her pantyhose ? ”
many guys say their wives or girlfriends have no problem with it. “ I had a girlfriend who liked to help me pick them out, ” says Mr. Rodgers.

A few men wear pantyhose publicly. “ I ‘m 57 and do n’t care what anybody thinks, ” says Ron Torgeson, a buyer for an Indiana mechanical contractile organ .
A pantyhose drug user for checkup reasons, Mr. Torgeson wore them under his shorts death summer on a fishing trip with a buddy. “ When he came down to the boat, my acquaintance noticed my hose and asked, ‘Do those avail ? ‘ And I said, ‘They do. ‘ then he started asking me about hosiery. He seemed quite interested in it. ”
Write to Kevin Helliker at kevin.helliker @

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Category : Fashion

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