Leggings aren’t just for women anymore, because men are wearing them too. Male celebrities, such as Justin Bieber, Lenny Kravitz and even Russell Brand likes them. These leggings (or meggings should I say) have been seen on the runway and on the racks of retail stores. Don’t believe me, take a look at Men Wearing Tights With Shorts, which has model shots from Prada, Nike, and Urban Outfitters.
The hip-hugging garment has been worn by women for years, but now is the popular choice for men to wear with a fedora, giant scarf, and leather kilt. “Guys have been wearing slimmer and slimmer pants in the last few years, so the natural progression is to move to the man legging,” says Patrick Jones, a rep for Uniqlo, which offers its own brand of “made for all” meggings. But, technically the company calls them long johns that are originally meant to be worn under pants; however, that didn’t stop Japan, Korea and now America from wearing them alone or with shorts, “especially given that their proprietary Heat Tech technology makes layering a sweaty proposition,” Jones says.
However, there lies a problem. Leggings have a tendency of highlighting “below the belt” for men I shall say. “Bulge is for the bedroom,” admits Phillip Salem, owner of the meatpacking boutique Owen.
Fashion blogger, Aaron Reese likes to wear his meggings with, “a structured top” or an oversize graphic tee. “Our culture increasingly becomes accepting of blurred gender lines within the fashion industry,” he says. “Womenswear is consistently inspired by menswear, and [now] vice-versa.” But for John Barlett, a new designer for meggings, feel that it has nothing to do with adrogyny. “It’s more an offshoot of athleticism,” he says of his football-inspired pairs. “With all of the performance gear and sport-inspired clothing out right now, leggings are great pieces of clothing, whether worn under your jeans or alone for a night of clubbing.”
Bartlett does have a valid point: Before women started wearing leggings, they were athletic wear as “compression garments” by companies like Patagonia and Northface to insulate, protect, and help people exercise. And hundreds of years before that, they were called stockings. Shakespeare wore them and King Henry the VIII wore knitted silk ones that he presumably borrowed from none of his six wives.
It took women like Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, and millions of others — pairing them with denim cutoffs, tunics, and Uggs — to get the most daring among men to try out the look. Stores like Barneys, Nordstrom, and small boutiques are beginning to test the waters by bringing them out on the men’s floors this season. So, guys if you’re interested in sporting the hottest trend, here’s just one word of advice–stretch out the crotch area before wearing them.