TRY ME: Skin-tight and slinky and strictly for the boys

If you thought men only wore tights in Shakespearean plays, think again. They could be an essential male item this winter.
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The Independent Culture
FROM MID-OCTOBER Wolford launches "a world first in the luxury market" - tights for men. Why? Apparently, the Wolford Men collection will fill a gap in the male undergarment market, providing men with appropriate clothing for business and leisure. The thick (black only) tights are designed to provide warmth without being obtrusive.

With this in mind, I put them to the test and have to admit they were surprisingly comfortable. But they aren't without problems. Never having worn tights before (honest), how do you put them on without shredding them with a less than perfect pedicure? Childhood memories surfaced of my Mum bunching up her tights and gently rolling them onto her legs. So far so good. The tights, made from a stretchy "opaque cotton velvet knit", were very snug. Wolford have very helpfully designed them with a Y-front pouch, so no problems there, and the briefs-style seaming around the bum gives an instant lift. The press blurb saying they provide a "perfect fit" is quite true.

Looking in the mirror, I laughed. My legs looked smooth, black and very slim, which is not a sight I'm used to. The next step was to go out in them, discreetly hidden under a pair of jeans, of course. Thankfully, it was a cool day and I didn't over heat in the tights. In fact, they kept me surprising cool. It must have been the "actively breathing cotton". But there was a strange stretching sensation around my knees when I walked, almost like having a slightly loose second skin.

Another peculiar aspect was being aware of the tights but not my jeans. I felt like I didn't have any jeans on. I glanced down more than once to make sure by some awful twist of fate I hadn't walked out in a pair of tights and trainers. This sensation didn't wear off through out the day but probably will if you wear them on a daily basis.

And if you do, what about washing them? Instead of just chucking a bundle of smalls in the wash and turning on, I found myself fretting and looking for washing instructions. At pounds 39 a go, you can't be too careful. Machine washable at a low temperature, a specially made hosiery washing bag is available. Alternatively, Wolford advised me to "use a large sock". I chose the latter and they came out good as new, not like a pair of cycling shorts with little feet attached.

Reactions from friends ranged from "they're a gimmick" to "I'd wear them only if I was going to Iceland" to "do they have a hole for your willy?" but I was perfectly happy with them.

The tights border on dull, though. Perhaps some discreet sequin detailing or more cheery colours might jazz them up. Will they become part of my winter wardrobe? That's between me, myself and I. A man's got to have some secrets....

Tights for men are available in small, medium and large from Wolford boutiques and major department stores. For stockists call 0171-935 9202

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