Fashion Q&A: Pantyhose alternatives for men seeking extra warmth under jeans

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Q: First of all: I am not a cross-dresser. I would just like to know if there is any such thing as pantyhose for men. Not for any kinky reasons. For warmth. I work outdoors for a pool construction and maintenance company. Our uniform consists of denim jeans, T-shirts and fleece jackets. My wife wears pantyhose or tights under her jeans to keep her warm. But no way will I wear women’s pantyhose. Way too embarrassing.

A: Hmmm. Pantyhose for men. Would that be mantyhose?

Man girdles — mirdles — have been gaining quite a following in recent years. It figures man hosiery would follow.

Not that you’d be the first guy to don pantyhose. None other than the great Joe Namath sported a pair when he made a TV commercial for Hanes Beauty Mist pantyhose back in 1973. “Now, I don’t wear pantyhose,” said the former New York Jets quarterback, “but if Beauty Mist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for yours.”

If adding a layer of warmth under your jeans is your goal, choose from these options:

Long johns: Old-fashioned, footless long johns have been keeping legs warm for decades. They are still widely available in various combinations of cotton, wool, nylon, silk, polyester and microfiber. Because of the slightly baggy fit, however, they’re best worn under relaxed-fit jeans. Check out the styles at sites such as jockey.com, llbean.com, landsend.com and sierratradingpost.com.

Performance long underwear: Designed for sports such as cold-weather running, cycling and skiing, this underwear is more fitted and would work well under jeans. Made from “performance” fibers, it offers stretch, support and wicking properties as well as warmth. Most styles are footless, and are available at sporting-goods stores and sites such as wintersilks.com, underarmour.com, travelcountry.com and peterglenn.com.

Men’s pantyhose: Long popular in Germany and catching on fast in Britain, regular pantyhose and tights designed especially for men are just starting to gain a following in this country. A few styles have a fly opening and most have a wider waistband than women’s pantyhose. Other than that, the usual options are available: sheer or opaque, regular or control-top, reinforced toe and/or heel, and color choices such as black, brown and nude. Order at hosieria.com and legwear4men.com.

Shivers: A cross between bulky long johns and skintight pantyhose, this long underwear fits comfortably under jeans. Made from high-tech microfiber, Shivers feature a reinforced fly and durable, socklike foot, and offer warmth while wicking away sweat. They’re also good for motorcycle riding, skiing, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities in cold weather. Order at shiverswear.com.

Need more mantyhose information? Visit e-mancipate.net, a Web site created to “accelerate the acceptance of male pantyhose as a regular clothing item.”

No kidding.