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Singer Jutin Bieber has been wearing skin-tight bottoms for months. But will Europe’s skinnier and tighter trends make it across the Atlantic? (Joel Ryan/AP)
Singer Jutin Bieber has been wearing skin-tight bottoms for months. But will Europe’s skinnier and tighter trends make it across the Atlantic? (Joel Ryan/AP)

Are men really wearing leggings now? Add to ...

The question

Is it true that men in the big cities are starting to wear tights and leggings? If so, is there anything we can do to stop them?

The answer

The British and American media have already christened them “meggings” – man leggings, made for those confident guys with excellent legs to show off. This is following the previous coinage “mantyhose,” which is just as fine and smooth as women’s pantyhose but with a little extra material in the crotch.

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Mantyhose, available from several online retailers, is meant as simple hosiery – that is, a sort of extra-luxurious long underwear, to be mostly covered by clothes.

Meggings, on the other hand, are thicker, footless tights being worn in lieu of trousers, out in public.

I think they’re an excellent idea. Men’s clothing has been restricted for far too long to the rough and the sober and the unsensual. This is a way to show off some muscle and possibly add colour and pattern to a wardrobe as well. Does this idea frighten you? What, then, do you think of the jeans that are being worn so skinny and tight these days they might as well be hose?

Stretch leggings do, of course, come with one embarrassing problem, and that is the crotch. A guy will rapidly lose friends if he goes about the streets displaying his package in body-hugging polycotton. The only way to wear these things in public is under a longish shirt or sweater, along with heavy boots – yes, even in June – rather than flimsy sneakers to anchor the silhouette.

If this idea truly terrifies you, have no fear: The trend is unlikely to be a success in this conservative country, where some people think a silk pocket square is evidence of unwholesome deviance. Those people will have to be content to mock the trend from afar.

Novelist Russell Smith's memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a style question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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