Tia-Anna is arguably Sheffield’s most prominent drag act, frequently spotted mingling at LGBT events such as Climax, performing at ICONS or on a bike, speeding off to another hip happening. We know her as the artist with the many outfits but as it turns out, the man behind the act is quite the writer, too. In an exclusive blog for Climax Online, Tia-Anna a.k.a. Dan Kahn shares his insight into what he feels has long been missing on the male fashion scene.

Is It Time for Men To Wear Tights?

Many interesting fashion-trends come and go from year to year in both women’s and men’s fashion but one of the oddest in recent years, is tights and leggings; for men.

As a man who feels happy to show off his legs in a good pair of leggings or tights, I was delighted by news a few years ago that the popularity of leggings, treggings and jeggings among women were to be joined by MEGGINGS, or leggings specially for men.

Many men who experimented with fashion over the past few decades, such as glam rock stars, actors and ballet-dancers turned out to be gay/bi, although, in spite of their flamboyant style, often spent many years hiding their sexuality. This was especially so before the 1980’s, when being openly gay exposed one to discrimination or worse.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s it was men like David Bowie and Marc Almond who were in the forefront of experimentation in fashion, pushing the boundaries, and perhaps the biggest fashion-statement, short of full drag, was, and still is, wearing tights.

Men’s tights never caught on widely since then but have they gone away either and fashion designers like Uniqlo and Jean-Paul Gaultier have recently introduced men’s leggings. A growing trend for men’s skinny jeans, most recently tight ‘Spray-On’ jeans for men from Topshop, also exists.

Then there’s the absolutely huge sportswear market for leggings designed for men; cyclists, joggers, skiers, athletes, even footballers increasingly swear by high-tech ‘compression-leggings’, thermal undertights, and other tight lycra outfits designed for warmth and comfort. I admit myself that I first became an enthusiastic cyclist partly because cycling is one of the few activities where men can normally wear tights without ridicule.

Indeed, fear of ridicule discourages many men from even once trying a pair of tights and maybe it is due to the male anatomy. However, many men do sometimes like to show off their manhood; just think of Speedos! Tights are wonderful for showing off the curves and muscles on anyone’s legs; indeed, women often say how great my own 51-year-old legs look in them. So, if any of you men out on the scene fancy wearing tights, even if just for Halloween fancy dress, give it a go today!

Style Tips

  • ‘Mens’ leggings from specialist websites are expensive, however markets sell thousands of styles of women’s leggings cheaply and they will do the job, especially if it is just for one-off fancy dress.
  • Leggings or even women’s nylon tights (you might want to choose size ‘Large’) under a pair of baggy shorts look great, and can be a good conversation point at clubs or events. The best combination in my opinion is patterned tights/leggings under plain coloured shorts or plain leggings under patterned shorts.
  • If you’re really brave, wear leggings with miniskirt, high heels and maybe even some make up. I sometimes dress like this when I have grown a beard, which I cover in glitter; for the androgynous ‘Jonny Woo’ look.
  • Leggings with a kilt are a definite no-no; kilts are meant to go with socks and hairy bare legs!
  • Footwear: Boots are great, unless trainers when doing sports. Chunky, goth boots such as New Rock are best of all, if you ask me.
  • Leggings have no pockets: carry valuables in a ‘man-bag’ when out on the town.

Shops And Inspiration:

STITCH – Leggings for men, made in London.

BOY LONDON – Leggings by BOY London

THE STYLE FOX – Tights for men

SEMI PRECIOUS WEAPONS – Website featuring Semi Precious Weapons, the rock band whose lead singer Justin Tranter is a major fan of wearing tights!

Topshop – For those ‘Spray-On Jeans’

 

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Text: Dan Kahn

Image: Tobias Kingsley Terpilowski-Gill from Film And Stills Tobias Gill