April 27, 2019

"[S]o, like, are men going to start wearing leggings, or what?" — asks GQ.

That's the way they talk at GQ now, okay?
At first... women sought to free themselves from the tyranny of the lopsided chaos of pant sizing. But then it was like, why not look like you’re working out all the time? If you can’t spend your day strolling from spin class to the ashram and over to the matcha canteen, can’t your legs look like it?

Men, on the other hand, have always had a healthier relationship with pants, which makes a full-on pivot to the Leggings Lifestyle less likely. Still, leggings are the CBD of clothing—they make everything more zen....
Now, that's funny. I like "the CBD of" formulation, but I don't accept the analogy, since I suspect CBD is a panacea, which would make "The Emperor's New Clothes" the CBD of clothing. With leggings, you're at risk of being considered underdressed by the leggings-are-not-pants crowd, but you're not naked.

I think I've blogged leggings for men before — long ago. Were they called "meggings" or am I just dreaming... dreaming of... see, that's the thing. You're going to need a long tunic or you'll be showing too much interleg bumpiness. For a woman, you can appease the leggings-are-not-pants people with a long top or a skirt of any length — you've already got plenty of these items — or you can just be out and proud. For a man, you'll need... tunics. There's no other way. The question is not "Are men going to start wearing leggings?" It's "Are men going to start wearing leggings and tunics?"

Or... no... I'm continuing to read this silly article, and I run smack into this:
Maybe you will wear them under tiny shorts, or maybe you will be bold and wear them unaccompanied with a giant top!
Maybe you will wear them under tiny shorts! I'd envisioned the "giant top" (i.e, a tunic), but I had not thought of the tiny shorts.  Why tiny, by the way? Why not big shorts? Why giant top but tiny shorts? Oh, the mysteries of fashion!

At the link, we see a male model in leggings and a rather elaborate upper-body get-up. It's about as good as you can do selling the idea of a man in leggings (outside of the ballet and various sports). But the model's legs are awfully spindly for that kind of exposure.

Anyway, I did blog leggings for men back in 2015 — here.

97 comments:

Anthony said...

Some men have begun wearing them under long shorts at the gym at least. Mainly when it's cold out and you ride in or something.

One young man at the university gym I was at was wearing them to work out in.

Men aren't built for leggings. You need a very narrow waist and bulky legs.

tcrosse said...

It calls for a jerkin. Or a doublet. And a codpiece. Dress like Nureyev.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Add a man-bun and you're in.

Hagar said...

Louis XIV - with Obama's head photoshop.

mockturtle said...

Bring back the codpiece!

Sam L. said...

I'm not in the GQ demographic.

Michael K said...

Does any straight male read GQ? Or Esquire, for that matter.

Lawrence Person said...

As a man, I just want to mention that my legs pretty much never get cold before my arms. Between 55-60°F I'm more likely to toss on a light jacket and still wear shorts.

Then again, I live in Austin and work in high tech, where shorts (cargo, not "tiny") are pretty standard in the summertime.

Then again, my legs seem more muscular than most.

Annie C. said...

Remember the Roger's and Hammerstein "Cinderella" on TV in the late sixties and early seventies?

The King and Prince Charming weore leggings. Back then they were called leotards.

Now I am off to my own little corner in my own little chair.

dustbunny said...

When I was a kid futuristic comics, movies etc. all had people in elasticized tight clothing, Star Trek uniforms. So the
present is the future crossed with Elizabethan costume.

Lurker21 said...

It worked in the Renaissance.

Went out of fashion when Henry VIII got too fat to rock the look.

chickelit said...

I don't think leggings for men will catch on.

I've noticed a curious trend out and about while hiking in SoCal: For couples, there is a trend for women to wear more and more revealing shorts and leggings while their men are wearing baggier and baggier shorts and covering up more. That sort if pairing is everywhere.

I recently bought a pair of Levi's cutoff shorts -- the kind with frayed edges which gets a teeny bit shorter with each wash. They are at knee length now but in time they will wear shorter. The shorts are tight enough to wear without a belt and put a prominent crotch bulge on display. This was "the look" back in the 70's when I was a teen.

Sarah from VA said...

We had fun in high school putting on a production of Much Ado About Nothing and critiquing the boys in their hosiery. Most teenage boys are too skinny to pull off leggings -- our poor lead was dubbed "skinnycalves Matt." For some reason shorts are more flattering for skinny, bony legs -- even though you can SEE them, your attention isn't drawn the same way as when they're covered in skin-tight fabric.

On the other end of the spectrum, obese legs are not exactly a treat for the eyes, either. A well-turned calf really is an important part of male beauty.

wildswan said...

Althouse must be looking at Paris fashion. I was looking at the LL Bean catalogue today and saw Madras shorts and shirts, cargo shorts, blue jeans, striped shirts. Back to the Fifties in Maine. But if we're going to do medieval London, why not those special shoes with long toes as well as leggings and puffy underpants with floral designs on the outside as in the picture below. I think it looks rather sweet.

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-two-english-courtiers-of-richard-ii-14th-century-they-wear-fashionable-83330610.html

chickelit said...

Remember the Roger's and Hammerstein "Cinderella" on TV in the late sixties and early seventies?

I recently purchased and read the original version called Aschenputtel by the Brothers Grimm. The German language is simple and beautiful but also brutal. In the end, the evil stepsisters have their eyes plucked out by doves as punishment for being so mean to Cinderella.

Hari said...

What is CBD?

mockturtle said...

A well-turned calf really is an important part of male beauty.

Elizabeth I often made this observation.

gilbar said...

actually, for Years, and Years, men (and women) have worn
Long underwear and athletic shorts

They're really quite comfy (for running in the rain, etc)

gilbar said...

Anthony said...
Some men have begun wearing them under long shorts at the gym at least. Mainly when it's cold out and you ride in or something


I should learn to read (at least the 1st of the) posts before contributing

cf said...

What is ridiculous about this is that Men would have to undress to pee.

One of the wonderful freedoms that men have over women is that their clothes are designed to they can pee freely with little fuss.

Now, with a codpiece, is that a stylish opening like a fly? then OK!

(i thought the bulges of "Romeo and juliet" filmed in the 60s was "ooh-la-la. )

Sydney said...

Leggings on men really do call for a tunic. Otherwise, they end up looking like Richard Simmons. Women look better if they wear a tunic style shirt or a dress with their tunics, too. I am often surprised at the see through nature of the leggings on women that come through my office. They probably aren't aware of how much of their rear end is visible through those things from behind.

cf said...

so, yes, i am with jcross and mockturtle. bring back the codpiece.

JaimeRoberto said...

I wear them when I ride my bike in the cold, but I ain't going to walk around town like that.

reader said...

Some men already wear what are essentially leggings - men’s bike pants. If you are looking for really small men’s shorts you’d need to go back to Dolphin shorts. I truly hope nobody goes back to wearing Dolphin shorts.

Temujin said...

"...the tyranny of the lopsided chaos of pant sizing."

Has there ever been another generation, so wealthy and full of excess time as to create scenarios in which the size of one's pants were viewed as an oppressive force, bringing evermore chaos into their lives?

1) The 'man' photo at the top of the GQ article was not actually a man.
2) The article is not actually an article.
3) GQ is not actually a magazine.
4) Thinking went out sometime around the late 80s and has not been seen since.

Shouting Thomas said...

Fags and fag hags in fashion and design issuing the standard, default controversy.

Supposedly outraging the hicks in flyover.

n.n said...

First, a sexual revolution. Then, transgender is trending. Now, a social convergence. Here's to progress.

wwww said...

Maybe someone changed it into meggings at some point for men's wear. The stores call tight stretch jeans jeggings.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't look, but I can opine!

As my wife will be the first to tell you, I've got much prettier legs than she does; but overall I'm what the Krauts call "sitzriese"-- sitting giant. Long torso, short legs.

Since I retired I get by on faded wide-bottom jeans that were always too long but are now also too big (1 pair), some slacks I got last summer, too short (should have had her with me, 3 pair), and shorts of many lengths, some pretty risque' (need to purge that drawer).

Michael K, I can't speak for all straight males, but I'm surprised GQ and Esquire are still things. I'm old enough to remember when Esquire WAS a thing, but I was never a fan.

Narr
I've got two-three old Playboys around, for the articles

Paco Wové said...

"Bring back the codpiece!"

Mockturtle asks, and William Tenn delivers.

Anthony said...

I totally think men should start wearing these: Scrunch-butt leggings

Fernandistein said...

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, the leggings of drugs - they make everything more nonzensical.

JAORE said...

Oh, the mysteries of fashion!

Oh the stupidity of forced fashion.

tim maguire said...

I bought a pair last fall so I could bike deeper into the winter. Always with baggy shorts over them. And I felt stupid, but they worked. And that’s the attraction—they are functionally superior to traditional sweats for exercising in the cold. But they look stupid and as general wear—no. Maybe for the sitzplinkers, but even then, no.

Swede said...

They turned into a women's magazine so slowly that hardly anybody noticed.

hombre said...

Leggings are great under lightweight shorts for wading while fly fishing, weather permitting. They provide much less resistance when crossing rivers with fast current.

H said...

There's a university in the midwest where a number of fraternity boys have taken to wearing t-shirts that say, "my erect penis looks like this" with a silhouette of an erect penis and balls. Some girls at the university objected to boys wearing those t-shirts to class, saying that they were distracted and/or intimidated in what should be a non-sexual (classroom) situation. The boys replied, "you need to get control over your own reactions, and besides, the t-shirts are very comfortable."

gilbar said...

cf said... What is ridiculous about this is that Men would have to undress to pee.

That's the advantage of long underwear, there's a underwear overlap in the front just like regular underwear

rhhardin said...

I have great legs so just wear bermudas.

gilbar said...

hombre said...
Leggings are great under lightweight shorts for wading while fly fishing, weather permitting. They provide much less resistance when crossing rivers with fast current.


I wear shorts if i'm going to wet wade; but leggings would give sun resistance, so i'll have to think about them.
Usually, i wear my waders far into the year. They're not bad in the water (walking back to the car is another story), and they REALLY cut down on the ticks (and poison ivy) while walking through the woods

Narayanan said...

Don't we already have "longjohns"
Now they can be showing.

alanc709 said...

The closest I would ever come to wearing "leggings" are the thermal pants I wear for winter. Not baggy, but they do have a fly, unlike what I expect those pseudo-men in leggings have.

cyrus83 said...

The only part of men's legs that are worth showing off to impress the ladies are well-shaped calves, which was the fashion of the day for quite some time with knicker-style pants and knee-length hosiery. From what I understand, back in the day, showing off impressive calves was so important in courtship that men would sometimes cheat by sticking enhancements in their socks to make the calves appear larger, which sometimes led to embarrassment if the socks had a wardrobe malfunction due to the tension being too much.

With shorts at the gym, I will usually wear black compression calf sleeves to the knee, although that's to hide the fact that there is an ugly red splotch on one leg that is embarrassing to put on display.

mockturtle said...

Mockturtle asks, and William Tenn delivers.

Thanks, Paco Wove! A hilarious satire worthy of Swift.

0_0 said...

Nobody would enjoy looking at men in leggings.

n.n said...

But the model's legs are awfully spindly for that kind of exposure.

This reminds me of the SNL satire of sexual harassment, where it is welcome in one instance and abusive in another.

Yancey Ward said...

Sam L. said...

"I'm not in the GQ demographic."

No man is.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Broadway Joe Pantyhose 2.0

Titus said...

They are huge at the gym now. So are very short shorts. Straights and gays are wearing them.

Tits

D 2 said...

I admit I first saw the CBD reference and my mind went to "Central Business District?" before the other CBD reference kicked in.
I am clearly not with the times and fashions.
Although if I were a younger man, perhaps leggings would indeed be the CBD (old school def) of my fashion consciousness.

Francisco D said...

What is ridiculous about this is that Men would have to undress to pee.

I wear compression shorts for outdoor activities and working out. You have to pull the shorts down to pee. It's not a big deal, but can be somewhat awkward in public restrooms.

stevew said...

Not a leggings wearer but I do have ankle length bike shorts and the warmups I have for soccer are narrow and tapered. Would never wear anything similar outside of a sports activity. There is a pants style called joggers that are similar; won’t wear them either. But I’m 61 so these fashions aren’t meant for me.

When do kilts come into fashion, if comfort is one of the goals a kilt is hard to beat.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

When do kilts come into fashion, if comfort is one of the goals a kilt is hard to beat

'Cargo' style work kilts on sets have been seen, but can only be worn by someone
no one would mess with

Jeff Brokaw said...

Men’s leggings!?! Well, there’s 45 seconds of my life I’ll never get back!

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

But I’m 61 so these fashions aren’t meant for me.

This.
"Do these leggings make my Depends look big?" is a question no one wants to ask or answer

ceowens said...

Where does your pistol go?

Mark said...

If you live in a cold area, you really should learn the value of long underwear (which is essentially what leggings are).

There is a lot of blood pumping through your legs. And hence the potential for a lot of heat loss. The long underwear retains that heat in your legs and hence keeps the blood warm, which then courses through to keep the entire body warm, especially if your leg muscles are moving.

ceowens said...

My wife just mentioned court jesters with those turned up for thinges. And of course the afore mentioned tunic.

ceowens said...

Turned up "toe".

Mike Petrik said...

I don't know about leggings, but what's up with all those NFL draft studs (excepting Daniel Jones) wearing capris? I mean "no break" is one thing, but capris?

tcrosse said...

Where does your pistol go?

Into your cockholster. Or Putin's.

Birches said...

My guess is that leg hair makes leggings infinitely more uncomfortable for men than women.

n.n said...

live in a cold area, you really should learn the value of long underwear

As a functional, not fashionable accessory. Also, as underwear, not outerwear. Furthermore, society has a compelling interest to normalize a favorable juxtaposition of the sexes.

jwl said...

I was surprised to see lots of males wearing leggings underneath shorts while playing basketball during March Madness last month. I would have thought leggings were constricting, I don't understand appeal of extra layer.

tcrosse said...

My guess is that leg hair makes leggings infinitely more uncomfortable for men than women.

There are places where leg hair on women is not unknown.

BJM said...

Bro, put down the GQ and try the Duluth catalog.

I get that this is youthful rebellion and identity seeking... think about the gosh awful stuff generations past wore.

Cyclists are another group who have worn leggings for decades. Living in the country we are awash in spandex-ed cyclists' arses...packs of 'em hieing up the hills in unison...it's mesmerizing.

Short shorts in the gym...eeeewwww. Gyms already smell bad enough and who wants to use equipment after that guy?

GQ has been pushing skirts for men, not kilts, but skirts for some time. Unless you're a Celt in a clan tartan with a proper sporran, a kilt is trying too hard.

Seeing Red said...

Men in tights.

Errol Flynn yes. These guys no.

Freeman Hunt said...

Surely all the male commenters here will jump right on this trend. There should probably be official Althouse men's leggings.

BJM said...

Seeing Red said...
Men in tights.

Errol Flynn yes. These guys no.


Definitely. Rathbone pulls off a fancy tunic too.

William said...

In the winter I wear sweat pants to the gymn. They are nothing like leggings.......Do you have a well turned calve? I haven't a clue as to what a well turned calve even looks like. If, in fact, I have an ill turned calve, it's a debility I'm willing to live with.

Mr Wibble said...

I don't want to live in a world where the SCA was ahead of the fashion curve.

ALP said...

I seen men wearing jeans so skinny around the calf - might as well be leggings. If they guy also has large feet and is wearing pointy shoes, it is all I can do to restrain myself from asking: "Clown?" I mean, is there a trend in 'making your feet look ridiculously huge' trend that is supposed to suggest a long penis?

rcocean said...

"A well-turned calf really is an important part of male beauty."

That's why I keep my legs under wraps. Too much loveliness for the ladies to handle.

rcocean said...

So Yoga pants for men? Okey Dokey.

SF said...

I feel like "panacea" wasn't actually the word you wanted to use there? People are absolutely treating CBD like it's a panacea, you're suspecting they're wrong. Perhaps "placebo"?

rcocean said...

Ever seen those weird "space suits" that bicyclists wear? That's the worst "mens look" ever. When they have their helmets on, they look like praying mantis or stick figures from Venus.

mockturtle said...

Freeman suggests: Surely all the male commenters here will jump right on this trend. There should probably be official Althouse men's leggings.

With a rat codpiece.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Although I do have a pair manly, muscular, perfectly proportioned legs, I shall not wear leggings.
Or shorts.
Sorry, ladies.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

How, exactly, did the codpiece work? Was there a slit (don't laugh) that enabled the cod to be hauled out quickly for practical or recreational purposes? Or did men have to pull down the front of their tights and fish the cod out?

If they made a return today, they would soon become the male equivalent of the padded bra.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

The Canadian novelist Robertson Davies was also a man of the theater who said he saw many pitiful male legs encased in tights when he participated in amateur productions of Shakespeare. He said they generally fell into two categories - either spindle shanks or "beef to the heels." Davies' theory was that men had good legs when male legs were showcased in tights, while women's legs were nothing much to look at until the 20th century rolled around, hemlines rose, and they suddenly needed to have good legs.

I have no idea how Davies (born in 1913) knew women had bad legs prior to the Flapper Era. Did he travel back in time and take a peek under those hoop skirts? It's true that women didn't need good legs to be considered attractive back then but that is different from asserting that they didn't have good legs.

It is true that up until trousers were invented, people did notice and judge men's legs. According to historian Paul Johnson, Wordsworth's skinny piano legs received a great deal of adverse comment. I guess "Tintern Abbey" makes up for that though.

Ralph L said...

The first time I bicycled in my current burg, my bare knees slowed traffic, and everyone in the minivan stared at them.

I doubt male leggings will catch on, but then I didn't think boxer-briefs would either, and now it's hard to find anything else.

mockturtle said...

Exiled, I'm not sure [and am too lazy to look it up] but I think they were held in place with a string.

BJM said...

@exiled said "Or did men have to pull down the front of their tights and fish the cod out?"

Nope, they wore hose, not tights. Right up to the end of the Edwardian era neither men or women wore what we know as underpants. The need to urinate trumped modesty. Regency sideboards even had a lead lined drawer containing a chamber pot for men to relieve themselves during long dinners.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

bummer.
planned on going to a seafood place tonite for a nice piece of cod.

we'll just go with the clams inste...

mockturtle said...

Apparently, 'cod' was the old English word for scrotum. Or so I read.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donald said...

I wear em for baseball. Have for about 25 years. They’re great for that.

Anonymous said...

Ian Anderson of Jeth- hell you either know or don't--anyway he tried to revive the codpiece back in the late 60s-early 70s. More successful with the flute I think.

Ooh Robertson Davies--need to revisit. Thanks. SCA! Good one.

One of Napoleon's marshals was nicknamed "Bellejamb"--Pretty Legs, ironically (the weren't) and IIRC falsies were part of every gents wardrobe; lots of clothes and accessories were rented back then too, for special occasions.

Narr
I wear small shoes to disguise my enormous feet

Kelly said...

Amongst my family, friends and acquaintances, there isn’t one man I know that would be caught dead in leggings or that flappy coat thing at the link. I talked to a guy from Denmark and he said he got arrested for indecent exposure somewhere in South Carolina for wearing spandex biking shorts. I doubt leggings would go over there.

Nobody said...

Men would just stuff the codpieces. There was a funny movie I can’t remember about a bullfighter and his beautiful actress girlfriend, and after they had just spent the night in amorous bliss, she is with him as he is getting dressed for the fight and he is having a codpiece put in that makes it look like his johnson runs well down his thigh. He just looks at her and says “Bullfighting is a funny business.”

I mean those men beta enough to be cowed into wearing such a fashion.

Nobody said...

wearing leggings underneath shorts while playing basketball during March Madness last month.

I think it is for compression, maybe to contain inflammation, or at least that’s why people with poor circulation wear them. I have no idea why young men at the peak of fitness and health would need them, but maybe it is to prevent injury and to allow them to push themselves more.

ZipperCloot said...

When Valley Girl speak first appeared, I never in a billion lifetimes imagined it would become a world-wide phenomenon, and that grown up people would write using its godawful idiom.

Anonymous said...

Coming down to breakfast while staying at the Quito Marriott I noticed that one of the pre-cruisers was a young man in tights. His interleg bumpiness had no where to rest and was therefore exposed requiring no imagination about his limitations.....

Craig Howard said...

Does any straight male read GQ? Or Esquire, for that matter.

Little-known fact: Gay males don't read it, either.

GQ has devolved into a sort of trade magazine for the fashion industry.

It's where they experiment with the ridiculous ideas they will fill the runways with next season.

Anonymous said...

There's a site called KapowMeggings.com, anyway my boyfriend gets leggings from here for the gym. They have extra fabric up front so his rather large junk isn't outlined. I think he looks really hot in them, just saying. He wears them under shorts sometimes too..

gob666 said...

I am a male and I wear leggings. I find them comfortable. My wife on the other hand does not like when I wear them. When I wear them I usually wear a longer t-shirt in order to cover up my bits. I think more men should break the norm and try leggings.

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