Should men wear stockings/tights?

Expert Answers
creativethinking eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Is it really fair to say that anyone "should" or "should not" wear something? In my eyes, that's an oppressive vision of the world. Many young people get bullied or ridiculed for wearing what feels right to them, but I think we can all agree that this is ghastly and unjust. Some boys like to wear makeup and tight jeans. Some kids just don't care or can't afford clothes that are "in style." Some girls never break out of their t-shirt/ponytail routine. But who cares? If a person of any age is comfortable in what he or she is wearing and is prepared to handle any reactions to that attire (if it is shocking), I say go for it.

Underneath, we're all naked anyway.

P.s. One caveat--I do believe in decorum in situations where a high level of respect and tradition are required. For instance, I would not wear a neon pink mesh tanktop and patchwork bellbottoms to a wedding or an interview--that would border on the disrespectful. But if I really wanted to wear that unorthodox combo during my day to day life, I don't think anyone could tell me "I shouldn't."

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with #10: Joe Namath may have started it all: he was comfortable with his masculinity. The pants football players wear are pretty close to tights. Goes with the game. (Rosie Greer, a football player who tried to defined Bobby Kennedy from being assassinated was famous for doing needlework: it relaxed him.) In the ballet we expect it,—it also comes with the territory.

As a piece of everyday clothing???, I don't think I would like it. I'm prone to bleached out jeans or a nice pair of dress pants on a man. And, no offense, but why would a man want to wear tights? They are "tight." (And I secretly believe that it was a man who invented pantyhose who did not like women.) It is a garment I avoid as often as possible: it is painful and I never fail to put a finger through one leg or another. Give me a nice pair of dress pantsw anytime. Men...think twice about the tights!

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think we have to go beyond deciding that particular types of dress are dictated by gender. When we look to our past, as an earlier posting noted, men wearingtights was considered the height of European style. Similarly, the skirt in Scotland becomes the unisex kilt, and in the Pacific Islands the men adopt the lavalava.

 Fashions change according to time and place, and no item of clothing should be off limits. I reckon that there are a number of men who would benefit from a variation of the bra to support 'man-boobs' and keep comfortable...Tights can have a purpose of keeping warm (we just call them 'long Johns' to make them sound manly!). Perhaps - as with so many things - we need to give tights a new name and new identity to make the m more acceptable. It is amazing what marketing can do...

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think poster #7 hit it on the head.

There are times when a certain type/level of dress is expected if one wants to be respectful of those arranging the event (ie: weddings, business meetings, black tie dinners, etc.) During these times it is probably not appropriate for men to wear tights.

However, during one's down time, one should be able to wear anything he/she feels is appropriate (avoiding, in my opinion, T shirts with offensive references to certain groups and pornographic outfits in public).

In the theatre during certain time periods, it is more than just appropriate for men to wear would be inappropriate...because if they didn't, they would not properly reflect the dress of the culture of the time.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Men wearing types tend to suggest a certain homophobic stereotype which in my opinion is completely out of place. As was noted above, many men, myself including wear long stocking style socks as it is considered somewhat gauche for a man's bare leg to be visible when he is wearing business attire. I also wear long underwear during the winter, and find them quite comfortable.

There was a day when a woman wearing pants was considered a bit much. Obviously, that has changed. (Has anyone ever seen Hillary Clinton in a dress?) It is high time we get away from stereotypes and allow people to dress/express themselves as they see fit without attaching some ulterior design. If a man feels comfortable in tights or stockings, I say go for it.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Styles of dress change. There have been periods of time in history when it was absolutely expected that men of a certain class would be wearing tights.  (See 422px-Louis_XIV_of_France.jpg) Louis XIV had nice heels to go along with his tights!

In this day and age, I don't think it is appropriate for any one person to make an isolated, out-of-context statement that encompasses all men to say that they should or should not wear stockings/tights. As with all women, the answer depends on variables of type of dress, occasion for the dress, weather, local cultural style expectations, etc.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I'm not sure what you mean by 'should'. Most men do not wear tights but I think that has more to do with what's in fashion. There was a time when men wore tights and women didn't. Most men do wear a type of stocking sock with a dress suit. Again, I think this is more about the current fashion. Of course dancers wear tights, at least in ballet. Male dancers often wear a thicker legging type of tights than the female dancers. I don't see a problem with men wearing tights though I've never known any who did except as part of a costume in plays and such. Personally, I don't find tights or stockings to be very comfortable and I would image this is the main reason most people prefer not to wear them.
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you are referring to dancers and actors wearing tights, there are artistic reasons for doing so.  Just because a man is an actor or dancer does not make him less masculine.  Plays and ballets require costumes.  In dance, there is also a practical reason for tights.  They allow for more fluid movement, and benefit both the audience and dancer.  Acrobats also wear tights for the same reason.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

[tongue in cheek here]

All I know is that Joe Namath, superstar of the University of Alabama, Hall of Famer and superstar of the NFL, wore pantyhose (he wore Beautymists) and the macho men  of football accepted "this deviation from the norm"  because "Broadway Joe" wore them so he could be warmer when he played for such teams as the New York Jets.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although I live in Florida, I have often worn long underwear during visits to colder climates. As a former theatre student, I have several times worn "tights" during on-stage performances (Camelot, Kiss Me Kate). I also have worn tights as a costume for Halloween (as the Burger King). Do I wear tights under any other circumstances? No!

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It just depends on what you call things.  Athletes wear spandex type compression underwear all the time.  In colder weather, they wear long versions of that which could be called tights.  So it's all in what you name something.  There's nothing inherently unmasculine about wearing things like that.

Ada Sison | Student

Yes, men are physically able to wear stockings or tights if they choose to do so. 

However your question asks if men should be able to wear stockings or tights. Of course there is no legal restriction that bans men from wearing these kinds of clothing so I think you are referring to social restrictions for men.

Stockings and tights are a "close-fitting, variously elastic garment covering the foot and lower part of the leg". They were originally worn and designed for men as what we now call socks and as the longer hose type garment. Before 1920, women wore stockings for warmth, but as the hemlines shortened over the years, stockings and tights seem have become exclusively for women.

The wear of stockings/tights by men may be seen as homosexual or as a social stigma. But since there is no actual law prohibiting them to do so, yes men should wear tights.

Wiggin42 | Student

What to wear and not to wear is not debatabale.   It is a matter of choice where you like to and feel comfortable in it. It is our freedom of choice. Freedom comes with responsibility. If it makes other uncomfortable or culturally not appropriate then we should pay respect to the individuals.

sarahsaurusrex | Student

If a man truly wanted to wear tights, I say go for it. People should be able to wear whatever they like in order to express themselves. Does a man wearing tights mean that he is homosexual? Of course not. Women who wear jeans are not all homosexual; women used to have to wear skirts and dresses, it was an absurd idea for a women to wear jeans. The same principle applies here. If a man feels comfortable wearing tights, let him. Who is he hurting? No one. That man wearing what he wants does not effect anyone but that man. If anyone else has a problem with it, they can not look at him. This is an issue with self expression and whatever they feel comfortable in wearing. No one should be able to dictate what other people wear. This is America, let people wear what they feel comfortable in without making it an issue of homosexuality. Most people do feel that if a man were to wear stockings or tights that he's gay, and that is a shame. To be judged on outward appearances is a huge issue in today's society, and that is not fair to anyone who is looked down upon or made fun of for the way that they prefer to dress.

clyoon | Student

I personally don't like it when men do just because I'm unfamiliar with it and I'm not as open-minded as others. But I understand that clothes are just clothes. And preferences are just preferences. If men want to wear stockings/tights, I won't go against them. Let them wear what they want. And I'll just stick to my opinion that I don't like it.

But I believe one can't answer this question saying "should" or "should not." It's all about the dudes' preferences. Let their decisions come from their preferences. And let no one else interfere with their decision. Freedom of choice.

atyourservice | Student

I do believe it should be ok for a male to wear stockings/tights. It is only clothes. I honestly believe there should be no gender assigned outfits. Tights are tights, i don't see why males shouldn't wear them.

arrellbelle | Student

I don't understand why there has to be double-standards within our society regarding the type of clothing we are wearing. People should be given the freedom to dress as they should and not have to depend on the standard that society has dictated. Woman wore clothing that covered every part of their body, aside from their face, and as society changed, women became more independent and confident with their bodies to reveal a little more skin. Therefore, I think that if a woman wants to or is required to wear stockings or tights, then so be it, unless it looks slightly obscene.

mchandrea | Student

I think it is not a matter of "should" but rather "would" or "could". Should men wear stockings or tights? They should not. But they could if they want to. And they would  be wearing one if they have to.  Because saying that they should be wearing one is just like questioning why they are not wearing one. 

Take for example, figure skaters, male ballerinas and gymnasts. 

zumba96 | Student

I'm not sure what you meant in your question because normally men do not wear tights, but if you are talking about men wearing tights underneath clothes if they are cold that is a different deal. Or if you meant if men should wear tights as a dancer because men can wear tights if it is a ballet

funny88 | Student

If its a cold climate or a situation like that, yes, if not probably not. Frankly, they do not look the best on guys. Its kind of like when girls wear their hair up. When guys with long hair do it, it just doesn't Look that great.

lovepeacea | Student

It shouldn't matter what Men, Women, Children, Teens, Or Babies wear. Everyone has there own different and unique fashions, like when I was six or seven, I wore mitch-match clothing like a green shirt and a pink skirt or pink shorts and a green jacket. I wore it because that was my style and I think men could wear stockings or tights if they wanted to. Just my way of expressing our styles these days.

mrnobody | Student

Men "should" not wear stockings or pantyhose, but they can. As we know from the history it is a male garment long before it became women's clothes. The same with skirts and short dresses. Just to clarify that - But that's history. If men today WANT to wear this pieces of clothes they can do it whenever they want to. It has nothing to do with a sexual orientation or anything like this, it is a question of feeling and later then fashion. 

Most men in Western "Cultures" are pressed in a gender role fashion equipment which has nothing to do how the person feels or like to live, it is just a role. Men of today be able to change it since -as an example- the man's skirt is on rise - but it needs real men to step into this new era, with confidence and pride to be a man.

thewanderlust878 | Student

I'm not sure I know what you mean by your wording. What I interpret it is that if I believe that men should be allowed to wear tights/stockings, or if they should be specific to women only. For me personally, I believe that anyone should be able to wear whatever they want, regardless if it is deemed "women's clothes" or "men's clothes". 

I know that for many people (especially most of the men that I know), think that men should not wear womanly things, or they just simply don't want to themselves. This is understandable because socially acceptable actions include wearing clothes/accessories that are "gender appropriate"; high heels, skirts, and makeup for women, and ties, suits, jeans & t shirts. Obviously nowadays things are changing in the fact that many women wear men's clothes (or women's clothes that have been inspired by men's clothes, such as plaid button downs) and vice versa. To me it is nice to see that our culture and our society is changing and becoming more accepting of different types of people. 

Hope this helps!

They can if they want to. if you want to wear it then go right ahead. if you preferr not to wear them, then don't. its simple. do what you like don't mind others. 

Yojana_Thapa | Student

They don't wear tights or stockings!

jbrenw | Student

Never should any man ever have the need to wear stockings. If they do it out of their own desire then they should do it just not out in public or without pants over them.

schlumpfue | Student

i agree

lovepeacea | Student

NO!! It in Un-attractive lol

shizza123 | Student

umm... for me... no..... or actually, on second thought,,,,,


NO!!!! i mean..... it's their choice,,,,, but I wouldn't date a guy who wears stockings...... its just.. not MANLY.........

(no offence to anyone at all) (just an opinion)