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Contributor Tori Telfer gets to the heart of a new phenomenon in men's fashion: Meggings.
Photo: Courtesy of Meggins Man
They're tight, they're shiny, and they're built with plenty of room for "the boys." They've been the subject of ridicule on the street, but they've garnered drooling adoration for many a rockstar on stage. Laugh at meggings all you want, folks—chances are your boyfriend will be wearing them someday.
Meggings, a portmanteau word for "man leggings," have been around for decades—see: Henry VIII; Mick Jagger—but their rise has been slow, unlike their feminine counterpart ("leggings"—perhaps you've heard of them?) Now Meggings Man, a brand-new online company based out of Chicago, is here to change all that. We chatted with founders Adam Freck and Andrew Volk, who launched MeggingsMan.com in December. Read on to learn how to style the fabled megging, where masculine body image comes into play, and whether or not meggings will ever be the new skinny jean.— Tori Telfer
If someone walked up to you on the street and demanded to know why you chose meggings as a business venture, what would you tell them?
We saw potential in meggings. You walk around Lincoln Park and you'll see 85 women wearing leggings. There's a reason for that. Obviously, as a lot of things in fashion go, meggings came out in Europe and New York and spread from there. Our New York friends in the fashion industry and the arts have been talking to us about meggings for the past year. We researched meggings for a year and it felt like now was the time when men were getting over a fear of wearing something like leggings.
There's no reason why men's fashion can't be flattering and super comfortable. Fitted pants have been a staple of men's fashion for a very long time. Meggings are much more comfortable than super tight jeans, and more stylish and appropriate to wear out in public than fitted athletic pants.
Adam Freck and Andrew Volk
Leggings tend to be fairly one-size-fits-all, but Meggings Man advertises its products as being "functionally and aesthetically tailored to the male physique.
It's all about the cut of the waist and inseam. Our meggings have a triangle-shaped inset around the hip to allow more room in the thigh, and more importantly, more room for the "boys." Our material is also pretty forgiving. All you need to wear underneath is pair of fitted boxer briefs. Compression shorts also work great underneath to conceal the details you'd like to keep private.
We actually feel that our meggings are more flattering than other tight pants on a man. They allow room but they don't really accentuate...that area. They have more of a smoothing effect. With our more modest customers, that's one of the points we try to bring up.
There are very strict unwritten leggings rules for girls—no VPL, leggings aren't pants, etc. Are there similar rules for meggings?
We think that our meggings absolutely are pants! However, our one rule is this: no baggy boxers underneath. Keep it smooth, guys.
If someone wanted a more conservative take on the megging trend—something appropriate for the office, even—what would you tell them?
Really, our meggings can be worn just like other pants: they've got a wide, flat waistband and some faux fly detailing on the front. If you work in the type of office where you can wear jeans, we believe that you can wear meggings, no problem. But if you work in an office where you have to look like the old boss, then meggings obviously aren't an option.
We're most inspired by how our customers style their meggings. Sometimes, they're incredibly creative with what they put together, and sometimes we are just as impressed by their casual looks: meggings, a t-shirt with a jacket or hoodie, and a pair of heavy boots or kicks. We're also seeing a lot of layering. People might wear two pairs of meggings and pull up the leg on one side to expose a different color underneath, or wear their meggings under shorts.
Who's buying your meggings?
We haven't been able to neatly confine our customers to a specific group, but through being in contact with them we certainly can say they sound fashion-forward and creative in general. Mainly, our customers are enamored with how comfortable the meggings are. They don't want to force themselves into unisex leggings or leggings meant for women.
The truth of the matter is, spandex is flattering. It compliments people well. With meggings, people ask about their crotch all the time. The response that we get a lot, once people try on our meggings, is, "That's not as in-my-face as I thought it would be." Once guys actually try meggings on, the fear goes away.
Are girls are stealing their guys' meggings and wearing them?
Andrew's girlfriend immediately stole his meggings. She's an avid leggings wearer and says that the Meggings Man pants are way softer than the leggings she buys, that they don't ride up and stretch out in the knees like her leggings do. However, the meggings are cut for men, so they do look much better on dudes than ladies!
People react very strongly to meggings, wouldn't you say?
A lot of our feedback is positive, but it is a shocking product. You're looking through your cousin's baby pictures on Facebook and all of a sudden a man in meggings pops up in front of you. We're not surprised when people are shocked or question meggings. Any new piece that enters into fashion is usually shocking to quite a few people—but that doesn't mean it ends there. The product expands and changes.
Many articles about meggings haven taken the stance that meggings are hilarious—and no real man would ever seriously wear them. Is this discouraging?
Men want to wear them, and that's a fact! There are always naysayers with any new piece of fashion.
Living in Chicago, we know that meggings are a possibility. It would be dumb of us not to take them seriously. Look at the way skinny jeans started out. A band probably started wearing them and everyone questioned it, and now 50 percent of people in their twenties are wearing skinny jeans. Making fun of meggings is an easy way get a rise out of people, and we've read every single meggings article on the first 15 pages of Google. We see a lot of that [hilarious tone], and it's not discouraging. We see the potential in meggings, and we hope that people use them as a serious fashion piece.
Is positive body image for men something you take into account when running your company?
Definitely. There are a lot of limits about what men should wear or what is masculine. We're happy to be there for people that are trying to express themselves through what they wear. Living in Chicago or any big city, you see people that are freer in what they wear. That's not unusual. But in the middle of nowhere, there's not always a lot of expression for people that's deemed acceptable. We want people to realize that meggings are cool.
What's the meggings forecast? Do you envision a future where all men are cool with meggings?
We're not coming out of left field with this. Over the past few years, men's pants have been getting smaller and thinner and more fitted. If you were to look at the pants of the average college male now as opposed to five years ago—there's a huge difference. We were just talking with someone about some hip-hop artist today who wore meggings. If you were to take a picture of the way the top 5 hip-hop artists are wearing their pants now and show it to hip-hop artists ten years ago, they'd be shocked.
Regarding the future of meggings: one of the not very surprising things that we found is that men like monochrome in general. So we're trying to make new styles based on that. We're also diving into the galaxy theme for future meggings, as well as trying out stripes of different types of fabrics down the side.
We don't mind if meggings are shocking. It's actually beneficial for us. Rockstars have been wearing them for decades. I guess we're kind of just bringing back that idea. But you don't have to be a sex symbol or an extremely outrageous personality to wear them. You can just be a regular guy walking to Trader Joe's.
· Meggings Man Clothing [Official Site]