You can rely on pop icon Madonna to break new ground on both the music and fashion front.

The Material Girl has been at the forefront of both fields for the last 30 years and now the video for her latest single Girl Gone Wild has caused a storm in, unusually, the world of hosiery.

For while we are well used to the Queen of Pop gyrating on our screens, even though she's now in her fifties, her latest production features a backdrop of equally limber males - all dressed in tights and high platform heels.

Yes mantyhose have been given the Madonna seal of approval so can we expect to see our boyfriends, brothers and - God forbid - our dads adding this new fashion accessory to their wardrobes?

Man in tights

Also known as brosiery or guylons, mantyhose are big business according to Italian designer Emilio Cavallini as he launched his latest creation at a star-studded London party to accompany Madonna's endorsement.

Vice president Francesco Cavallini explains: "The category really grew organically. "When we launched our e-commerce site, we began to notice that tights in size Medium-Large were quite often being purchased by men.

"The right fabrication was essential, since men perspire more than women do and because of the obvious 'anatomical differences' between the two genders."

Cavallini's unisex tights, which account for two to three per cent of the company's overall sales of a million pairs a year, are a combination of cotton and nylon, which has greater elasticity and stretch, as well as a high degree of breathability.

According to the executive, they are designed to be worn for lounging around on the weekend as an alternative to sweatpants with the biggest sellers solid black and solid white, worn with rolled-up trousers, shorts or with worn-out jeans.

At £17 a pair, the company claims mantyhose make men feel young, fashionable, and hip - as well as adding a layer of comfort and warmth, especially in winter.

However a new survey by online retailer Tights Please has revealed that British men are in fact secret mantyhose wearers with 99% of male and female respondents claiming men wear tights under their trousers because they feel good against their skin.

When quizzed about the type of tights their men prefer, 44% of women said their fellas opted for those specifically made for women, with the plus size versions being more sought-after. 

Brands such as Falke, Cette, Charnos and Wolford that make extra large sizes are particularly popular, with many men preferring opaque tights in dark and neutral colours, although women's sheer and semi sheer tights also sell well.

Comfort, warmth and support are cited as key factors when it comes to male hosiery choices, according to the retailer which added that men have no compunction about picking tights made for women, as the price is often more competitive.

Sophie Hawkins of Tights Please adds: "It's perhaps not a big surprise that women's tights are becoming increasingly popular with men as they are generally manufactured to a more luxurious and using much softer materials. Sales of our Cette Dublin Tights plus size are double that of the normal sized range due to the number of men who love these tights." 

But while it would appear there is a growing army of hidden mantyhose fans out there, it may be some time before we see the fashion conscious British male openly sporting his stylish leg wear - especially with a pair of platform heels.


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