MIDWAY: Leggings for men
Menswear, for the most part, has always seemed a sanctuary of sartorial sensibleness.
Then, around five years ago, just as the designer Hedi Slimane was mastering his narrow silhouette for Dior Homme, came the return of the skinny jean. Suddenly, to be fashionable, men could no longer rely on a weathered pair of Levi’s 501s. Or a baseball cap. No, one’s silhouette had to be that of an emaciated house spider. This season, menswear has been taken to new levels of skinniness.
Guys, wince and whimper a painful “hello” to man-leggings, or “meggings”.
On the catwalk, in magazines, on the legs of industry “muses” such as Jethro Cave (son of Nick), meggings are everywhere. So I decided to take a pair for a spin one morning.
Yes, I wore them into work. Not being Iggy Pop, Torvil or Dean, before I set out I picked up the phone and called another bandy-legged old pro, Justin Hawkins, the former leotard-clad lead squealer of camp-rockers the Darkness.
“Step and thrust; step and thrust,” came the sage words from Hawkins, who was on his way to Whitstable at the time with his new rock outfit, who are appropriately called Hot Legs.
“Suck in your stomach,” he continued.
“Go commando if you can brave it and watch out for those cold gusts.”
Strapped up like Rudolf Nureyev (I decided against Hawkins’s undergarment advice), I hobbled
to work in a pair of sequined black leggings as conjured up by Belgian designer Martin Margiela. I looked like an evil mermaid and felt as if I was walking with a crotch full of staples.
But the response was fantastic. This must be how an X Factor winner feels the morning after the vote. Pretty girls smiled, tourists stopped me for a shoulder-hugging snap, builders wolf-whistled, colleagues cheered (mostly).
I looked very camp, but my inner fashion soul was thoroughly massaged. Of course, it couldn’t last. I met my French, impossibly tasteful girlfriend after work for a celebratory drink. Juiced up with sartorial machismo, I approached her at our local bar.
Looking up, then down, she covered her face with her pretty hands and pleaded, “Oh God, honey. You’re stinging my eyes.”