An Ode To Men’s Jeggings

Rob Fishman | January 22, 2015

Rob Fishman discovers stretchy pants.

tommy-ton-jeggings-feature-4

The last day of summer, and what a day. Out on the beach, a quiet stretch of Sagaponack, children played beneath a rainbow parasol. A gentle breeze whistled in the brush. Beside me, a friend dozed on a chaise longue.

“Excuse me,” I interrupted. “But where did you get those jeans?”

He lifted his fedora to reveal a knowing smile.

“These are no jeans,” he said in a low voice, as if I’d stumbled on the gates of a secret fraternity. “They’re jeggings.”

For much of history, getting dressed was an unhappy occasion. “In modern times,” wrote the late Joan Rivers, “women have used bustles, hoop skirts, petticoats, corsets and girdles to shrink the waist and boost the bottom.” How many feet were bound, ribs crushed, ankles sprained in the name of high fashion.

But, for women at least, much has changed. Ladies I know strut about in sneakers — though sometimes disguised as heels. Stretchy pants stand for any occasion. “Athleisure,” so-called, is ushering in “a new aesthetic of casual comfort suits,” writes Véronique Hyland on The Cut. Wearability is all the rage. Clad in this “third wardrobe,” women are both chic and shrewd, like sheep in wolves’ clothing.

On Instagram the other day, a woman I follow posted a photo with the caption: “Pajama bottoms slowly replacing jeans.” A commenter agreed, “Story of my life.”

This boy’s life?

Not quite. Men still cling to their suits like armor. Neckties remain a noose and a nuisance. Dress shoes hug the ankle, shackle-like, as ever. Our lapels are thinner, spectacles thicker, socks more patterned, and none much the cozier. Perhaps the biggest culprits are those on our legs.

Jeans are, and may forever be, de rigueur. In this decade, denim will reach a global market of over $50 billion. I remember fathers cheering at soccer practice in the same Levi’s 501s favored by Steve Jobs. Quite sensibly, my mother refused me JNCOs — those billowing 90s abominations. Boot cuts tend to shred at the hem, and years later, the soul. I owned splotched, scarified pairs which left their owner, too, feeling “distressed.” Then came the skinny jean, raw and rigid, leaving little room to wiggle and less to the imagination.

What’s worse is the upkeep. I know fellows who freeze their blue jeans overnight. Others prance in the ocean with the pant legs turned inside out. Many decline cleaning outright (a lesson I learned the hard way when my housekeeper reduced a 31 Skinny Straight to a 26 Tall Toddler). In the early aughts I owned a nearly perfect pair, which, I retired after one season for fear of deterioration. For a time I preferred A.P.C.’s petit standard, until my friend Izzie Lerer cried out, “I can see your peeper!”

So, emboldened by my chaise-lounging peer who had looked so at ease in his stretchy pants, I found myself on the third floor of Uniqlo once the leaves changed and fall commenced. “MEN LEGGINGS JEANS” read a sign. I  plucked a pair from the shelf and carried my contraband to the fitting room. What can I say? They were marvelous, like trading a catheter for a condom. Aside from the obvious merit — that is, the give — the jeggings were straight-leg, slender, and of a uniform wash. Less jeans, more pants.

$29.90 got me the goods (though I parted with nearly that much to shorten the hem). And since then, I’ve never looked back. They fit like a glove, dress up or down, and come out of the wash entirely unwrinkled.

Non-believers tend to scoff at the “girly” name, or conflate jeggings with skinny jeans. But to the contrary, these tickle where denim chafes yet appear identical to the naked eye. They’re versatile. They’re a second skin. They add bit of spandex to your step.

My advice to the men: torch your wardrobe, beeline for the jeggings aisle, and grow a pair.

Rob Fishman is the co-founder of Niche, and previously an editor at BuzzFeed, Aol and The Huffington Post. You can follow him on Twitter hereImage shot by Tommy Ton

  • Sandra

    I would love to watch men in jeggings. WOLF whistles here. Hummmm

  • laughed almost every sentence.

  • Amelia Diamond

    ROB STRETCHY PANTS FISHMAN

  • parkzark

    “Boot cuts tend to shred at the hem, and years later, the soul.”

  • AlexaJuno

    “Like trading a catheter for a condom.” This was great.

  • Whoa, probably one of the first male writers to be featured on MR. Welcome. I kinda like it.

    • Teresa

      I thought the exact same thing…history in the making.

  • Allie Fasanella

    I didn’t know how men struggled sartorially, this was enlightening. So glad you’ve joined the jegging world.

  • When girls wear leggings boys go all crazy – but they don’t know we would do exactly the same..

    jeansandmacaroons.blogspot.com

  • raul

    No need to grow a pair…I already have a fine set. And I’ll be damned if they’ll be covered by jeggings. Help me. I can’t decide if this is satire or not.

  • Lulu

    Lol this was funny! Nice to see a gentleman in the Man Repeller world today! Welcome to the hen house!

  • Aydan

    You know they do say that men are having a higher number of bladder related issues, problems with lower sperm count, and what not because of being squished!!

    • Amelia Diamond

      what?!

      • Aydan

        Its kinda like what they say about spanx and shapewear squishing organs!

        • Amelia Diamond

          WHAT?!

    • raul

      I like my jeans a little snug, but let’s not get crazy. I also race bicycles and that spandex rap is BS. My equipment works just fine. And I’m not talking about my bicycle…

  • I really dig this very revelatory male voice on MR. Sweeeeet.

  • Men in Jeggings for President!

  • I got an ex skinny pants. He called them Girlfriend Jeans and would always mention how his leg muscles were too big for them and complain about how tight they were on his balls, but I didn’t even care because they looked SO GOOD.

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  • I agree! I wore a pair of dark wash jeggings today, actually. Stylish and very comfortable. Such a staple to have I would think. And it would be a shame for men not to wear them too.

  • Lydia Kitten

    Convinced the man to try a pair, now he is loving it. This is a thing I can get behind! (Also, excellent writing. I don’t chuckle out loud often.)

  • Man2020

    Male here, I’ve been moving towards pants that “fit” for the last year. I’m straight, married with 3 kids and try to dress like a smart, employed young adult… less like a college – bachelor, bohemian cool guy. I’m active, like running after kids, bending up and down doing the all consuming bidding of my offspring. So I’ve been switching out my dress and casual pants for ones that stretch! They have been hit or miss and inconsistent at most places. 2% spandex / elastane is fine 3% is best and that’s about all you can find in men’s styles. After finding an awesome pair of American Eagle skinny jeans I was hooked. They allow for maximum movement while doing everything around the house and on the town. Then they stopped making the skinny jean with 3% stretch. I was hoping the trend would continue. OMG I’m tired of writing this. I’ll get to the point.
    -Tried on woman’s skinny jeans 🙂 felt wonderful!
    -ladies you have it made in your flexible pants.
    -went with a size 14 I’m normally a men’s 33. If I went with a 12 my ass looked great. A little to cute and distracting so I went for a more relaxed look.
    -I would recommend to all men try on women’s stretch pants anything with some spandex will give you freedom to move.
    -latest fav. American Eagles Denim X jogging!!! I’m over six ft. wearing ex-long size 12-14.
    -yeah they’re tight around my legs but I look fit and modern. Not like a flat ass dad who wears sailboat denim with no shape.

  • will kenderdine

    http://www.fancy-pants-fashions.com/terminology-of-service/
    Cheers! Many thanks for takeing time to create these well-considered
    thoughts… just love it!… and I’m looking forward to sharing your very
    helpful article… All the best!