The new Uniqlo meggings retail for around $24After years of never-ending "leggings as pants" debate (are they suitable for work? Should your shirt cover your butt? Are jeggings more or less acceptable? Are they bad for you?), spandex pants as daywear are now being introduced to a new customer: men. Yes, the questionable bottoms are being stretched to new proportions as high-end designers like Givenchy and Prada as well as mass retailers like Uniqlo, Nike, and Urban Outfitters market leggings for male customers. We've seen ultra-secure guys like Lenny Kravitz, Brits like Russell Brand, and even young pop stars like Justin Bieber wear man leggings (meggings), but are everyday dudes really interested in stretch pants? Sure, guys were once resistant to tight, skinny jeans, but we can't imagine actual meggings on the masses. We asked some male fashion editors to share their perspective on the new phenomenon.
Do you see meggings being just a gimmick or a real trend?
Michael Carl, Market Fashion Editor at Vanity Fair: God, I hope not. I can barely stand to see women in leggings, much less a guy wearing them. It's tragic as far as I'm concerned.
Will Welch, Senior Editor at GQ: Meggings are not a gimmick because the guys who wear meggings aren't doing it ironically—they genuinely believe it's a good look. So it's a real trend. But let's be honest: It's a rarified trend that's been adopted by only the most severe of fashion victims. Meggings are not sweeping the nation. They're not even sweeping SoHo, in New York, or other fashion capitals. The megging is a rare bird—although probably not one that we should save from extinction. And to be clear, there is a difference between super skinny jeans and men's leggings. Some guys, especially celebrities, might not look great or even cool in ultra skinny jeans, but a select few of them can get away with it. But true meggings—made not of denim but of stretchy technical fabric like the Lululemon yoga pants worn by women—are never a winner.
Jonathan Evans, Senior Online Editor, Style & Grooming at Esquire: There's an argument that pretty much anything can be a legitimate trend if it has enough popular support, but I don't see history looking back on this one as a good thing.
Mike Hofman, Digital Managing Director at Glamour: It's more of a travesty than anything else.
Would you or have you worn meggings?
Vanity Fair: I might have worn them for Halloween, and that is the extent of it.
GQ: I haven't worn and wouldn't wear meggings, no. I have certainly worn long underwear and will continue to wear long underwear, but only actually under jeans, suit pants, or snow pants.
Esquire: I have not, and I would not.
Glamour: No, unless you count long johns when skiing.
Have you actually seen anyone wearing meggings?
Vanity Fair: I just went to a Christmas party and saw someone in a pair of meggings and it made me so upset! Yesterday I sent myself a rant about it.
What types of men do you think would wear meggings?
Vanity Fair: They are clearly risk takers, but it's the wrong risk. It just shouldn't be done. I don't care how cute you are, or how great your body is.
GQ: Most men who wear meggings are simply fashion victims. Fashion designers notoriously create clothes that are meant to challenge and provoke and question the boundaries of social acceptability. What you don't want to do is be the guy who then buys and wears the clothes that fit in that category.
Esquire: Ones with fantastically toned legs that they just need to show off to the world? Honestly, though, I think it's the kind of guy who's willing to get pretty out there in the way he dresses. He's probably not afraid to wear a leather skirt, either. So, maybe it's Kanye.
Glamour: According to reports, it's the British.
What is the appeal of wearing meggings?
GQ: You would have to ask Shakespeare, or Conan O'Brien, who once modeled them on his show. I know more about what doesn't appeal about wearing meggings: Nobody will take you seriously. And given how tight they are, you are probably giving innocent people way too much anatomical information. As I argued in a recent GQ essay, men flashing the top of their rear ends has reached epidemic proportions. And the back side is only half the problem in the case of meggings.
Esquire: Stretch, perhaps?
Glamour: I can't say.
What is socially acceptable: wearing them around the house, in public, or not at all?
Vanity Fair: There's no place that's appropriate. Do not even wear them in your own home. You'll look at yourself in the mirror and you'll frighten yourself and the mirror will crack! Oh, there is one time when they're appropriate: under your jeans because you're at a football game and you're trying to stay warm.
GQ: Men should wear whatever they want in the privacy of their own homes. If making your morning coffee in a pair of tie-dye leggings for men appeals [to you], then by all means [go ahead]. I would suggest that a good pair of sweat pants or comfortable waffle-knit long underwear would be better. Because you can also wear the sweat pants to the gym and the long underwear skiing, so you're getting more bang for your buck.
Esquire: If you're a normal guy with a normal build, you probably shouldn't wear them at all. If you insist on trying them out, at least keep it inside your own home.
Glamour: I think Halloween, or appearing in a small role in SMASH are the best use cases out there.
Are there any designers or labels that have done meggings well?
GQ: Yes. Nike. They make meggings that are designed for hardcore distance runners, and those are great—as long as they're worn exclusively in the context of sport.
Glamour: Not that I'm aware.
What male celebrity could pull of meggings?
Vanity Fair: Mick Jagger is a style icon and he's 110 years old. He can wear whatever he wants. He's earned it, he's a God, and he's the only one who can wear them. I can't say anything to Mick Jagger. Justin Beiber, please stop wearing meggings. So many people look to you for inspiration. Please don't lead them down the wrong path. Don't wear meggings, and get a haircut. You're becoming an adult, sir.
GQ: The members of the band Kiss.
Glamour: I feel like Eddie Redmayne could pair meggings with a tri-corner hat.
Any closing thoughts?
Vanity Fair: Meggings are still leggings. Meggings are not pants. Don't do it. Please. It makes me sad, it makes other people sad, and it makes other trends that are bad look good.
Glamour: My pals at GQ said it best.
GQ: The word "meggings" itself kind of says it all. It's a creepy, uncomfortable word to say—and the same can be said of wearing them.
Esquire: And here we thought the whole skinny jeans thing went too far. This is a whole other level.
For more on what not to wear, check out the video below on the best and worst holiday looks.
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