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Mantyhose Thriving at Emilio Cavallini

Tights for men have become one of the fastest-growing categories for the Florence, Italy-based legwear specialist.

Getting your “mantyhose” on appears to be the new mantra at Emilio Cavallini.

Mantyhose — tights for men that also have been dubbed “brosiery” and “guylons” — has become one of the fastest-growing categories for the Florence, Italy-based legwear specialist, with sales growing from 1 percent of total online sales in 2011 to 30 percent in 2012 at emiliocavallini.com.

According to Lisa Cavallini, daughter of the brand’s founder and president of Mostlytights LLC, Cavallini’s North American distributor, a capsule line of unisex tights launched in 2009. But it wasn’t until WWD wrote a story on the whimsical concept last March that demand began to grow for Cavallini’s tights for men, she said.

“It’s definitely become a trend for men in Europe. It’s fun for them to wear, and you can see the color and patterns standing out [from] their shoes…They wear the tights with shorts, under jeans that have holes, under pants to stay warm in colder climates, or just to lounge around,” said Cavallini. “The interest is also growing in the U.S. market, and we’ve had so many requests for mantyhose that we’ve added an extra-large size for men who are 6 feet tall and weigh up to 198 pounds.”

New styles and patterns such as argyles, prints like barbed wire, dots and crossword puzzles are being added for immediate deliveries, and a range of fashion colors is launching for spring. The new looks will be shown at the CurveNY trade fair in New York, Feb. 24 to 26. Also new to the men’s mix is a line of long dress socks and novelty styles for everyday wear bearing Cavallini’s signature patterns and prints.

“The men’s tights have become so popular that we reintroduced men’s socks. There are also disco-inspired tops for men,” she said. “It’s something we haven’t done since the Eighties.”

The men’s tights — which don’t have a fly front — have been wear-tested by male employees at the company, including Cavallini’s brother, Francesco Cavallini, who is a vice president. They are rendered in a seamless Santoni knit of cotton and nylon that provides greater elasticity, stretch and girth for enhanced comfort across the top. The lightweight fabric also creates greater breathability and helps wick away perspiration, Lisa Cavallini explained.

The men’s tights retail for $40, and socks are $27.

“The front of the [men’s] tights has no opening, but nobody is complaining about that,” she added.

How does Cavallini know that men are buying the tights for themselves?

“We see the men’s names [and billing information] from our Web site.…It’s not women we are shipping to,” said Cavallini. “This has created a totally new consumer base for us, and we expect it to grow. We definitely see it’s a trend for men.”