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'Brosiery'...aka tights for men

Thursday - 3/8/2012, 5:53am  ET

mantights.jpg
The tights come in stars, stripes, spots, skull patterns, black, white and checked styles. (Courtesy of Emilio Cavallini)

WASHINGTON - The hosiery women have been wearing for years are crossing gender lines. Brosiery is a budding trend in the U.K. helping men add a layer and make a fashion statement.

The Italian designer Emilio Cavallini is designing a range of the unisex tights for $27 a pair. Men make up 2 percent to 3 percent of the company's customers, so the fashion house thought expanding its marketing was a smart move.

The trend is not new for the label, which has been making "mantyhose" since June 2009.

"When we started our online shop we noticed that a lot of tights sized medium-large were being purchased by men. So I did a search on the Internet and discovered there is a cult following for mantyhose," the company's Vice President Francesco Cavallini told the The Daily Mail.

The company tested "brosiery" on its male employees and that research has led to a breathable fabric to account for men's tendency to sweat more than women.

The designer, based in Florence, believes the hosiery appeals to men's tastes. The tights come in stars, stripes, spots, skull patterns, black, white and checked styles. They sell them for women, too.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)