I would like to specifically address the "fashionable" problem of male compression wearers from a very personal point of view. When I began to take care of my post-thrombotic legs and an optimal compression supply a few months ago, I had also made the plan to change something in the future:
I wanted to wear flat knit with shorts in the summer. I haven't worn shorts in decades.
Shortly after my thrombosis, as a young man, I dared to wear shorts despite the skin-colored compression. But I always felt uncomfortable with it. Yes, I was ashamed. At some point I stopped doing it altogether in order to be able to go public with less stress. At most, on some racing bike rides, my skin-colored calf socks were still visible. But I don't have to be stared at for long while driving.
It can not go on like this
After we had that terribly hot summer last year (and this year it's the same again), it was clear that this could no longer continue. Even under more moderate conditions I am very sensitive to heat and sweat easily. (I almost never freeze for that.)
When it became clear that it would now amount to long stockings because they would take care of my vein problems more adequately, I recognized another advantage: in terms of aesthetics, long stockings look better under shorts or knee-length trousers than calf stockings. I agree. So my decision was made.
Men in colorful flat knitwear with shorts?
On the websites of some manufacturers I was then able to admire a variety of colors and patterns that did not even exist at the time. Back then, the standard was skin-colored, and if you were lucky, black too. And on Caroline's blog I was able to see that these beautiful stockings can actually be worn openly. The enthusiasm then gave way to my insecurity again: in the photos I see beautiful women who can wear these stockings in all their colors "unsanctioned": it just looks great. But me as a man? Most of the colors were out of the question for me as a man (although I think they are beautiful). Especially not patterns. I even thought it might not be best to stick with skin color. Just so that everyone can see that they are medical stockings. And I'm not a freak. Women with tights are a completely familiar image and most people also see them as aesthetic. But men with tights (or long stockings)? Can only be a fetishist, or at best gay. Even if I have nothing against these groups of people myself, I didn't want to be seen as belonging to such a group myself.
Before I got my new flat knit trousers and the summer weather began, I put my skin-colored ("Caramel") round knit trousers on under knee-length jeans. When I first left the house, I felt almost naked. It was so pleasant to get more air to my lower legs again. But I was very insecure every time people came towards me or I had to walk past a group of people. With older people, I was more likely to trust them to know that I was wearing the stockings for medical reasons and not for fun. I remember two young women coming towards me and laughing out loud behind me. Was it because of me or did you just say something funny? Many are probably familiar with these thoughts. If I could sit somewhere myself with my legs “hidden” under the table, it was better. And after several times in public, it got a little easier.
My first flat knit supply
Picking up my first flat knit trousers coincided with the first really hot day of the summer. When I tried it on for the first time in the Sanihaus, I was a bit shocked at how thick flat knit pants in KKL III are. My sanifee encouraged me that it wasn't any warmer in it than in the thinner circular knit. So I left the shop on this hot day with knee-length jeans and flat knit in anthracite. I found this color most likely to be “suitable for men”. Apart from that, I generally find the color very nice. Perhaps one could "objectively" criticize that it is not exactly a "summer color".
Curiosity is perfectly normal
Anyway, the pants were extremely comfortable and the anthracite made me feel comfortable in public. It gave me some confidence boost. Except for a day or two when the weather wasn't so good, I've only gone public in shorts for the past two months. And that in all situations. And every new situation first brings with it an uncertainty, especially when it comes to people who already know you (but without visible compression). Various groups of colleagues, large family celebrations, restaurants, pedestrian zones, etc.
And I have to say: there has not been the slightest negative reaction from these circles. This is very important for self-confidence, if you are, so to speak, "recognized" by your peers with your outfit, then you also feel safer in a strange public. Of course, I often notice that people look at my stockings in surprise or sometimes even stare. But you also have to realize that this is completely normal at first. Not because the stockings are ugly, but simply because it is an unfamiliar image: as a man with long stockings, especially on hot days ... So staring is not an evaluation. It's just a curiosity too. That is perfectly normal.
Of course there is still one or the other uncertainty. But the summer, all in shorts, has gone much better than previously feared. And that gives me a significantly improved attitude towards life. Yes, in that sense it really is a release. Because of course it also helps me to cope better with the hot weather. In Germany it was very hot (already like last summer), in Italy, where I recently spent two weeks professionally and privately, it was even hotter. So I can report on some situations of up to 38 degrees in the shade. And in the shade I really like it very well. (The longest was a busy 16-hour working day in compression in the heat.) I only feel annoying sweat above my tights; I hardly notice sweating on my legs. And I enjoy every draft that comes to my lower legs. (It's even better if I turn my pants up so that they end above the knee.) This definitely makes me feel better than last summer with calf stockings and long jeans. Safe: tights generate a certain amount of additional warmth in the abdomen. Of course, tights have some other practical disadvantages compared to calf stockings. But as long as the benefits outweigh that, that's okay. And most importantly: my legs feel good despite the heat, practically symptom-free. Vein problems, swellings etc. increase significantly with warmth. But the stable flat knit seems to keep these problems in check.
My help with uncertainties with compression
I would like to list again the most important points that help me to minimize my insecurities when wearing flat knitwear with shorts in public:
- I feel very good physically in my stockings and I can see how good they are for my legs. I feel more stable and secure with the compression. And on hot days, the feel-good factor is much greater with shorts. That's the main thing!
- I myself think that my stockings look good (and I can't find the seams unaesthetic, which is often claimed). They shape my legs nicely too.
- I myself don't find men in tights (or whatever) offensive at all. It's just my thoughts as to what "the" society supposedly might think about it. But “the” society consists only of individuals who probably also think what is supposedly “allowed” and what is not. So it is up to us as individuals to help determine this supposed image.
- It is clear to me that with people around you you suggest or even provoke the thought that something is "wrong" if you are unsure yourself and struggle with it; that carries over. So you determine a little how other people judge you. If you deal with it in a completely natural and open manner, then others also perceive it as more natural. As already mentioned, that people look because they see something unusual is completely normal and is not initially an evaluation.
- A sense of security acquired from friends and colleagues is also effective in the public sphere of strangers.
In addition: the world has changed a lot in the last few decades. Rigid social conventions are being relaxed more and more. It's always more possible, too Flat knit with shorts. That's a good thing!
Flat knit with shorts -
What do you think?
I am very interested in feedback. Also tips on what colors (of compression) I “as a man” could wear. And maybe even samples? I wonder if about "Animal in gray" by average could be a next step. I also toy with the idea of putting on very short trousers in public on such 38-degree days, which leave almost the entire thigh free (which I still have to buy, however). Tips?