Men’s underwear is often an overlooked category in the world of fashion. But as the fastest growing portion of the menswear market with an expanding selection of cutting edge and innovative styles to choose from, it is safe to say that this category is quickly evolving to new levels. Underwear designers are branching out and utilizing unique styling details like print, color, silhouette, fabric and technology all in fresh and clever ways to appeal to today’s fashionable man with a penchant for style and some cash to burn.
One of the reasons for this growth is recent customer demand due to the lack of stylish skivvies in years past. Fashion is cyclical and we are approaching a dawn of self-expression through dress. Whether it’s funky colored hair, neon accents or retro throwbacks, personal style is on the rise and many men and women alike are embracing the trend with open arms. We are seeing an increase in risk taking throughout all genres of fashion as stylish people embrace and flaunt their individuality. And for those who are hesitant to expose that part of their persona to the world for whatever reason, underwear can become the perfect medium to express themselves.
We know by now that lingerie has the ability to transform its wearer. It can help boost sensuality, confidence and creativity, as only they are privy to what lies beneath. And men are no exception to this fact. New niches that would have been laughed off the runway a few years back are not only available to the masses today but for the most part have been well received by their customers. The fitted brief is beginning to trend again (tighty whiteys!) while shapewear for men is blowing out at certain retailers. Enhancement styles are no longer just for women and come in an array of styles, sizes and options as do extended sizes, solution wear and luxury fashion underwear.
We are also seeing indications of a movement away from the beefed up, oiled down vision-of-perfection models of years past. While the public (or myself) may never tire of ogling Mark Wahlberg or David Beckham in all their glory, some brands are opting for a more realistic, relatable approach. The hope is that everyday-looking guys modeling their wares will set a much less intimidating atmosphere for the consumer than the previous washboard abs and over-bulging groins we’ve become accustomed to. Only time will tell if this new marketing scheme will be profitable but I for one welcome the sentiment being an advocate of using realistic looking models in the women’s industry as well.
With all the new brands and fashion options popping up it’s hard to choose just a few to focus on but here are some noteworthy brands that have garnered some buzz with their unique functions and appeal.
When the original creator of 2(x)ist underwear relinquished his post in 2005, the competing C-IN2 label was born. This edgy line of men’s underwear is fashion forward and focuses on comfort and wearability. One of their more unique offerings is the Personal Fit Factor Brief designed for men of all sizes. The shower brief (as in “show off” rather then something you wear while bathing) is designed specifically for those men who are considered more well endowed then their average counterparts. The front compartment contains a hidden inside pouch with special pleating detail allowing for extra room where it’s needed most. The inside pouch is also meant to hold those special areas in place for increased comfort and support.
Shapewear for men is not considered a new category in the market these days as many brands have taken on the challenge of streamlining midriffs of non-supermodel men. But shapewear takes on a new meaning with the Core Precision Collection from Equmen. Not only do these compression undershirts, tanks and tees help to sculpt the torso, camouflaging beer bellies and love handles, but also they take it one step further. Each undershirt is built with body response technology that helps to reinforce and strengthen the core, improving posture while supporting the shoulders and back. The seamless manufacturing and extra ventilation help make the pieces flexible and easy to wear without the threat of chafing or pinching.
No butts about it: perky, rounded bubbles are hot right now on men and women and the wide array of lifters, pads and implants are proof of the extremes people are willing to go to attain them. While many brands offer the bumped-up look, The Jackpot! Brief from Bubbles Bodywear is a convenient choice with both removable padding in the rear as well as in the front so the wearer can adjust where and when they want that extra cushion. Customers can also choose from foam or silicone pads in an array of thickness to build their bums to optimal size to suit any taste or preference.
Looking for something a little less flashy and complex yet still contemporary and refined? Under Underwear offers luxury basics with sophisticated, utilitarian touches as seen on the Parker Boxer Briefs shown above. The focus is always on the premium fabrics as well as the attention to details such as logo patches made out of cork and simple buttons made out of corozo nut. Whether you go with boxers, briefs, union suits or granddads, Under Underwear feels masculine, tasteful and luxurious.
Yes, pretty and feminine lingerie does exist for men too! Australian label HommeMystere has made headlines for bringing that flirty, girly look to the men’s wear market with fits and sizes specifically for the male build. The Fun Teddy shown above is just one of the many styles offered including lace-trimmed bras, sexy hosiery and an array of panties. The products are being marketed to any and all guys regardless of their sexual preference as many of the campaign photos depict men playing around with their girlfriends for a little bit of frisky taboo in the bedroom.
Performance underwear takes on a whole new meaning with Tommy John’s 360 Sport Trunk. These boxer briefs are like the MacGyver of men’s underwear with multiple features designed to keep you cool, comfortable and dry during high impact activity. The contoured pouch offers support and comfort while the quick draw fly is designed for easy access when you need it. The micro modal fabric is designed to move with you and stay put with targeted mesh inserts to wick moisture away from the body. The anti-odor technology is an added bonus when the heat is on and the utility pocket is the cherry on top claiming to hold everything from keys to an iphone.
And I would be remiss not to talk about frontal enhancement which many men long for. Padded and shaped bulges are a popular added detail in men’s underwear even with high-profile labels jumping on the bandwagon. The Shock Jock Racer Boxer by Andrew Christian is a unique enhancing boxer brief utilizing a foam shaping cup to provide that coveted bulge, giving the illusion of an added 2” in length which is nothing to scoff at. The pad is removable if needed and is molded to create a blatant yet realistic look. Replacement pads are also available for purchase in multiple colors, with or without the anatomically correct mold.
What is your take on the new crop of men’s underwear? Do you feel that any niche is still being neglected by the industry today?