opinion

Men’s Underwear Category Grows Up, Embraces Different Lifestyles

Bianca Smith

If our first layer in life influences how we feel about ourselves and appeal to others, then let’s take a chance and experiment and indulge.

Trends show that underwear has burst out of the constraints of its standard dictionary meaning. It’s all grown up and has become a fashion statement. It even has the power to spice up an outfit or a love life.

We have customers who send us selfies while wearing our thongs in business suits — there’s no wrong occasion to wear a hot piece of underwear. —Audrey Brewer Marketing, Greg Homme

Everyday underwear is relative to the lifestyle of the person wearing it, whether it be a smooth-fitting boxer brief, a new breathable brief perfect for working out or even a thong under a business suit. In this category, comfort remains on top, along with the classic colors of black and white.

While most of the everyday colors remain subdued, many now bid farewell to what they consider to be boring black and white and say an enthusiastic hello to bright neon or shiny metallic colors, because that’s what’s hot and fresh for the taking.

Let’s take a closer look at the trends, what make us feel good inside and out and today’s hot new items. A few main companies in today’s market have assisted us in this endeavor.

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Andrew Christian releases new styles and colors every month. “Trends always change, and so we always keep our collection fresh and on point,” said the company’s wholesale manager Chris Yoo. “New designs and innovations are constantly produced to allow closets all around the world to remain new and fun.”

“More and more, the demand for sexy male intimates is being answered,” stated Envy’s sales director, Helle Panzieri. “We’ve moved from ‘tighty whiteies’ to boxer briefs to a whole range of colorful, shapely items that provide a variety of choices for the discerning man.”

Boxer briefs are currently the most popular style of men’s underwear for Envy. Sleeker than boxers, and more supportive and forgiving than briefs, they offer a smooth look and with the right fabrics, the best option for daily wear. Acting as an everyday or a showstopper look is their “Wetlook Sports Mesh” brief. It’s truly attractive, breathable and soft to the touch, and still attains a hot style. At night or at a party, take it to the next level of hotness and try on the Liquid Metal, available in a variety of colors. Red hot!

“Less is more with Gregg Homme,” Audrey Brewer of marketing said, regarding their popular items. The company has a new collection arriving in April. “Our thong and jock styles always excite our customers and make them excited to show off. Another popular feature is soft, sheer fabrics. Our customers want supreme comfort while looking as sexy as possible.”

Regarding new emerging trends, Gregg Homme has been seeing a more mainstream acceptance of fetish styles. Their new collection includes harnesses, faux leather, buckles and zippers in ways that they have never seen before. On the other side of things, people are elevating their standards of comfort across the board. They want the softest fabrics that still offer support and enhancement, and they’re not willing to settle for anything less.

In the past and present, Gregg Homme admires designers like Alexander McQueen, who manage to keep things dark and classic, while still being sexy and fashion-forward. The more unique the better when it comes to the designs that inspire them.

Lightweight fabrics and moisture wicking fabrics in briefs are making a big come back, boasted Jack Adams’ Matt Richoux in men’s underwear sales. Today’s trends are their Soft Mesh for comfort and compression fabric, which is a micro spandex and feels like being naked as it fits like a second skin.

Since 1975, Male Power has had their fingers on the pulse of emerging trends. “Most notably men today want a variety of different looks and fabrics for their underwear,” explained Vice President Marybeth Onken. “They use words such as basic, trendy, stylish, fashion, comfort and fit; and they want a brand that they can depend on for all of these and that’s Male Power!”

Male Power has an in-house team of trend researchers. You heard that right. “Designs come from a collaborative effort of an in-house design team who researches trends, styles and forecasts,” said Onken. “We are able to brainstorm new ideas and act on them quickly so that we can offer customers new and unique collections and styles several times over the course of a year. Another major part element of our design team includes our customers; from whom we receive tremendous feedback letting us know what they would like to see from Male Power. We do listen, so please keep the ideas coming.”

For Male Power, most popular items are shorts and thongs for their fit and feet, while top selling collections include Stretch Lace, Satin Lycra, Nylon Spandex and Stretch Net. The common denominator of these and all of our collections is our use of ultra-soft, stretchy fabrics.

“Men are definitely taking the time to select the underwear they want to wear,” said Malebasics Director of Marketing and Communications Reinaldo Calcaño. “We’ve seen the market to be more daring. Offering more sensual options. We actually carry a sister brand called MOB Eroticwear that has seen a wild success during the years as it offers lingerie for men. Yes... lingerie as in lace, tulle and fishnets... We have a huge following base on this brand and our audience is very demanding, so we are stepping up the pace to meet those demands. Malebasics is moving away from the trends and focusing on building a classic portfolio that is fun and current but that can live in the long run. We are exploring the use of different fabrics that allow us to be more playful without sacrificing elegance.”

Rules of Playing Gay

If you wanna play with the gays, show the love and step out of the box.

Envy’s Panzieri shared a great example. “We had a customer reach out to us last year around Halloween. They needed a pair of boxer briefs to spray-paint gold for a party, and said he needed Envy because ‘no one does fit like you.’” Which may have given the idea to Envy, as they have now stepped it up with their Liquid Metal line. It’s sure to please.

Jack Adams hypes up the crowd with Andrew Christian, Jack Adams and Aussie Bum (see through).

“There are many underwear brands that have emerged in recent years that can be found in gay oriented underwear stores,” explained Male Power’s Onken. “It’s impossible to pinpoint the most popular. The company is clearly visible in a variety of stores including those that are gay oriented. The unique designs, fabrics, quality, and price points make Male Power a top choice amongst all men. Low-rise mini shorts, thongs, and jocks consistently are the bestselling styles amongst the gay male population.”

“A big chunk of our customer base is gay,” added Malebasics’ Calcaño. “The jockstraps with the mesh pouch seemed to be a catalyst for this. The guys are loving it and we are giving them some love back by releasing new colors for them to try.”

Pleasing the Senses — Feeling and Appealing

We are visual creatures who long to live in comfort. What we first put on should not only be appealing to the sight, but also to the touch.

Which is why Andrew Christian items have evolved and now feature bamboo fibers in their fabric composition. And although black will always be the new black and conquers as a classic color, these days it’s the brighter, the better. Especially according to Yoo, who explained, “Bright colors and contrasts are trending as opposed to the boring black and white.” And added that these color combos are popular in their jocks and thongs.

“Comfort is key, whether that means a smooth look under fitted clothing, breathable fabrics, or a certain style or cut, everyday underwear needs to help an individual feel confident and comfortable in everyday life,” said Panzieri. “Evoke a sense of sexual confidence and adventurousness, sexy underwear can step outside the box in terms of personal style.”

Gregg Homme likes to think you can be sexy at all times and occasions, so they don’t categorize it aside from everyday. “We have customers who send us selfies while wearing our thongs in business suits - there’s no wrong occasion to wear a hot piece of underwear,” Brewer added.

What has become hot now for Jack Adams is staying cool, especially during the everyday workout. They developed the Flex Fit Brief with compression fabric, snug-fitting micro spandex briefs to hold everything in place when working up a sweat. Under shorts or pants, they’re the added support needed when going for gold. Soft to the touch fabric and feels like having nothing on your body!

Male Power has always had the reputation for finding unique, specialty fabrics, which they use in collections such as Black Cobra, Heather Stripe and Heather Rib. Moving forward they will be updating and adding cotton collections, which will feature bright, bold colors, accented with matching, wide waist elastics with their new mPower logo.

Malebasics “were the first ones to use Yael (a mesh-like fabric) on the pouches of our Jockstraps, for example,” continued Calcaño. ”And we found a way to show off the genital area and ‘suggest’ it without being vulgar. The result? It’s selling like hot bread! Guys seem to love it as it offers them a way to express they sexyness without being feminine or too evident.”

Hot New Items

Andrew Christian is proud of their Almost Naked Bubble Butt Jock, featuring four straps as opposed to the standard two, which lifts the “cheeks” with support straps to hold it all together for a bubble look. Also check their 3D waistbands with silicone and rubberized feel.

Envy has cool break-a-way thongs, bright in color (though also available in black). They also have a fun feature — a magnetic clasp that keep things in place until it’s go time!

Gregg Homme has popular styles in nude.

“Our Nude styles revolutionized the idea of what sexy comfort can be,” the company said. “Your packages slides into our pouch like a hand in a glove — it’s stunning, it’s beyond soft, and it’s the second skin you didn’t know you needed!”

Gregg Homme also lists the X-Rated Maximizer and Encore as is bestselling styles.

Male Power will be debuting six new collections at the International Lingerie Show this month. They’ve got new collections featuring buckle trims, styling with grommets and lace-up crotch details, color-block cottons and athletic mesh in combination, new elastics and new specialty fabrics. Also, keep an eye out for a whole new look for their upcoming lifestyle images. They will also be transitioning to a new updated packaging box. The box features an elegant, carbon fiber design and a clear window so that the customer can see the fabric of the garment they are purchasing.

During 2014, Malebasics launched the Spot Collection, which was a huge success. They ventured into the fashion underwear field and the reception they had was great. Again, using combinations of materials and colors while keeping it classy.

“We are expanding our offer,” said Calcaño. “We are keeping our best-seller classics and launching new fresh collections. Camo & Neon are very different from each other but by keeping the elegance and simplicity that characterizes the brand. We see the market oversaturated with decorations, prints, and flashy seasonal designs, however we believe in the elegance of simple design that focuses in being elegant and at the same time sexy and masculine, without dropping our value-for-your-money quality.”

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