Once upon a decade ago, women were known as the only consumer group who got to enjoy the fine craftsmanship, soft fabrics and the ultimate blend of comfort and utter sexiness, all wrapped up in the garments we know as underwear.
\And although high fashion brands as well as some more high street brands that manufacture lingerie are women’s shrines that have not shown signs of slowing down, something peculiar has happened in the past several years. Men have become a force to be reckoned with in the underwear department, and they seem determined to be as comfortable and good-looking with barely any clothes on, just like women.
The question is, what sparked the change? The guys we used to know didn’t even bother purchasing their own underwear – their mothers and girlfriends were in charge of that task. Now, not only are men actually going into stores and picking out their own, but they’re also becoming picky in the process. It’s time to get to the bottom of things (no pun intended) and see what’s happening with guys out there.
It’s all in the fit
In the last five years there’s been an explosion in the amount of men's underwear brands, at least according to latest trends, the biggest instigator of change is, in fact, millennial men, which alone explains plenty.
Men of this generation seem to care more about their appearance than those of any previous generation, so naturally, they are looking for underwear that suits their life and fashion style. It has all become about the fit. Men want well-made underwear that looks flattering (almost invisible) under the popular slim fit trousers of today, and given the time, craftsmanship and money invested into creating great underwear, they’re worth the investment.
The supermarket choices just don’t cut it anymore, so for the sake of looking great, men are turning to more upscale brands which have anticipated their needs and met them.
The role of personal hygiene
With the rise of disposable income, it is no wonder men are more inclined towards spending their hard-earned money on some quality underwear. If you throw the matters of the rising awareness on the issues of hygiene, you get staggering numbers. Reportedly, the men's underwear market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 5.8 % from 2015 to 2020, reaching US$ 11,167.6 Mn by 2020.
Aside from spending increasing amounts of their money on great underwear, it has been noted that men have also become major players in the attire and footwear consumer markets, investing in high-quality separates as well as tailored suits. When it comes to footwear, sneakers come first, probably thanks to the rise of athleisure, while more casual slippers such as EMU are not that far behind.
Celebrity stamp of approval
It seems that men are as immune to celebrity endorsement as women are, which perfectly explains the staggering success of David Beckhams’s Bodywear collection done in collaboration with H&M. And who could forget the steamy campaign Justin Bieber did for Calvin Klein?
The campaign helped bring the company serious financial success - Calvin Klein outperformed revenue expectations for the first quarter with a 13 percent rise in sales, which amounts to close to $723 million compared to the $654 million the brand made in the first quarter of the year prior to the campaign.
Aside from that, the brand’s Instagram following increased by millions, and even if a fraction of those follows and likes turned into purchases, the company is golden. Speaking of Instagram, this is yet another reason men wish to own great underwear, and if it should have a logo on it, even better. All the #abs hashtags and men posing shirtless for likes are a real thing, and no one wants to be seen in shabby undies – not by the world or someone they hope to get undressed with.
Luxury brands walk the extra mile
Believe it or not, men’s preferences have changed and things have become, so to speak, briefer. Boxers (fitted shorts) now have the biggest share of the men’s market at nearly 40 percent. And while briefs sales also grew 23 percent in the year ending in September 2014, the old-school loose boxers declined 14 percent.
Men are obviously looking not only for better fabrics that suit their lifestyle but they want to feel comfortable and confident whether they’re at the gym or attending a wedding in tight trousers.
They’re also on the lookout for more sophisticated and supportive cuts and even better design in terms of prints and patterns. Women shouldn’t get to have all the fun, and colorful and interesting briefs are as much a fashion statement as any other piece of clothing.
This is the bottom line – luxury brands are willing to cater to the needs of the new man, and therefore, fast-fashion retailers will either have to step up their game or give up altogether.
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