Although the latest infographic from Garcon Model regarding men’s underwear trends showed that almost 90 percent of guys are now buying their own underwear, there is still that 10 percent of women who also buy these undies. In fact, British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) claims that women buy half of their supply of men’s underwear. Perhaps they are buying them for their partners, but M&S says that the number of women buying men’s undies “does suggest that men’s underwear is a common consideration for women.”
This trend of women wearing their men’s bottoms could be the inspiration for one of M&S’ most successful underwear collection—the Autograph line, designed by British male model David Gandy. What is unique about this 28-piece collection is that Gandy “did design his collection very much with women in mind.”
American company Play Out also created a line of gender neutral underwear, which features trunks and boxer briefs in bright colors. The underwear range adopts the wide waistband feature of men’s underwear, but ditches the open fly so that they can be used by either gender. “We want people to feel cool, happy, and sexy wearing our underwear—but to feel that way for themselves, and not necessarily to please someone else,” said Abby Sugar, one half of the New York-based couple who created the Play Out underwear line.
Calvin Klein’s reissuance of its original pants from the early 90s also helped fuel the trend, as other underwear companies followed suit. Swedish brand Acne launched a line of gender neutral underwear labeled “for real kids and not models,” according to its creative director, Jonny Johansson. American Apparel has also been releasing brightly-colored Y-fronts for years.
The appeal of men’s underwear to women is understandable: compared to women’s undies, briefs and boxers more comfortable, thanks to the extra roominess around the front bottom that they provide. They are better to sleep in compared to itchy lace panties and awkward polyester thongs that most women’s sexy underwear are made of. Women who also prefer men’s underwear are also regarded as cool, basically because they do not feel the need to wear skimpy underwear just to feel beautiful and sexy.
And the fabrics that are being used for men’s underwear are getting more and more varied. For instance, Naked Brand Group Inc. makes use of different fabrics for its various underwear collections geared towards men of different lifestyles. Its Active Collection uses microfiber, a moisture-wicking fabric designed for men with athletic inclinations. Its Luxury Collection, on the other hand, uses micromodal fabric that feels so smooth and comfortable, you’ll forget you’re even wearing one. Such innovative fabrics further add to the attractive features that women find in men’s modern underwear.
The shift towards gender neutral underwear could be an indication that unisex clothing is on its way to becoming mainstream. With minimalist clothing trends on the rise, basic conceptual pieces signal easier dressing for everyone while leaving enough room for self-expression. Wearers are no longer bound by gender constraints in choosing what type of clothes to wear, as gender norms are entirely eliminated. And there’s no reason why this trend should not influence even the way people wear their undergarments.