Gone are the days when blokes relied on their mothers to fill their Christmas stockings with new undies, replacing old holey ones – guys are increasingly shopping for colourful, tight-fitting boxers in the same way that women hunt for the latest sexy bras.
Rugby star Dan Carter isn't the only one sporting sexy jocks. While women are still the most regular undie shoppers for their partners and boyfriends, men are becoming more discerning about what they wear beneath their clothes. Designs are getting bolder, and men are becoming more body conscious about their underwear.
According to Icebreaker's sales manager Jeremy Culpitt: “There seems to be a trend towards sexy underwear for men – the front pouch on Icebreaker's anatomica boxers is designed to 'enhance his bulge', like a push-up bra for his goodies."
Tightly fitted boxers, also known as “classic boy shorts” or the “short trunk”, is the most popular men's undie style in Icebreaker's growing underwear range. Icebreaker sells three pairs of men's boxers to every pair of briefs, with colour making up 75 per cent of Icebreaker's boxer sales, says Culpitt. The bodyfit anatomica boxers are Icebreaker's bestselling style, a tightly fitted style with a wide waistband, designed for comfort.
Culpitt believes New Zealand men prefer not to shop for undies. "Anecdotally we think this is true – a Kiwi thing – but also affected by whether a guy is single or in a relationship.”
Jockey marketing manager Emily Small says more men are shopping more often for their undies. “In the past men have been creatures of habit – buying what they have previously worn – but we are seeing that changing with more interest in new shapes and styles.
“As a culture we have become more body-image focused, people are seeking solutions to look their best, including men."
But since bras tend to be more expensive than men's undies, women still spend more, Small says.
“Close to 50 per cent of men are shopping for their own undies, but women are still more frequently picking up the product in store, for them,” she says.
However, Kirkcaldie & Stains menswear buyer Mark Bolton says women are no longer in the majority in terms of undie purchases.
“I think the modern man is more than capable of selecting his own underwear. There is so much choice in the market these days, and men are definitely brand loyal to their preferred choice of underwear,” he says.
Calvin Klein is the top men's brand sold at Kirkcaldies, and as is the case with Jockey, the short trunk is its top-selling style. sells five pairs of the short trunk for every pair of classic briefs.
Bolder coloured undies are becoming more popular for male buyers at Kirkcaldies and Icebreaker, but Jockey still sells two or three pairs of black or grey underwear for every colourful pair.
The new Australian brand, Milkman, sells its underwear at Farmers nationwide. With its risque advertising, the underwear packaging features lines like "ribbed for her pleasure", and "delivering daily where it matters most".
For those men who don't enjoy shopping in stores, three men have launched a website which sends men's essentials – undies, socks, and toiletries – to members' doorsteps every three months.
Wellingtonian Ben Bonifant, and Cantabrians Andrew Needs and Lachlan Reed launched The Supply Drop two weeks ago – an automated subscription service.
Designer and director Bonifant says the trio, all 25, ran a survey which showed about 90 per cent of girlfriends believe it is not their job to buy underpants for their boyfriends.
Only about 5 to 10 per cent, according to the survey, happily take on the responsibility.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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