Multi-Packs Are Back

by Michael Kleinmann

Men’s underwear sold in multi-packs was once regarded as poorly made and ugly–a mere shadow of the “good stuff.” Nowadays, however, the most prominent players in the men’s underwear industry are debunking that stigma by offering a slew of their hottest styles in pairs, three and even fours-packs, giving you stylish underwear with the quality you’d expect from a major brand–for a bangin’ price.

We’re not just talking about boring black and white packs of briefs like those you used to get from Gramma, here, either. Major brands like 2(X)IST, Calvin Klein Underwear, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors are responding to this increasing demand for multi-packs by rolling out a variety of men’s underwear multi-packs in multiple silhouettes and colors. 2(X)IST is even offering a jockstrap 2-pack.

2(X)IST Creative Director Jason Scarlatti explains the value of color in men’s underwear and the infusion of color into multi-packs to The Underwear Expert. “Sales have shown our customer knows how to embrace color, so this program allows him to continue to invest in our most classic of styles, but in an array of colors.” Sales numbers for the New York based brand are encouraging; Scarlatti continues, “The launch numbers already prove that men are wanting more color for their wardrobe; with the quality and price point we are offering, it is a huge success.”

This drive to present more budget friendly offerings is both economically and consumer driven, a Calvin Klein Underwear representative told The Underwear Expert. “We have expanded our multi-pack offering in recent years due to more customers looking for value, and now offer color, stripes and different fabrications to allow a wider range of customers to save money without sacrificing style.” In response to the growing demand for multi-packs, the brand also recently converted their #1 selling boxer brief from a 2 pack to a 3 pack, and only upped the price $5. Scarlatti confirms the consumer’s interest in value in this economy, “There is no doubt that the economy plays a role into it. People want to get more for their hard earned money, and rightly so.”

But exactly how much money do you actually save by purchasing underwear in a multi-pack? It depends on the brand, but the savings average between an astonishing 50 and 70 percent. Considering underwear brands are rolling out underwear with construction equal to that of single pairs, the math here speaks for itself.

The arithmetic adds up for the brands as well. Hugo Boss reports that multi-packs now account for 90% of the brand’s basic underwear business.

The stigma that three-packs were once “cheap” is quite valid, and will haunt the industry for at least a few more years, but designers aren’t taking the evolution from crappy to chic lightly. Scarlatti stated, “Multi-packs have been low brow, or low end, and very basic. We wanted the opportunity to introduce our expertise in quality and fit, as well as our eye for color into the genre. The multi-pack business needed to evolve, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.” A Hugo Boss spokesperson confirmed as well that what people do find in multi- packs, is nothing short of right off the rack: “The customer recognizes we’re offering the same high quality product that complements our fashion apparel and makes a complete statement.”

This commitment to keeping multi-packs as high quality as the rest of a brand’s collection resounds through the industry, as explained by a representative from Emporio Armani. “All of our products are subject to the high standards of Armani. We are not just a fashion, luxury underwear brand, we are an everyday necessity.”

Another evolution in men’s underwear multipacks is the packaging. Brands like 2(X)ist, Hugo Boss and others are incorporating viewing windows that let you see the product’s color and cut; no hidden surprises here. Hugo Boss will upgrade its packaging for multi-packs in spring 2013 by
featuring color images and a larger product viewing window. Hugo Boss’ spokesperson commented, “The result is a more dynamic, appealing package that is eye-catching and should help increase sales.”

While brands have brought their multi-packs up to par, some aesthetic differences may still catch your eye. But the differences are just that–aesthetic. A prime example, for instance, is the Calvin Klein Underwear Microfiber Stretch 2-Pack Hip Brief which is identical to the CK Bold Micro Hip Brief in cut and fabric, but features a slightly different logo waistband. For a savings of multiple dollars, that’s a design change we can get down with.

Check out our gallery of the best mens underwear multi-packs out there today:

For more information on these brands: 2(X)IST, Calvin Klein Underwear, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger

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