An exclusive opinion piece from Jason Scarlatti, Underwear Expert Guest Contributor and Creative Director of 2(x)ist.
Once you (or your mom or spouse or your girlfriend or your boyfriend) buy something you like, it’s a done deal. You’ve found your underwear for life.
This is the precise reason why I think men’s fashion underwear has so much growth potential. But there’s one hitch — guys have to be willing to first taste some forbidden fruit, a gateway drug to whet your appetite: a low rise contour modal trunk with pouch support and a slimming waistband, for example. Once you try something like this, Hanes and American Apparel won’t seem all that enticing anymore.
As Creative Director of 2(x)ist, a men’s fashion underwear brand, I was asked to be a guest on “The Focus Group”, a business-focused radio show hosted by Tim Bennet and John Nash. Both Tim and John were intrigued by the ins and outs of the underwear business, but Tim firmly stated, “I only wear boxer briefs.”
Only boxer briefs? It’s like nails on a chalkboard when I hear that. Women have drawers full with undergarments that come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and fabrics. Why should it be any different for men? Anyways, point proven. Tim needed a gateway drug.
I begged Tim to try something new. I told him I would send some options his way and wanted to hear what he thought. “Just try it,” I said. “You’ll like it.”
A few weeks passed, and I got a message from Tim in my inbox. “Hey Jason. Got my duds this week. Thanks so much. I had a great time trying everything on. I think my favorites are Resort, Tux and Pima Boxer. I like the modal fabric as well. I guess best to say they are all great.” I can’t lie — I expected that note, and not only because Mr. Bennet is a gentleman. I knew the products I sent would speak for themselves and open up a door to higher understanding.
In my travels and experience, I’ve found that a surprising number of men are like this. We buy what we know because it’s safe. Throw in a cash crunch, and you’re even more unlikely to splurge on something that, in all honesty, is guaranteed to pay off. Underwear can open up a whole new world for you.
Here are four ways why:
First, your underwear sets the tone for your entire day. A good-fitting pair of underwear that supports your body and moves with you is going to make you feel comfortable and more relaxed. Ill-fitting underwear forces you to constantly have to tug and pull at it all day. It’s an unneeded distraction and an annoyance, to both you and those around you.
Second, if underwear fits well, it’s bound to boost your confidence. You WILL feel good about yourself with a pair that fits perfectly, and supports all day long. Confidence is one of the most attractive traits a person can have, and the right pair of underwear can be a simple step towards achieving that.
Third, your underwear can actually improve your performance. There are wicking fibers that pull away sweat to keep your body cool and dry when running or working out. If you are attending a fancy event or special occasion, luxury fabrics like modal and Pima cottons can set the tone. If there is a black tie affair, you should try something more special than your everyday drawers, too — I fully believe in dressing from the inside out.
Fourth, underwear can be fun! And wearing underwear that captures your personality under that boring tweed suit or monotone gym clothes can give you an instant high (we had to throw in one drug reference).
These are just a few examples of how underwear can benefit and even improve your life.
Men: I urge you to broaden your horizons.Try something new. Grab a pair of underwear that promises to support you that, hey, might even make you smile. Try a new style or a new kind of fabric, or a new cut. It worked for Tim Bennet, and it can work for you. Just say yes to new kinds of underwear! You’ll like it. And you’ll keep coming back for more–addiction’s a powerful thing.
Jason Scarlatti is a graduate of the renowned Parsons School of Design, and has designed for Joseph Abboud Worldwide. He was a senior designer at Tommy Hilfiger for five years before taking over as the Creative Director at 2(x)ist in 2004.