Calvin Klein Underwear Guide
Calvin Klein Guide
From Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” to heartthrobs like Manu Rios and Dominic Fike, there’s no better known name in underwear than Calvin Klein. The company started out humbly enough, but has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry giant that’s hard for even the most stalwart competitors to keep pace with. CK’s sleek, sexy designs on seriously beautiful models continue to dazzle, meaning that the brand is one you’re not likely to see go out of style any time soon.
But is this $30-a-piece underwear brand really worth the hype, and all the money? We took a deeper look at the brand and its men’s underwear collection to let you know with this, our guide to Calvin Klein.
All About the Modern Calvin Klein
It’s hard not to know at least a little bit about Calvin Klein in this day and age. The company was founded in 1968 in New York; Klein himself opened a small coat shop in the York Hotel with a mind to create youth-driven, “understated” clothing. The line expanded into sportswear, lingerie, and accessories in the ‘70s, then into its famous line of jeans. Finally, in the ‘80s, the first line of Calvin Klein underwear hit shelves. Today, the company is worth roughly $8.5 billion (and counting).
The Calvin Klein of today is all about sustainability, style-wise and design-wise. CK is aiming to hit net-zero negative environmental impacts in the near future by implementing new measures like using recycled materials. As a brand, its goal isl to hit 100 percent sustainability with cotton and wool by 2025, moving to plastic-free packaging by 2030.
Calvin Klein has also made some significant progress toward inclusivity with their current goal to “design for every body.” Not only has the brand promoted new gender-inclusive lines and designs, but they’ve backed up their work with partnerships with The Trevor Project, Transgender Law Center, ILGA World, and other advocacy groups and organizations around the world. So, the CK of today is one you can feel good about in more ways than one.
Is Calvin Klein a Luxury Brand?
Because of its fame and, yes, its price point, it’s fair enough to ask if Calvin Klein is technically considered a luxury brand. We’ll say that yes, classic CK is about as luxurious as other well-known names like Tommy Hilfiger and VS.
In an effort to modernize and urbanize the company, Calvin Klein underwent a rebrand in the mid-2010s, going from CK Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Jeans to simply Calvin Klein across all of its products. The rebrand didn’t seem to detract from the exclusivity of the label, however; the brand is still available primarily through department stores and other higher-end retailers.
Who Wears Calvin Klein?
Originally, Klein himself targeted a younger demo specifically, looking to create elegant designs for young adults. Now, though, the brand has branched out to target people from their mid-teens up to their fifties, with options aimed at every age group.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular and well-known examples of celebrities in CKs is “Marky” Mark Wahlberg, whose ‘90s ad campaign — shared with some other beautiful bodies — popularized the boxer brief cut when it was originally launched by the company. CK is, in fact, responsible for this blended shape, and this campaign was what really launched the company into being known as an icon for sex appeal.
The brand recently doubled down on this image when it did a social media campaign under the tag #MyCalvins. The campaign featured some well-known names like Vanessa Hudgens, Justin Bieber, and Billie Eilish, but it doesn’t end there — over the years, Calvins have been spotted on Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Shia LaBeouf, Robert Downey Jr., and many, many more.
It’s safe to say that anyone and everyone can wear Calvin Klein, but it’s most popular with the mid-range adult crowd, so from about 20 to 40. It’s especially popular with guys who love a simple, sexy, and classic style that exudes class and a streak of traditional Americana.
The Calvin Klein Men’s Collection
Today, Calvin Klein’s men's underwear collection consists of five key styles. From least to most coverage, you’ve got jockstraps, briefs, boxer briefs, trunks, and boxers. As of press time, it appears boxers are only available to buy as part of a set with shirts. CK also offers a range of tanks, tees, and loungewear to complement the collection.
Its designs are classic: solid colors with thick, plainly branded waistbands. Design is meant to be elegant and understated. Styles come in the basic colors you’ve come to expect — white, black, and gray — though some do come in other colorways like reds, blues, greens, and pinks. When they do crop up, patterns are simple as can be.
The fit of just about every style is close enough to be flattering but not overly tight or restrictive. These are classic outlines designed for both practicality and a healthy dose of sex appeal. Most CK styles come in a range of rises from “micro” to high and are available in more affordable packs of three or five pairs.
Other Calvin Klein Products to Pair With
Of course, CK doesn’t just carry designer underwear. They’ve got a wide range of apparel to help you complete the entire look, from the coats and jackets that started it all to a range of tops and bottoms including jeans, activewear, and swimwear: all with that classic basics and color-block branding.
Calvin Klein fragrance lines are also nothing to sniff at. Its most popular scents are Defy and Obsession, followed closely by Everyone and One. (Why the names are so similar for those last two, we may never know.)
The Pros and Cons of Calvin Klein
Let’s dig into what CK does well and where we see room for improvement.
Where Calvin Klein Shines
CK underwear for men currently boasts a size range of XS to 5X, which is impressively inclusive. It has a decent number of color options to choose from across all of their designs, and a wide range of styles to suit nearly every wardrobe. Fit and choice of material are also well worth the money — CK is generally well-fitted, high quality, soft, breathable, and comfortable.
Another benefit of simple designs like these is uniformity. No matter which style you choose, you’ll have the same options and basic look, which is hugely helpful when it comes to creating a cohesive wardrobe. This extends to CK’s other clothes and accessories as well: everything is designed to look good alone or as part of an ensemble, so you’re getting a grab-and-go selection that doesn’t require too much effort to put together.
In terms of the company itself, Calvin Klein’s efforts for inclusivity are a major plus, as are their efforts to create a decent working environment for their employees.
Where Calvin Klein Falls Short
As with any big brand, CK products are expensive and often exclusive to higher-end shops, which can make them inaccessible to lots of people. They do have limited options for skimpier cuts, as their main focus is on boxers and briefs. Jockstraps especially follow an older, less modern cut than that of competitors.
While the uniformity of CK designs can be good for those who don’t want to think too much about their outfits, they can also be limiting for experimenters and those who want to make a bolder statement with their clothes. The brand’s men’s selection particularly is on the plainer side. Because understatement is the goal here, there isn’t much of anything in the way of exciting colors, patterns, or prints. There’s very little variety in design when it comes to undies: wide bands and simple solids. Recognizable? Absolutely. Interesting if you want to spice things up? Not really.
Additionally, a fair amount of customers don’t have the best things to say about CK’s online ordering system. Apparently the sizing chart can be deceiving, leading customers to complain about the fit being untrue to size. According to customers, sizes usually run a bit too big.
On the corporate side of things, though Calvin Klein does apparently strive to create a good working environment, there are still some issues regarding pay for their hourly workers and its actual manufacturing processes, as pointed out by former employees.
If you’re into stylish, timeless silhouettes with simple designs and a great fit and feel, Calvin Klein probably has something in stock that you’ll love. Though the prices are still relatively high as compared to your run-of-the-mill underwear, CK does have some excellent options for accessible pricing for a luxury brand, especially if you opt for one of the multi-packs.
If you’re already a CK guy and you’re looking to branch out, try out our curated underwear club. Pick your poison with a variety of styles, colors, and add-ins, choose a frequency, and we’ll mail you an expert-curated selection of styles to try from industry leaders across the globe. Hop on over to our store to see if we’ve got exactly what you’re looking for in stock.
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