How Celebrities Impact Men’s Underwear
Celebrity underwear choices are almost always fun to gawk over, and not just aesthetically speaking. Peeping new, imaginative designs as worn on menswear style stars is a great way to discover brands you might not know otherwise and draw inspiration when it comes to looks of your own.
That’s why we decided to round up some of our favorite celebrity impacts on trends in the men’s underwear industry in recent years that celebrities have either gotten on board with or made happen themselves.
Are Celebrities the Voice of Reason in Men’s Underwear?
Ah, the power of celebrity: the people in the spotlight show the world what brands “should” be selling, and a single photo shoot can change the face of an industry — we’re looking at you, Mark Wahlberg.
Style stars can be popular for a variety of reasons, but they all share one thing: influence. Fans are more likely to buy something that has their stamp of approval, especially in our Instagram era. So, endorsing a specific brand or creating a brand of their own can present a major market advantage. This is especially the case for industries like fashion, where the majority of trends are decided by what’s hot in the public eye, be it on TV, in film, or online.
Paying attention to choices in celebrity fashion, especially in the men’s underwear industry, can tell you a lot about how the world has changed. With Western media representing a broader range of diversity and inclusion than ever in recent history, really, more and more celebrities — and by extension, everyday people — are feeling free to make bold statements about themselves and their bodies.
You also don’t necessarily have to like a particular celebrity trend in men’s underwear to recognize why it’s important. Whether or not you yourself choose to wear what your faves do is your choice. But as far as the cultural zeitgeist goes, celebrity trends are a good indicator of the changing tides of style, period. Chances are, there’s something to be learned on your feed.
How Celebrities Create Underwear Trends
We’ve established that celebrity underwear favorites are important, but what trends are worth paying notice to? Without further ado, here are some of the latest celebrity preferences in underwear for men for your consideration.
Tighty Whities Make a Comeback, feat. Harry Styles
Tighty whities have quite the reputation, and it’s one that’s shifted a lot over the years. Love ‘em or leave ‘em, these briefs have had a grip as tight as their snug fit on men all over the world since they first debuted in the 1930s, flying off shelves as quickly as they could be restocked. Lately, though, they don’t always conjure the sexiest mental image, culturally speaking. Well, they hadn’t, at least.
Leave it to Harry Styles, heartthrob that he is, to usher them back into style. The “As It Was” singer already has quite the reputation for being daring in his style and disregarding outdated stereotypes around who should wear what. So, it should come as no surprise that his style ethos is the same in the underwear department.
Harry’s 2020 merch campaign, launched during the pandemic with an aim toward donating profits to charity, featured images of the singer posing in just his T-shirts and some tighty whiteys, looking both beautiful and relaxed. Though initially met with some skepticism, the shoot was definitely received enthusiastically by fans, which has helped image-rehab the undie from nerd status to sex symbol.
Since that shoot, tighty whities have been cropping up all over the place, with stylish, newer cuts making waves on many an Instagram feed.
Calvin Klein Says “Deal With It”
Calvin Klein is well known for being on the cutting edge of the industry about everything from new styles to inclusivity, and the brand showed that off in 2020 with their “Deal With It” campaign. This star-studded featurette included everyone from Lil Nas X and Justin Bieber to Kendall Jenner and Lay Zhang, among others.
In a short, sexy video, these celebrities stripped, danced, and talked about why they love their worldviews, their bodies and identities, and being unapologetically themselves. The campaign’s aim was to present a “for everyone” approach to wearing CK, a brand once beloved for how exclusive it was — and it seems to have worked, given booming sales for the company in recent years.
Campaigns like this one from Calvin Klein aim to prove that inclusivity isn’t going anywhere. It’s indicative of growing support for many movements toward inclusivity: particularly the body-positivity movement, which aims to celebrate bodies that aren’t commonly seen in media, including fat and disabled bodies. Seeing a campaign of this stature embrace real racial diversity too in its casting was a major step for the industry itself, no doubt. Beyond a narrow view of who’s sexy and who’s not is a world of beauty that often goes unseen, and Calvin Klein essentially said if viewers didn’t like it, they could deal with it.
Jake Miller’s Gildan Meetup
As social media has boomed in recent years, influencer culture — the concept that a person with a large following can influence their audience to purchase certain products or make certain decisions — has become prevalent beyond the wildest imaginations of most advertisers. While the men’s underwear industry has largely relied on traditional adverts and advertising on company-led socials, the world of influencers and sponsored posts is undeniably at center stage now, if influencers like Jake Miller are any indication.
Jake Miller has been well-known for his music since the early 2010s and has only grown in popularity. He partnered with Gildan to run a giveaway for National Underwear Day in 2021 (Our CEO Michael Kleinmann created National Underwear Day in 2003).
This relaxed photo shoot featured the singer in his Gildan boxer briefs relaxing at home with his dog, grinning and confident in his skin. In the caption, he announced that fans could enter for a chance to win a virtual meet and greet, as well as exclusive merch (and, you guessed it, underwear).
This competition is a great example of how influencer marketing can change the men’s underwear industry by supporting not just well-known brands that can afford to pay out big names, but also smaller brands with up-and-coming celebrities willing to represent them on a partnership basis.
Savage X Fenty’s Sexy Lingerie Line For Men
A surprising trend for the past couple of years has been the rise of men’s lingerie. Originally considered a niche market for high-fashion shows, it’s now becoming increasingly clear that everyday men are interested in buying skimpier, sexier designs for themselves.
This was proven with Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty’s first lingerie line for men in 2020, which sold out in 12 hours. The range is now filled with not just practical boxers and boxer briefs, but also a range of harnesses, jockstraps, thongs, and mesh items. Fans asked for more, and Rih proved she was listening to feedback when her Valentine’s day lingerie drop for men happened earlier this year: social media lit up with excitement.
OH RIHANNA. pic.twitter.com/aYN8kbjrBG— Your Favorite Interior Designer 🤞🏾✨ (@twhitson26) January 18, 2022
Not only were the pieces themselves red-hot, but they were also modeled by gorgeous plus-size men unafraid to show some skin. It’s fair to say that plus-size fans across the internet were ecstatic to see themselves represented so well, and on such a high-profile stage.
Twitter and Instagram gays were especially about it, of course, leaving comments ranging from “OH RIHANNA” to the playful: “Rihanna really out here making dudes dress like little sluts. I love it.” One Twitter user helpfully commented, “Give me the harness NOW” with no other context. We think they might like the lineup! Certainly they aren’t alone.
Darren Barnet Works With Victoria’s Secret PINK on New Inclusive Brand
Shocked to see VS making an appearance on this list? So were we, but they’ve really turned over a new leaf in the past year as the company has rebranded toward inclusivity following a change in ownership. The brand previously faced severe backlash, particularly over the last few years, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and wider discourse around the harm its beauty standards have done on women and girls. However , the brand announced just recently that the launch of a new brand under their PINK umbrella, Happy Nation, will cater to tweens in a “judgment-free” and — for the first time in the brand’s history —, “gender-free” way.
This is another breakthrough in the underwear industry in general toward inclusivity. While it may not be men’s underwear specifically, hard lines around gendered clothing are becoming less and less important as time goes on, which means more freedom for everyone to feel great in their skin. It’s becoming more important to recognize when brands aim to open their appeal to everyone, especially when that work atones for a lack of inclusivity in the past.
To represent this new brand, VS hired Never Have I Ever star Darren Barnet to model for them and work as a brand ambassador. Barnet seems excited about his opportunity as well, commenting that he’s loving the focus the company is putting on mental health and that he aims to be a positive role model for young teens. He’s said he’s proud to be a part of something that allows teens to feel more comfortable in their own skin.
The brand does carry underwear in both traditionally masculine and feminine styles, though. Where this brand differs is that it doesn’t label any piece as “for men” or “for women.” They also carry shirts, shorts, sweats, accessories, and body care items. The currently digital-only brand is hoping to expand its offerings as time goes on. The focus is now on practicality and inclusivity rather than VS’s former size-0, bombshell-only approach, which makes for a welcome change.
Should You Follow Celebrity Underwear Choices?
Even if you don’t follow celebrity trends in men’s underwear too closely, it’s obvious enough that men’s underwear fashion has changed significantly in recent years, and for good reason. There’s more representation than ever for men who previously didn’t get a say or a style that suited them.
Enjoying all these trends? Try some of them for yourself! With our subscription box, you can curate exactly what you want, when you want it. That way, celebrity or not, you can always be on-trend and on the way to refreshing your wardrobe in style.
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