The Brief History of Briefs

April 25, 2019

Women’s lingerie gets a lot of attention. However, there’s an even hotter retail segment that clothing retailers need to pay attention to:

Men’s Underwear

Between 2013 and 2016 men’s underwear prices increased by 34% according to a report by First Insight, while in the same period menswear prices declined by 27.8%.

The history of underwear dates back to almost 7000 years ago. In fact, the original underwear was made of leather. A quick peek at art from the age of the Pharaohs reveals the Egyptians wore linen cloths to cover their lions. However, in 2019 new moisture wicking technology, and sexy, comfy designs have helped the underwear business skyrocket.

What are men looking for when they shop for underwear?

Men are paying top dollar for underwear for the following reasons:

Comfort

According to a survey by underwear company Tommy John, 100% of men say they have to adjust their underwear during the day. Men value comfort, particularly when it comes to protecting their assets. That’s why quality, comfortable.

New performance technology fabrics

As men embrace a more active lifestyle, they want clothing moisture-wicking clothing that will go the extra mile to keep them cool, clean and comfortable. Smart fabrics, such as high-tech polyester have improved drastically over the years.

Luxury

Top fashion designers such as Calvin Klein and top activewear brands like Adidas are providing a luxury experience for this category.

Boxers or briefs?

So, what’s the most popular form of men’s underwear–boxers or briefs? The most popular underwear type is boxer briefs, with 40% market share according to data from the NDP Group. However, there is a new entrant to the men’s underwear space that is responsible for a significant increase in underwear prices–the trunk.

Trunks are one of the most versatile kinds of underwear–as the wearer can wear them to the tennis court or the boardroom due to their lightweight nature.

Trunk underwear is highly popular with millennials, and other cohorts. Trunks are defined as a hybrid between briefs and boxer briefs. The main advantage is that these items use less fabric, thus feel more lightweight.

Research by First Insight found that prices on men’s trunk underwear has increased by 44% from 2013-2016. Consumers also view briefs as a high-end, luxury product. The price point for trunks is generally more expensive than both briefs and boxers, but that hasn’t slowed down sales of this undergarment. Top trunk brand 2(x)ist sells trunks for $40-50 USD.

However, their luxury garments have garnered them acclaim. 2(x)ist’s Men’s Stretch Core No-Show Trunk were named “Sexiest Men’s Underwear” in Faveable’s survey of top underwear brands.

Last year, SAXX Underwear launched a creative marketing strategy with a new purpose-driven approach that directly supports positive change in the world. The brand is now channeling marketing resources into impactful initiatives, investing in a collective of men who are some of today’s global change-makers.

SAXX Underwear has revolutionized the underwear industry with the introduction of the BallPark Pouch™ – a patented product with breathable mesh panels, the tech feature prevents skin-against-skin friction and ensures chafe-free support.

Adidas is another successful brand that has launched athletic underwear in the market, built for comfort and performance, the sweat-wicking Climalite boxer briefs or trunks are soft, stretchy and tagless.

In the early 2000s, development of performance fabric technologies at Adidas was rapidly evolving. Born of that era was Climalite: Moisture-wicking and fast-drying, it allowed athletes to push further, dig deeper and stay cool in every condition. Today, adidas Climalite technology has transcended performance wear to appear across the adidas product line, from soccer jerseys to Originals graphic tees, giving comfort to everyone, whether on or off the field.

In addition to these brands, top underwear brands to watch include:

• Tommy John’s
• Sunspel
• Calvin Klein.
• Emporio Armani.
• Hugo Boss.
• 4Diesel.