This past week I read an article about the future of underwear. Upon reading it, the article was about the future of underwear for a specific brand, not the industry. This got me thinking, and I think I have enough experience in the industry to make an educated assumption about where underwear is heading.
Fem is the new Masc
There are no longer any rules about what is or isn’t men’s underwear. The last few years have shown us that anything and everything can be men’s underwear. I know many of you have specific criteria for what you will wear. Still, I expect to see more brands blurring the lines and bringing in fabrics, styles, and silhouettes that have either never been used in undies or have been considered too feminine.
An example of this is the rise of men’s lingerie, bodysuits, and the use of satin in men’s underwear. Lingerie/lace started ten years ago for many brands such as MaleBasics and Candyman. Now it’s branching out, and I think it is a big reason why bodysuits and satin have entered the men’s underwear markets.
These trends are not slowing down any; I think they are picking up steam in the world of men’s underwear. Brands such as Wayne Underwear and MCE Creations are taking the styles to the next level. I expect these two brands will continue to push the boundaries and other brands to create new and fun styles.
Smaller is Better
We have had boxers and boxer briefs in the men’s underwear world for over 20 years. It’s time to have smaller undies. In the last three years, we have seen a shift from boxer briefs/trunks to smaller pairs, specifically thongs. I’m not saying this is a seismic shift, but it’s gaining speed yearly.
These styles include thongs and bikinis! The trend in thongs came out of nowhere and has come on strong. However, not everyone likes a thong or wants to wear them every day. They don’t want to sacrifice the smaller design with a great pouch. This will have guys look at bikinis as a great addition to the underwear drawer. I do love that guys are embracing the skimpy styles.
I feel these styles will grow because it’s not just the “gay guys” wearing them. Thongs have crossed over to the straight side. Straight guys love more options to wear. I think for once, they can look at underwear as something to feel sexy wearing and not just something you have to wear. Something many of us who have read the blog has known for years! Many are asking why I can’t wear a (insert bikini, thong, mesh, lace, etc.)? My wife or GF can have options. Why can’t I? ALL guys want options and to feel sexy in undies.
Fashion is function
Fashion and function usually are something that many figures can’t go hand in hand. If it’s fun and sexy, I have often said on the blog and podcast that sometimes underwear is made to come off. It’s made to look super sexy but not designed to be worn for extended periods.
On the other hand, we have heard that “those shoes are ugly, but they are super comfy.” The brand that comes to mind is Crocs. Meaning if it’s ugly, it must be super comfy. I have never found this to be true in the world of underwear. If it’s ugly, such as mass-produced briefs or boxer briefs. They are not at all comfy.
Many brands are creating sexy styles, such as thongs, jocks, and bikinis, that can serve as everyday underwear. I dare to say that we will see underwear that will be good to wear to the gym, work, and everywhere in between. Gone will be when you need “gym underwear” that has moisture properties or extra support. Materials like Modal will be in more undies, and prices will decrease. Also, I’m sure we will have new fabrics invented that will make undies even more impressive.
I’ll take this a step further by saying we will see underwear, specifically a thong, that will be produced to solve problems at the gym. And it will be marketed as a “gym thong.” Brands will use this new technology and fabrics to create undies that solve more problems. And guys will wear this for everyday wear because it will feel so good!
Change comes from Smaller Brands.
I am confident when I say this that smaller brands will push the more significant steps forward. Calvin Klein started the modern underwear movement with its classic white briefs ad and boxer briefs. CK also drove the colors of men’s underwear in the 90s. The colors were black, white, and grey. It was “classic” but not a lot of fun.
Flash forward 20+ years and look at the brands on the market now changing the industry. In the mid-2010’s, you had BodyAware and Marek+Richard pushing boundaries and making underwear fun again. These two brands are still going strong and evolving to make the next best thing. A few brands have come onto the scene in the late 2010/2020s: Bruno Menswear and EXSL, pushing the envelope and driving the industry to new areas.
Big brands will stick to what they do best, but smaller brands like the ones I mentioned above will push the industry into new territory. The prime example of this is the side tie thong that was so big. To be honest, I don’t know who created the first one, but it was a small brand that spread like crazy throughout the thong community. Other small brands like Bruno and EXSL will make designs that resonate throughout the industry.
Attitudes will Change
Lastly, the attitude towards men’s underwear in society will change—less of the guy wearing a bikini or swim brief as the butt of the joke. You know the scene I’m talking about. These I never find funny. Men in anything other than boxers or boxer briefs are a little light in the loafers.
It amazes me how a simple article of clothing can define a man’s sexuality. If you are out and a whale tail is over the top of a guy’s pants, society thinks, “Oh, he’s one of those.” Because no straight man would wear something go “girly.” Little do they know that straight guys are and do wear those styles. I have seen so many straight guys come out as underwear lovers in the last ten years than I ever have before. They are lout and proud! To make significant headway with society, we need straight guys wearing “those kinds of undies.”
No one will bat an eye at a guy walking around in a skimpy bikini or thong around the locker room. We have some gyms where this is the case, but I’m talking in middle America and smaller cities across the US. I am not sure how long it will take, but we will see it happen!!!
I would love to hear your feedback and what you think is the future of men’s underwear.