Men and undergarments don’t seem to be a good fit. While an increasing number of debates and discussions revolve around women and their lingerie preference, men seem to stay away from the centre stage in this domain. However, they do have a voice when it comes to undergarments and they buy designs that spell comfort. The question is, does their opinion then go unheard? Or, are they not too picky about what they buy so the market holds fewer evidences about their thought trails and preferences? What if it’s both and more? In order to unravel the truth we spoke to men from varied walks of life and here is what they had to say.
Colonel Nirupam Basu Army veteran and Aviator
Tougher terrains, unpredictable situations and the drive to keep ready and strong come what may are synonymous to the Army life. Colonel Nirupam Basu has experienced it all and clothing through all this played an important role in his life, especially innerwear. This is because with uniform to tackle, the lighter the inner garb the better. Given his personal insights and experiences about underwear, we were keen to know how he defines his choices and whether he is choosy so to say or not.
I have no idea of statistics or market trends associated with the men’s underwear market. But I would definitely want to share a piece of my personal experience and will want to highlight that personally I like to wear comfortable underwear. Style, branding, and the frills of the trade are reserved probably for the younger audience. But my experiences have been that a good brand, especially the forerunners in the industry, irrespective of their audience, fine tunes all aspects concerning the consumer to a T. So to say, they pay attention to comfort, styling, quality, fit, and much more, undoubtedly weighing all parameters at the same level. Therefore, I as an individual would rather pick a branded brief as compared to the ones brought out by local brands. Being in the Indian Army I have noticed that men do care about what they are wearing under their clothes and most of my ‘chaddi buddies’ choose branded briefs over boxers or other variants.
Saikat Sengupta Advertising professional His profession demands him to be attentive about trends and market nuances. This associated with his eye for detail allows him to see brands in a different light. Holding senior positions in varied advertising agencies over the years, Saikat has been lucky to work with leading men’s undergarment brands. When putting his heart and soul in to campaigns he has also got closer with the market pulse, to know what sells and what doesn’t. That said, he also understands consumer behaviour and appreciates that front of the trade. Ultimately, brands can’t exist without a strong consumer support.
When crafting brand campaigns or designing exclusive communication material for men’s undergarment we do have to think twice before deciding the voice of the campaign. In case of women-centric lifestyle or apparel brands the concern is different and we are always playing on the exclusivity of brands and their offering. However, men don’t care about the finer finesse in so much detail. They want to buy or invest their money in something in which they have found a worth for their penny. So, they like to know facts and they love to wear styles that they can follow for years to come. When it comes to undergarment most men prefer basics. Comfortable underwear that appeals to their skin is more important rather than anything else. Not only the general consensus, but I also prefer to stick to brands that sell with the value-added feature of ‘comfort’. Innerwear needs to be as basic as can be and if that means being brand loyal to certain names, then I am all for it. However, that doesn’t stop me from trying broader straps or colours and if some new brand on the shelf is ready to indulge me by ticking all these usual boxes, then I don’t mind trying them out.
Senior Sales Manager, Deepak Stores
Established in 1955, Deepak Stores in Grant Road, Mumbai is a top player in the category of hosiery garment retailers in Mumbai. Located at Cross Lane, Grant Road, Near Grant Road Station East, this store attracts passer-bys and regulars alike. They are known for their exhaustive stock in menswear and retail undergarments to t-shirt, everything. They stock and are one of the leading retailers of Jockey, Van Heusen, and the likes. Over the years, owing to their keen attempt to follow trends, they have been able to bring only the best brands and style to men across age groups. This has helped them create a vast base of customers, which continues to grow by the day. Dedicated staff who know the business and trade inside out is also common to this retailer. That’s why when asked, the senior sales representative at the store was more than happy to share his opinion.
Undergarments for men have seen a lot of growth and demand in the last few years. Thanks to films and advertisements, men too have become conscious about what they wear. Even though many women come to our shop to buy men’s undergarments, they make only 25 per cent of the total footfalls. I don’t know if it is our nature of business, stock or what, we see exceptional number of male visitors every day. I can tell you that they do care about fashion and have a strict idea of what they want to buy or put their money in. Unlike women, they are mostly not so choosy about style, look, colour, or the like. But they do care about comfort and are very concerned about how the underwear feels on the skin. We sell all varieties of men’s underwear and can’t really pick one style that sells most, as every style has its own takers. Age group is also not a concern anymore and men of all age groups do come by all the time. At present, at least for the last one year, we have been seeing very good demand for Van Heusen’s products. So, all-in-all I would say men do care but only as long as their preference is met.
Varun Bhatia Owner, Maiden Beauty
Established in 1975, Maiden International has made a name for itself in the list of top lingerie brands in India via its brand, Maiden Beauty. The company is located in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh and is one of the leading sellers and manufacturers of lingerie today. The brand has, over the years pioneered many bra trends bringing women closer to bras that spell comfort over everything else. Their styles are elegant and traditional, but their make is highly modern and takes care of every concern starting from cup size, side spillage and the likes. Holding the reins of the brand at the helm, Varun Bhatia also brings decades of experience and knowledge related to undergarments to the table. Being an integral part of the trade, here’s what he had to say about our topic of discussion.
Men’s underclothing is no longer the fantasy of their ladybird alone. Yes, nowadays, men are more concerned about their underclothing. They do take care about everything starting from the brand, to the fit, colour, prints, fabric, and elastic. They care about inner comfort. Spending long hours sitting at the workplace, attending meetings and travelling, exercising, playing and lot more, they know in order to be completely focused they must be comfortable and secure from the inside. Thus, it becomes a necessity to have the right fit, style, size and material of the inner wear for better appearance, look and confidence.
There is now a huge variety of underclothing for Men than before like Boxer Briefs, Briefs, Boxer Shorts, Thongs, Jockstrap, C-String, Tanga, Mankini, Tights, Racer back Vest, sleeve or half sleeve, round or – neck vest, Scented vest etc., and thus they have many options to choose from. Rightly so, I would go to that extent to say that men not only care about their undergarments but they love to choose and experiment with styles and cuts.