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Enhanced underpants help men put up a front

Women have worn shapewear for centuries, while men have had to make do with what nature gave them — until now. British retailer Marks & Spencer is offering enhanced underpants that provide a 38 percent visual enhancement in front.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

For centuries, women have had tools to enhance their natural, er, assets. Corsets, padded brassieres, silicone breast enhancers (aka “chicken cutlets”), girdles, shapewear, and even breast and butt implants have allowed women to practice the art of illusion — something men have mostly been excluded from.

Until now.

Blazing a trail in the field of male shapewear, British retailer Marks & Spencer introduced slimming undershirts for men — more colloquially known as “suck-in shirts” — earlier this year. To complement the product, the retailer has now created a minicollection of enhancing underpants under its Bodymax brand.

The two styles — one that provides a lift in the back, and another that provides a little something extra up front — have actually been engineered by M&S technologists (their mothers must be so proud). The bum-lift pant, which costs 15 pounds — about $24 — is constructed to elevate and shape the buttocks for a 20 percent visual lift. The frontal enhancement pant, available for 10 pounds or about $16, has been constructed with a “shelf” that allows for a 38 percent visual enhancement in size.

“Our technologists have worked hard to engineer styles that are comfortable to wear and that give real results,” reads the M&S release. “These pants provide a real confidence boost for men, and we think they will prove popular with our customers.”

Whew! They don’t call this chain Marks & Sparks for nothing.

“Women have been wearing and enjoying the benefits of shapewear for many years now, and we saw such a positive response from men when we launched our Bodymax shaping vests earlier this year,” Dave Binns, head of buying for men’s underwear at M&S, told, referring to the slimming T-shirts. “Though the pants don't go into stores until next Friday, customer inquiries are coming in from as far away as Australia. It’s also been the most talked-about product on the M&S Facebook page, with over 750 comments.”

The superpants are available starting Oct. 15, but to avoid an anticipated crush in the stores, the retailer has set up a waiting list, enabling customers to preorder the hotly anticipated garment. The company declined to comment on just how many men have signed up thus far.

In case men on this side of the pond are feeling left out, there are also enhancement products available on American shores, though none claims a 38 percent enhancement. Calvin Klein offers a “Body Boost Trunk” that promises profile enhancement “through a unique boost strap system.”

And then there are the Spanx Cotton Comfort boxers and boxer briefs. These pants’ “strategic lift adds dimension and depth for an enhanced profile.” Indeed.