There’s a saying: “Two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend”. And going by the number of runway appearances this season, exposed underwear is one to watch out for. Let’s assess the players. At classically elegant Dior Men, fine polos tucked into Charvet-style boxer shorts; at Louis Vuitton, shiny satin boxers peeking out over hip hop-inflected denim ensembles; at Prada, minimalist blacks and greys broken up by chilli red and mint green waistbands.
Designer underwear itself is nothing new—Calvin Klein made certain of that when he basically invented the category in the ’90s. The difference these days is a higher level of exclusivity. To wit, you’re only going to be able to find the likes of briefs, boxers and trunks from labels like Celine, Bottega Veneta and Burberry (yes, they’ve all got undies too) from these brands’ own boutiques.
Which, of course, begs the question of: why bother with fancy underpants to begin with? Simply put, consider it a pleasure principle. You care about what you put on for the world to see, so why not give a private detail the same level of attention? It’s all part of luxury fashion’s ongoing diversification, with brands branching out into diverse categories like lifestyle, tech and homeware. Underwear, if you think about it, is rather a natural progression from clothes.
Dior Men Artistic Director Kim Jones is, for one, responding to actual demand for the stuff. “It’s not just for the show,” he was quoted saying to i-D magazine about those boxer shorts. “It’s proper underwear because people want that… People like to wear Dior head to toe—right down to their socks and underwear.” And rather than just a throwaway novelty item, these boxers are being rolled out with the same consideration as the brand’s autumn/winter collection, hitting boutiques in September alongside the ready-to-wear.
So, how to wear them? It’s great if you’re daring enough to make a visible statement of this private detail—the tucked-into-the-waistband styling from the runways is a tasteful enough place to start. For the more conservative among us, there’s still personal satisfaction to be had from wearing a really fancy pair under your outfit. Better yet, you can rely on them when the clothes come off to give you a leg to stand on… sartorially speaking, of course.
This story first appeared in the September 2022 issue of Esquire Singapore.