Sexy lingerie for men has arrived


As a multidisciplinary artist who explores black and queer identity, 27-year-old LaQuann Dawson often takes self-portraits from her home and studio in Brooklyn while wearing women’s lingerie. But he found the jumpsuits and stockings didn’t go well.

“Either it would be very small or I would find something that looked good from the back,” Dawson said.

As a workaround, he would wear the lingerie inside out or buy larger sizes. Then one day, while scrolling through Instagram, he came across a company called Leak NYC, a men’s lingerie brand that makes sexy bodysuits from fishnet and other sheer materials, with plenty of room in the front. . It was a revelation.

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“Leak was a godsend,” Dawson said. “They’re actually thinking about a more masculine body, with complements to femininity.”

Men’s lingerie is taking off among a segment of male consumers looking for sexy underwear that’s sexier than a jockstrap.

Many are upstart brands with names like Menagerie, Candyman Fashion and Ciciful, often marketed with body and sex positive messages. “Your gender expression is all that matters,” reads the website of Wicked Mmm, a lingerie brand in Montreal.

underwear for men A detail of a Leak NYC sheer bodysuit, worn by artist LaQuann Dawson at his home in Brooklyn. (Justin J Wee/The New York Times)

Consumer brands are also getting in on the action.

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Cosabella, an Italian lingerie brand founded by a husband and wife in 1983, began selling men’s lace briefs, semi-sheer thongs and colorful thongs on its website last November. “That’s half the world’s population just in terms of market size,” said Guido Campello, 41, the company’s co-chief executive.

Savage x Fenty, the lingerie brand launched by Rihanna, released its first men’s collection in 2020. “It sold out in 12 hours, the whole thing,” said Christiane Pendarvis, the brand’s merchandising director. “We were blown away.” A racy collection with cherry red harnesses and mesh crop tops was launched this year for Valentine’s Day.

Many customers, Pendarvis added, were not girlfriends, partners or wives, but male shoppers themselves. “It’s about self-expression,” she said. “Do you want to wear lace thong underwear?” Go for it.”

And Fleur du Mal, a high-end lingerie line with stores in New York and Los Angeles, recently launched a Fleur Pour Homme collection, including sheer lace boxers. The boxers sold out in two days and have a waiting list of more than 500 people, according to brand founder Jennifer Zuccarini.

Lingerie sales have been strong during the pandemic, and many lingerie makers see an untapped market for men that follows another apparel trend: the rise of gender-specific clothing.

“Men’s lingerie is just a small part of a larger movement,” said Francesca Muston, vice president of fashion content at WGSN, a trend forecasting firm. “You have a whole generation that’s just very supportive of inclusivity and diversity within the genre. And for the fashion industry, for our clients at WGSN, that’s a huge deal.

“Huge” is a relative term, since gender-neutral clothing still accounts for less than 1% of all clothing sold in the United States, according to WGSN.

underwear for men Artist LaQuann Dawson wearing a see-through Leak NYC bodysuit at his home in Brooklyn. “They’re actually thinking about a more masculine body, with feminine complements,” Dawson said. (Justin J Wee/The New York Times)

Male lingerie is not entirely new. Valerie Steele, director of the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and author of “Fetish: Fashion, Sex & Power,” traces men’s lingerie back to at least the 1920s.

She cited International Male, a catalog first published in 1974 and often referred to as Victoria’s Secret for guys, which featured page after page of male models in thong bikini bottoms. Steele saw it as a harbinger of underwear that overtly sexualized male bodies. “It mostly comes from gay culture, but it also comes from sexual liberation in general,” she said.

Louis Dorantes, 30, who founded Leak NYC in 2016, thinks we’re in the midst of another moment like this. “We’re entering a new era where male bodies feel comfortable wearing girlish shapes, girlish fabrics that didn’t exist when I was growing up,” Dorantes said. “It feels like a very brave new world. We really try to explore, push and challenge the binary that has limited us for so long.

Kennie Mas, a namesake men’s lingerie and fetish clothing brand founded in 2018 in Toronto, is also from the LGBT world. Recent items include a shirtless swimsuit in shiny purple and a stretchy polyester floral thong.

“The more feminine the pieces, the more they sell,” said Mas, 28. “Men’s lingerie or whatever you want to call it is definitely exploding right now.”

Some men with more traditional tastes are also turning to the new lingerie.

Steven Green, 28, a photographer and plus-size model who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, was hired to walk the Savage x Fenty show in 2020. “I had never thought of men’s lingerie until I work with them,” Green said. Before, he only wore Calvin Klein or Polo Ralph Lauren briefs, but he has since expanded his underwear wardrobe.

Now, for what he calls “special occasions” with his wife, he’ll opt for a red satin Savage x Fenty boxer. “If I want to make it a little sexier, I’ll go for those, just because the material is high,” Green said. “For men, we now have our Victoria’s Secret.”

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