Dear prospective underwear/loungewear buyer,
Let's face it: it's not often we men get to talk about underwear. In fact, it's so rare, we're not even doing it now. I'm writing something for you to read when neither of us are in the other's presence. It's probably for the best.
I could be wrong, but I sense underwear and loungewear is not near the top of most men's shopping lists. Given the choice between buying new shoes, a bottle of whiskey, Cuban cigars, a watch, or a vacation, I would guess underwear buying lives somewhere between teeth whitening and those two-to-three prong adapters.
The reality is that, while dirty underwear is most definitely not good for you, underwear and loungewear purchases are just as much for your significant other as they are for you. And therefore, essentials.
Let me explain...
Most men probably think of pyjamas as something their grandparents wore either because skin was taboo or central heating hadn't yet been invented. Either way, the modern gentleman should absolutely own a nice pair of pyjamas for three reasons:
Can you wear sweatpants and a T-shirt? Sure. Isn't that more appropriate when you're in college? Exactly. So we agree that one pair of pyjamas are a gentlemanly essential.
Now, I get that some guys probably think they're too cool for pyjamas, and they may be right; no one has ever accused me of being too cool for anything. That guy might prefer to lounge around in...loungewear. Specifically, the Basel line from Derek Rose. Formerly called "Naturally," the Basel products are made from a blend of premium micromodal -- a fiber commonly used in women's lingerie -- and elastane that's so soft it has to be felt to be believed. No, seriously, these shirts are one of the most addictive products we sell. And unlike many soft fabrics, this one stays that way after multiple washes. In fact, despite it being designed as loungewear, we have many customers that wear them out, either as an undershirt or as a T-shirt (not recommended, but we see it all the time).
A bath robe & slippers are two more modern gentleman essentials. Even if you don't use them daily, they're both great to have around for the unexpected overnight guest. And once you own both, you'll probably find yourself wearing them often and wondering why you didn't purchase them sooner.
Anyone that's spent time at a resort has undoubtedly grabbed the terry cloth robe and thrown it on while lounging around the room. Why not do that at home as well? You may not have time to relax in a bathrobe during the workweek, but it makes you feel like you're on vacation on the weekends.
There's also something extraordinarily natural and traditional about throwing on a pair of comfy slippers at the end of a long day. But even if you kick up your bare feet on the coffee table every night, or with socks on, have the slippers for your friend whose feet might get cold or need to find their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night without stubbing their bare toe. Just because you've been able to live without slippers doesn't mean your guest should have to.
Since 1926, Derek Rose has focused on pyjamas, dressing gowns, & robes. They've dabbled in slippers (another essential), handkerchiefs, smoking jackets, other loungewear items, and boxers, but they steered clear of briefs and boxer-briefs. Until 2013. Then everything changed.
Derek's son, Sacha Rose, knew that if they were going to get into underwear, they'd have to do it really well. The low-end of the market is awash in underwear that falls apart after a couple dozen washes, and the high-end has established brands like Zimmerli and Hanro that make a great product.
Let the historical record show that we carried Zimmerli in 2008/2009. As of this writing in 2014, I still have virtually every pair I bought back then, and my guess would be I have another 5 years in them if I wanted. They make great underwear. But it's also incredibly expensive. I'm not suggesting it's not worth it - $80 for a pair of underwear that lasts 10 years is probably a better value than $15 or $20 for a pair that lasts a year or two. But it's hard to convince someone they should spend $80 on underwear.
This is where I think Derek Rose has a huge opportunity. Derek Rose gave me a prototype of their boxer-brief back in late 2012 and I loved it. There is nothing revolutionary about the product; no gimmicks like some brands. It strikes me as Zimmerli quality at half the price. Now, I've had my pair a little over a year, so it would be premature to declare them equal. Or superior. But the value definitely seems to be there, and their new underwear line was the catalyst for this note.
As for the question: boxers or briefs? It's a stupid question. Without divulging too much information, I'll say that I love a pair of roomy boxers on weekends wearing khakis that are roomy without being baggy. During the week, however, boxer-briefs with trimmer cut dress trousers make more sense. I own boxers, briefs, and boxer-briefs, and each get their day in the sun (figuratively).
To recap: Every gentleman should own a nice bathrobe, at least one pair of pyjamas, slippers, and plenty of underwear. Those are non-negotiable. Loungewear is next, highly recommended, and sadly, too many Americans will leave the house in nothing but loungewear (let alone loungewear as nice as Derek Rose's), but we can't put that genie back in the bottle. After that, it's all fine living: the smoking jacket, a silk robe, or the ultimate--the cashmere robe. Collect all three and you've won at the game of life. Seriously.
Thank you for reading one man's opinion.
Founder & CEO, Wingtip