Always looking for new wardrobe solutions and products to help me do my job as a stylist, I had the perfect opportunity to test Spanx for Men, Manx. On a recent print production, I had to dress three male talent in business attire. Men’s dress shirts can be challenging for two reasons:
- Men’s dress shirts often have excess material around the waist and sleeves that can form deep creases, awkward folds, and wrinkles. These issues are remedied either by alterations; on-set pinning, taping, and shaping; or a combination of both.
- Men’s undershirts are a nightmare! Traditional undershirts have noticeable seams and are loose-fitting. Once the shirts are tucked into the pant and the man begins to move, the excess material immediately begins to untuck, bunch, and twist creating visible lumps underneath the dress shirt.
☞ Unless the gentleman has no sweat glands, chest hair, or nipples, every man should wear an undershirt under a dress shirt.
When shopping for mens’ undershirts to be worn on camera, I prefer a form-fitting undershirt that does not ride up, has unobtrusive seams, and is the closest match to the talent’s skin tone. I’ve had good luck with Calvin Klein and Zara Fitted T-shirts. Also, 2xist has been highly recommended.
☞ Tight production budget? I buy higher quality undershirts for principal talent and stock my kit with inexpensive Hanes ComfortSoft undershirts for everyone else. *SIZE DOWN HANES UNDERSHIRTS BETWEEN ONE to TWO SIZES*
I decided to try Spanx men’s cotton undershirts because they are form-fitting, the cotton has a very soft hand, and they are available in black and white. I tried three different styles of Spanx undershirts on the three men I was dressing.
The first man was african-american, 6’3″, athletic build, and did not need to wear shapewear. I put him in a ‘Cotton Compression V-neck T-Shirt’ (style 610) in black under his light blue dress shirt and I did not tell him what he was wearing. My observations:
- The undershirt fit like an athletic compression garment (e.g. UnderArmour)
- No visible sleeve or neckline seams under his light blue dress shirt
- Unexpectedly, his posture changed; stood taller with shoulders back
- As the shoot progressed, I asked how he liked the undershirt and he “LOVED IT!”
The second man was white, 5’11”, thin, and also did not need shapewear. I put him in a ‘Cotton Compression tank’ (style 611) in white under a light grey dress shirt. My observations:
- The scoop of the neckline was WAY too low to be worn with a dress shirt
- The neckline seams were wide, raised, and very visible through his dress shirt
- Was not the right garment for this situation; was not worn
- Talent laughed hysterically when he learned they were Spanx for men.
The third man was white, 5’10’, and had a tummy pooch. I put him in a ‘Cotton Compression tank’ (style 642) in white under a medium grey dress shirt.
- The scoop of the neckline was not visible through his dress shirt
- Immediate change in his posture
- He liked the snug compression, the feel, and the change in his posture
- He seemed completely unaffected when he learned they were Spanx for men
I am a fan! I prefer the style 610, the Cotton Compression V-Neck T-Shirt over the tanks. It created a seamless foundation that did not bunch, wrinkle, ride-up, or blouse under a dress shirt. The cotton fabric was very soft. It did exactly what I was hoping it would do. Between the two tank styles, I prefer the 642 because the neckline is higher than the 611.
As for the men, two of the three gentlemen loved the product; but, they said they would not buy Spanx for themselves. The Spanx brand has become so synonymous with women’s shapewear that the men could not dis-associated SPANX from female figure flaws and fannies. Even the Manx packaging and branding is reminiscent of the super-feminine, sister brand, Spanx. One of the men comically referred to Manx as a ‘mirdle,’ a man girdle. That’s right Dudes, put on your big boy mirdle and go watch the game with your bro’s!
Does Manx need to ‘Man-Up’ their brand to hook more of their targeted consumer? The design and technology are similar to athletic compression activewear yet Manx is defined as ‘shapewear’ and compression activewear is ‘performance apparel.’ Men understand performance apparel; they like it, they wear it, and they BUY IT! Spanx for Men has a great product; but, maybe Spanx should focus more on performance not pounds to hook more men. ‘Stronger, Faster, Meaner, Leaner!’ is always sexier than ‘Does my mirdle make me look fat?’
I could be eating my words. There is a recent article in New York Times about Spanx for Men reporting favorable customer reviews and spectacular sales. The article also suggests Manx may take a while to catch on similar to metro sexual skin care that is standard practice today.
If you are looking for more practical underwear information, undershirtguy.com is a fabulous blog about men’s underwear. There are excellent reviews and advice written by men who test and wear the products all day, everyday.