The slimmer underwear trend is happening at the same time as the comeback of tighter-fitting pants and jeans

The slimmer underwear trend is happening at the same time as the comeback of tighter-fitting pants and jeans

Men's underwear and pants are slimming down, but not in terms of dollar growth, according to a new survey.

The men's underwear bottoms market reached US$2.7bn, growing 3% in the 12 months to the end of September, according to global information company The NPD Group. Boxer briefs is a style that has grown in popularity, representing the largest share of the market at nearly 40%.

Briefs is the second largest class of underwear bottoms, which grew 23% over the past year. Looser-fitting boxers declined 14% during the same period.

The slimmer underwear trend, however, is happening at the same time as the comeback of tighter-fitting pants and jeans. Men's slim/skinny bottoms grew 11% combined over the past year, while regular, relaxed, and looser fitting styles all experienced declines, the study found.

Products with special features including odour and temperature control are experiencing growth, as are fabrics such as spandex, cotton/poly blend, and cotton/spandex blend.

"Men now join women in caring about inner wear; it's not just the outside that counts," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. "It's interesting to see how men's pants and underwear styles have shifted over the last five decades, and how their trends run parallel with one another. Today we're on the other side of the spectrum compared to the 1990's, when the fashion movement was toward boxers with baggier pants. The overarching message for retailers is that they have to look at the entire picture when it comes to men's fashion because there's not only a lot of movement but a great deal of overlap, in both expected and unexpected places."