When Lingerie Crosses Gender Lines
Lace is no longer a ladies' thing
November 20 2014 11:05 AM EST
February 05 2015 9:27 PM EST
Pictured: Underwear designs from Menagerie's Resort 2015 collection.
The difference in what is considered sexy nightwear between men and women couldn't be more pronounced. Yes, men will occasionally find designer silk boxers or a nice robe, but rarely does it approach the sensual and intricate design of what is typically women's lingerie. Seeking to expand the fun of garter belts and bras to a male audience, some underwear brands are stepping up to expand your options for the bedroom.
"There's no variety in the men's lingerie sold in department stores. It's boxers and briefs, and if you're really daring, maybe a thong," says designer Brent Krause. "There's no denying department stores sell good quality, functional underwear, and that's fine for 90% of men. But not me."
Running his own lingerie company, Homme Mystere, Krause designs forms and fabrics that will allow men to feel just as sexy as women. With bralettes, lacy panties, frills, and teddies, Krause wants to give his customers the same thrilling opportunities women have had for years. "Choosing a style of Homme Mystere each morning is a little more fun," he adds. Though it isn't new that men put on women's lingerie for kicks, Krause wants to steer clear from cross-dressing or fetishist references: His designs are inspired by women's lingerie, but wholly designed for a male frame.
The trend seems to follow a push from high-fashion designers to bring lace to the runway. In her fall/winter 2013 collection, Donatella Versace showed lace boxer shorts and slips on hunky models. Back in 2012, the Brazilian model Marlon Teixeira posed next to supermodel Stephanie Seymour in Kiki de Montparnasse lace panties, and still looked hot as hell. Now, new lingerie brands like Menagerie aim to popularize delicates for men, with soigne campaigns featuring sexy models wearing lace head-to-toe, an combining masculine styling with fabrics traditionally meant for women's underwear.
Versace Fall/Winter 2013-14 (via Style.com)
But what about those in between? For many transgender people, underwear meant for rugged bodies and a flat chest may not be appealing, nor even fit. And most women's lingerie brands don't take into account the needs of a trans body. In response, the trans-focused brand Chrysalis was created to address those concerns. With sexy, feminine lingerie meant specifically for trans women, Chrysalis provides options for an underserved community. Its underwear easily accommodates bra inserts and makes tucking easier.
While most of women's lingerie is being sold today with the pressure to look sexy, some women also want the comfort of simple boxer shorts without the bulk of extra fabric found in men's underwear. For them, there's TomboyX and PlayOut(pictured, right). TomboyX emphasizes a no-frills, minimalist style, allowing for women to wear boxers without having to compromise for boy shorts or men's underwear. Meanwhile, Play Out makes underwear in a gender-neutral cut, with a wide range of patterns and designs.
The underwear revolution fits into the current trend of clothing blending gender lines, with one difference: Now, everyone can feel comfortable and sexy, and nobody else has to know what they choose to wear underneath.