Society would have us all believe that the obsession with size, noun shape and weight is a strictly feminine condition. After all, for sale nearly every product pertaining to having a “perfect” body is marketed almost exclusively to women. Read the contents of your average women’s interest magazine and you’re more than likely to stumble upon something pertaining to losing or disguising unwanted weight. But as any guy can tell you, it’s not just the ladies who care about how they look both in and out of clothes. It may be fairly hush-hush, but there’s been a sudden boom in, shall we say, “body modifying garments” for men, a.k.a. shape wear for dudes.

viral fashion 2012 mens fashion menswear underwear shapewear shape wear 2(x)ist 2xist spanx slimming compression garmentIt’s fitting that at the forefront of this trend that seems to have come out of nowhere is SPANX, the company whose name is now synonymous with the idea of shape wear for women. Their cotton and spandex compression tees and zoned performance tops do exactly what their products for the ladies do: smooth and tighten. Also pushing shape wear for men is Calvin Klein, whose new-to-the-market Core Sculpt collection touts itself as “the ultimate compression shirt.” viral fashion 2012 mens fashion menswear underwear shapewear shape wear 2(x)ist 2xist spanx slimming compression garmentWhile its status as the end-all and be-all of men’s shape wear is up to the consumer to decide, it’s nice to know we have options. Both brands offer products that are ideal for those who want to keep their excess baggage firmly under wraps. That SPANX and Calvin Klein have managed to make these pieces look exactly like your everyday t-shirt is certainly a point in their favor. Just don’t expect the comfort of your favorite tee. Comfort isn’t the goal here.

viral fashion 2012 mens fashion menswear underwear shapewear shape wear 2(x)ist 2xist spanx slimming compression garmentOn the bottom half you have brands like 2(x)ist taking men’s shape wear a step further with their SHAPE:FORM collection. Their “Slimming Briefs” and “Slimming Trunk” are what can only be called a mirdle, or man’s girdle. Slightly comical looking (and not exactly discreet looking) these high-powered, high-waisted undies promise the appearance of up to two inches off the waistline. That their focus is on the stomach and love-handle region as opposed to the entire torso means that they’re less restrictive than SPANX, and probably a bit more comfortable too, but the tradeoff is that they look distinctly like slimming shape wear as opposed to regular underwear. Still, if a little paunch around the tummy is the bane of your existence, then 2(x)ist may just be the thing for you.

It’s probably fair to guess that these will not be the only products of their kind out there for the menfolk to buy. If SPANX for women are anything to go by, then we haven’t seen the last of slimming shape wear for men. After all, women have spent centuries wearing and perfect undergarments that are specifically designed to give them a better body; now it’s up to the guys to play catch-up. There’s only one question: Are you man enough?

by Justin Friedman