Tucked into a recent New York Times story about the popularity of men's shapewear (slimming T-shirts that cinch in love handles and moobs) was the briefest mention of the hot new frontier of men's undergarments: "profile-enhancing underwear."
Apparently, the popularity of men's shapewear has also given rise to the hush-hush business of undergarments that -- ahem -- put the family jewels front and center. Or, as Michael Kleinmann, president of online underwear retailer Freshpair, said, it's "the equivalent of a push-up bra" for men.
Manufacturers of the new growth segment include Andrew Christian, BumGear, Joe Snyder, Gregg Homme and Calvin Klein. Constructions of the "package enhancers" could feature padding, special pouches or elastic bands called "sling supports" that help create a look of more generous endowment.
Who's buying the drawers? Perhaps some of the same peacocks who are snatching up other shapewear for men. Retailers are reporting strong sales of such products from Spanx, Equmen, Sculptees and Ript Fusion.
There's a simple reason why this underwear is selling so briskly.
"Everyone wants to look better," Kleinmann said. "Women have had all sorts of shapewear for a long time. And men want the same thing. People want to feel sexy in their underwear. They want to feel good. If they look good, they feel good. Even if you don't really care about your underwear, you still want to feel good in it."