Saturday, September 24, 2016

BOSS HUGO BOSS Cotton Modal Mini Brief

Hugo Boss is a German fashion company. While they’re famous for their suits and business attire, they also make a wide variety of other clothing items. The item for this review employs some features found on high-end underwear, such as a contour pouch and modal fabric blend (47%, in addition to 48% cotton and 5% elastane). My impression on the results is below. 

Materials and construction: The material is listed as being 48% cotton, 47% modal, and 5% elastane (spandex), which is an interesting compromise between two of the most common materials in men’s underwear. The first thing I noticed when I opened the package is that there are a lot of loose threads, which isn’t something I often see in a pair before the first time I wash it. The elastic in the waistband is needlessly tight. The design is anatomically correct, although I didn’t ultimately find the pouch well designed. The tag in the back is large and can be a nuisance. 2/10
Comfort and usability: The first thing that stuck out to me is how unaccommodating the waistband is. The size of the pair doesn’t run small overall, but the elastic feels needlessly tight on my waist, which is an issue I’ve never before experienced in my underwear. I find it doubtful that underwear with such a feature is capable of lasting long, especially when the stitching is in poor shape right out of the package. The pouch is made with some height and space to the front, but insufficient depth, so it always makes my testicles ache after a few hours. 1/10

Aesthetics: There’s not much that can be said to be obscene about the design of these briefs, but nothing appealing, either. The dark purple color looks rather dull, and the tiny BOSS label on one side of the pouch is a curious, ugly, and pointless feature. 3/10

Overall rating: 2/10

Big enough? No.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Initial Thoughts: Duluth Trading Company Ballroom Jeans

Duluth Trading Company is a clothing company in the United States that produces clothing for outdoor activities. Their line of jeans, the Ballroom Jeans, provide a “Crouch Gusset,” an extra panel of fabric where the two legs meet, which provides extra comfort and flexibility. This is a very practical and comfortable innovation, and any man who has trouble finding comfortable jeans should consider the Ballroom Jeans.

The Ballroom Jeans are designed as workwear, and the construction follows from that goal. The pair I purchased is 100% cotton, unlike many more fashionable pairs of jeans, which incorporate synthetic materials. The first thing I noticed when my pair arrived is that they’re thick: Even when folded on the shelf, they are noticeably thicker than my other pairs of jeans. This thickness gives it a more weight and a bulkier appearance. Thick also means hot, so Ballroom Jeans are not something to wear during the cooler days of late summer. The pockets are deep and secure, but much less flexible than those found on a normal pair of jeans. While sitting down, I often felt like my keys were being pressed into my thighs, so I’d have to rearrange the contents of my pocket to remain comfortable. 

The reason I’m discussing these jeans, of course, is the comfort, and the Ballroom Jeans excel in this consideration. They give much more comfort and room in the crotch than any other pair of jeans I’ve worn. The difference is especially marked while sitting down: In normal jeans, I’d have to frequently pull my jeans towards my knees in order to stop the inseam from sliding up uncomfortably. Not so with the Ballroom Jeans. Relative to the size, the waist is rather tight, while the legs are loose, so it stays in place well while offering lots of flexibility. My biggest complaint with this item is that the cut is very unflattering, but from the perspective of comfort and quality, these jeans are solid.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Double Review: 2(x)ist Electric Jock Strap, 2(x)ist Stretch Jock Strap

 I’ve tried a number of 2(x)ist products, and they seem to be all over the place with regards to both sizing and quality. Seeing some reviews on their jock straps, I saw a lot of complaints that the pouch was too large, so I decided to give two of their products a try. I’ve yet to find a single jock strap that I’m completely satisfied with, and the two items in this review certainly are imperfect, but they do offer more space in the pouch than any of the other jock strap I’ve tried at this point. 

Materials and construction: The Electric Jock Strap is 89% nylon and 11% spandex, and the Stretch Jock Strap is 92% cotton and 8% spandex. Right out of the box, there were issues. The Electric Jock Strap had more loose threads than any other clothing product I’ve ever purchased; so many, in fact, that I had the suspicion that the product was already used for display purposes. (This suspicion disappeared when the Stretch Jock Strap arrived in a similar, but less severe, condition.) The Electric Jock Strap has a slick and smooth appearance, with a slight shine to the surface, and what appears to be a single rubber logo on top of the left side of the waistband. The Stretch Jock Strap has a subtler look, with the branding stitched into the waistband. The pouches of both are a rather large, flat surface. The leg straps are thick in the Electric Jock Strap and thin in the Stretch Jock Strap. After being put in the washing machine only two times, both times using a gentle cycle before being air-dried, the Stretch Jock Strap showed serious decomposition in the waistband. I’ve never before seen such rapid damage to a piece of clothing, which is a testament to how poor the quality of this item really is. In the end, the large pouch is the only functional feature of these items that deserves to be commended. 2/10

Comfort and usability: While large, the pouches of these items are not very contoured. This means that, despite the rather snug waistband and leg straps, they shift around quite a bit. My frequent experience in wearing them is to put them on, feel comfortable for a while, and then feel pain after their position has shifted only minutes later. It doesn’t even take vigorous movement for this to happen, and I’ve found just walking around the kitchen will cause these uncomfortable shifts. This shifting is exactly what athletic gear should not do. The rubbery, sticky surface on the Electric Jock Strap’s logo also makes gives it undesirable traction under gym shorts. The leg straps on the Electric Jock Strap have a smooth, silky and comfortable feeling to them. 2/10

Aesthetics: This seems to be the one factor in which 2(x)ist is consistent. The Electric Jock strap, with its stark black appearance and crisp white logo, looks good. The Stretch Jock Straps look neither good nor bad. 6/10

Overall rating: 3/10

Big enough? Yes, the pouch is big enough, but the items don’t provide enough overall comfort.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Garcon Model Elite Sport Brief

Garcon Model is a Canadian underwear and swimwear company that was started in 2012. The Elite Sport Brief, one of their newer offerings, is from a range that is offered both in boxer briefs and briefs. The design is unique, and although it has some great features, it also includes some major oversights, as I discuss below. I think the young company needs to rework its designs a bit before it could justify charging the price of high-end men’s underwear. 

Materials and construction: The website records the materials as 95% bamboo and 5% elastane (spandex). It’s a comfortable, soft and stretchy material that conforms well to the body. The stitching seems adequate, although there is some obvious asymmetry where the waistband is stitched together in the back. This item also utilizes a fly with a wide and functional opening, which is the first time I’ve seen such a thing that could be used comfortably on a high-end pair of underwear. Unfortunately, there is little to no elastic around the leg holes, which is a major oversight on an otherwise well-designed and well-made item. I’ve washed the garment a handful of times and see no signs of deterioration. The design is tagless, which is a plus. 6/10

Comfort and usability: The lack of elastic in the leg holes compromises the stability a great deal. The material constantly slides up the back as a result. For this reason, I cannot recommend this item for any athletic purposes, or even for long walks. The pouch, however, is more interesting. Of the two sheets of fabric used in the pouch as the fly, neither is fastened on all sides. This lends the pouch an impressive degree of flexibility and practical support without feeling particularly restraining. The pouch itself is not particularly large, but it provides more comfort than one would expect for its size. Overall, I found the Elite Sport Brief to be tolerably comfortable. 5/10

Aesthetics: I usually give high ratings in this category, simply because I get the pairs of underwear whose appearance pleases me. The grey material, blue accents, and clean lines around the pouch and fly work well together, but are a little less distinctive than the other Garcon Model varieties. 7/10

Overall rating: 6/10

Big enough? Not quite, although I could spend the day wearing it with some adjustments.

Too Tight to Review 4: Emporio Armani Magnum Cotton Stretch Trunk

The “Too Tight To Review” series covers the pairs of underwear I’ve tried on that I couldn’t wear long enough to give a fair review. If I can’t keep a pair on for at least the length of the day, I’ll leave a few brief thoughts rather than a full review.

Like the Supanova Hip Brief, this item has something that could be considered a contour pouch, so I decided to order it to see if it would fit comfortably. The first thing I noticed after opening the packaging was the long tag in the back, which is never a good design choice. Putting the trunks up over my hips was strange and uncomfortable due to a web of stitching across the back that limits the flexibility of the item. The pouch itself wasn’t flexible, and I felt some pain within seconds of adjusting the trunks into their resting position. Clearly, this is not a pair for me. However, unlike some pairs of underwear that don’t allocate enough room in the crotch for my comfort, I couldn’t imagine this one fitting anyone comfortably. It comes off as merely a poorly-designed cash-grab from a high-end fashion company. I can’t think of a single good thing to write about this item. If I gave numeric scores for my “Too Tight To Review” series, this would get the lowest score possible.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ergowear EW0119 MAX Light Boxer

Ergowear is a Chilean underwear and swimwear company that utilizes in innovative, unique designs. Like many of the companies I mention in this blog, the company is fairly new (according to their website, they started in 2002). The EW0119 MAX Light Boxer is my first experience with their offerings, and I am quite impressed. If this item is representative of what the company has to offer, then Ergowear deserves to be mentioned alongside brands like Obviously and Andrew Christian as one of the companies that provides the largest and most comfortable pouches, and I’m looking forward to trying more Ergowear products in the future. 

Materials and construction: The materials are listed as 90% viscose and 10% elastan (spandex). This blend works well in the garment: It’s about as stretchy as modal fabrics, but with a softer, rather than a slicker, feel on the skin, and is also less prone to accumulating wrinkles. The term “boxer,” as it applies to this garment, is slightly misleading: The design looks like a pair of trunks from the back, but cuts away significantly towards the front. This does create the problem of the material sliding up in the back, as I mention below, but is in line with Ergowear’s efforts to minimize size while maximizing comfort. There is a pouch present, which is substantially bigger than most. The garment is low rise, which usually isn’t something I like, but the fit works quite well in this case. I’ve washed this pair of underwear a handful of times and have not noticed any major signs of deterioration. 9/10

Comfort and usability: The first thing I noticed I noticed when I tried these on for the first time is that I didn’t need to adjust the pouch at all: When I slid these up my legs and onto my hips, everything fell immediately and comfortably in place without adjustments, which is something that normally doesn’t happen with even the best designs in pouch underwear. The MAX Light Boxer sits closer to the skin than most underwear. The stretchy material makes the pouch big enough and very comfortable, but not particularly supportive, so I would not recommend this item for athletics. Between the thin material and minimalist design, the MAX Light Boxer is very comfortable in warm weather. There is little traction in the leg holes, so the garment does slide up a great deal in the back and a little on the front of the legs, but the pouch stays comfortable while this happens. 8/10

Aesthetics: The ERGO WEAR label, split up into two lines arranged diagonally across the waistband, looks unique and cool. The way the design cuts away in the front looks slick and modern. The looks of Ergowear underwear are as unique as the company’s functional innovations. 8/10

Overall rating: 8/10

Big enough? Yes.