Review : Why Are Underpants So Expensive?

Just recently I seem to have hit peak underpant degradation, whereby I’m throwing them away after wearing them rather than washing them.

My previously lucky and faithful pair of grey boxers hit the bin last week after developing a hole so big it was questionable whether they even needed to be pulled down when visiting the bathroom.  They had travelled the world with me for a length of time that is actually so long I’m not going to tell you how old they were.  Either way, it was a sad day.

So off I went to the shops to buy some new pants.  One thing I didn’t realise is just how expensive a pair of undercrackers is nowadays.  The most expensive pair I found was £38.  Another price bracket puts them at just under £30 per pair, while buying them in packs of 2 or 3 can bring them down to £10 per pair.  Venture from “designer” and you get in to somewhere £3-5 per pair.

With women’s lingerie, I can kind of understand the expense (to an extent).  There’s a lot more delicacy and sculpting involved in women’s underwear.  There is also a great enough variety to add to the idea that certain people will have a preference.

I have sought to investigate this phenomenon.  I have bought a selection of underpants of different styles and price brackets to see if there is any difference at all worth mentioning.  The undies will be rated on the same criteria:

  • Control – how well everything is held in place? (1 – swinging free, 10 – never having children)
  • Comfort – breathability and anti-wedgyness. (1 – my sweaty arse has eaten them, 10 – a cool cucumber)
  • Usability – so many undies now sit really high above the waist of your trousers that willy extraction via only an unzipped fly at urinals is difficult without excess fondling, knee bending and awkward reaching.  As a control, I’m going to wearing Levi 504 jeans for the tests. (1 – lose half an arm through the fly, 10 – a quick flick to liberation)
  • Look – would you happy to have them viewed in the throws of passion without them being a turnoff? (1 – she points, laughs and goes to tell her friends that your Mum buys your underwear, 10 – she can’t get her own pants off fast enough)

So, what do we have?

Diesel Long Boxer Trunk

These came in a two pack for £27 RRP but I paid £16.99.  They’re listed as “stretch cotton” which is 95% cotton and 5% elastaine.

As the name suggests, they are long, going a bit further down the leg than anything “usual”.  I didn’t really notice this when wearing them though.  The fit is a bit different though because the bit between the legs is a bit wider than most.  As far as control goes, everything was fine though.  They sit surprisingly low, only the waistband above my jeans which I think it pretty respectable.  Design wise, they’re pretty plain and nothing too offensive.

  • Control – 6/10
  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Usability – 7/10
  • Look – 7/10


Primark Pokémon Hipsters

These were to serve a dual purpose for the test, for being a hipster and for being a comedic pair.  They were £7 for 2 pairs and are made of the same 95% cotton and 5% elastane as the Diesel ones.

They were pretty darn comfortable!  Again, nothing appeared too high above the jeans, which is a good job when the waistband has an anime brand on it.  This is what makes these pants hard to score because (while I bought them in the men’s section) you’d have to be pretty darn comfortable with whoever you’re exposing them to for them not to just laugh and go back to whatever they’re doing / think you’re a six year old which is just wrong.  Fortunately, most people know quite quickly that I’m a 6 year old in a 33 year old broken body, so all’s good.

  • Control – 8/10
  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Usability – 7/10
  • Look – 1-10/10


Ralph Lauren Woven Boxer

An eye-watering £27 per pair.  I can buy jeans for that.  That’s the only thing that’s eye-watering though, because boxers like these are obviously looser than trunks or hipsters causing everything to hang free.  They’re 100% cotton so pretty cool in the middle of the heatwave test weather.

I still don’t know what the little button on the fly is for.  It’s too fiddly to be practical.

Fresh on, these look good.  After wear, though, they start to ride up and crease.  That doesn’t affect comfort too much, but certainly affects aesthetics. If you’re planning on exposing them to someone at the end of a date, best hope that the date is sitting is still for the night.  They can be smoothed down though and they are grown up and sensible and a little classy, so…

  • Control – 3/10
  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Usability – 7/10
  • Look – 8/10


Emporio Armani Pants

I didn’t call them “pants”, Armani did.  That amused me.  What didn’t amuse me is that they cost £24 full price.  I didn’t pay that much.

As you’d expect from the picture, these are quite tight fitting but still with enough room and surprisingly wedgie free.  I wore them to play football because it felt like the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, they still remind me of being a four year old and no amount of fancy branding will convince me otherwise.

  • Control – 9/10
  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Usability – 8/10
  • Look – 2/10


HOM Sparkly Glittery Nonsense

I did call these sparkly glittery nonsense.  I got these years ago as part of a “surprise” pack (they were) but, looking at the website, they should be £28 a pair, making them the most expensive pair of the test.

They’re officially called Temptation Ghost and are 75% Polyamide and 25% elastine with glittery skulls on them.  I put them on and then took them off again.  They don’t feel great and they look stupid.  Does it not say at all I would be more confident that the girl of my dreams would be turned on by Pikachu?

  • Control – n/a
  • Comfort – 2/10
  • Usability – n/a
  • Look – 1/10


The Results

Added up, the results are largely inconclusive about which is the best pair.  In itself, that gives me a conclusion that you don’t exactly get what you pay for.  That said, I can also conclude that there is a time and a place for all the styles and if you choose to pay extra, that’s up to you.

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