squeeze toys

Are Men Really Buying Into the Spanx Craze? Apparently So

Spare tire? Love handles? Moobs? What man needs liposuction or abdominal sculpting when positive body images are just a compressing body-shaping garment away?

Spanx aren’t just for women any more, the New York Times‘ Styles section wants us to believe. Not only is there Spanx For Men, but brands including Equmen and Sculptees actually exist. And they’re selling like hot cakes — at least how hot cakes sell to men who need squeeze-y tees that squish in their guts.

Men’s “shapewear” is “the next big thing,” declared Michael Kleinmann, the president of Freshpair, which sells underwear to both sexes. Already, compression garments from brands like Equmen and Sculptees, to name two, have been selling briskly. Eighteen months ago, when Freshpair got Equmen’s compression T-shirts, “we sold out,” Mr. Kleinmann said. Men’s torso-enhancing T-shirts are part of a revolution in men’s underwear that has been taking place over the last decade, he said. Another popular but hush-hush product is profile-enhancing underwear, which he called “the equivalent of a push-up bra” for men.

The success of Equmen, an Australian label, is one reason department stores and online retailers have been eagerly awaiting Spanx for Men. At Saks Fifth Avenue, Equmen has been sold for less than a year and has already become one of the store’s best-selling underwear, said Eric Jennings, vice president for men’s fashion at Saks.

These things, which cost $89 and up, move off store shelves and online shopping carts because they’re branded as “problem solving.” That’s very different from letting male consumers think they’re cringe inducing, embarrassing, or — worst of all — feminine.

Stephen Viscusi, a career coach, recommends men wear Spanx to job interviews, so they can put their best foot, and not stomach, forward. (That double chin is your own problem.)

But the success of body-contouring garments among men says less about some consumer need and more about how marketers are succeeding in shaming dudes just enough to convince them there’s a problem, and this handy (and insanely tight) tee can fix it. Then again, your gay “best friends” have been doing this to you for years. Isn’t it about time straight guys felt the pressure?

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  • timncguy

    well, since the “before” picture doesn’t show the model with his shirt tucked in or with his arms out of the way in a similar pose to the “after” picture, you can’t really tell if the product has made a difference or not.

  • Hisboyfriendshot

    i love how they use a model that you can tell just from the “before” picture – is not particularly large in the stomach to begin with. i mean come on. yea first of all don’t put a guy up there with a loose fitting shirt on and second use a more flabby guy so we can see how “major” the difference is. i bet that model doesn’t even have a slight gut to begin with.

  • Jimmi

    I’m so tired of muscle queens. I like a man that has a natural body.

  • Tessie Tura

    (Yes, I realize it’s the same guy)
    Guy on left: approachable.
    Guy on right: douchey.

  • Aaron

    Pic on the right : He is sucking in that gut big time!


    That guy is not overweight…….look at his arms and his face, no double chin and the “breasts” are actually well developed pecs, look at his waist doubt if he is more than a 30″……..

    In the first picture he is simply wearing a loose fitting tee shirt. So basically they are telling an overweight guy to squeeze into a sausage casing, not be able to breathe for $89.00 and when time comes after you decived a dude into the sack and you extract yourself from the latex torture device and the rolls come rolling out you expect a guy to not tell you to take a hike?????

  • scott ny'er

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: well, i guess that’s the same thing with woman. they wear the spanx and when u get them into bed, the rolls are bouncing.

    it’s all bizarre.

    and yes, that dude is hot and fit and doesn’t need to wear spanx. Now, if they had Al Bundy or someone like him, that’s a good model to use.

  • Kris

    Oh come on. That guy is fit. There isn’t any belly on the man, he just has his shirt tucked in, in the after picture, and untucked in the before picture. That is the reason why these garments are selling out??? When buying one of these, you put the shirt on, and it pooches out when your fat belly is in them.

  • fredo777

    Is he wearing the profile-enhancing underwear, too? I ask because his bulge is somewhat noticeable in the after shot.

  • Whoddafunk?

    The before and after picture to me just shows how stupid modern clothes are in general… modern clothes look horrible on people of all shapes and sizes. Even skinny models have to have t-shirts clipped at the back to look good in pictures. We need to go back to old-fashioned layers of linenwear and robes… worn by humanity for thousands of years and much better looking than either the clothes in the before pic or after pic.

  • jason

    Oh, puh-lease, this is just a tight t-shirt. Yet I suspect there’ll be useful idiot men – including gay guys – chomping at the bit to buy it.

  • David

    I’m attracted to the guy in the picture on the left.

    I’m un-attracted to the guy in the picture on the right.

    Compression garment FAIL.

  • Johnny

    its about giving clean lines under your outer wear, and holding your gut in, go for a run it’s cheaper and better for you

  • counterpoll

    Spanx? Not hot. Spanking? Can be hot!
    Guy in the photo didn’t need any help with the abs, but –sigh–still has no arse.

    New words for me: ‘shapewear’ and ‘compression garment’.

    You know you can just use wrap an ACE bandage around ya? You’ll get the exact same effects: (a) fewer unwanted bulges and (b)a man who runs screaming from your bedroom when your real body shape emerges from the shapewear!

  • David

    Want want want

  • alan brickman

    hey “jimmi”…..”muscle queens” don’t need these…….it’s usually the jealous ones that buy this crap….

  • A.G.

    I bought an Equmen “core precision undershirt” with “helix-mapping technology” at Saks last fall. Believe me, it’s great. I don’t just look better, I feel better. The compression gives great support. Neiman-Marcus has finally picked up Spanx, and I plan to give that a try also. It’s only a matter of time until this gets wide, mainstream adoption. UnderArmour is offering a variety of compression sportswear at large retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods. It’s selling point is more support than appearance, but you get about the same results. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I think you will be quite pleased.

  • counterpoll

    @A.G.: Dare I ask what “helix mapping technology” means?
    But, hey, if it works for you, use it!

    (Just promise me you won’t dye your chest hair jet black when you’re 55+! Guy at the gym did that and I can’t look at him without wanting to laugh! It doesn’t match the carpeting *or* the drapes!)

  • :D

    Sooo…you can sort of squish/streamline the fat on your torso so it’s less lumpy, but that doesn’t solve the double chin and sausage rolls on the back of the neck? Guess it only works for people who accumulate fat in the torso/legs only. If you got fat face you’re out of luck.

  • scott ny'er

    @A.G.: Isn’t it really hot? And by hot, I mean, as in temperature wise.

  • ganymeade

    What about guys who have less than 20% body fat, who work out and who wear Ts to a T and look like that naturally? So a guy is douchy just because he looks good in clothes? Guys who don’t need this stuff, usually go after guys who do not need this stuff. No crime in that. I would seriously be irritated, though, if I met someone who peeled out of that boa constrictor shirt to reveal Jabba the Hut. It is worse than wearing socks in your tightie whities. It is fraud if you are dating. People should be themselves. Face up to your fitness issues or love yourself as you are. It screams lack of self respect. I work to look as good as possible and do not cut corners. I don’t do the third cocktail or the jumbo basket of fries and I move as much as possible. Just sayin’.

  • michael

    I bought the spanx for men v neck from neiman marcus about 2 months ago. i was obsessed with it for about 2 weeks. i haven’t worn it since. it does work. i have a few vanity pounds due to my chipotle obsession that only shows up around my belly button. its really hard to get on and off and even with the v neck its a high rise and shows under everything i wore unless i buttoned every button except for the 1st one. it’s a great invention if youre wearing a tie but i’m going to the gym…for real this time!


    @ganymeade: 100% Co-sign, you kinda sorta were hitting the same points I was. Sorry I can’t see how the sausage casing can fit into any kind of scenario:

    If ya are simply looking for a hook, you are gonna piss off your partner once you extract yourself from the torso condom, because what is in the package ain’t what was on the label……..

    If ya are looking to find a significant other, you are starting out by decieving your potential partner. Not exactaly the best foundation on which to base a relationship……….

    You are fooling no one but yourself, spend the $89 on a deposit for a gym membership………….

  • Disgusted American

    all I know is the guys on “The Biggest Loser” were wrking those spanx bigtime/overtime….at the finale.

  • The Milkman

    What about a nice wimple? That should provide a compression-garment option for those with double chins. They’ve been successfully used by nuns for millenia.

  • A.G.

    @scott ny’er: You ask a relevant question. No, surprisingly, it’s not hot. Although, I have yet to wear it in July or August. I detest polyester. That’s why I stay away from UnderArmour.

    My Equmen is 53% nylon, 29% micropolyester, and 18% spandex.

    I wear an all-cotton T under the Equmen. It makes it more comfortable and (@Michael #22 easier to remove). My extra poundage is around my middle. I have good upper body strength and tone.

    All I can say is that the compression T makes me look and feel better. I wish they were less costly. They may not be for you, but I like it. Don’t be afraid to try one.

  • DR (the real one, not the guy who made post #12)

    Just another marketing campaign to convince a specific set of guys to blow a lot of money on a quick fix. It’s sad that American culture is all about quick fixes. I agree with the guys above who suggest that one ought to spend the $89 on a gym membership than a glorified male girdle. It’s not just the dishonesty (which is a factor, always), but it’s about having some confidence in yourself. I may not have the best body, but I have been working out a lot more hardcore this summer in prep for my first triathlon, and I’ve dropped ten pounds and a couple of waist sizes over the last couple of months, and I did it the old-fashioned way, watching my diet and getting to the gym 4-5 days a week for at least an hour a pop.

    I may not look perfect, but what I got is 100% me, not me with everything shifted around by a girdle.

  • David

    Good lord, that falls in the category of “False Advertising.”
    And what happens when ya finally deliver the “goods” to a friendly customer and they undo the package wrapping?
    Awkward moment . . .
    Best to be honest with what ya got to offer from the get-go.

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