Men, it seems, have become increasingly willing to spend large amounts on their smalls.
Last year, RevolutionWear rocked the male underwear market by introducing US$100 briefs. The Swedish company spent more than $2 million developing the Frigo 1, which is touted by the company as being "the world's most comfortable luxury underwear".
The New York Times described the design as the "first underwear with an interior mesh pouch that is suspended from elastic straps, so it can be adjusted to fit different characteristics of the male anatomy".
Greeted with scepticism by many fashion editors, most conceded after testing that the briefs offered top-notch comfort and were perhaps most suited to the more physically active man. The drawback is that they need to be carefully laundered.
The New Zealand firm Icebreaker makes boxers and briefs in the finest merino wool designed to keep the wearer cool in the summer and warm in the winter. These retail in the $40-$50 range. They also apparently stay fresh after multiple wears.
For those with a preference for designer labels, Calvin Klein, Versace and Dior also make posh pants. It is the footballer David Beckham, who models for Armani, who has been partly credited with this surge in demand for luxury briefs.
Selfridges in London reported a 28 per cent increase in sales of men's intimates in the first three months of the year. To meet this surging demand, the store in April expanded its men's bodywear department by 20 per cent. Selfridges' menswear buying manager, Richard Sanderson, predicted sales of nearly 3,000 pairs of underwear per week after the expansion.