Yep! It was only a matter of time, right? The guys are getting in on the shapewear action, with SPANX for Men. (Which have been nicknamed MANX! LOL!) The company, which makes more than 200 products for women, is a red carpet staple and the SPANX celeb fan list is long, long, long and includes everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Jessica Alba to Gwyneth Paltrow. Hey - why should the ladies be the only ones with a secret weapon to look slim and trim without hitting the gym?
Sara Blakely, founder of the company with retail sales of more than $350 million, answers our questions about the new line of SPANX for Men undershirts that help smooth out any bulges.
Glam Slam: I would have never even thought to make a product like this for men. How did this come about?
Sara Blakely: People have been asking me for years for SPANX for men - my dad, brother, celebs and their stylists, my girlfriends for the men in their lives. We even get e-mails from men who have been wearing women’s SPANX to improve their appearance & for back support. We kept getting more and more requests and realized it was time to take it seriously and create something for the guys.
GS: Women are loud and proud about their love of SPANX, but I can’t imagine a guy doing that. Are they more shy about this type of thing? How did you know there was a need for this and that guys would actually buy and wear them? Any celebrities?
SB: Honestly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how open guys have been about wearing the SPANX Cotton Compression Undershirts. My husband is an athletic guy and he loves the shirts and has been telling his friends and clients about them. We focused on creating an undershirt that really looked and felt like a classic cotton men’s t-shirt with added benefits through the midsection. It’s your favorite undershirt without your least favorite part… love handles! All of the Oscar nominees received the undershirts this year before they were even available at retail. With all of the A-list actresses (Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria Parker and Jessica Alba, to name a few) wearing SPANX year after year under their red carpet gowns, it only seemed fair to even the playing field for the A-list actors!
GS: Any fun stories about getting guys to test-drive the product during production? Did they need persuading? How so?
SB: Like with any SPANX product, we put it through extensive wear testing. We recruited family and friends and the few good men who work here at SPANX and didn’t stop until they loved the product. We sent an e-mail out to SPANX employees to solicit friends and family for wear testing and had 200 people sign up that day. We didn’t have to twist any arms.
GS: Guys are built differently than women… did you have to do anything differently to make these work for men?
SB: Yes, fitting on guys was a whole new experience, but looking at guys in their underwear has been a nice change! We did our research and studied the male anatomy to identify the areas guys are concerned about - love handles and beer belly. We applied our 10 years of knowledge and expertise in compression fabrics and focused the SPANX shaping magic there. We also learned that for everyday wear, men like less compression through the arms and chest, so we kept it looser there. A lot of guys have said that they can wear their belt one loop tighter when they’re wearing the shirts!
GS: Who is buying? A certain kind of guy?
SB: Our sales out of the gate have been very strong. Of the top 10 products on spanx.com, two are SPANX for Men Undershirts. We just launched at Neiman Marcus stores and their sell through rates are literally record - breaking! We’re seeing that the majority of people buying SPANX for Men are men. It’s about 60% men buying for themselves and 40% women buying for the men in their lives. We designed the shirts for regular guys. My dad is wearing it when he plays golf and says it provides great lower back support. I have a good friend who is a personal trainer in amazing shape who loves the way it tucks into his pants, eliminates bulk and helps him stand taller. It’s also for the man who needs a little help fitting into a snug pair of pants and doesn’t want to go up a size. We really wanted it to look and feel like a regular undershirt, so that it would pass the “normal test” and appeal to a broad range of men. Also, we are offering three different styles, so there is something for every guy: a crew neck, v-neck and tank.
GS: What is the most popular item and why?
SB: The Crew Neck Cotton Compression Undershirt is the top seller because most guys wear this style every day!
Prices start at $55, for more info go to www.spanx.com.