Buying Underwear—A Self-History of Purchasing Modes
Today’s high-tech cyberspace allows for ease of purchasing any myriad of products. I live on an island that is somewhat limited in the things that my family desires to sustain our home. Simply put, we purchase everything that we can online. This is a much simpler way of purchasing for a large family. Because the online purchasing of everyday products is easier than store purchasing. The men’s underwear industry has shifted over the last decade. To a heavy emphasis on web-based companies.
I started experimenting with underwear over 25 years ago. That makes me sound old, but in reality, you’re only as old as you allow yourself to be. What it does mean is that I’ve experienced a wide-range of purchasing modes in my underwear history. I’d like to share my own self-history of purchasing modes with you to see if you relate of identify.
Discount and Department Store Purchases:
My early teen years were probably much like any man’s early teen years. Full of exploration and discovery. I explored everything from sports to music to underwear. I discovered I was good at some sports and not good at others. I found music as a passion. For the purposes of this post. Underwear options were discovered and have since become a passion of mine.
There were really only a few of options in my town for the purchase of underwear. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and a store called Cohns. Wal-Mart carried Hanes bikini briefs and an off brand of silk string bikinis. K-Mart had Joe Boxer bikinis and thongs and Fruit of the Loom low rise briefs. Cohns carried the very famous Jockey Elance Bikinis. How do I know this? I purchased them all and tried them.
The purchasing process required an encounter with a sales person that was sometimes uncomfortable. Until I realized that everyone buys underwear. I also realized that stores wouldn’t sell men’s bikinis and thongs if people didn’t buy them. I connected the fact that sometimes the stock was low to the fact that MEN BOUGHT UNDERWEAR styles other than plain white briefs.
Purchases through this in person method carried over into visits to JC Penney, Sears, Dillards, Macys, and others. I found myself purposely-perusing shopping malls for the latest fashion briefs on the market when we visited bigger towns. This was a main mode of purchase for a very long time.
Mail Order Catalogs:
The idea of mail order has been around for well more than a century. The old way of purchasing was to order something from an ad in the local paper. The order was shipped to the town general store and you were allowed to retrieve it there. People ordered everything from livestock to specialty groceries in this manner.
The clothing industry caught on to this very early as Sears and JC Penney Catalogs go back quite some time. My personal history of purchasing men’s underwear encountered this very early on. The problem was that as an early teen. In order to purchase by mail order, my parents would have had to have written a check. Debit cards didn’t exist at this point and credit cards were only used for emergency. There was no way in the world that I was going to ask a parent to write a check for a skimpy bikini or thong!
This didn’t mean I didn’t look or even order the catalogs. International Male and UnderGear were regulars in my mailbox. I always tried to intercept the mail to ensure that I got a hold of the catalogs first. I found UnderGear through a friend’s parents who left it lying on the counter at their house. I jotted down the number, called when I got home, and voila—the catalog was in the mail.
As I got older and acquired my own income and means of purchasing. I remember filling out the paper order form in the center of the UnderGear catalog, writing a check, putting both in an envelope. Mailing the order form and money off to UnderGear. Then, the wait would begin. I’d check the mail with anticipation and wait and wait and wait. Tracking numbers were non-existent. YOU JUST WAITED!
Of course, the process got a little smoother with the acceptance of debit cards. I can also remember, filling out the order form and calling in the order with a debit card. The wait was just as painful. The time to receive the goods was cut down by a few days. Because I didn’t have to wait for my order form to be received in the mail. This was a much-welcomed modernization to the underwear industry.
The Online Shopping Phenomenon
Let’s get into the 21st Century. For the most part, everyone is familiar with purchasing underwear online. After all, UNB is online and we basically talk about products and point readers to those products’ web pages. I’d say that we all purchase underwear online. Rather than talk about this awesome mode of purchase. I want to tell you about my first encounters with online purchasing.
Right before I got married. I decided that I wanted to spice up my honeymoon experience with skimpy underwear and swimwear for myself. Also, super skimpy underwear and swimwear for my soon to be wife. I knew that Victoria’s Secret had large stores in malls, but that seemed embarrassing. I also knew that awesome men’s underwear didn’t exist in my small town America shopping mall. I decided to give online purchasing a shot. I went into my office computer at work (after hours so I wouldn’t get in trouble). Used the dial-up Internet service (I can still hear the tones playing as the phone dialed into the world wide web). Carefully selected my purchases from Victoria’s Secret and UnderGear. I actually have pictures of it all, but I won’t share because the quality is lacking.
Needless to say, online shopping is my primary source today. In particular, I like that I can shop several sources at one sitting to get the best deal. Everyone offers discounts. Occasionally brands will offer a larger discount to compete with sites like Amazon. Free shipping is exactly that—FREE! The variety and selection is at your fingertips. Time is saved. There are multiple sites that sell dozens of brands. You really get the best of it all!
Bonus—Men’s Underwear Retail Stores
With the ease of purchasing online. I’d encourage you not to sell yourself short by purchasing everything through the Internet. If you happen to be in a large city with a men’s underwear retail store, seek them out and go for a visit. I am always amazed at how great of an experience in person shopping is. I get to ask expert sales people their opinions in an environment that is safe. In fact, everyone in the store is buying underwear. That’s why the store exists. It saddens me that this type of purchase may diminish over the next several years due to Internet sales. I really enjoy meeting the sales teams and trying new stuff from their displays. Make sure you give this type of purchasing a shot.
25 years of purchasing underwear has given me some awesome memories. I look forward to 25 more years. Who knows, one day maybe I’ll start a brand or even a retail store (online or in person). Thanks for being faithful readers of UNB. We enjoy every post and love your feedback. Hit us up on social media or comment below.