Can Kim Kardashian’s Skims Make Shapewear For Men Mainstream?

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Men’s shapewear is nothing new—body-slimming garments appear to date back to ancient Greece and Rome.

Yet, in the world of menswear, no guy is bragging about wearing a tummy smoother or body shaper the way women do.

“I’ve had my business for 11 years and I’ve only run into two guys that had shapewear,” said Jennifer Lund Mahoney, a Chicago-based men’s personal stylist and shopper.

Kim Kardashian may be the game-changer.

The megastar’s recent foray into men’s underwear via her hugely succesful brand Skims—earlier this year it was valued at $4 billion—proves there may be a market for body-slimming undergarments for men.

Neymar Jr. models the Skims men’s line.

“Despite being a niche product, men’s shapewear is not a new trend,” said Kayla Marci, senior retail analyst at Edited, a retail intelligence firm.

“However, Skims’ past launches and viral marketing campaigns have displayed the brand’s influence on retail, creating a ripple effect across the market and spawning several dupes.”

The question is: will the line appeal to the everyday guy?

Judging by the brand’s all-star launch campaign, starring iconic soccer player Neymar Jr., All-NBA First-Teamer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa, the answer seems to be: yes. Skims is also the new official underwear partner of the NBA, WNBA and USA Basketball.

“The expansion into the menswear space is a major milestone for the brand and a testament to Skims’ commitment to providing solutions for everybody,” said Kim Kardashian, founder and creative director of Skims, in a release. “Skims has evolved into becoming a brand that can provide comfort for all audiences, not just for women.”

The brand expanded into men’s because men accounted for more than 10% of Skims’ existing customer base, according to Jens Grede, CEO and co-founder of Skims. “Entering the $111 billion U.S. men’s apparel market unlocks an incredible opportunity for the business,” Grede said.

Skims is a leader in the shapewear arena. InStyle ranked its women’s Sculpting Bodysuit With Snaps the “best overall” among 21 Best Shapewear picks of 2023, saying the sculpting bodysuit is the best shapewear item the brand offers, a big feat for a “shapewear-heavy brand.”

The Skims men’s offerings features three collections: “Cotton,” rendered in mid-weight cotton with built-in recovery; “Stretch,” constructed from maximum-stretch fabric designed for the “perfect fit, every time;” and “Sport,” a collection of “lightly compressive base layers” designed for maximum comfort and support. The collection ranges from T-shirts and tank tops to briefs and bottoms, with sizes ranging from XS-5X.

Other key players in men’s shapewear include Spanx and Leo by Leonisa, offering garments for events, everyday, post-surgery and back support.

The difference with the Skims’ menswear drop is that it’s rooted in activewear, Marci said.

“[This] provides a broader reach than traditional shapewear,” Marci said. “There’s no doubt Kim Kardashian will expand Skims’ menswear presence, branching into other solution garments and continuing to leverage celebrity endorsements.”

Still, experts doubt men will ever rely on shapewear the way women do.

“Shapewear has undergone a revival to be more inclusive, phasing out terminology like ‘slimming’ to promote instead ‘smoothing,’ ‘firming’ and ‘sculpting’ qualities,” Marci said. “The garment is still rooted in upholding beauty and body standards for women, who face more societal pressure to look a certain way than men.”

The bottomline is, guys just want to be comfortable, men’s stylist Lund Mahoney said.

“I’m constantly fighting with guys to go down a size. If it’s anywhere pushing on their stomach, they’re like ‘no.’”

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