Tuesday, 9 April 2013

How David Beckham Is Contributing to the Economic Upturn

It's not the traditional key indicators such as house prices going up, unemployment figures going down, strong stock market performance, and sales of big-ticket items that earmark that the economy is picking up.

Apparently the crystal ball can be found in your man's drawer. 

If you're still guessing what they are, here's one modelling his delicates.

Believe me, these two photos are the most decent I can find online. For a woman of my age and life experience, the rest I've seen were quite disturbing, they shouldn't be lurking the web. I thought my search engine accidentally directed me to Recon fetish website.

Now, let's get down to this man's point.
 source: wikimedia.org
Alan Greenspan 

Alan Greenspan is an economist who served as the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. He was well-known for advocating the Men's Underwear Index as an indicator of an economy recovering from a recession. 

source: stylist.com

You must have heard of the lipstick index when women are thought to purchase small but luxurious items during a recession, or why beauty salons are bouyant despite the financial crisis. People generally indulge in small treats to have a respite from their daily woes. If you can't buy a house or a car, just get your hair done.

source: articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com

One well-established benchmark was by US Professor George Taylor of Pennsylvania University Wharton School, called the hemline index. According to him, the hemline of women's dresses rises along with stock prices. That perhaps explains the fashion trend of the swinging 60s when skirts hiked up north--with no pun intended to the swinging bit.

The Men's Underwear Index suggests that men do not spend on  a new pair of boxers or briefs when they are not confident about the stability of their income or the economy.

Moreover, men tend to stick to neutral colours such as black, white and grey as opposed to patterned and bright hues when times are tough. In  terms of materials, men favour classic cotton and cotton spandex over bamboo and soy blend (source:deadgoodundies.com). I suppose cotton is more affordable than new innovations. 

Something tells me though that there are a number of other reasons why sales of men's underpants are brisk despite the current economic climate. 

Some men--like these two--have an influential role to play.
sources: marieclaire.co.uk and listal.com
David Beckham. Thom Evans.

David Beckham is a brand. And a massive one at that. Thom Evans, on the other hand, has an infallible image (his only flaw was getting involved with selfie addict Kelly Brook), young (only 28), athletic, rich and possesses a bod all men would bust their rectus abdominis and external obliques to achieve. Did I mention he's cute?

Mr Beckham of course is the face, the body and the crotch for H&M bodywear. He designed the range himself, perhaps with the input of wife Victoria whose fashion design credentials can now rival that of Karl Lagerfeld's, she can also get away with wearing sunglasses indoors or at night--or both.

Thom Evans for D. Hedral underwear

Thom is a 6-foot former Scottish International rugby union player who is the torso, the six-pack, and the posterior for D. Hedral. The men's underwear range prides itself with Anglefit technology that lets blokes choose based not only on waist size but also on shapes to match the fullness of a man's behind. So that makes Thom look angle-perfect whether supine or prone. Not a bad idea at all. 

sources: underwearexpert.com and flickr.com   
Back in the day, men (and women) were only confronted by Jockey Y-fronts. Nowadays D. Hedral has a Y-back range called Gigolo Joe. It looks to me like a T-back--but in the shape of a Y--with the cheeks covered.

 Men have evolved into this fashion-conscious pack who buy into an image (a dapper one around David and Thom), lifestyle, and physique. Wearing a piece of David and Thom is a sort of leveler as the rest of the male population may not be able to afford any other expensive possession these two men can acquire, but one thing that they would have in common with all other men is the same 'equipment' to cover.


The rise of metrosexuals has also afforded men to not be afraid to spruce themselves up. They want to literally feel good on the inside as they do on the outside.

sources: rmuk.com, usmagazine.com, menstylepower.com, glamourmagazine.co.uk 

The metrosexuals from L-R: French knickers for Joey Essex; Brazilian for Scott Disick; hi-cut for Cristiano Ronaldo; and bikini for Harry Styles.

In the US, sales of men's underwear (or pants to the British) were up to 6% from Aug 2011 to Aug 2012. The total turnover was $2.194 billion from $2.074 billion between Aug 2010 and Aug 2011 (source: NPD Group, Inc.)

While I have not come across a specific sales figures for bodywear retail in the UK, Selfridges London have reported a 28% increase in sales from the beginning of 2013. My initial thought was that of a filthy rich Middle Eastern man who bought an entire year's supply of underwear from the department store. I've heard of a similar story in Harrods when an Arab client took a per annum purchase of socks. The sales person went on to join the 100 Club--an elite group of salespeople who individually brings in an annual sales of £1M.

The newly expanded Men's Bodywear department in Selfridges (selfridges.com)

With a weekly sales forecast of 3,000 pairs of underwear alone, Selfridges have embarked on an ambitious expansion of the men's bodywear department to 9,000 square feet housing 25,000 pairs of underwear with 10,000 of it displayed on a curved wall. That's roughly the equivalent of 7 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. To ask a man just how much underwear he needs is akin to telling off a woman for having too many shoes. 

I still think that men in general only buy a new set of underwear when their old collection is in tatters, or they ran out because of some mysterious reason that theirs seem to vanish in the washing machine along with a left or right sock. If this index is anything to go by, I'm looking forward to the economic repercussion of our men's new shopping habits. We'll see if they can be relied on in times of crisis. 

If this man can save the world in his red underpants,

source: fanpop.com
Christopher Reeve as Superman

Perhaps this man in his H&M briefs can do wonders for the economy.
Source: fashion.telegraph.co.uk
David Beckham for H&M

And for other peculiar economic indicators, click here.


  1. Buying socks for one year? But why so many socks? Did his washing machine break?

    So this is just licence to ask a man to show me his underwear? Then I can analyze his boxers or shorts and gage? This will be a very interesting and legitimate exercise!! This could be dangerous for some....:p

    1. Lazy cow he was. Socks were made disposable I can imagine.

      I read that showing Calvin Klein band when wearing low-slung jeans is not enough. I just can't picture the look on someone above 40.

      This underwear index can be added to speed dating! :)

  2. I’ve heard about the lipstick index but I must admit that I’ve never heard of men’s underwear index. I was just wondering how the index takes into account those men who would only buy underwear when they have to regardless of their money situation. For an average Joe, who still would buy black cotton underwear no matter what, even if he would become a billionaire, it really doesn’t apply. I would think that this type of an index is more about the new metrosexual male who acts like a gay guy putting more money to his appearance when he’s financially able to do it. Regardless it’s still a very interesting index in deed.

    1. Hi! Thank you for your comment. To be honest I think these indexes are made up by bored economists as sales of anything are booming during a recession.

      I still believe men only buy when they need it. Or the women buy for them. I also think that designers and retailers are concentrating to get men to go shopping as we must admit fashion is still very much targeted to women.

      But you're right it's an interesting index nonetheless. Have you read the last part about the other bizarre indexes?

      Let me know what you think.....


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