It all started back at the end of 2008 when the men’s shapewear market got world-wide visibility after a UK reporter described a new high-tech men’s slimming undershirt as the “new SPANX for Men”. Although the product was not actually made by Sara Blakely’s SPANX, Inc., the new company releasing that product clearly benefited from the powerful and ubiquitous SPANX brand awareness that Sara and her team have been painstakingly building for the last 12+ years.
As the news broke, rumors of a SPANX-brand line of men’s slimming undershirts leaked out, so I decided to reach out to see if anyone from Sara’s organization would care to comment. In late December of 08′ I did a little research, found a couple of contact names and sent them the following email:
I write a fairly popular blog covering nearly every facet of men’s undershirts (undershirtguy.com).
Over the last month, there’s been a huge amount of buzz about [other men’s slimming undershirt name removed], which is being touted by the media on the web as the new “Spanx for Men”. In the last month alone, my site has gotten over 10,000 visitors looking for information on their product.
I have been reading several articles that speculate that Spanx will be coming out with your own line of men’s compression undergarments. Wondering if you’d be in a position to verify whether or not it’s true and if so, could you provide additional details about your plans that I can share with my readers. I’d also be interested in reviewing the product in advance of its official market release, if possible.
Thanks for your time!
Although I was disappointed, I received no response. I touched base with them again in late January 09′, in March 09′, and then again in July 09′. It wasn’t until late July when I received the first response!
Thanks for checking back in. SPANX for men is still very much in the works, but I still don’t have much info. to share at this point. Please know that as soon as I do, I will give you a buzz and share it with you.
Congrats on the success of the site!
I’ll be in touch, M
After a few more email exchanges, they were kind enough to let me break the exciting news to the world.
Now, a little over a year and 250k visitors later, I am happily sitting here in front of my computer and lucky enough to be among the one of first people in the world to be wearing the new, just officially released, SPANX for Men Cotton Compression Undershirts as I write this review! I truly am a patient man :)
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to reviewing the wonderful new SPANX for Men Cotton Compression Undershirts (S4MCCU or S4M)!!!
Here’s the line up of the SPANX Men’s Collection of products:
- Spanx for Men Cotton Compression Crew Neck. Suggested Retail: $58 USD. Colors: White, Black
>Product Code 8-43953-06191-5. RN 112121. SPX-607.
- Spanx for Men Cotton Compression V-Neck. Suggested Retail: $58 USD. Colors: White, Black
>Product Code 8-43953-06171-7. RN 112121. SPX-610.
- Spanx for Men Cotton Compression Tank. Suggested Retail: $55 USD. Colors: White, Black
>Product Code 8-43953-06161-8. RN 112121. SPX-611.
Fit – As with other men’s slimming / shapewear undershirts, the SPANX for Men CCU take a little effort to get into, but if they weren’t, they probably wouldn’t offer enough slimming/shaping benefits. The good news with these undershirts is that they are not too difficult to get on or off by yourself where you wouldn’t want to go through the effort on a daily basis. When I first took the v-neck undershirt out of its packaging and put it on, I immediately recognized that these undershirts were going to be very different from other men’s slimming undershirts. First of all, since the entire undershirt is made from the same material, consisting mostly of cotton with just enough spandex, it stretches to conform to your upper body area (shoulders, arms/sleeves, back) without being too tight to be uncomfortable or limiting your movement in any way. Second, if you look at the pictures above, or at the measurement table below, you’ll notice that the bottom width is a whopping 4″ narrower than the underarm-to-underarm chest measurements (which I have not seen before)! This design approach allows the wearer to have a more comfortable fit in the upper torso area, but still get a very good amount of slimming/shaping effects around the midsection and hip area – it’s a very good combination. Also, while the overall length measurements seem a bit on the short side, since the fabric stretches both horizontally and vertically, I was able to pull the bottom of the undershirt down beyond my greater trochanter area, which is where I think all undershirt bottoms should be cut to (look for an upcoming article about that too!). Another great attribute about the fabric content is that it not only allows you to pull it down far enough to stay tucked, the fabric kind of sticks to your hips and doesn’t roll up like other compression undershirts. One final thought, when I first put on the v-neck and crew neck, I did notice a little bit of “push down” effect on my shoulders where it felt like my shoulders were being pulled downward a bit. However, that only lasted a short while and I was fully comfortable wearing the undershirt all day long.
Crew Neck notes – same fit as the v-neck. Collar has about average “drop” (not too low, not too high).
Tank Top notes – same general fit mid section. good fit in the torso area. looks really nice on too (i’m kinda digging the tank top)
Here are the fabric blend and measurements of the 3 undershirts (laying flat):
|SPANX for Men (Medium)||Crew & V-Neck||Tank Top|
|Fabric Contents||81% Cotton / 19% Spandex/Elastane|
|width (underarm to underarm)||18″||17.25″|
|shoulder strap length||5″||1.75″|
|Notes||4.5″ front drop on v-neck
3″ front drop on crew
Feel – I can sum up the feel characteristic in one word – Amazing. There are so many wonderful things to say about the way this fabric feels, I’m not exactly sure where to start. Since the SPANX 4 Men Cotton Compression undershirts are made mostly from cotton, you know they’ll be soft. I did notice that these undershirts are made in Egypt and from my past experiences, I’ve found egyptian cotton to be a lot softer than cotton made in many other foreign countries. The combination of cotton and spandex really feels nice on the skin and the folks at SPANX have made a good decision on the weight of the fabric as well. It’s thick enough to give you the function, but equally as breathable so the wearer won’t get overheated wearing it all day long. The fabric blend feels very similar to the Echelon from Jockey, which is still one of my favorite undershirts to date. I comfortably wore the v-neck and crew neck all day long over a two day period.
Function – I’ll talk about two aspects in the function department since I think they’re important to address.
- How does S4M CCU function as a regular undershirt alternative?
- How does it function compared to how it’s marketed?
One thing that sets this slimming undershirts apart from others in its category is that it looks more like a traditional undershirt than any of the other men’s shapewear undershirts I’ve tried so far. There are no distinctive markings or construction approaches (mixture of fabrics, stitching techniques, or fabric patterns) that make this undershirt look any different than any other standard undershirt. From a few feet away, this slimming undershirt pretty much looks like any other standard undershirt. That’s a really nice feature from my point of view. Also, the fact that this undershirt is made mostly from egyptian cotton, you get the absorption characteristics that are critical in keeping a guys outerwear clean and dry. Many other compression undershirts are made from synthetic fabrics which by design, are more geared to transfer moisture to the outside where it could be more prone to come in contact with the person’s outer wear. That’s not to say that it’s better than those others, it’s just an attribute to consider when you’re making a buying decision.
As for how the SPANX for Men Cotton Compression undershirt compares to how it’s marketed, there are seven bullet points on the attractive retail packaging. 1) firms chest, 2) narrows waistline, 3) flattens stomach, 4) improves posture, 5) supports lower back, 6) eliminates bulk under clothes, 7) breathable compression cotton. I would say, for me, these undershirts really performed well in the firming and flattening categories. I fully enjoyed how the undershirt flattened my chest and smoothed my stomach. Although I did not notice any measurable difference in my waistline, I did notice a visual streamlining as the shirt did a good job in pulling in my love handles so they didn’t stick out as much as they do when not wearing an undershirt. I really didn’t see and improved posture or lower back support, but honestly, I’m not buying one of these slimming undershirts for those reasons, so I’m not disappointed. Of course, it does well in areas #6 & #7, but that’s already expected.
Affordability – At $55 for the Tank Top and $58 for the v-neck and crew neck, they are priced well below Equmen and Sculptees, but priced comparably to RIPT Fusion (although RIPT doesn’t offer a tank). For every day wear, I really do still think that paying that much for a single undershirt is a little unrealistic, but that being said, if you’re looking for an undershirt that will smooth/slim/flatten you and actually look like a regular undershirt, I don’t think you’ll ever be sorry you dropped that kind of cash on a SPANX for Men Cotton Compression Undershirt.
Summing it all up – I think the best way to sum up this review is to share a blurb from an email I sent the folks at SPANX a couple of weeks ago after wearing the undershirt for a short while:
I would say that if I were looking to wear a slimming undershirt for a “night out on the town”, I would probably reach for my spanx CC undershirt first over some other of the slimming undershirts because it looks more like a regular undershirt. also, not taking anything away from the v-neck or crew, even though I don’t wear them very often, I really like the spanx compression tank and I think that will be a big hit with guys! love the packaging too – that will definitely stand out in the retail stores!
2/11/2010 Update – Ok, for fun I took some pictures of myself wearing the white v-neck spanx for men. Hopefully this will help show how the undershirts fit a “regular” guy.
You can click on the photos to enlarge them.
2/18/10 Update – Here’s video I found on bossip.com of Sara Blakely pimping out the new s4m product and having it modeled by Jamal Anderson (former NFL player). Man, does Jamal have some big guns.
03/13/2010 – Update – Spanx for Men’s News Segment from 3/12.