Last month, Swedish brand RevolutionWear introduced Frigo No. 1. No, it’s not a new cologne, despite the name. Frigo No. 1 is underwear — men’s underwear — that costs $100 for one pair. So what makes a single pair of these drawers cost as much as a two-month supply of Hanes?
According to the New York Times, the luxury underwear has an adjustable interior mesh pouch and “laser-cut vents placed along the lower back that allow for aeration.” Aeration? That sounds more like a description of a plane than a piece of clothing. But these briefs aren’t alone — in addition to RevolutionWear, brands like Icebreaker have begun selling briefs for more than $50.
But is the “high-performance underwear” worth the price? Brian Boye, the fashion director of Men’s Health, was impressed by Frigo. “I don’t know if everybody needs $100 underwear, but for certain occasions, it can be relevant,” he told the New York Times. Just what type of occasions merit the purchase of expensive boxer briefs is up for debate.
The new luxury undergarment signals a new relationship between men and their briefs, akin to women’s retail relationship with lingerie, the Times reports. It is true that luxury women’s lingerie lines like La Perla sell underwear that is similarly priced to RevolutionWear. And bras from mass-market brands like Victoria’s Secret average around $50. But while women’s undergarments are marketed for their aesthetic value, which may or may not rationalize the price, these high-end boxer/brief lines are marketed for their utilitarian value. Which is why splurging for some extra air down there seems a bit comical.
On its website, RevolutionWear proclaims: ”Life leaves us no time to worry about underwear. Anytime, anywhere, you need one product that works as hard as you do. So put it on and forget about it.” But chances are, if you are wearing a $100 pair of briefs, you’re probably not going to forget about them.