Seriously, Your Mom Still Picks Out Your Underwear?

A new poll out from U.K. retailer Debenhams casts a dim light on the personal purchasing habits of the men of that country. According to the poll, British guys typically count on their mums to buy their underwear until they’re 19. After that, they finally catch on and realize they should pick it out on their own, the better to woo young women, who generally start picking out their own “knickers” when they’re about 13.

After they turn 19, guys go on a shopping spree, apparently to make up for lost time and replace those charming undies selected by mom.

“Our research shows that you can tell when a man is looking for a partner by the number of new underpants they buy for themselves,” said Debenhams Head of Men’s Accessories Buying, Rob Faucherand. “If he buys more than 31 pairs every year then he’s either still trying desperately to impress the woman in his life — or else she’s not The One.”

After they turn 23, men basically stop buying underwear altogether, presumably because they’re leaving it to girlfriends or wives — or have gone back to mom (if there’s another reason, we don’t want to know). Midlife crises fuel a brief bulge in sales for guys in their late 30s, who slink back to their spouses after a couple of years, and stop picking out their own underwear for the rest of their lives.

If he lets you buy his underpants, you’re The One [Reuters]

(Photo: midorisyu)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dangerp says:

    Silly brits

  2. Mackinstyle says:

    Guys have like three options, which makes it very easy to just say which kind we want. Girls have like 300 choices, with an entirely new set of 300 choices the next month.

    Aside from the womanly stuff, the children, the suffrage, etc. It seems consistently more fun to be a chick. I could write an essay on this… They have just so much choice with EVERYTHING!

    • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

      @Mackinstyle: Double-edged sword. Just because there five million options of frilly bits of lacy nothings doesn’t mean that they’re comfortable, easy to clean or remotely affordable. And believe me, I frickin’ love my frilly bits of lacy nothings. However, television has managed to ruin this for chicks, too. Guys seem to take it as a matter of course that we’re always supposed to be wearing the good undies. After all, the girls on the teevee, in Maxim and everywhere else are wearing them all the time. Once a guy is willing to spend $40 on a Victoria’s Secret push-up bra plus another $15 for the matching thong, then he gets to see them more often. Yes. Seriously. That’s what the good underwear costs, guys. They don’t come in a 3-pack for $10.

      If anything, we’re at an extreme underwear disadvantage. Great choice, but high (and expensive) expectations.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @Cogito Ergo Bibo: after ruining many pairs of expensive frilly lacy things in the wash, either washing machine or hand wash [yes, i have poked holes in some of them while hand washing and i barely have fingernails] and dating more than one guy who actually preferred the basic cotton ones instead of the lacy ones… i gave up except for super special occasions.
        and it is sooo much easier on the budget.
        some of the 3 for $10 ones are pretty cute too, in neat patterns and colors. hanes for her isn’t bad at all in my opinion

        • Mackinstyle says:

          @catastrophegirl: This is leaving the realm of the consumerist, so last comment: We need more women like you. Cute white or black cotton ones work great; especially with a fun spry personality.

          I just complain that girls have a billion more clothing choices in general.

        • cookandcritic says:

          @catastrophegirl: I love the new Hanes undies with the “No Ride-Up” gaurantee :)

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @Cogito Ergo Bibo: HEAR HEAR!!! I wear the comfy ones because, well, they’re comfy. I’ve never heard any complaints, mostly because in the heat of the moment they’re off before there can be a fashion show.

        Once I slim down a bit more, I’ll probably spend some bucks on the pretties.

    • mythago says:

      @Mackinstyle: “Aside from the womanly stuff, the children, the suffrage, etc.” — well, yes, Mrs. Lincoln, but other than that, how was the play?

      Seriously, if you want to trade the not having to work twice as hard to be though half as good, having periods, being expected to do a second shift and all the other “asides” for more colorful underwear choices, I’ll swap you yesterday.

    • BytheSea says:

      @Mackinstyle: And a judgement or a stigma to go with each choice.

  3. morlo says:

    In other words guys hate shopping and women like buying underwear.

  4. squidbait says:

    What a “load”. The real reason guys don’t buy underwear till 19 is because if someone else is buying it for you, that’s more money in your pocket! You only buy it when you absolutely have to.

    Here’s a tip for the young men out there. Never, ever buy white underwear.

  5. trujunglist says:

    do all of you guys buy 31 pairs of underwear a year? this is a serious question. because I don’t, and i consider myself pretty serious about personal hygiene. maybe that’s the key to NOT buying 31 pairs a year actually…

    • ngoandy says:


      I buy a half dozen or so pairs a year.

      You must be buying cheap underwear to afford/need 31 pairs.

    • MikeM_inMD says:

      @trujunglist: A dozen or so to allow for extra pairs on weekends if I get very sweaty doing yard work. It also gives room for delayed laundry days.

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      @trujunglist: I’m nearly thrity and I think I’ve only bought underwear once in my life and it was because all mine were dirty and I knew I wasn’t going to have time to do laundry before work the next day. Other than that it’s all come from girlfriends or my mother.

      I also take the Jerry Seinfeld approach and wear mine till they literally disintegrate. I have boxers that date back to last century, as long as the elastic still works and there are no holes in the crotch I say keep on truckin.

  6. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    “Midlife crises fuel a brief bulge in sales”

    I see what you did there.

  7. SilverBlade2k says:

    I don’t even wear underwear at all. Commando all the way!

  8. shepd says:

    After 19, isn’t that soon to be the job of the wife?

    I know I’ve managed to avoid buying any underwear EVER in my life, and I’m 31. I don’t know if that’s sad, or lucky. :)

  9. JGKojak says:

    Yeah, so we buy undies and wear them for 10 years?

    No one wants a woman who is gonna judge a man on what kind of underwear he has.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I love how much interesting information you can learn from clothing purchasing habits, in particular in relation to economic factors. For example: You can determine the overall state of the economy on the length of women’s skirts.

  11. hexychick says:

    Clearly they did not consider the men in MY life when they made that 31 pairs a year comment. Men wear underwear until it’s falls apart at the seams. I have seriously witnessed my boyfriend (and those of the past) wear holey underwear being held together by fibers. And don’t dare try to throw that nasty pair out in front of them or you’ll start a war. I have to be stealthy and steal them from the laundry when it’s my turn, let the dog get to them, or just buy new pairs. The last time the man got new undies was Valentine’s day two years ago and he has purchased a pair since.

  12. uncle moe says:

    i’m 29. my mom has bought me a 4-pack of hanes boxers and 6 pack of socks every single christmas for as long as i can remember.

    works out great for me and i recycle the old pairs into shop rags.

  13. B says:

    My Uncle has never bought his own underwear, and he’s in his 50s.

  14. NewsBunny says:

    I love buying my husband boxer shorts. They have to be cool, though. Monkeys are an important theme in underpants. They always come first. Then there’s dork underwear, like ‘Twilight Zone’ or ‘Star Trek’ themed. Then there’s cute, like with St. Bernards on it or cats or Santa Claus at the beach or…

    He also purchases his own. But I take great glee in picking some up every Xmas and B-day.

  15. afdude says:

    Well…my mom ironed my clothes for me until I was 18…so I mean if they offer…

  16. Meteor62 says:

    Let us not forget George Costanza. His goal in life was to own 365 pair of underwear so he only had to resort to doing a load once a year. Brilliant.