I used to live my life in disheveled darkness, wearing whatever cheap, low-quality undergarments I could find at Target or on Amazon. Tattered Hanes underwear that was a year past its natural expiration date? Check. Socks with holes in them? Double check. White undershirts with wine and marinara stains? Let’s fuckin’ go. Honestly, there’s probably a private, traumatized-Tinder-date-run Discord channel somewhere out there dedicated to my distressing wardrobe (if there is, please don’t @ me, I couldn’t handle it).
But once I hit my 30s, things started changing. Now, my feet and knees hurt all the time, so I started buying excellent shoes—shout out to Haflingers (which I lovingly reviewed), the New Balance 990v5, and super comfortable socks (Smartwool crew and Bombas gang, respectively sound off). I now wear (mostly) clean undershirts (on weekdays). When you have a “real job” and are trying to appear like you’re #adulting, you just can’t be doing the college-core or #cheflife thing anymore. Now that I live with a partner, playing Elden Ring for four hours straight probably hits a little less hard when I’m not doing it while wearing a T-shirt with gumbo stains on it; if I’m peeping Emily in Paris—er, I mean Road House—with the boys, there are plenty of opportunities to make fun of me without seeing my decimated Saucony athletic socks.
This brings me to the advice that all of my ultra-tough and cool, proudly sloppy folks need to hear, which is that wearing high-quality, comfortable underwear is the closest we can get to heaven in this life; that is, short of being in the pit at a Slayer show (though I’ve done both and would roughly put them on the same level). Early last year, I was talking to my well-groomed, clean-clothes-wearing brother, and mentioned that I was going to buy some new underwear that day. He responded with an enthusiasm he usually reserves for discussing live Grateful Dead bootlegs: “Dude, I know this is going to sound insane, but I switched to Lululemon underwear, and it’s so comfortable,” he said. “It’s not cheap, but it’ll last forever. It’s the only underwear I wear now.” In the moment, I probably said something like, “Haha, right on,” dismissing it as a yuppie indulgence that wasn’t for me. Coincidentally, though, his recommendation intersected with my campaign to wear better socks and undershirts, and I actually decided to order a 3-pack of Lululemon underwear. Now, I, too, count myself among the growing army of boutique-underwear-wearing bros.
I started by ordering a 3-pack from the Always in Motion line, which is for daily use; Lululemon has 5-inch and 7-inch options, and I’m no Shaq over here, so I got the 5-inch option in black. They’re made with modal fabric, and are sweat-wicking and breathable. When I finally tried them on, it was like slipping into satin sheets that you can stay in all day. I’d never worn underwear (or anything) that comfortable, and I experienced cognitive dissonance because I’d lived my life feeling like I didn’t deserve to wear anything that comfortable. That night I was going out with the pals somewhere, and made sure to don my finest Darkthrone shirt and Tomb Mold hat to try to forget that I felt like I was breaking some kind of rule and betraying my people (and my unconscious).
With more wear, I quickly got accustomed to such decadence and stopped feeling weird about it; I bought more, and some of those early pairs are still in rotation, since they still look and feel as good as they did the day I got them. My girlfriend even got me some as a Valentine’s Day gift last year, choosing colors that she liked (I wanted a new wok, but whatever). This underwear has the perfect stretch and texture, which remains after many washes. Though I mostly wear black, I also added the Heathered Core Medium Grey and True Navy colors to my wardrobe (available in this still-goth-friendly 3-pack). If, at this point, you’re pondering where you can enter the Lululemon undie-verse, there’s also the Built to Move line, designed for workouts, and some mesh options as well.
The underwear’s great for sitting around, going on long walks, and even for workouts. I honestly don’t know what kind of textile wizardry can make something that’s so comfortable and durable for so long, but I find it’s better not to question it when things appear too good. This is something you (yes, you!) can and should invest in, no matter who you are.
Chris, Ryan, and Kevin, if you’re reading this: This entire article is a lie and I’m still wearing Hanes with holes in them. Everyone else: Lululemon’s products are beautiful and it’s time to get over yourself and finally secure the underwear you deserve. I did, and if you need me, you can find me doing some Manly Stuff™ in my secret underwear.
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