Fashion girdles put squeeze on men battling the bulge
IT is every vain, lazy, fat man's dream: a fast track to a slimmer physique with none of the inconvenience of exercise.
Despite a selection of coy names -- "shapewear", "mirdles" or "undershirts" -- this wonder product is really a girdle, disguised as a T-shirt.
Nonetheless, the UK's plumper gentlemen are flocking to M&S in search of some mirdle magic. Since debuting Bodymax, its first shapewear product, in January, the company says that it has sold more than 15,000 of the garments, which promise to narrow even the most abundant abdomen by up to one-and-a-half inches.
The M&S mirdle helped to boost clothing sales by 10.1pc in the last quarter. Dave Binns, head of buying for men's underwear, claimed that M&S "is the market leader in this area".
Now there is a new luxury shapewear line, Bodymax+, which promises "maximum compression" via premium fabrics for a "sleek, streamlined look" -- albeit at a cost. The new top-of-the-line M&S mirdle will retail at £25 (€28) for a vest and £29.50 (€34) for a T-shirt.
As obesity levels rise, so does the mirdle's encroachment into the menswear mainstream. US mirdle sales increased by 11pc in 2009, and more than 250,000 shapewear-curious men have logged on to www.undershirtguy.com.
This blogger considers such subjects as the sweatiness rating of different products. The undershirt guy scooped the world when Spanx -- a support underwear product close to the hearts of millions of women -- revealed that it, too, is to enter the male market. (© The Times, London)