Widespread gusset anxiety revealed
January 21, 2008
Underwear gets mainstream exposure as Jeremy Paxman’s private email to Marks & Spencer is slipped to the press.
In interview, Paxman refuses to reveal if he wears boxers or briefs. We wait for comments from “sources close to the seat of power”.
Sir Stuart rose to this by offering to take Jeremy to lunch with a range of M&S underwear. Jeremy declined the underwear. Perhaps lettuce should be the only shreddies for lunch?
Talking with his friends and acquaintances “revealed widespread gusset anxiety”. Perhaps Jeremy should buy a brand which offers a “suspensor design“, claims for which started me writing about underwear marketing a couple of months ago. As he has three children, he probably doesn’t worry much about spermatogenesis.
Will it affect M&S’s business? Reports in the press about M&S’s business may well lead one to wonder if there won’t be a business issue, though it may be an opportunity for M&S to put things right:
In the busy three-month run-up to Christmas, M&S’s share of its core lingerie market fell by 3% when measured by value, according to leaked research.
Ten days ago Rose announced poor Christmas trading with a 2.2% fall in like-for-like sales. “We have to compete with Tesco and Asda on men’s underpants,” he said.
One in four men wears [M&S] pants and we are the largest lingerie and underwear retailer in the UK by a long shot – we sell four times as much as our nearest competitor.
For the frenzied UK press reaction to this story, sources and further dangly bits of news and information:
- Paxman goes to war with M&S: ‘Their pants no longer provide adequate support’, Daily Mail (20 Jan) … the second half of which reads like a gentle promotion of M&S. The Mail on Sunday appears to have been the first to report this… what a scoop! (Arguably, it’s a pity the world’s news isn’t this trivial.)
- Jeremy Paxman tells M&S of angst in his pants, Times Online (20 Jan, from Sunday Times), Arts & Entertainment … WHY is it Arts & Entertainment?! Shouldn’t it have been in Life & Style?
- Paxman ‘smalls’ talk with retailer, Daily Star (20 Jan) … which despite appearing in their online Celeb News section, they really didn’t make an effort over.
- Paxman to meet M&S over underwear, BBC Online (21 Jan) … quite apart from the intrinsic news value, Jeremy Paxman is a heavyweight political interviewer on the BBC’s Newsnight and current presenter of the BBC’s University Challenge.
- Jeremy Paxman stretches his brief to tackle M&S over lack of support, Times Online (21 Jan), Life & Style… or was it entertaining news on Sunday, but stylish by Monday? Certainly by Monday it was worth appearing knowledgeable, so this article included a short (or just brief?) history of pants.
- Great Pants Debate, Daily Express (21 Jan) … with a little more pants history.
- Jeremy Paxman lambasts lax underwear, The Telegraph (21 Jan) … where several men in the public eye feel no discomfort in letting the world know what their wear is, where?, yes, there.
- Paxman raises the big issue for British men: do M&S pants give enough support?, The Independent (21 Jan) … managed a more tongue-in-cheek article than most, or perhaps it just had more words.
- Paxman to talk pants with M&S chief after complaining about state of nation’s undies, The Scotsman (21 Jan) … where you can read about the Pant-Share-Ratio, known inside M&S as the Stuart Pant Index, which compares the price of M&S underwear with their share price.
- Paxman raises smalls problem with M&S, The Guardian (21 Jan) … whose reporter really didn’t seem to take an interest.
- Jeremy Paxman in Marks & Spencer underwear complaint, Sunday Mirror (21 Jan) … a rather flat piece of reporting by one of their Showbiz reporters.
- Feared BBC interviewer on warpath over underpants, Reuters (21 Jan) … yes, even Reuters picked this up, so the whole world knows (and it’s not my fault).
For those who don’t know their gusset from their gore, Wikipedia’s gusset page provides a definition, but not as much else as you might hope for.
A gusset is a device, often triangular, used to reinforce a connection between two components. Gussets are used in engineering, sewing and armour.
For helpful pictures to understand the construction of clothing with gussets and gores (one’s cup runneth over, perchance), see Tunic/Coat and Pant Construction at the Renaissance Tailor.
This entry is related to the Male Underwear: Marketing the Male Package & Mundo Unico Series.
Filed in underwear-marketing-mundo-unico-series
Tags: boxer shorts, boxers, briefs, fashion, gore, gusset, gusset anxiety, hipsters, Jeremy Paxman, M&S, male fertility, male underwear, Marks & Spencer, Pant-Share-Ratio, slips, spermatogenesis, Stuart Pant Index, Stuart Rose, suspensor, suspensor design, thermal underwear