Calvin Klein is the most likely candidate to be able to take credit for the explosion of men's underwear that we now know and that serves as the basis for this entire men's underwear blog. At the same time, some would argue that the underwear that Calvin Klein has produced over the last few years has been mediocre at best. I enjoyed the 365 line when it first came out, but many complained that it was too basic, although I really like the patterned and colored versions that you can find scattered across the Web. And, admittedly, the 365 was very basic but, to its credit, is also very wearable. As you probably know, Calvin Klein runs 25% off sales 4 times per year, and those used to be a big deal, but in the past year or so, we have found ourselves yawning a little.
I introduce Calvin Klein this way to preface my opinion that they have done a good job of coming back into vogue with their Steel line. When the Steel line first came out, I honestly could not get my hands on a pair. Supply was short (gripe you may, but it often turns out to be a good marketing plan to build demand and conversation about your product), and every retailer was selling out as soon as a new supply hit their warehouses. No one could spare a pair until finally MensUnderwearStore came through. MensUnderwearStore stocks both the cotton and microfiber versions of this CK mens underwear style and they provided me a pair of the cotton style to try out and review.
Since that time, this pair of black Calvin Klein Steel Cotton Hip Briefs has become one of my favorite pairs of underwear. It ends up in the top 10 favorite pairs simply because it is very comfortable and consistent in its feel. Yesterday, on ITV, Adam said that good underwear is underwear that supports you and surrounds you without your noticing that it's even there, and that's what this Calvin Klein Steel underwear does for me. It slips on with no effort or constricting feel, and it moves with my body without notice. The Calvin Klein-branded waistband is extra wide, but it doesn't get in the way, even though I find the oversized text almost humorous it's so over the top. I find the texture of the underwear is very smooth and appealing to the touch, and the stretch cotton fabric is light and not too thick or heavy. It is a cotton/lycra blend, which usually works out pretty well for providing a good fit without containing too much heat or sweat.
These hip briefs come in black, white or grey, which again does not inspire on the color spectrum. Calvin Klein really shoots for the mainstream market, and I think they don't want to get too crazy with colors, but I think they could afford to spend a little more energy on creative use of color.
The Calvin Klein Steel line is also available in a microfiber version that I would love to try someday. Between the cotton and microfiber versions, you can find the Calvin Klein Steel in hip briefs, thongs, gripper trunks, boxer briefs, and low rise trunks for a price range around $19-$22.
My overall assessment is that the while I would like more color options, the Calvin Klein Steel line of men's underwear is fashionable, comfortable, and affordable, and while it still is targeted to the mainstream purchaser of mens underwear, it has a contemporary and stylish feel that justifies its price point. Thanks to MensUnderwearStore for giving me the opportunity to wear and review them.
Overall, I give the Calvin Klein Steel Cotton Hip Brief a total score of 8.0 based on the following criteria:
FIT -- 10 (out of 10)
STYLE -- 6 (out of 10)
QUALITY -- 8 (out of 10)
VALUE -- 8 (out of 10)