UNDERWEAR GUY REVIEW: CALVIN KLEIN STEEL MICROFIBER HIP BRIEF
Suggested retail price: $24
Line Name: Steel Microfiber
Available Sizes: S->XL
After a series of experimentations with materials and styles in the early 2000s Calvin Klein hit it big with their Steel Line of underwear. I can't say I could have predicted it at the time that we'd still be seeing the Steel line of underwear being sold in dozens of venus globally long after it's splashy initial debut. This review takes an up-close look at what is now a staple of men's underwear from Calvin Klein.
TOP FAVORITE ASPECT
The material of the Steel line which is available in a dizzying array of colors is a winning combination of comfort and style.
LEAST FAVORITE ASPECT
There were more than a few significant construction issues present in my purchase that I feel didn't live up to the premium Calvin Klein brand.
The Steel line was originally available in the more traditional cotton spandex blend but there was also a microfiber blend which has stayed around long after the cotton version has left store shelves. The blend is a stretchy 89% nylon and 11% spandex. The resulting material is very smooth and soft to the touch making for an excellent choice for underwear. This is a medium-weight fabric which has a high degree of stretch in all directions.
I've found the microfiber material in the Steel line does a good job of resisting pilling even after machine washing and drying so it's a good durable every-day and performance wear fabric.
Calvin Klein underwear almost always runs true-to-size for North American standards and these Steel briefs maintain that consistency. The mediums I purchased fit as expected with a comfortable amount of flexibility yet secure hold on the wide waistband. The rise of these briefs seems about correct for the "hip brief" designation where they hit lower than a full cut brief but not so low as to be something closer to a mini brief. A nice benefit of the microfiber elastic waistband is the balance between the secure tension that keeps things in place but not so much that it causes extra tightness. You'll find this waistband is more forgiving than most underwear and prevents unsightly "muffin top" visuals for the less than absolutely perfect physique.
The back is full coverage but cut without any excess fabric to cause sagging. The very stretchy material works well to accommodate a full range of guys' rear dimensions so even those with more curves can find these briefs will fit properly without getting too tight around the legs.
The leg-bands are cut with a nice amount of room that my larger legs didn't have any issues with comfort or movement. There were no unsightly gaps around the pouch either which struck a nice balance between movement and being fitted enough to stay in place.
The pouch itself is cut with a dual-layer two-panel design that is nicely engineered to provide room and some enhancing lift without being over-the-top. I'd say the pouch is cut to be on the higher side of "regular" but the extra stretch in the fabric allows guys who need/like more room up front enough space to still feel comfortable.
The wash/care information is included on the inside-back of the waistband via a printed silver ink process. This leaves the brief completely tagless which is a nice nod to comfort and style with no extra paper or fabric edges to irritate your skin in the back.
DESIGN & STYLE
The broad range of colors that the CK Steel Microfiber line has been available in throughout the years covers the entire gamut. Throughout all seasons you'll always find black and white with the available colors rotating among a variety of subdued, subtle tones as well as bright neon and pastels. Right now you can find a nice variety of colors to suit almost any personality or mood and I'm happy that we have the option to pick from a full range.
The front of this brief has classic reinforced piping along the edges of the seam where the pouch is joined which results in a classic brief look. The rest of the design is straight-forward with no additional accents or other adornments lending a sleek and modern look.
From a personality perspective I'd say these briefs fell into the higher edge of "modest". Although the fabric can be revealing as a single layer, the dual-layer front, however, is effective at not showing off too much in terms of lines or bulges. The rise on the hip and the full coverage back provide enough coverage and modesty to not be too bold while still being body-conscious.
The name-brand recognition of Calvin Klein still carries a certain level of status behind it and these briefs are still worthy of being categorized as a special "night out" pair of underwear. These briefs are quite versatile and beyond a social Friday night they work well for office wear, all-day wear and even athletic and loungewear without it being too much of a stretch.
At $24 these are not surprisingly in the premium category in terms of affordability. Calvin Klein has never been considered a "cheap" underwear label and it's generally still considered a status symbol to be wearing the designer's underwear so the price point is understandable. It's also worth noting that I haven't seen any other underwear designer replicate the exact same material and look so at the very least your investment will yield in a unique purchase.
CONSTRUCTION & CARE
The wash/care information ont he label indicates you can machine wash and dry this underwear item. Naturally the more you machine heat dry microfiber and elastic items the more you are stressing the composition of the fibers so lower heat settings are ideal. Regular detergents should be fine although to preserve the brighter colors a more delicate detergent might be helpful.
WHERE TO BUY
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PRODUCT MARKETING PHOTOGRAPHY
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