13 Luxury Underwear Brands That Are Anything But Pants
Don't neglect what's underneath. We go under the hood to showcase the brands making the finest quality men's underwear in 2023.
It’s all very well having a stunning contemporary wardrobe that turns heads wherever you go, but you wouldn’t want to undermine it by opting for cheap, poorly made underwear.
When push comes to shove, and kiss comes to cuddle, you’re going to need to strip down to said underwear, and what impression will you be making then?
Regardless of who sees what lies beneath, it’s still the closest thing you wear to your skin all day, so do yourself a favour and invest in some high-quality undies that are going to serve your body well.
What makes underwear luxury?
How do you define luxury underwear? It’s a good question. It’s definitely not simply the name emblazoned on the waistband, that much we know.
‘Designer’ underwear is, for the most part, not all that different in construction and quality to anything you would find at a fast fashion retailer, and probably made in the same factories.
But ‘luxury’ underwear? That’s a different breed, incorporating meticulous manufacturing techniques to enhance comfort (think seamless construction and knitted fabrics) and, most importantly, superior textiles, from organic cotton and silk to sustainable fabrics such as Tencel and micromodal.
Fabric is the biggest factor when separating average underwear from luxury underwear. You want to be looking for brands that, at the very least, use organic cotton where possible, usually with a small element of elastane or similar in the case of stretch boxers and trunks.
Increasingly, luxury brands are incorporating more sustainable fabrics such as lyocell, a fibre derived from certified renewable wood sources that has superior breathability and natural moisture wicking properties compared to cotton.
A sports-specific genre of underwear has emerged, too, mostly constructed from polyester and elastane, a combination which provides superior comfort and moisture-wicking properties, which are just what you need when you’re working up a sweat or smashing the gym.
Linen boxers make the occasional appearance, and while this ecological fabric is lightweight, breathable and soft, it’s not as strong as cotton and doesn’t tend to survive the rigours we put our underwear through.
Silk is the ultimate luxury underwear fabric, with a lightweight and ultra smooth finish, but probably not for everyday use – if only for the cost factor.
There might not be a huge amount of difference between the construction of average underwear and luxury underwear, but the difference is there all the same, and it equates to an enhanced level of comfort. The important word here is ‘seams’ – how and where the different panels of fabric join to create the shape of the boxer or brief.
This is especially important when it comes to performance underwear, since the increase in friction while playing sports can hinder your performance through chafing or just general discomfort.
Hence, luxury underwear will often have flat seams or no seams at all, to negate chafing. It also pays to look closely at the construction of the waistband, which should be extremely neat for minimal abrasion.
When it comes to classic loose-fitting boxer shorts, look for double-layer panels at the front and back for enhanced comfort.
From briefs to mid-rise boxers, trunks to long johns, every man on earth has a preferred underwear style. Luxury labels have mastered each style with thoughtful design touches that increase comfort and performance.
For the classic boxer, look for mid-rise designs that also reach down to the mid thigh. These roomy fits move with you and are perfect for relaxed weekends. At the other end of the spectrum, sporty briefs made from stretch cotton and slimline trunks that hug your upper thigh are tailored to wear under formal or slim-fit trousers.
There’s always a little trial and error involved when finding the right fit and the right brand for you, but the evergreen advice remains the same on the fit around your waist, thigh and crotch: you want it snug and comfortable, not tight.
The best luxury men’s underwear brands
It’s fair to say that Swedish underwear specialist CDLP changed the game when it launched in 2016. Founded by Christian Larson and Andreas Palm, the entrepreneurial pair saw a massive opportunity in an underwear sector that was dominated by a few fashion labels producing average quality boxer briefs.
CDLP brought a completely new luxury approach to the market, specialising in lyocell fabric, which is derived from wood pulp. This sustainable approach, combined with a focus on minimalistic styling and ergonomic, anti-chafing seam construction, instantly sent CDLP to the top table of underwear makers, a seat it has retained ever since.
Producing boxer briefs, trunks, classic boxers and a performance specific collection, CDLP’s products are just about the best that money can buy.
Hamilton & Hare
A British menswear brand that specialises in every luxury essentials, Hamilton & Hare’s diminutive headquarters on London’s buzzy Chiltern Street is home to an exceptional array of super-comfortable, understated underwear.
Founder Olivia Francis takes her fabrications very seriously so don’t expect run-of-the-mill cotton cloths. Instead, expect to find classic summer boxers shorts constructed from 135gsm luxury shirting-grade cotton with a seersucker finish; slimline cotton cashmere boxers constructed with the input of a Savile Row tailor; completely seamless lyocell trunks made using a revolutionary knitting technology that constructs the trunks from a single piece of fabric; and old-school briefs, made from a premium lyocell-cotton blend.
There are no flashy designs or patterns to be found here – the fabric and construction does all the talking.
In 2026, Derek Rose, the family-run loungewear and luxury essentials brand, will celebrate its centenary, which is a pretty decent marker of the Cheshire-based label’s timeless quality.
Rose’s longevity has been largely built on a solid foundation of producing exemplary underwear and wardrobe staples in fine fabrics constructed with a high level of detail.
Rose uses superior Pima cotton throughout its eclectic collection, applying super-soft binding to finish the hems for minimal abrasion and an extreemly comfortable finish. It’s also renowned for its Italian silk satin boxers that feature a unique magnetic fly closure, as well as its boxer briefs cut from micro modal, an environmentally-friendly fabric made from European beech tree pulp that boasts thermostatic properties to regulate your body heat.
From classic whities to vibrant geometric patterns, Derek Rose will appeal to all style persuasions.
Ever since 1860, there’s been nothing basic about Sunspel’s basics. The British label is renowned for crafting menswear essentials from the finest and softest cottons.
Underwear has been part of the collection since the beginning but it was in 1947 when the founder’s grandson, John Hill, introduced the boxer short to the UK. Sunspel has been crafting the great British boxer to Hill’s specifications ever since, with subtle touches like feldlocked, double-turned seams ensuring maximum softness against the skin.
The brand also creates briefs and trunks, with lightweight stretch cotton and considered fits guaranteeing all-day comfort.
Zegna started life as a fabric mill in northern Italy in the early 1900s. Its founder and the generations of the Zegna family who have steered the label in the years since have all been fixated on one thing above all: incredible fabrics woven into luxurious clothing.
The Zegna name is still a byword for Italian luxury today, and beyond its high-end tailoring, sportswear and knits, the brand’s underwear maintains its lofty standards. Think soft and breathable cotton boxer shorts and sporty trunks with extra stretch for comfort in movement.
Synonymous with a flamboyant and unapologetic vision of luxury menswear, Versace is known for bold colours, loud prints and sumptuous fabrics. So stepping out in a pair of Versace briefs carries a certain confidence.
Golden baroque-style branding aside, the label always delivers on comfort and luxury. Soft jersey cotton with just enough elastane typifies the label’s approach, and it’s carried across from briefs to long johns. You’ll also find a bolder range of colours and patterns than many luxury labels.
Turnbull & Asser
Yes, it’s a luxury shirtmaker first and foremost, but Turnbull & Asser have long used their expertise in fit and fabrics to create high quality underwear, too. The label, founded in 1885, is based on London’s famous Jermyn Street and has the Royal Warrant to go with it.
All of the brand’s boxer shorts are hand-made in England, usually from lightweight cotton to maximise comfort and breathability. The collection mirrors Turnbull’s shirting with a broad collection of colours, stripes and checks on offer, while mother-of-pearl buttons add a premium finish.
Luxurious understatement has long been the mission at Hanro – since 1884, in fact, when the label began life in the Swiss town of Liestal. Specialising in underwear and loungewear, the brand has one of the most comprehensive collections you’ll find, with a range of styles, fits and fabrics catering to all tastes.
From ‘invisible’ styles made from thin cotton and designed to wear under slim-fit trousers, to Sea Island cotton briefs that take comfort to another level, this is underwear created with thought and care.
French luxury brand Hemen Biarritz was launched in Biarritz in 2014 by Marie Guyot and Emmanuel Mouazan, both of whom had a vision for creating artisan-made menswear essentials inspired by the raw elegance of the Basque Country.
There’s a luxurious simplicity to the products, not least the underwear, which includes both body-fitting boxers and briefs in a variety of earthy and neutral tones. Each garment is constructed from sustainably sourced GOTS-certified organic cotton and made entirely in Portugal.
If your wardrobe sings to a preppy, retro tune, then you’ll love the vibe that Hemen Biarritz has to offer.
Zimmerli of Switzerland was was founded in 1871 by Pauline Zimmerli Bäurlin. It started life as a small, independent sock producer, but since then it has evolved to become one of the preeminent luxury underwear brands in the world.
Zimmerli is renowned for its minimalist handmade designs, which are constructed from fine fabrics such as Sea Island cotton from Barbados, stretch micromodal and classic cotton jersey.
The construction is meticulous, as you would expect from handsewn garments, while the aesthetic is understated, with white-and-black briefs and boxers making up the mainstay of the collection.
This is underwear that boasts assured comfort and doesn’t feel the need to be embellished with gaudy designs or pretentious branding. All very Swiss, you might say.
Founded in 1875 by Jacques Schiesser, this German underwear specialist has kept a relatively low-profile outside of its home country, which clearly didn’t want to share the spoils.
Schiesser looks to use organic cotton wherever possible, instantly improving the sustainability credentials versus its global contempories. It also incorporates laser technology to create completely seamless cotton underwear that it blends with spandex so it fits like a second skin and is practically invisible to see through your clothing.
While it might not pitch itself as a luxury brand, Schiesser certainly goes above and beyond most designer underwear makers, providing excellent value for money.
Los Angeles native James Perse has cultivated a beautifully minimalist aesthetic ever since he launched his eponymous brand in 1994, creating a unique pared-back collection of luxury essentials season after season.
Perse’s underwear is no different. Sticking to the clean lines and muted colour palette that defines the American designer’s aesthetic, where the underwear really excels is in its use of Japanese stretch jersey, as well as a soft-knit cotton jersey, which is perfectly cut to fit the body and provide maximum comfort.
While most of the designer fashion brands sell underwear hand over fist, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the elevated price you’re paying for them is not due to the research and development that went into creating them.
While we’d always advocate topping up your underwear drawer with the specialists on this list, there do occasionally come times when you just want to flaunt a little fashion cachet… which is where Tom Ford comes in.
Although the American fashion icon has now sold his brand (picked up by Zegna), his sartorial flamboyant remains, not least in his underwear collection. Forget about the cotton boxer briefs and head straight for the velvet trimmed silk-satin boxers, which come in a host of sophisticated colours as well as some outrageous patterns (think leopard print, camo, and acid paisley).
Shock and awe for your privates.