Kirk Mason developed his line of Scout briefs for "fat and hairy men—the guys who are physically ordinary, and perfectly sexy." (The best kind.) The industry standard is to model underwear patterns to a lean figure and then scale to encompass a range of sizes, but this method doesn't accommodate full-size bodies—which, with added weight, change shape in their own distinct and marvelous ways. Consider a tummy, for instance—one that's plump and rounded, and maybe even shakes around occasionally, like a bowl full of jelly. Its relationship with a waistband has always been unhappy: Standard underpants are cut straight across the waist, forcing the wearer to sling his briefs below the swell of his hanging belly. This wrecks the fit, and the results are specific and unsavory: saggy crotch and plumber's crack. To mitigate these problems, Mason's specially curved waistline dips low in the front and swoops up in the back.
Mason's background is in industrial design, and it took him a year to develop the patterns, using trillions of prototypes and stumbling into fascinating realizations all the while. Believing it "silly and primitive," he wanted to remove the front fly opening because no one ever uses the access it provides—not even for variety. But the main purpose of the fly is wildly functional, it turns out: It's actually more of a fitting tool, built to adapt to a range of men and all their differences—what with the meat wadded in a delightfully vast range of sizes and forms, and barreling out at unexpected angles.
The name Scout suggests a theme—Boy Scouts, preparedness—and Mason outfitted his underpants with coin pockets. (They rest at the side, just below the waistband.) With this small gesture, the private garment suddenly becomes something more—self-contained and easily stocked with the important supplies one needs to move through the world. The pockets are sized "for a small flip phone and cash," he says, "but you can carry anything you want. Drugs and condoms. Glitter, even." Other design details include an inventive placement of the care and fabric-content information—it's stamped on the inside crotch, presenting a nice option for those who are bored and partially disrobed. Strips of reflective tape trace the outside seams and embed the waistband in a glitzy flash, and the briefs come in heather gray or vivid orange—a color that calls upon safety vests and road signs, and more distantly the crew of men laboring sexily among them. Scout underwear is machine washable, retails for about $40, and comes sealed in Mylar bags, just like ready-to-eat meals. The line also includes a collection of matching tank tops. If you'd like Kirk Mason to make you something, e-mail him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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