ATLANTA -- It's a not-so well protected secret among women: Spanx, the undergarment that helps shape and smooth your body. But recently, the company is noticing that some of their best customers aren't necessarily women. They're men.
It turns out, "Spanx for Men" are all the rage online and in stores, and retailers can't keep them on the shelves.
"We launched it at Neiman Marcus originally, and it has been wait-listed there," Spanx founder Sara Blakely said Tuesday from her office in Buckhead. "There are literally managers writing out on pads of paper men's names to call as soon as the next shipment comes in."
Blakely has spent nearly a decade helping women look their best. The undergarment is wildly popular among women looking to smooth out and streamline their figure. The company has been a great success. But now they're branching out with a line of men's undershirts.
"Why did we want to get into men's underwear?" Blakely asked 11Alive News reporter Chris Sweigart rhetorically. "You just wanted to ask me the question, but you didn't want to phrase it that way. But you can!"
Part of the answer is obvious, a men's line opens an entirely new market for Spanx. But Blakely says there was always room for improvement.
"The cotton undershirt that guys have been wearing for forever, nobody's been paying any attention to it for the past 100 years. It's the same," Blakely said with a laugh. "So, we girls at Spanx, we love to improve things. Let's go to the drawing board. How can we make a better undershirt?"
The shirt looks and feels like a T-shirt. But unlike normal T-shirts, it offers compression across the chest and stomach to smooth and flatten.
"It's holding in things," Blakely said. "It's making men look more streamlined. It's having their suits and things fit better and actually giving them a little bit of lower back support."
The product has been very popular with men. It's out of stock nearly everywhere it is sold. But nearly as many women are buying the shirts, and passing them on to their husbands and boyfriends.
"The response has been huge," Blakely said.
The Spanx for Men shirts carry a retail price of $55 to $58.