Could New Pants Bring the Sexy Back?

"The funny thing about men is, we try to pretend we don't care about how we look, but we do. We just don't want to be vain about it."

So says Andy Dunn, the young CEO of, a web-only retailer which sells men's clothes. But not your average men's clothes. Bonobos specifically sells pants which, well, enhance a man's backside.


Apparently America's men are in need of a makeover.

A "Well Dressed Men's Survey" by Men's Wearhouse found that 91 percent of Americans think dressing well can make a man appear more physically attractive than he really is.

Duh. Women have known this for centuries.

But get this. In the survey, one in ten women would be willing to give up sex FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR "for your significant other to be dressed better."

Which sorta defeats the purpose of your significant other looking better.

Bonobos pants have reportedly become a hit with young Wall Street types. Dunn was in Stanford Business School in 2007 when his roommate, Brian Spaly, who had no apparel experience, started designing his own pants because he couldn't find any that fit well. "Men's jeans were fitting great," says Dunn. "It hadn't been applied to basic khakis." (Spaly has gone one to create another men's clothing company called The Trunk Club.)

The two noticed that men were willing to spend $100 for nice fitting jeans, so they decided to bring that idea to pants. Dunn complains that American pants have "too much material" in the area between the waistband and the crotch, creating what he calls "Khaki Diaper Butt." European pants, however, have too little, revealing a tad much. At Bonobos they tried to create a happy medium. "American men have a more athletic build...more meat on our thighs and seat." Bonobos pants have a contoured waistband with darts over the back pockets to accommodate a man's curves (yes, men have curves). They're also tailored to in the thigh.

Dunn came to New York with 50 pairs of pants he'd had made in San Francisco in the summer of 2007 to launch Bonobos. He called a friend to collect a group of guys. "We're going to have a pants party!" Fourteen guys showed up. Thirteen bought pairs on the spot (he says the last one eventually became a web customer).

Bonobos is not yet profitable or even cash flow positive, "though we have had some profitable months." Dunn expects to turn the corner first quarter of next year. The company just received $18.5 million in funding from Lightspeed and also Accel, which has backed Facebook and Groupon. Dunn plans to use some of the new funding to start a line of slim fit pants in the next few weeks.

Dunn's goal is to be the men's fashion equivalent of Apple, a great brand matched with a great experience.

But...bottom line...does the man who wears the pants get results? Dunn says when he first started wearing Bonobos khakis in New York, "I would be in bars...and girls would express their, um, appreciation for the way I look in pants, and I'd never experienced that before."

And why the name Bonobos? It's based on a species of primates which Dunn says "has no war--they don't kill each other." How do they accomplish that? "They have a lot of sex."

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