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Review – M&S Heatgen Polo-neck Bodysuit: Lingerie For Men

M&S Heatgen Polo-neck Sleeved Black Body

The M&S heatgen polo neck body

The M&S heatgen polo neck body

Bodysuits are light, snug (being variably elastic) and can be under or outerwear

Bodysuits represent women’s lingerie. Here we review a bodysuit that is receiving male interest indicative of a growing interest among men of practical women’s lingerie for outdoor or indoor attire taking fashion and climate into account. Most men don’t even know about bodysuits and many women don’t bother with them – this treatment excludes basques and leotards or items with built in bras that would not be quite so appropriate for men.

Bodysuits or bodies can be worn as undergarments and as tops visible from outside. The main bodysuit reviewed here can work as both, including a figure-hugging polo-neck top. Most bodysuits are probably better treated as undergarments with scooped or very open necklines. The polo-neck doesn’t expose the neckline and is less feminine in this respect. Like good bodysuits, the material is skin soft yet elastic.

The Heatgen polo-neck long sleeved black body has taken off in popularity among men who experiment with women’s clothing, mostly for practical reasons. Of 109 customer reviews on the M&S website where the item is featured, where sex can be identified 14 (up until Jan 2020) are by men, though one of them got it for a woman in his life. Given these 13, it can be categorically stated that 12% of customers were male with the item purchased for personal use. What do these men have to say (quoted verbatim)?1

“I wanted a long sleeved bodysuit for colder weather use; however I could not find any men’s garments suitable. My girlfriend suggested the M&S heatgen body, I was sceptical but when I read the reviews by other male purchasers I thought I’d give it a try. I’m 5’8” Tall 10 ½ St and ordered a size 14, it fits perfectly in the body, arm length, leg and neck openings. I was concerned that being a woman’s style body that everything below the waist would not fit in. However it does and there are two rows of gusset fasteners to allow some adjustment. I use it as a base layer under my cycle clothing, along with 80 denier microfiber hold ups and have to say it works very well. Nice and warm without being too hot when exercising. I would recommend it if you can deal with the fact that this is a woman’s item of clothing.”

This is an interesting scenario where a girlfriend recommends comfortable ladies underwear for her boyfriend. Clearly she wishes to share the good things in life. This man already appreciates the virtues of microfibre holdups and can deal with the fact of wearing clothing marketed at women.

M&S Cool Comfort Body

At 60g, this garment is lighter than a pair of men’s underpants.  The review above was posted by a male customer in the review section too.

At 60g, this garment is lighter than a pair of men’s underpants. The review above was posted by a male customer in the review section too.

The Benjamin Franklin Air Bath and the secret of layering

“Its [sic] the cool of winter and you want to exercise outdoors without getting too hot. You also want to have an everyday polo neck look or an undergarment for work that's snug but cool. Well, I mainly use this to help me lose weight while taking long outdoor walks in winter. I wear a sleeveless top over it and it really helps the body to breathe in the cool air while keeping you at the right temperature. Looks stylish and uncreased. Soft, light, comfortable and velvety black for night excursions in particular.”

Yes the Benjamin Franklin airbath. Ben Franklin envisaged reposing naked in a room with an open window to experience the cool breeze on the skin. Suitable thermal clothing can allow your skin to experience the wind and coolness without the body growing cold as they help to strike a balance between heat produced by internal athleticism and a not unpleasant exposure to the chill. It’s an art to find the right clothing to keep one comfortably warm, but not hot or stuffy and the bodysuit may be furnishing this requirement. Most women understand the art of layering, packing in multiple layers of thin clothing so as to stay warm without looking bulky. This often explains how scantily clad women can bear the cold. Some of these men are picking up expertise on layering.

“These were recommended to me by a male colleague, after I was told off over my cheeks being revealed while bending over a few months ago, when I'm bending, I simply can't keep a shirt and normal vest tucked into my trousers. My girlfriend also likes to make me wear it at home with just a pair of her tights. Several other male members of staff now wear these to work too. Wish they had it in more colours and in male sizes with slightly longer sleeves.”

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The above gent probably has a manual sort of job that involves much bending and was clearly a victim of builder’s bum syndrome where the small of the back below the waist and above the bum including the tops of the bum may show under the margins of a short top. His girlfriend and male colleagues seem to have put him on the right track. Probably not a suit and tie kind of job.

“bought three of these, they are super warm and dont ride up like thermal vests do because of the poppers. size 12 was a good fit, I am 5' 7", its not tight but snug enough for me to forget I am wearing it. Seems lots of guys are wearing these:-)”

One of the features of bodysuits is that they cover the whole body with no exposure to cold patches. The homogenous envelope of warmth ensures that the garment can remain more or less unobtrusive, given it’s also snug and very light. Good quality underwear disappears yet provides comfort. Like many of the male reviewers he highlights other reviews for this by men.

“Bought this to use as a warm base layer that wouldn't ride up or come untucked, and I'm not disappointed. The material is thin but warm and easy to layer over. The full bottom is very comfortable, and the two snapper positions allow you to alter the fit slightly. Once on, it is very unobtrusive and easy to forget you're wearing it. These are hard-to-find items in a comfortable fit. Quick to dry - will definitely consider ordering more.”

The above review highlights the reason he bought it – for comfort against the cold. Most of these men bought them for their thermal properties and comfort in contexts such as motorbiking.

A more expensive undergarment

This is a luxury bodysuit, probably more suited as a warm undergarment than the more general body reviewed.  Pictured here is the @Hosieryformen blogger reviewing this package.

This is a luxury bodysuit, probably more suited as a warm undergarment than the more general body reviewed. Pictured here is the @Hosieryformen blogger reviewing this package.

Hosiery for men also do bodysuits

Hosiery for men catering for male lingerie explorations review a Falke bodysuit at the upper end of the price range (about $100)2:

“Once on, you are immediately aware of how comfortable the bodysuit feels on the skin. With a gorgeous silky texture, it feels like luxury hosiery for the upper body. This bodysuit really hugs you all over and moulds itself to the torso. The high (14%) Elastane content ensures that there is no bagging or sagging anywhere. I particularly liked the full back in the rear, as opposed to a string back that many bodies have. This was really comfortable.”

The impression is given that these are magical garments and they certainly are for both women and now for men. The journey of a cross-gender approach to fashion is only now beginning. As Tracy Kruger of Legwear Safari explains3:

“Our male customers are very important to us; they offer a completely different view point to our female customers and shop in a completely different way to women. Which in turn makes us think differently and completely changes our way of working, planning and sourcing – making it that much more progressive.”

The Falke bodysuit would be beyond the budget of most but the Heatgen polo-neck can be worn as an outer garment like a Steve Jobs polo-neck but a slightly more figure hugging version. It can represent smart attire for work, especially if you have muscles, worn under jeans. However, you may not find the size you are after – these only go up to women’s size 18 and it may not entirely cover your wrist. This bodysuit is worth exploring for work and exercise as recommended by many women and some men.


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