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Lifestyle: Zimmerli, the world’s finest underwear

by Michael Weare
13 March, 2013
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Zimmerli of Switzerland

The most elite car you can buy is arguably a Rolls Royce, the most exclusive watch, perhaps a Patek Philippe, but where there is no argument is concerning Zimmerli Swiss Cotton underwear.

Zimmerli is quite simply the best underwear you have never heard of. While you may be content to step into your polyester/cotton Tesco Homer Simpson Y-Fronts every morning, for those in the know – and that includes Oscar winning producer George Clooney, Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and a raft of other stars – they’re all mad keen to get into Zimmerli’s pants.

And unlike many top Swiss watch brands, Zimmerli have never paid so much as a single Swiss Franc to any celebrity to endorse their products. Hollywood stars pay full premium price for the privilege just like everybody else.

Zimmerli is a line of ultra soft and luxurious cotton tee shirts and briefs from Switzerland, using only premium cottons to create heavenly undershirts and princely underpants.

From adversity to Zimmerli

Zimmerli underwear

While several Swiss watch firms were already well underway, Zimmerli was founded in 1871 by Pauline Zimmerli Baurlin in Aarburg, Switzerland.  When her husband’s business went bankrupt and things were looking bleak, vocational school teacher Mrs Zimmerli embarked upon her own entrepreneurial venture. She purchased a state-of-the-art knitting machine capable of creating a plain stitch, which had been invented only a few years earlier in the United States. With this machine, she was able to produce twelve to eighteen pairs of finely-woven stockings each day – many times what an experienced knitter could produce by hand. Mrs. Zimmerli was self-taught in the manufacturing of hosiery and men’s socks.  She also taught needlework, and gave the highest marks to her employees for meticulous finishing and fine sewing.

Perhaps it’s the inherent ‘Swissness’ of Zimmerli that encourages celebrities and clothing connoisseurs alike to get up close and personal with their range of tee shirts, vests and undershorts. And if you notice any brand values or brand strategies similar to those of high-end Swiss watches, it’s no coincidence. Zimmerli CEO Marcel Hossli spent several years as an executive in the Swiss watchmaking industry.

Today, Zimmerli exports more than three-quarters of its production to customers in 55 countries. The luxury linens are sold only at the best addresses, for example at KaDeWe in Berlin, Printemps in Paris, Harrods in London, and Barney’s in New York.

Zimmerli Sea Island Cotton

Zimmerli Sea Island Cotton V Neck

Zimmerli’s top of the range is Certified Sea Island cotton, the rarest and most expensive cotton in the world. Characterised by the softest Extra Long Staple yarns with a touch more body than any other E.L.S. cotton, Sea Island is grown only in the optimal conditions of the West Indian Carribean islands. This best-of-the-best constitutes only 0.0004% of the world’s cotton! It’s as rarefied as the people who get to wear the shirts.

Sea Island combines the natural silky sheen and softness of cashmere with the durability of fine merino wool. Its incomparable fineness makes the person wearing it feel on top of the world. It may look like your average M&S V-Neck tee, but here you are looking at $185 worth of luxury undershirt. The same goes for the singlet, at just one dollar less.

Zimmerli Richelieu Rib 100% Lisle Cotton

Zimmerli Richelieu Ribbed Singlet

Hugh Jackman as Wolfman wearing a Zimmerli Richelieu tank top

This is the tank top favoured by Hugh Jackman in the Wolverine posters. A wolf in cotton clothing so to speak. Richelieu is the standard ribbed version of Zimmerli’s pure cottons.

Richelieu is woven of a fine long twisted yarn. Due to the specially constructed Zimmerli knitting machines, the fabric is highly stretchable and will return to its original shape after washing. On the shirts, the shoulders are made seamless for comfort. The characteristics of the rib construction make the Richelieu extremely soft to the touch. Mind you, you could lose your shirt buying half a dozen of them, as they are $102.00 a piece.

Zimmerli Pureness Closed Fly Elastic Waistband Pant

Zimmerli Pureness closed fly elastic waitband pant

Simon Crompton is a journalist who knows a lot about clothes. He writes a well researched blog called Permanent Style. Some time ago he made it his mission to discover the best underwear in the world. He compared several brands, including Sunspel and Hanro, but he ultimately concluded that Zimmerli was the anointed one.

So impressed was Mr. Crompton with Zimmerli’s underpants that he not only completely re-stocked his top drawer with them, he also visited the factory. He found the production facility to be a small, two-storey building in Coldrerio, a Swiss town just across the border from Como, a favoured haunt of George Clooney. Just inside the front door the first thing that greets you is a dog-eared poster of David Beckham, wearing a Zimmerli vest.

David Beckham in Emporio Armani underwear

You see, while Emporio Armani, whose underpants Beckham famously modelled, may be a little more cutting edge in fashionable design, the Zimmerli closed fly pant is made from sustainable, all-natural beech tree cellulose (called micro modal) with 5% Lycra to enhance its elasticity. The Pureness pant breathes easily and absorbs moisture 50% better than cotton. It’s also silky smooth and comfortable because Zimmerli uses the finest micro modal yarn in the world – ten thousand metres of it weigh just one gram. That is much finer than cotton, wool or even silk, it’s as if it were spun by Rumpelstiltskin himself.

You’ll need to dig deep though, because each of these briefs wafted in from underpant paradise is $84.00.

Zimmerli Swiss Silk Boxers

Zimmerli Swiss Silk Boxers

If the swish of silk under your trousers does it for you, then gaze upon this rich silky palette of  Swiss boxers. The 100% Swiss Silk Satin, a fine selection of gorgeous patterns and solid colours with Mother of Pearl buttons and soft waist elastic. Made in the Zimmerli Swiss studio, these feature a hidden button on the fly, classic 2-button waist closure. The drawers are yours for $99.00 a pair.

So now, even if you can’t afford such luxurious threads, at least you know what’s going on behind the scenes with many of the world’s most high profile actors.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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