It's not everyday that headlines focus on pants.

It is perhaps even rarer that those headlines pertain to an argument between a disgruntled TV presenter and one of the nation's premier pants providers.

In early 2008 however, this was exactly the case.

A pants revolution ensued with articles such as the Independent's A brief history of pants: Why men's smalls have always been a subject of concern.
British TV personality and cocksure BBC newsreader Jeremy Paxman had become so bothered by what he deemed to be a continuing decline in pant quality that he personally emailed the chief executive of Marks and Spencer (M&S), where he had always bought his underwear.

The email was intended to be private, but following the email's leak Paxman became the 'poster-boy' for the pants revolution, with a number of British men dissatisfied with the standard of their briefs.

According to the Independent, Mr Paxman said: "This was never supposed to be public, but someone needs to speak up on behalf of British men, because we are being let down, both figuratively and metaphorically. We deserve more attention."

The problem, he said, was that the pants were becoming too baggy too quickly and that the pants were not holding together as well as they should.

He commented: "This is not just about the weak gusset issue. It is about the separation of the cotton from the elastic, a very common problem."

Despite the journalist's initial belief that he was using an inappropriate detergent that was damaging the underwear, he eventually resigned himself to the fact that his long-serving department store were no longer maintaining standards.

Mr Paxman insisted that the problems he was suffering were "purely about the manufacture" and that he had "no problem" with the design.

He was subsequently invited to lunch with the chief executive of M&S, Sir Stuart Rose, who asked the celebrity to "bring his pants" – and his arguments – to the table. It is understood Paxman received a selection of underwear to take home and trial.

The debacle offered the underwear industry –particularly that of men's – a rare glimpse of the limelight.

A number of brands supported Mr Paxman and agreed that men took more pride in their pants then perhaps many thought.

Jockey lifestyle consultant, Nick Ede, said: "It's quite a selfish thing, but men really do take a lot of pride in what they wear underneath their trousers."

Although brief, the spotlight enjoyed by the men's underwear world as a result of Mr Paxman's complaints, may go a long way to making future complaints easier to tackle.

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