by Karen Alberg Grossman

It’s a reverse rags-to-riches story, perhaps, but classic nonetheless: Stephen Powell took a break from his career in medicine to produce and market men’s underwear.  As he puts it, “We specialize in high-end men’s undergarments driven by authenticity and camaraderie. It’s a concept that at times seems lost on today’s generation of young men. Much of the inspiration for the brand is derived from mid-century style and spirit.”

While the business started out direct-to-consumer with nice reorders and virtually no returns, Powell is now convinced that upscale menswear stores would do well with this unique concept, so is launching a wholesale division. Classic Fella’s luxury undergarments are crafted in Italy in workshops that also produce designer brands selling at twice the price. Crafted of the finest cotton, retail prices on briefs, boxers, and boxer briefs are $38-$48. Tees average $65, with the A-shirt selling particularly well this season.

Powell admits that working in this industry has been a stark contrast to his day job as a physician, and he enthusiastically explains his vision. “I grew up surrounded by traditional menswear in my home state of Mississippi. I saw an opportunity in the American market for a more traditional undergarment–free of the gimmicks, silly prints, crazy pouches, and ‘performance’ features common in the market these days. We sell an aspiration to a life well-lived, objectified simply through classic underwear, which sets a positive and sophisticated tone for each day.” And in a way, isn’t setting a positive tone for each day its own kind of medicine?

Photos taken at the historic Hotel Chelsea in NYC. For more information, see