Types of Mens underwear
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, men’s underwear was pretty much an unheard off almost taboo subject 100 years ago. Nowadays this notion almost seems comical; you can barely walk down a street without getting an eyeful of someone’s Calvin’s poking out from under their unnecessarily low trousers. Or listen to the radio without hearing about what’s hiding in someone’s CK briefs. The explosion in popularity of men’s underwear has without doubt caused a whole array of styles to be created catering for every occasion. Here’s a guide to what’s on offer, the benefits and downsides of each style and importantly who makes what these days.
Let’s start with quite possibly the most well-known of the men’s pants, the boxer short. Without stating the obvious boxer shorts were invented for boxers in the mid 1920’s, however they did not become popular with the public until almost 20 years later. They are characterised by their elastic waist and baggy leg, which stops just above the knee, which traditionally allowed boxers wearing them to have unlimited movement in the ring. Their popularity in the ring throughout the 20th century ultimately led to the boxer shorts popularity remaining consistent up until relatively recently. Boxers have spawned numerous sub types over the years mainly due to their stiff competition, the brief.
Briefs then are the boxer shorts main competition, more commonly called Y-fronts in the UK they were first sold in North America during the mid 1930’s. They proved a huge sales success on both sides of the Atlantic giving the baggier boxer short a run for their money, especially amongst men of a sporting persuasion. Briefs of course are a much tighter fitting kind of underwear, made from more elasticated material, they have no leg and are almost identical in appearance to women’s knickers, except from the extra material at the front to accommodate a male’s bulge! Sportsmen and in particular athletes enjoy the tight supportive nature of briefs, because a) certain things don’t get knocked around when running and b) briefs do not tend to ride up when running unlike boxers.
Another type of supportive underwear for men, even more so than the tight fitting brief is the jockstrap.
Specifically designed to cup the male genitals preventing them from movement during sport, a jockstrap consists of three pieces of tight elastic, one for round the waist and two go under the buttocks.
They all connect to a pouch, sometimes made of a protective material at the front for the genitals to sit in, thus leaving the buttocks exposed.
One of the biggest spin offs of the traditional boxer is the boxer brief, funnily enough a combination of the two best sellers, the boxer shorts and the brief. They offer the best of both worlds, the longer leg of the boxer, perhaps liked because it keeps a bit of modesty, and the supportive tight fitting nature of the brief, probably because of their usefulness when doing physical activity. Unquestionably boxer briefs are the most visually appealing type of male underwear, the way they hug the figure but don’t reveal too much is a much more stylish look than overly big boxers or the all too revealing briefs. A quick look in any designer shops front window demonstrates this, with the majority of manikins clad in a pair of boxer briefs rather than anything else.
However if you are of the revealing persuasion there are types of male underwear out there for you and believe it or not they originate from one of the oldest forms of clothing in the word, the loincloth. First worn by man’s ancestors when we descended from the tree tops and started walking upright, the loincloth looks almost identical to its modern counterpart, the thong. Available in numerous materials, ranging from traditional fabrics, leather and kinky rubber the thong is a ‘barely there’ piece of underwear. It comprises of three thin bits of material linked to a slightly larger piece at the front to support the package. Needless to say they are not particularly supportive and usually only worn to impress or as fancy dress! But if you want to take it a step further there is one other alternative, popularised by Sacha Baron Cohen in the film Borat, the mankini offers very little in the way of protection and leaves not much up to the imagination. It is simply a couple of straps that go under the groin and over the shoulders like braces.
If you are in the market for men’s underwear there really is a world of choice out there. Popular brands such as Calvin Klien, Hugo Boss, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Andrew Christian and Hom all do a line in men’s underwear. One thing’s for sure, designer men’s underwear is here to stay, who would have thought that 100 years ago?