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Curious about some of the styles available in men’s underwear? I congratulate you on having an interest in learning more. It’s an exciting time in the underwear market with different styles and colors available.
Please continue reading for a review of what I found that could be helpful as you search for styles you want to try.
Styles of Men’s Underwear
The styles of men underwear that will be discussed in this blog post are
- Boxer shorts
- Boxer briefs
The styles go from the generally acceptable to the more daring (that is, the gluteus maximus (or glutes) are left exposed–jockstraps, thongs, and g strings).
Research and Inspiration
I found information for this post in a journal article, Datta, Dibyendu Bikash (2018), A Review of Men’s Underwear Styles and Its Various Fabrics, Trends in Textile and Fashion Design, 2 (2)-2018, June 18.
In addition, while doing research for this post, I found an inspiring New York Times article by Journalist Max Berlinger, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/fashion/mens-style/new-mens-underwear-briefly.html, in which he reviewed some of the selections of the many brands on offer.
Finally, in the blog text, I have linked to examples of the types of underwear discussed and have some photos, too.
Boxer shorts started in 1925 and were known as “shorts for boxers”. The length of the shorts extended to mid-thigh. The benefit of the boxer short was its baggy style, which allowed for ample airflow. The disadvantage was this baggy form because the fabric bunched up under the top clothing.
Boxer shorts are still available though the design has moved more toward a closer-to-the-body fit in the current style (for example, the Nice Laundry slim-fit boxer, https://www.nicelaundry.com/products/slim-fit-boxer-heather-grey). The slim fit allows the wearer to wear slim-fit or skinny pants or jeans.
In addition, Mack Weldon sells boxer shorts, https://mackweldon.com/collections/boxers, but with a tailored fit, not as full as the traditional boxer yet not as snug as a slim-fit boxer.
This style suits everyday-wear purposes (relaxing evenings and weekends).
An interesting trend is the use of gym shorts as underwear, which appears to be a revised form of the boxer short (a close-to-the-body fit), for example, the Nice Laundry lounge shorts, https://www.nicelaundry.com/pages/lounge-shorts, and the Box Menswear sports short, https://www.boxmenswear.com/collections/shorts.
Where the boxer shorts had a fuller fit, briefs were designed for a close-to-the-body fit and support. Also, briefs showed more of the thighs than boxer shorts.
Briefs were introduced in the 1930s. Briefs provide comfort through air circulation and overall snug support.
In the 1990s, fashion moved toward low-rise pants and jeans. So the low-rise brief was developed to go with these garments. The waistband for the low-rise briefs sits at the hip level.
The fashion of briefs appear to have space in the front for comfort (for example, the Box Menswear briefs) or to emphasize what the wearer possesses (for example (on Josh, right photo).
Garcon, a Canadian underwear brand, has a range in briefs from basic white and black, designs, and bright colors. The fabric composition of the briefs is 82 percent Nylon and 18 percent Elastane. For example, model Bastin Costello wears Garcon’s Brickell brief.
This style suits everyday purposes as well as more-active pursuits.
The boxer brief was a relatively more-recent development, starting in the 1990s by fashion designer John Varvatos. The boxer brief is in the mid-point between the traditional baggy boxer shorts and the snug fit of briefs.
Just like briefs, some options seek to provide comfort (for example, Box Menswear boxers) or seek to demonstrate “certain attributes” of the wearer (for example, the Box Menswear transparent-panel king fit boxers).
Box Menswear also offers a mesh panel king fit boxer brief, with a single layer of fabric over the thighs (quadriceps).
Garcon Model has boxer briefs with bright accent colors. For example, Garcon Model’s Dodge Boxer, offsets a dark grey with a bright orange. The fabric combination is 82 percent Nylon and 18 percent Elastane.
This style provides support for everyday activity, including exercise. The style also fits under slim-fit pants and jeans.
Trunks were a style originally associated with swimming and boxing (worn under boxer’s shorts) since the 1940s. Since the 1990s, the trunk is used in sport and in everyday wear. The shape of the trunk appears to be close to the slim-fit boxer.
Typically, the trunk is shorter in length than the boxer brief and shows more of the thigh (but not as much as a brief) (for example, the Box Menswear trunk, https://www.boxmenswear.com/collections/trunks/products/mens-light-grey-black-trunks.)
The trunk can be used for everyday wear and active pursuits. See the selection of trunks at Mack Weldon, https://mackweldon.com/collections/trunks, for an example of the range of colors and styles that are available.
Check out also the trunks available at Walking Jack, an underwear brand based in Greece. Walking Jack released the Bluebird Collection in which the trunks and briefs are all in a rich hue of blue (95 percent cotton and 5 percent Elastane). Read the blog post for more details.
The jockstrap was designed for cyclists, starting in 1888, to prevent saddle sores. The jockstrap leaves the glutes exposed but provides support for the body parts in the front. At first, the front of the jockstrap was hard but then the front became soft and flexible.
The jockstrap is perfect for active pursuits, if the wearer is comfortable with having the glutes exposed, and for more-intimate activities. For example, see the range available at Jack Adams, Garcon, and Box Menswear.
Thongs & G Strings
Like the jockstrap, the glutes are more exposed with a thong. The exception is that the backside of the briefs are removed (G-Strings even less), leaving a thinner portion of fabric in the back-center of the garment. In August 2020, Box Menswear entered the men’s lingerie category with a new g-string.
(I briefly discussed these items as people who favor them are a select market. A targeted Internet search will lead the interested reader to examples.)
Also like the jockstrap, the thong is for active pursuits and more-intimate activity (see examples at Jack Adams, https://www.jackadamsusa.com/bikini-thong/.
The purpose of the blog post is to give the reader an idea of the range of options available to men researching what type of underwear to wear. Most can be worn everyday. A new possibility is wearing mesh shorts as underwear.
What styles or brands are your favorites? If you favor one style, what style are you willing to try out and why?
Let me know in the comments below.