Ultimate Guide: Mens Underwear (2021) Styles and Types

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Introduction: What Style or Type of Men’s Underwear Should I Wear?

Curious about some of the styles available in men’s underwear? You should find some information in this post. 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–

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.

While doing research for this post, I found a New York Times article by Journalist Max Berlinger, in which he reviewed some underwear brands.

After the publication of this post, I wrote a post on the history of Calvin Klein advertising in Times Square, New York City.

Hector Lopez, firefighter and model. Photographer: Mazi Shams/Shot By Shams.
Mojib (1.67 m, 5’6″) and Mario Adrion (model and YouTuber, 1.89 m, 6’2″) in Tulum, Mexico (2021)
Andrew Morrill by Lapidus Photography
Kyle Hynick by Jade Young (at Times Square (pre-pandemic))

Best Fabrics for Men’s Underwear

The Underwear Expert has a post on the fibers and fabrics used for men’s underwear.

Brands

There are many brands of men’s underwear, among the most popular is from PVH Corp. ,which owns some of the most-popular brands like Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Then there are niche e-commerce brands, like

Loren Cruz by Adrian C. Martin for Teamm8

Read more about Andrew.

Andrew at the gym. Briefs, Schiesser.
Nick Sandell by Carlos “Trey” Salazar
Model: Shane Crommer, UK-based fitness model and personal trainer.
Boxer briefs, Calvin Klein.
Model: Brad Jaxon. Boxer briefs, Jed North.
Chase by Carlos “Trey” Salazar
Ethan O’Pry by Attila Kiss for Marcuse

Powder blue boxer briefs by Box Menswear.

Apixt Underwear

Apixt Underwear has started its brand with basic black underwear. Read the blog post for more information.

Code 22

Code 22 is an underwear brand based in Spain. The company released briefs and trunks in military-inspired colors. The model is Aritz Aren; the photographer is Joan Crisol.

(Read more about the release at the Men and Underwear blog.)

Pair of Thieves

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you use these links to visit a merchant I may earn a commission–at no additional cost to you.

I have seen the Pair of Thieves brand on underwear (briefs, boxer briefs, and trunks) while on shopping trips to Target. The brand offers underwear styles in solid colors as well as patterns.

The brand, founded in 2012, also sells socks and lounge shorts.

We are Pair of Thieves and We’re Here to Make Basics a Lot Less Basic. Shop Today!

Blue Blackout SuperFit Boxer Briefs

Our SuperFit fabric is the best present you can buy your junk. Made of a very special, … [More]

Price: $20.00
Mr. Pool Mega Soft Briefs

Our Mega Soft fabric is the ultimate in comfy smooth softness, and we are bringing tha… [More]

Price: $20.00

Pair of Thieves | Stop By And See What’s On Sale. Shop Now

Boxer Shorts

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 Bang and Strike Hard Times boxer. The slim fit allows the wearer to wear slim-fit or skinny pants or jeans.

Model Matt Carls by Carlos “Trey” Salazar
Trent Ulloa by Carlos “Trey” Salazar. Boxers, Bang and Strike.

Briefs

Where the boxer shorts had a full fit, briefs were designed for a close-to-the-body fit and support. Also, briefs showed more of the thighs than boxer shorts.

(Based on my casual observation of Instagram models and photographers, the brief is popular.)

Sam Worth and Ross Hindmarch by Photographer Rokas Darulis

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.

This style suits everyday purposes as well as more-active pursuits.

Carlos Effort (Spain) by Carlos “Trey” Salazar
Read more about Aggelos Pirikkis.
Ethan O’pry

Boxer Briefs

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.

Models Dan Soar and Josh Riquelme pose for a photograph in a laundry room.

This style provides support for everyday activity, including exercise. The style also fits under slim-fit pants and jeans.


Trunks

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. 

Anthony Lorca, actor, in Adam Smith trunks. Photo by Adrian Nucelaar.

Typically, the trunk is shorter in length than the boxer brief and shows more of the thigh (but not as much as a brief).

The trunk can be used for everyday wear and active pursuits.

Walking Jack Trunks

Check out 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 a blog post (with Roger Zacha (left-column photos)) and another (with Aggelos Pirikkis (two photos on the right)) for more details.

Jockstraps

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.

Josh Watson, left, is 1.93 meters tall. Josh stands in front of Anthony Stefanelli, who is 1.60 meters tall. Anthony has to look up at Josh.
Josh Watson and Anthony Stefanelli compare heights

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

Mojib and Josh Watson
Model: Zach A. Mason. Photographer: Carlos “Trey” Salazar.
Jockstraps, Calvin Klein.

Teamm8 Naked Underwear Range

The Men and Underwear blog has an article about the “Naked Underwear” release from Teamm8, an Australia-based brand. Among the selections in the release are jockstraps.

  • Model: Loren Cruz (Canary Islands, Spain)
  • Photographer: Adrian C. Martin
See the article on the Men and Underwear blog.


Wrestling Singlet

There is a niche yet devoted segment of guys that like to wear a wrestling singlet or bodysuit (aka jumpsuit). Read more about the singlet in a separate blog article.

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).

Conclusion

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.

3 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide: Mens Underwear (2021) Styles and Types

  1. I like to wear mens thong underwear and I wear it on a regular basis. I love the fact that it consists of high cuts that allow me to move my legs easily in all possible directions without any discomfort. It is really comfortable for me to wear tight outfits.

    Like

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