Underwear Styles: A Complete Guide for Men
Looking to update your intimates drawer, but not sure where to start? Are you tired of the same pair of boxer briefs and hoping for a change in style to fit your body type? Wondering what other underwear styles there are and about their history? All Citizens is here to help.
Today, we'll go over our complete guide to underwear styles for men so that you can find the best underwear for you.
A Brief History of Briefs
Starting our guide off, let's go over the classic underwear we all grew up with: the brief.
Often called "tighty whities," briefs became a thing in the 1930s when hosiery company executive and designer Arthur Kneibler received a postcard from a friend.
On the postcard, there was an image of a man wearing a bikini-inspired swim bottom, which gave Kneibler the idea to convert swim bottoms into underwear. While experimenting with the constructions and design, he created underwear with a Y-front and called them "jockey shorts."
Designed to be snug and legless, jockey shorts were introduced to a Chicago department store and sold 30,000 pairs within a month. Since then, briefs have gone through an impressive evolution. From cotton briefs to the no-showmicrofiber of today, everything from high-rise briefs to lowkey shapewear is available in comfy and classic styles.
In the 1960s, the Y-front was removed from briefs, and the waistline was lowered by a few inches. While some briefs still maintain the Y-front, other brands have decided to spice things up and change this design feature entirely. Some underwear brands offer a vertical or horizontal fly, while others have no fly at all.
While some people take issue with having no-fly, it's all about your preference and lifestyle. Some men believe it’s easier to dress and navigate with no-fly as underwear offers more support without one. Others don’t love the idea of no-fly because it’s just something they haven’t tried.
Fit and Feel
Briefs tend to fit more snuggly on the body and typically cut off at the leg's entry point, giving you room to move without any restrictions. Fitted when compared to your average boxer, briefs hug you and leave you feeling secure, whether they’re low-rise, high-cut, or classic briefs.
If you enjoy the feeling of being snug or hugged, briefs may be the underwear for you. Far superior to going commando, briefs provide you with a comfortable hold and support you when you're on the move.
The Most Popular Style: Boxer Briefs
Boxer briefs’ origin is a unique story. In 1925, Jacob Golomb began redesigning boxing shorts. Feeling like the leather belted trunks being used weren't great for boxers, he replaced that leather with elastic waistbands. He went on to create boxers and promote them as underwear.
It didn't work immediately because his boxer briefs failed to provide the support that other underwear gave, but it won people over after WWII with its series of colors.
From there, Calvin Klein’s John Varvatos pioneered a hybrid style combining the now-classic boxers and traditional briefs. In the early 1990s, Varvatos invented the boxer brief after cutting off a pair of long johns. He then hired a young Mark Wahlberg to model this new style, and the rest is fashion history.
A combination of boxers and briefs, boxer briefs offer you both coverage and security.
Boxer briefs come in different leg lengths and colors. They can provide you with compression and are lightweight in fabric so that you don't sweat through the material. You also get the option of having a fly or not.
Fit and Feel
Modern boxer briefs are designed with your lifestyle in mind. Some brands opt to have no-fly briefs to provide you with more support, making them ideal for physical activity.
All Citizens' Boxer Brief has a Paradise Pocket built for that.
The Paradise Pocket is a ball pouch made to keep your "boys" separated from your thighs. The hammock is made of a breathable mesh fabric that keeps them ventilated. Our boxer briefs also contain grip thighs within the garment that make it a no ride-up underwear — perfect for any activity.
Boxer briefs provide you with the underwear you can feel comfortable wearing throughout the day. Our boxer briefs were created using high-performance fabric with moisture-wicking properties. They are made for men on the go who prefer not having to change underwear or adjust themselves.
A Long Story Short: The Invention of Longer Boxer Briefs
Longer boxer briefs provide you with more support and are a great choice for working out as they protect your inner thighs from chafing and prevent ride-ups.
Longer boxer briefs give you the best of both worlds. You get boxer’s coverage for your lower half, brief's protection for your goods, and an added dose of overall security. It's a 3-for-1 deal.
When the happy marriage between boxers and briefs happened, we were blessed by the undie angels with boxer briefs. While longer boxer briefs are great for everyday living, they may not be the best option when you wear shorts. Depending on how wide the leg openings are on your shorts, others may be able to see straight into your nether region.
Fit and Feel
Longer Boxer Briefs, similar to boxer briefs and trunks, provide you with both support and breathable material to wear. OurAll Citizen's Re:Luxe Paradise Pocket™ Longer Fit Boxer Brief is made of recycled polyester and spandex, providing you with a comfortable fit and a fabric that would keep you feeling fresh throughout the day.
Junk in Our Trunks
Trunks and boxer briefs are part of the same origin story. Remember the boxer shorts Jacob Golomb redesigned with an elastic waistband? Those were called "boxer trunks."
When trunks arrived on the scene, they were an immediate hit with people until the emergence of briefs in the 1930s. Since then, the two products have been in a battle for popularity.
In the 50s, trunks came into popularity again with soldiers in WWII. As the men were fans of the colorful options, trunks were scooped up by many, increasing sales for Jacob's company.
Shorter than boxer briefs, Trunks rest on your waistline and cut off along your upper thigh, leaving your legs looking longer, leaner, and muscular.
Like most underwear nowadays, trunks come in many colors and patterns, leaving you with many options.
At All Citizens, ourParadise Pocket Trunk comes in colors from Rain Forest to Lazy Pandas.
Fit and Feel
Over the years, "boxer shorts" or trunks have changed in the fitting process. Earlier trunks were designed with an elastic waistband around the waist, leaving the rest of the boxer shorts to flow loosely around the thigh. Now, you have options.
Underwear like our Paradise Pocket Trunk gives you a range of choices when deciding what's good for you. You can choose to have a paradise pocket for your "giggle berries" or go the classic route.
You can also decide if you'd like a standard fit trunk, which fits most guys, or the athletic fit, which is made for men with bigger thighs.
Thong, Tha-Thong Thong Thong
If you want to spice up your underwear drawer with something different, you may want to try wearing a thong.
The thong could be considered a piece of rebellious clothing.
Created at the1939 World's Fair, the thong came to fruition when the Mayor of New York asked nude dancers to cover up. The dancers, in turn, wore thonglingerie, obeying the law while also barely being covered.
Years later, when nude sunbathing was outlawed in 1974 by California lawmakers, Austrian-born American designer Rudolf "Rudi" Gernreich sought to create a cheeky way of protesting that law: He made the thong bikini swimsuit.
Similar to the jockstrap design, thong underwear has a thick elastic waistband and a piece of fabric that connects to the front of the underwear and travels behind you, resting between your butt cheeks. AKA, no back coverage and a whole lotta fun.
Thongs come in many designs and a variety of flirty colors. From thongcotton bikini underwear to swimsuits, the world is really your oyster.
Some novelty thongs have holes in them, elephant trunks, and funny phrasing going across the front. That’s right — g-strings aren’t just for women’s underwear anymore. If you want to avoid the dreaded visible panty lines (VPLs, for short), a thong string bikini might just be the ticket for you and your lady.
Fit and Feel
Thongs aren't the most comfortable underwear to some, but that depends on your tastes or preferences. They offer support for your goods and offer you a more free option when regular underwear isn't cutting it.
If you want to try wearing thongs, we'd suggest that you ease into wearing them as you would anything new. Wearing a thong can be an experience and it can take your body and mind some time to get used to the feeling. You may decide these minimal-coverage bad boys feel like a second skin.
Once you've tried it out and have determined how you feel wearing one, do what's best for you. Will you ditch the granny panties once and for all?
While we've gone through a bit of thehistory and style of some types of underwear, you should know that the underwear industry is progressively looking into the next best thing. For the last hundred years, underwear has evolved with the goal of improving our day-to-day lives, and that really just skims the surface.
The right pair of underwear is more than just something to wear under loungewear or during workouts — absorbent, breathable, and supportive, everything from a full coveragehipster to a mid-riseboyshort has the possibility of becoming your new go-to.
As we're able to go directly to work from the gym in the same underwear without so much as a sweat stain or smell, we can only think of what will happen next.
A Brief History of Men's Underwear | Denver Post
A brief history of briefs – and how technology is transforming underpants | The Conversation