What you wear and how you wear it can affect your mood, your comfort and how you are perceived by others. Clothes can throw your mojo off, or brighten your outlook. This includes your shoes, your shirts, your pants…and your underwear.
We’re talking today about your Skivvies, Undies, Drawers, Nut Huts, Jewel Cases, Junk Holders, Smuggling Duds, Tackle Bags, Snake Slingers, Tighty Whiteys or Butt Huggers—yes, your daily pair can go by many names, but all serve a universal purpose as “underwear.” Creativity can be shown by your selection of one of three primary types: boxers, briefs or boxer-briefs. Other options should be used sparingly, if ever (see bottom end of article for guidelines).
It seems that picking an undie-style should an easy choice, doesn’t it? Most guys I know stick to one style over the other—they’re a boxers, briefs, or boxer-briefs guy. They typically swear by their choice based on a rationale of: practicality first, and as fashion statement second. Me, I’m a boxer-briefs guy—1). Great support without being too tight and a seamless fit under tight fitting pants; and 2). No one judges you negatively for wearing a pair of black Calvins.
Men have not always made fashion statements by their choice in underwear. Women and their lingerie certainly have guys beat in this competition. So, while Hanes has been around since 1901, Jockey since 1876 and Fruit of the Loom dates back to 1871, I might suggest that men’s underwear as a fashion statement really only dates back to 1992…when fashion designer Calvin Klein and photographer Herb Ritts shot Mark Wahlberg wearing a pair of boxer briefs and put him up on billboards in Times Square.
Yes Tom Cruise danced around in his tighty whiteys in Risky Business, and Paul Newman was dubbed the “sexiest man ever” after showing up in only his boxers in "The Long Hot Summer" but I blame a young Marky Mark for convincing men that they ought to pay attention to their undies. Ever since low-riding jeans (i.e. sagging) became popular and pants started hanging below the waist, and revealing much of the underwear, men have paid more attention to what they were wearing under-there. Call the trend the “outing” of men’s underwear. Wahlberg was one of many hip-hop stars who popularized the trend in the early 1990s—mimicking the habit of prisoners who sagged due to the prohibition of belts in prison. Then along came Calvin Klein and Herb Ritts, and the rest is underwear history.
Suddenly, the popularity of wearing brightly colored and patterned boxer underwear surged, as did the interest in boxer briefs. And, the practicality of going “commando” (not wearing underwear) declined sharply with the sagging fashion (crack is whack you know).
There of course are underwear fanatics, like my friend Joe who couldn’t travel to a country without purchasing a pair of the local brand to add to his collection. Or another friend who likes to “collect” pairs of skivvies from paramours who leave too quickly to search for the lost pair before they scurry out the door.
But most guys rely on the rule of practicality, fashion second rule. For me, I just fell into a routine and bought and wore what felt right, but many others go from agonizing over the fashion choice, while others never consider it.
Here’s my rationale for the advantages of boxers, briefs, and boxer-briefs. I hope this gives a little food for “thôt” when getting dressed tomorrow morning.
Perhaps the most masculine, and “All-American” of all underwear. Showing off a pair of classic boxers says that you’re a man’s man and aren’t swayed by the “sensitive” male trends of the day. Boxers are, of course, the loosest of pair of the three options—allowing little binding or crowding. They can, however, bunch and gather in the wrong places underneath a tight (or some might say good-fitting) pair of pants.
Tighty-whiteys are favored by those who don’t like the way boxers fit under their clothes. They are also liked by those who need extra support to, ahem, house their privates. They are not perceived to be very fashion-forward. They also have a tendency to ride lower than boxers and boxer-briefs, creating a risk of “crack display” when bending over.
The hybrid of men’s underwear are fancied by men who pay a greater attention to fashion than the norm. And, from a practical perspective, boxer-briefs fit well under pants, sit higher than briefs, and crowd less.
Given the right situations (and pant fit choice), going “commando” is still a thing with many guys, and can create a sexy vibe that emanates out. There are many guys who swear by freeballing. Long-johns may be used in case of severe weather conditions. As for bikini briefs, thongs and jock straps…no. Just, no.
I hope this gives you a little food for thôt about underwear choice, and you’ll let your practical and fashion sense be your guide to your next daily pair.
Image of man in water courtesy of Shutterstock