Your underwear forms the foundation of your outfit.
Most men don't think about their underwear choice.
That's a big mistake.
With the right information, purchasing men’s underwear is one of the easiest steps to feeling comfortable in your clothes.
Underwear fulfills a number of different functions.
- It keeps your clothes clean by absorbing sweat and body fluids.
- It helps to support the genitals.
- It reduces friction between your manly parts and your trousers.
- It helps regulate temperature, not only keeping the body warm but helping to cool it off when the right fabrics are used!
The Different Styles Of Underwear
Underwear style for the most part is a matter of personal preference.
Men’s underwear can be classified in two categories – underpants, which are worn below the waist and undershirts, worn above the waist.
In this article, we are only focused on the bottom layer on the lower half of your body – underpants.
The most popular choices for underpants are briefs, boxers and boxer briefs (or trunks).
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The Five Styles Of Men's Underwear
Briefs, often called whitey tighties, are the most popular style on the planet.
Now briefs don’t have to be white (in fact – the most popular colors are dark solids), but they should fit snug to offer support.
Briefs are defined by an elastic waistband, a Y-shaped front and about five inches of fabric covering everything from the upper thighs to the waist.
Briefs are suited for physical exercise because they offer good support for the genitals. They stay in place and do not require much adjusting.
They are the underpants of choice under formal dress, as they are not visible through fabric and are less likely to ride up.
Briefs look best on thin men or those with smaller frames. Wear them with fitted clothes – like slim jeans, well fitted slacks, or athletic clothing.
Boxers – Inspired By Athletic Prizefighters
Boxer shorts are loose shorts that extend down the legs to varying degrees.
The style was inspired by the loose, athletic shorts worn by prizefighters.
Boxers generally do not have elasticized leg openings and therefore do not hug the skin. They are the loosest of all underwear styles, offering breathability and comfort but little support.
For those who do not like revealing underwear, boxers are the ideal choice. They are not suited for wearing under formal or tight clothing.
Boxers tend to bunch up, making them unsuitable for sports or physical exercise.
The wide choice of colors and prints available in boxer shorts is part of their appeal. They are sold in a variety of colors, patterns and fabrics.
Boxers look best on larger men who wear fuller-cut and loose clothing.
Boxer-briefs, or trunks, are a hybrid between a brief and a boxer.
They are skin-hugging and fit like briefs but extend further down the leg like boxers.
The extra fabric covers more skin… making them a lot less embarrassing for men who are shy to be seen in the changing room.
The support provided by boxer briefs makes them fit for wear during physical activities or under tight trousers.
Lycra or Elastane is added to the fabric of the boxer-brief to incorporate an element of stretch. This helps maintain the underwear's shape and ensures they remain close-fitting.
Boxer briefs look good on bigger guys with larger legs and thighs. Can be worn under anything except short shorts.
The next two styles of underwear are not as common as the above three and are worn by a small percentage of men.
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Bikini Briefs – Underwear For Costumes
Bikini briefs are similar to briefs except that they leave the whole side of the thigh exposed. They follow the lines of the lower abdomen and are worn well below the belly button.
Bikini briefs are generally the choice of underwear to show off a well-trained body. They are the preferred style of underwear for professional body builders.
Thongs – The Bare Minimum
Thongs are polarizing, yet they are a necessity for men wearing extremely tight and thin trousers – mostly actors and dancers.
Thongs offer minimum coverage with maximum support. They secure the genitals in a pouch and leverage a slim strip of material between or to the sides (think Jock Straps) of the buttocks with another securing the underwear around the waist.
What To Look For When Buying Men's Underwear
Fabric, Color, Size & Need.
The details for each is below!
The choice of fabric determines how soft and durable the underwear is.
A combination of cotton and polyester, or Lycra is mostly used to make underwear.
Wool, silk, flannel, and synthetic materials are also used, mostly in boxer shorts.
Which is best – depends on what you need the underwear to do and how important comfort is to you!
- Body temperature regulation – Unique knits such as Micro Modal Air are used to create tiny pockets of air that help regulate body temperature.
- Softness – Luxury performance fabrics such as Super Pima & Swiss Cotton are used to deliver a softer feel. The longer and thinner cotton fibers enable a tighter & stronger yarn to be woven – thus a better quality fabric for your briefs.
- Shape and retention – The addition of Lycra and fabrics woven to retain shape provides support and durability to underwear. Higher quality underwear utlizes the wear to better retain shape vs. rely solely on elastic bands. It's a small distinction, but one that can best be understood when cheap underwear falls apart and you spot rubber band like threads hanging from the seams.
The most common traditional colors for men’s underwear are white, black, grey, blue.
Boxer shorts, and to a lesser extent briefs and boxer briefs, are available in a variety of patterns and colors.
The choice ranges from solids, stripes, checked, dotted and various prints
Cartoons are a popular print choice on men’s underwear. I have a pair as a gift from my kids 🙂
The sexier variants of underpants – bikini briefs and thongs, are sold in a host of animal prints, bright colors and eye-popping patterns.
SIZING GUIDE For Underwear
Support is the most important consideration while purchasing underwear. This is especially important if you are moving around a lot during your day.
Buying the right size underwear that offers the best support is a tricky proposition considering that sizing changes from brand to brand.
It is advisable to check sizes with every specific brand. If you are purchasing online, check the sizing charts and purchase according to your waist size.
If the underwear is a size too small, the waistband will cut into your love handles and make you look fatter than you are. A size too large results in the dreaded saggy bum effect. In either case – you will be constantly adjusting your underwear throughout the day.
Here is a general sizing chart for men’s underwear – with the waist measurements displayed in centimeters and inches.
Opt for a larger size if your measurement falls in between sizes (better roomy than tight!). Low quality men’s underwear tends to shrink after it has been washed.
Guidelines For Wearing Underwear
The best underwear is the type you don’t consider again after you’ve put it on: those styles you’re not conscious about wearing and that are comfortable.
With the amount of choice available it can be a little daunting, so here’s some general advice:
- Get the right fit – Underwear that requires constant adjusting is a no-no. While wearing slim-fitting or skinny trousers, wear underwear that doesn't bunch up and isn’t visible.
- Quality Fabric Is Worth Paying For – Don't believe me? Try buying ONE pair of amazing underwear. Then pay attention to your behavior – notice how you always grab that amazing pair that just feels great because it's made from a material that keeps you cool and doesn't restrict movement? Yeah – imagine having all of your pairs fit like that!
- Keep it simple – Overly branded underwear looks tacky and shows a lack of maturity.
- Buy little and often – you don’t want the elastic to all go at the same time. Discard underwear that is torn and worn out.
Let your underwear reflect your personal style.
Slim and fitted boxer-briefs if you’re a refined dresser, bold prints in boxer shorts for trend setters and retro-inspired Y-fronts briefs for vintage lovers.
What underwear company do I recommend?
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