Tidbits; Men’s Underwear

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Tighty whiteys, boxers, boxer briefs, briefs, thongs and the mankini, although far from my favourite, are just a few of the names used for the different styles offered to the men when it comes to underwear. The guys for such a long time have had very little in the way of selection when it came to the coverings of their deliciously delectable meat and potatoes coveted by all. Women have had it good for far to long when it comes to their under things, and to see the offerings now being made to the men, is truly a breath of fresh air!

The first known “underwear” for men dated back almost 7000 years when prehistoric man used a “loincloth“, made of leather to cover the goods while running errands, which didn’t change for quite some time. The ancient Egyptians portrayed it a multitude of hieroglyphs and appeared to be wearing a kilt like covering, while  the Romans generally wore commando under their togas and battle gear. The loincloth was a staple well into the middle ages when the “codpiece” began to come into play. A pouch that was either worn over loose fitting breeches, or under, depending on the wearer, designed to keep everything in place with the ultimate goal of the presentation of virility to onlookers by enhancing proportions, that generally was an illusion, not unlike the padded bra of today. 

The codpiece was worn over or under the new introduction of “braies”, the linen version of capris for men of the middle ages and generally was a “form following function” invention that soon became serious fashion. The function of the codpiece was to aid men when they needed to tinkle, as dropping your braies was not an easy situation, but more of an ordeal, since it required unlacing ties that were tied around the waist and shins, tying that even the most aggressive bondage aficionado would be questioning. As they became more popular in function, so to did they in fashion. As I briefly mentioned “padding” of the codpiece which was popularized by Henry the VIII became all the rage making the package appear larger and thus giving the impression of virility, wealth, and fame. It has been speculated that Henry did so to protect genitals that were pained by the ravages of syphilis. What was good for the gander wasn’t for his gooses eh? A practice that declined after his stuart veal underwear2demise.

Up until the 20th century men generally wore flannel drawers and tops under their clothes. Drawers were tighter fitting, but didn’t provide the support that we associate with men’s underwear of today. Instead the snug fit made for keeping trouser snakes close to the leg and controlled, not flopping around. They were warm, very warm, a breeding ground for scents and bacteria of all kinds to grow and proliferate, and, well, not very comfortable. I have to admit that I LOVE my dose of man musk especially after a long, hard day on the construction site, but after a week? I think not!

In around 1925 Jacob Golomb of the Everlast boxing company decide to switch out the leather waist belted trunks with elastic banding thus starting the ball rolling for Arthur Kneibler of the hosiery company Coopers Inc. to adapt a men’s bathing suit into the first set of “tighty whiteys” involving elastic and fabric. Going from 600 pairs of jockeys, to 30 000 pairs in just 3 months the supply and demand had been created, and all in 1935. A name change to a more familiar one came about in 1971, from Cooper, to Jockey.

underwearIt goes without saying that designs would become tighter, more body contoured, designed with the athlete in mind, and sexier! Colours were introduced, a brash boldness appeared, and definitive styles began to emerge catering to geeks, freaks, business men, athletes, and every conceivable group in between. New fibres began to be introduced, from linen to cotton, to cellulose to polyester. Now with the world on the natural kick, fabrics like bamboo and beechwood exist, and fibres with micro threads of silver woven in to help draw excess moisture away from the body preventing scents, and a serious case of jock itch.

Hear hear to the new millennium of men’s underwear! I’m onboard aren’t you?