Contributed by Cara Hartley, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Men’s underwear has traditionally been functional, with less bells and whistles than the variety of undergarments offered to women.
Underwear has been worn for thousands of years, and despite its changes over the ages, its purpose remains essentially unchanged.
The thong, or g-string, is thought to have originated with fundoshi, a form of traditional Japanese underwear. The modern thong has been celebrated in song, and is praised for its comfort and “shape enhancement” properties.
During the Middle Ages, braies were a popular style of underwear. Braies were tied around the waist and the middle of the calves, affording the wearer a modest pair of skivvies.
Chausses were another form of underwear popular in the Middle Ages. They were form fitting, much like tights, and covered only the legs. Chausses were available to men of more financial prestige, and eventually gave way to even longer styles.
Longjohns, or union suits as they were called back in the day, caught on with many men in the 1800’s. It is said that longjohns were made popular by fighter Big John Sullivan, who would enter the ring wearing nothing but the full-body undergarment.
In a history of men’s underwear that ranges in size from full coverage to barely there underwear styles, a shorter version of longjohns came into style during World War I. These shorts came complete with side-ties and buttons, and were introduced to soldiers, who liked them so much that they kept wearing them after the war was over.
The original underwear, loincloths have done their job for at least 5,000 years. Loincloths have been made from an array of material that includes linen, animal hides, grass and straw. Although loincloths represent the basic idea of underwear, they have sadly lost popularity over the years, perhaps due to their association with Tarzan and other primitive peoples.
Before there was underwear there was, well, what nature gave you. The commando style is still popular with many individuals today, who claim that the hygiene that underwear offers is unnecessary in a society that requires of its members constant showering. To that I have to say, c’mon guys.
Briefs, also affectionately referred to as tightie-whities when they are worn in plain old-fashioned white, grant the wearer comfort and a snug fit, guaranteeing that all pieces stay in one place. Like a well-fitting baseball glove, briefs are the pinnacle of support in the underwear world. Forgo the white and choose great bold colors and manly patterns.
The modern version of boxer shorts came into being in the 1930’s with the invention of the elastic waist band. Boxers, like longjohns, got their name from the shorts worn by fighters of the time. They remain one of the best-selling varieties of undies around.
1. Boxer briefs
The combination of two venerated underwear styles, boxers and briefs, resulted in the chimera that is boxer briefs. In April of 1994, a high school student asked Bill Clinton whether he preferred boxers or briefs; boxer briefs would have given the President an easy out, but his response was “Usually briefs.”