Skip to content

The History Of Men's Underwear

The History Of Men's Underwear

Underwear has been called many names, some older some newer, some used in other countries and continents, including underclothes, underwear (formal), undergarments, undies (casual and slang) Reg Grundys/Reginalds (Australia), smalls/smallclothes/pants (UK), underpants and drawers. And that’s not mentioning women’s underwear terms. Nowadays, there are new terms for men’s underwear that are based on the different models and styles, such as briefs, boxers, and trunks. This plethora of terms can explain the long way the underwear industry came throughout history and the development it has gone through from the first underwear humans used up to the modern colorful selection of our days.

First there was the Loincloth

As far as we know, the very first underwear in history was the Loincloth, which was a pretty simple strap that wrapped the genitals area and then the waist, in order to hold it from slipping down. Remains of loincloths were found by archaeologists and dated as far back as 7000 years ago. Interesting to note that though it was primal underclothes, historians found evidence of using the loincloth in Egypt, Japan, Hawaii, ancient Greece and Rome, and may I remained you that there was no Instagram back then to show off your new wardrobe. And so, being it the most ancient evidence, it is considered to be humans’ first underwear.

Middle Ages Revolutionary Men’s Underwear

In the Middle Ages, the men’s underwear changed to be much looser compared to the loincloth, and it was actually a type of trouser called braies. Meaning, most of the times it was worn as pants and so it wasn’t exactly similar to the underwear concept which we’re familiar with today. But, though the looseness of that underwear probably came as a breath of fresh air, literally, it still wasn’t as revolutionary as the ones that followed.

For the Love of the Codpiece

The most revolutionary feature of that medieval underwear, was the buttons in its front. The Codpiece brought a new day to men’s underwear. This front-opening feature allowed men for the first time to do their business without having to take off the underwear. A feature that men around the world are still thankful for to this very day.

The 20th Century – The Rise of the Modern Men’s Underwear

In the 20th century, massive production of clothes was already in the making and union suits were very popular. Though it was originally designed for women, men liked it and so it remained popular up until the ’30s. In the ’30s the Y-front was designed for men: the legless underwear with an upside-down Y-shaped front, called Jockey, and it was a huge success and marked men’s underwear as an industrial product.

44’ – The Birth of the Boxer

In 44’ another revolutionary design of men’s underwear claimed its place: the Boxer. The boxer was shorter than the codpiece but still loose and with a front opening. The first modern underwear to last till this day, and a popular one too.

50’s – A Fashion Statement

Up until this point, the underwear was widely considered common clothes. But starting in the ’50s, the underwear was promoted for the first time as a fashion item. At the same time, newer fabrics were used for the manufacturing of underwear as well, such as Nylon, Spandex, and Dacron.

60’s – Appearance of Patterns

It was in the ’60s when men’s underwear were available with different pattern styles, and it makes total sense since it became a fashion cloth in every way. All of a sudden out-of-the-box patterns were a normal thing on men’s boxers as well as prints and even cartoons! It was a celebration of creativity that entered the gray world of men’s underwear.

70’s-80’s – Sexy Thing

In a couple of decades to follow, men’s underwear started carrying a sex appeal. As part of turning into a fashion item, advertising started to emphasize the fashionable aspect of the underwear, rather than only its function and comfort. Quickly enough men’s underwear became a sexy product, and it only got hotter since then, as tighter underwear appeared. In the ’80s the G-String started to be popular but it appeared only in Latin America and especially Brazil. In the 90’s it will take over the world.

90’s – Permissiveness is Taking Over

The ’90s were the point where it all turned legit – thongs became popular all around the world and with them, men’s boxer briefs were released. They were somewhat similar to the regular boxers, only much tighter and yes, sexier! Now it was more than popular to consider yourself a sexy man (something that before was mainly associated with women). It is safe to say that this decade was when the sexy hetero-man “came out” to the world – the man who wasn’t embarrassed to invest time and money in his look.

A World of Color

Since the ’90s the men’s underwear sector kept offering newer and bolder options for men, be it by model, such as the jockstraps, or by color, such as pink and purple, which were once considered feminine colors. Today, men who love their underwear can choose from a wide selection of options stretching from conservative to the boldest, and color up their underwear’s drawer!

Such colorful selection is what you can find here at our Ochox store, including long johns for winter time and swimwear for the summer. So if you like underwear, whether it is long, short, trunk or straps – click to enter our shop and spoil yourself with new underwear, as our varied selection updates on a regular basis!