Men's Underwear Features
Basically, there are 3 types of waistbands on men's underwear: (1) the encased elastic waistband, (2) the sewn inside the elastic waistband, and (3) the sewn on (usually logo'd) elastic waistband.
The encased elastic waistband is found mostly on boxers. Like in elastic-waisted pants, the boxer fabric is folded over at the waist to create a casing. The elastic is threaded through the casing and causes the boxer fabric to gather. This is a great solution for men who are allergic to latex, sometimes found in elastic. However, this waistband usually leaves vertical red imprints on the body.
Elastic can also be sewn inside the waistline of a boxer. This way, the boxer looks like an encased waistband, but from the inside, the elastic is exposed to the body. This style gives a smoother feel against the skin and eliminates the vertical red imprint marks on the body.
The sewn-on elastic waistband is pretty much the norm now on briefs and many other men's underwear styles. It's comfortable against the body, leaves very little if any red marks, and provides a great location for the manufacturer to brand his product. Several manufacturers are also making their elastic waistbands with a microfiber or having the inside brushed. This gives a softer feel to the body and even greater comfort. At HisRoom, we give you waistband construction information in our "Fitter's Comments" on every product.
Here's an interesting fact. Fewer than 20% of men actually use their fly. That's right; the majority of men simply go up and over. A few even go down and out. Thus the fly is more of a decoration than a functional feature.
Regardless of whether it's used or not, a fly will always will be a stock feature on men's boxers. Some have a center button or snap on the fly.
Lately, the traditional brief has made quite a few changes to its fly. More and more, the traditional double-layered cross - overfly is disappearing. Initially invented by Jockey, this traditional brief fly tends to flatten out natural contours and gives a man no definition. A "contour pouch" is quickly replacing the old design. This pouch actually provides more room, gives the man a more normal silhouette, and provides comfortable support.
Boxer briefs and trunks will almost always have a brief style fly treatment. This makes sense when you think about it because both are made in a knit. There are a few boxer briefs with a traditional boxer fly; however, the fly has multiple buttons or snaps in order to ensure closure.
Recently, a lot of design changes have occurred between a man's, well, ah� legs. For increased comfort and improved fit, HisRoom is seeing less and less of the traditional intersecting of back, front, and leg seams in the crotch area. Instead, gussets and panels are becoming more popular, and are a whole lot more comfortable.
A gusset is a piece of fabric, generally in a diamond, rectangle or triangle shape, inserted in a garment to allow for more space and greater ease of movement. In men's underwear, the gusset appears along and around the inseams. They not only provide an improved fit, but allow the garment to have fewer seams. The underwear is thus form-fitting and comfortable.
Inseams are also becoming shorter. Boxer briefs have been all the rage. However, when their inseams are too long, the leg tends to creep up and needs frequent adjusting throughout the day. This symptom is particularly apparent on men with muscular thighs. Men who enjoy the support of the boxer brief, but not the creeping are turning to the new underwear style known as trunks. It's really a boxer brief with a 1" - 2" inseam and looks like the swimming trunks worn in the 50's. They are very flattering, don't creep, and their lines do not show through pants.
The back seam (or absence of it) is a very important issue to most men. Too short, and this seam will create a wedgy feeling. And, many men just don't like sitting on top of a back seam all day. There are a couple of solutions on the market. Many brands design underwear without a back seam. They'll use a gusset design to shape the garment instead. There's also a construction technique called the 3 panel back seaming or balloon back. Basically, there are two seams in the back that run down the center back of each leg.
This issue primarily concerns boxers and boxer briefs. Men want the freedom of movement without feeling that their stride is limited, or that their underwear legs need to be constantly adjusted.
Men know that running in boxers just doesn't work - the boxer leg binds them from reaching a running stride. However, for everyday wear, a boxer leg can be perfectly comfortable without binding. For woven boxers, look for boxers with plackets or slits on the side. These slits are usually 1 1/2" � 2" tall. Men with well - developed thighs should not only look for plackets but also boxers with front pleats. These pleats give even more legroom. And, of course, don't overlook the popular knit boxers. Though they rarely come with side plackets, the fact that they are knit allows the boxer to stretch. Many wearers of woven boxers have switched to knit boxers simply because they are more comfortable.
When it comes to leg openings on boxer briefs, men have found there is a delicate balance. Too tight, and the leg will keep creeping up your leg and need to be adjusted throughout the day. Too loose, and you'll feel like you have less support. If the boxer brief is all cotton with no elastic around the legs, this boxer brief will be stretched out at the end of the day. It simply won't look as nice as it did in the morning. The secret is to find a boxer brief with a little elastic in the leg hem. This elastic should be just enough to be form-fitting, but not too tight so that it will creep up as you stand and sit throughout the day. Boxer briefs with a little elastic will also look better on you at the end of the day. Cin2 designer, Gregory Sovell, has given a lot of thought to this issue. He feels his boxer briefs have just the right mix. However, Sovell cautions that men with well-developed thighs will probably always have issues with boxer briefs. Thus they really should look at wearing a brief because the leg opening is not an issue in the brief style.
Here's an interesting and rather whimsical fact about jockstraps. The size of the cup gets larger as you go up in waistband size. This, of course, makes no sense because there is absolutely no correlation between a man's waist size and the size of his package. So, why does the industry do this? Well, I spoke with several jock manufacturers and all confirmed this sizing to be the industry practice. Why? Because men are unwilling to assign a cup size to their "package." Women do it all the time with breast size, but men simply won't.
So, fit men with an admirable package must either get a jock with too big a waistband, or one with too small a cup. At least, now you know how a jock's cup is sized.
The length of a man's t-shirt should be around 3" below his pant's belt line and not exceed the bottom of his pants fly. Any longer (see image: left), and there is just too much to tuck in. Any shorter, and his t-shirt will keep un-tucking.
This sounds simple, but it's hard to hit exactly for the obvious reason that men come in different heights. Adding to this issue is the fact that men buy t-shirts too big thinking they will shrink� but they don't. At HisRoom, we tell you in the fabric content whether a cotton item is Sanforized. If it is, that means the cotton fabric of that garment has gone through a patented process and the cotton will shrink no more than 1%. Most quality t-shirts are Sanforized.
The solution here is to find a t-shirt of the correct length (see image: left), and then measure its side seam. HisRoom gives you the side seam measurement in the Fitter's Comments section of each t-shirt. So, when you go to buy a new t-shirt, look for Sanforized and a side seam within an inch or two of your ideal side length and you'll have the right t-shirt length.
Have you noticed in stores how they're able to display t-shirts with a single rod threaded through the sleeves? They hang perfectly... like a flag. Well a t-shirt made like that only looks good on scarecrows. We humans don't walk around with our arms held out. We generally have them resting at our sides. A t-shirt cut so that it hangs straight on a rod will have a bunched look under the arms and a goofy kind of flap jetting out from your arm. These are poorly made and unflattering t-shirts because their sleeves are not shaped with a cap, but rather are nothing more than a rectangle-shaped sleeve piece sewn around an armhole.
If you want to look good in a t-shirt, buy one with a cap sleeve. James Dean and Marlin Brando both wore t-shirts with cap sleeves. How can you tell if the t-shirt has a cap sleeve? Lay the t-shirt flat. If the sleeves point directly away from the body, this is not a cap sleeve. If the sleeves angle down towards the sides of the t-shirt, they have a cap sleeve.
T-shirt/undershirt sleeves should also be form-fitting. If they are too wide, they won't lay nicely under a dress shirt. The best sleeve length for a t-shirt is mid to upper biceps. A form-fitting cap sleeve that comes mid-biceps is the most flattering sleeve you can have.
The trend in men's underwear is that it be attractive and show off a man's physique. Apparently, this message has not made its way to everyone because most men are running around in underwear too large for them.
Men's underwear should fit the body without binding or bagging, regardless of a man's size. Underwear that binds is uncomfortable. But baggy underwear can be just as bad. Too big, and you have too much fabric to tuck in and arrange. It can also feel hot and create a lumpy look. Don't buy underwear too big assuming it will shrink. Underwear today is cut to fit and will not shrink wash after wash. So, look at yourself in the mirror while wearing your underwear. I'll bet you could go down at least one size and look better. And, the woman in your life will think you look great.
I've saved the most important feature in men's underwear for last � the fabric. Feel is probably the most important criterion for most men - underwear needs to be soft. This is why most men's underwear is made in high-quality cotton with long fibers. The softest highest quality cottons are pima cotton, supima cotton and Egyptian cotton.
Microfiber is another very soft fabric for men's underwear. Microfiber is man-made and is thinner than silk (the thinnest natural fiber you can find). And, the thinner the fiber, the softer the fabric. Often, microfibers have wicking properties built into them as well. This means that the fabric is not only soft, but wicks moisture away from the body, and dries quickly.They're very soft and feel great against a man's skin.