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The Basics Of Men’s Underwear

The Basics Of Men's Underwear

Basics Of Men's Underwear


There was a time when guys didn't have many underwear options. There were briefs and boxers, and neither came in styles that were all that flattering. But, oh, how times have changed. These days, men have as many underwear choices as women do, and each style comes with its own little rules. And, you better believe it, there's a way to choose the best underwear for you.

Read on to learn the basics of modern men's undergarments and what to wear them with.


Perhaps the greatest change to men's underwear over the years has been in its fabrics. All of the styles mentioned below can now be easily found in cotton, polyester or silk blends. The days of wool long johns are long gone!



Traditional briefs are marked by a prominent elastic waistband that sits at the waist, a Y-shaped front fly, about four inches of fabric that covers everything from the waist to the upper thighs, and full coverage of the butt.

Mid-rise briefs are the same in every way, but they sit two inches below the waist at the belly button. Low-rise briefs rest about three inches below the waist. Both of these styles are great with low-rise jeans.

All briefs provide great support for the genitals. They're a solid choice for jobs that require sitting down all day (briefs are less likely to ride up than other types of underwear) or for physical activities.

Most full-cut briefs are white cotton and inexpensive. Low-rise and mid-rise cuts can be found in many different colors and better fabrics such as silk.



In many ways, and for many people, boxer shorts are the "classic" men's underwear. Boxers are the loosest — and arguably the most comfortable — of all styles. The shorts have straight-cut leg openings and cover part of the thighs and the entire butt; the length can vary from eight to 16 inches. And last, but certainly not least, boxers almost always have a working front fly.

Tapered boxers are similar in nearly every way to their traditional cousins, with the exception that the leg openings are fit to the thigh, with side vents providing more freedom of movement. Fly fronts are not standard on tapered boxers, but a front cup panel provides some support.

Boxers work under suits or loose-fitting pants like khakis. Interestingly, boxers are the only type of underwear that can be tailored. They do have a tendency to bunch up, however, and they offer precious little genital support. Boxers are a poor choice for physical activities.

The good news, however, is that boxers are renowned for their patterns and design versatility. Plaids, solids and themed styles are all available in fabrics like cotton and wool.

The hottest types of men's underwear, undershirts and more...


Boxer briefs

Now here's a popular type of men's underwear — especially with women, who tend to find them sexy. As the name implies, boxer briefs are the middle ground between boxer and brief. The underwear is cut like tapered boxers, but it fits tightly like briefs.

Boxer briefs have the big advantage of providing support and coverage in a way that also sculpts the lower trunk. The underwear works under all types of clothes, but is especially valuable under tighter pants and during athletic activities.

Dark-colored boxer briefs look especially good if you have a little extra weight to hide; the dark hues supplement the shorts' slimming abilities.

Good boxer briefs can be found in spandex or cotton. If you're willing to pay a little more, however, go for those made from a Tencel and spandex blend; they will fit better and last longer.


All right. Now we're getting into the more risky types of men's underwear.

Bikini briefs sit well below the belly button; approximately four inches below to be exact. The sides of the waistband measure only about two inches. Bikini briefs do not sport a fly.

With string bikinis, the waistband is about a ½-inch thick, leaving the entire thigh exposed. The bikini's seat still covers the butt entirely, however.

Bikinis work best with low-rise jeans and tighter trousers, and on men with well-muscled bodies (you don't see many bodybuilders posing in boxers, do you?). Go with bold colors to make the underwear stand out.

Ironically, such a little garment can cost a bit more than briefs and boxers, as it's usually made from spandex or nylon.


It's hard to believe, but thongs do exist for men — and they're even smaller than bikini underwear. With a thong, the genitals sit in a small pouch, while a string serves as the waistband, and another goes up between the butt cheeks.

Let's be honest: Thongs are extraordinarily uncommon among American men. Not only that, but you need an incredible body to pull them off. Proceed with caution; many women are turned off by this type of underwear.

That said, if you're going thong shopping, look for nylon and spandex blends, and stick with solid, bright colors.


Underwear is but half the equation! A good undershirt lets you get more wear out of your button-downs, sweaters and pullovers.


Tank tops

These shirts — also known as A-shirts or wife-beaters — are sleeveless and marked by wide shoulder straps, large armholes and plunging, U-shaped necklines.

You can rarely go wrong wearing tank tops under dress shirts and button-downs. The tank can't be seen when wearing open collars, and its lack of sleeves makes it a good bet under white dress shirts. Just make sure to choose a thin tank to wear under white shirts so that it doesn't stand out.

Go with classic white cotton tank tops when wearing them under your clothes. Colored tanks work alone as shirts in warm weather, provided you're engaged in athletic activity or just hanging with the boys.




The standard undershirt for men is the crewneck white cotton T-shirt. It contains a colorless neckline and fits snugly over the torso and upper arms. T-shirts look good under most shirts, particularly unbuttoned, short-sleeved button-downs, polos or dress shirts buttoned all the way to the collar.

V-neck T-shirts have a plunging, V-shaped neckline. They're a valuable garment to have when you're wearing crewneck sweaters or open-collar shirts and you don't want your undershirt to show.

Sleeveless T-shirts are a cross between the tank and the T-shirt. They have the crew neckline, but they have no sleeves. They're another good choice to wear under dress shirts, and they should be a welcome addition to your beach wardrobe.

underwear fashion exposed

Hopefully, you've come to the realization that buying and wearing the right underwear is fairly easy. If you're torn between styles, colors or fabrics, take a step back and remember that, at the end of the day, the person the underwear affects most is you.

Wear what looks the best on you, but more importantly, wear what you feel most comfortable in.

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