28 May 2012
Changes in men's underwear are more likely to have occurred than that of other men's garments. Due to men's need to both be comfortable and keep his genitals safe, his underwear has evolved to different styles, like boxer shorts and boxer briefs to name a few.
Before one even learns which holes of the shirt that each arm must go into, the first outfit we'll ever wear is our diaper. After we learn how to properly relieve ourselves of bodily wastes, then we would be allowed to wear our underwear sans diapers. Though underwear is not meant to be seen, it has its fair share of "fashion."
Basic men's clothing, such as the tuxedo and classic suit, have undergone the least change over the century compared to women's fashion. By the number of classification it has, it is considerably at par with women's underwear (lower body). Women have to cover their genitals for hygiene. Men, however, have a lot to protect in their crotch area that goes beyond covering it with a piece of triangular cloth.
The loincloth is perhaps the most primal form of men's underwear, though it might have not been exclusive for men. After all, prehistoric people did this not out of shame for their naked body, but for their survival in the harsh and ever changing primal environment. Since people at the time only uses what they gather from nature, whatever body covering they had can only come from plants or animals. Then came civilization and men learned to how to weave fur and plants into fabrics. The prehistoric loincloth took a more defined shape, such as the triangular linen held together by strips that was worn by the Egyptian Pharaoh, Tutankhamen. Hundreds of years passed and humans found themselves at the brink of industrialization. Machines allowed production of inexpensive textile and eventually, mass production of clothing. Along with this development are the changes in the primitive loincloth. Men's underwear became independent from sewing abilities of the women in one's house and has since been part of the RTW industry.
At this point, staple design from men's underwear has been developed. History has come to know the real difference between long johns and briefs, boxer shorts and boxer briefs. Long johns can be considered the pioneer of modern-day men's underwear. Its crotch area is similar to classic men's briefs, but it is a one piece garment with long sleeves and leg part that extends to the ankles. Briefs on the other hand, are more triangular in shape and are fit to cover the groin. Boxer shorts took its name from the men who originally used them. Like shorts worn by boxer, it is breathable and allowed unlimited movement compared to the briefs and long johns. Boxer briefs on the other hand, are a combination of boxer shorts and classic briefs. They are more likely worn during activities where men need to prevent their genitals from being dangled to the point of injury.
These are only some of the different shapes that have graced the evolution of men's underwear. A few people may have seen one's underwear in his lifetime, but considerations on safety and comfort makes a man choose if he wants to wear boxer shorts, boxer briefs, or none at all.