28 May 2012
From a piece of cloth wrapped around the groin area to the modern men's underwear that we all know today, briefs have come a long way. But no matter what time in history, no matter what material they are made of, briefs have always served the same purpose.
Briefs are a type of lower undergarment for guys. Unlike boxers, briefs are tighter. And compared to female panties, briefs have relatively bigger pouches to accommodate a man's genitals. The brief's snug fit make it the underwear of choice for most males because it provides better hold of their respective organs. The snugness and the pouch keep the genitals in a fixed position, providing the support necessary to enable mobility. In the United States, briefs are nicknamed "tidy whites" due to their color. In the United Kingdom, briefs are more popularly known as "Y-fronts because of their shapes. In Australia, they call it "jocks". But no matter the name, briefs will always be briefs and will always serve the same purpose.
The custom of wearing briefs is not a new one. In fact, our ancestors have been wearing undergarments as early as seven thousand years ago. Back then though, early men do not use briefs, they use loincloths. Loincloths are basically strips of fabric that when passed between the legs and wound around the waist serve as cover for the genitals. Archeologists have dug up at least three kinds of brief prototypes and they believe that the most commonly used in the early days are the ones made out of wool or linen.
Loincloths have come a long way from being just a humble piece of fabric covering the groin area. Through the years, it has evolved into something better and easier to use. In the middle ages, the version of briefs has changed into something that resembles today's boxers. They are longer, more loose, and provide more room for a man's package. Their briefs also had flies. A fly is mainly a flap on the crotch that enables a guy to relieve himself without removing his underwear. But it was not until the time between 1930 and 1940 when the design for the modern brief was introduced. Briefs were called "jockeys" back then owing to its similarity to the jock straps.
Today, men's underwear comes in all forms, makes, and materials. Unlike before when resources are limited, briefs now are being made from almost any kind of fabric. The most commonly used material for briefs is cotton. Many brief users prefer cotton over other types of fabric due to its softness. Its absorbency rate is also higher compared to other materials. Cotton is also a popular choice since its fibers allow air to pass through, creating a more comfortable environment for the male private parts. Air flow and high absorbency makes cotton the more hygienic choice as well since these fabric properties discourage microbial growth. Other materials, both natural and synthetic, like silk, wool, and Lycra are also used to make underwear.
From loincloths to the early version of boxers, to underwear with flaps and finally to the modern briefs. In time, the male underwear has undergone a lot of makeovers that have made it an integral part of every guy's life.