Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The History Of Men's Underwear: A Brief Discussion

A Brief Discussion by Jennifer Jakes

Remember that commercial with Michael Jordon? I'm sure that wasn't the first time the boxer vs brief question was asked, but it did make the question popular.
Me, I'm a rebel. I prefer boxer briefs on my hubby. You get the best of both worlds. They're tight enough to be sexy -- because I hate that baggy boxer look -- and yet, they don't make me think of panties -- as briefs do -- when I look at them.
And because my hubby has really sexy legs and I like the way they look in boxer briefs . . . but I digress.

The first men's underwear was probably the Loincloth, a simple strip of material or leather. A loincloth was also used to describe material pulled between the legs and fastened like a diaper. Not a good look for anyone :(  Greek and Roman men reportedly wore Loincloth.

During the Middle Ages, Loincloth was replaced by loose trouser like pants called Braies. Braies were a step-in design and laced at the waist and mid-calf. Wealthy men also wore Chausses. 

By Renaissance, Braies became shorter to accommodate longer styles of Chausses -- and chausses gave way to hose. But since neither Braies nor chausses were meant to be worn beneath they weren't technically underwear.

      Codpieces came into fashion when doublets (coats) became shorter and the hose alone would have left a man’s privates exposed. They were the height of fashion from the 1540s to 1590s, becoming more decorative and padded rather than just a practical covering. Braies were replaced by cotton, silk or linen Drawers which were worn for years and years and years. And years. I couldn't find much information on how much -- if any -- the basic design changed.

However, in the mid 1800's mass production of underwear began and people started to buy their drawers instead of making them at home. The Unionsuit also became popular in the mid 1800's – 1868 actually -- and had the drop seat in the back.

In 1874, the Jock Strap came along to provide support for the bicycle jockeys riding upon cobblestone streets.

The first underwear print ad ran in the Saturday Evening Post in 1911, an oil painting, not a picture. That would have been indecent! In WWI soldiers were issued button front shorts - though they were often still worn with a union suit. (Which by the way became 2 pieces in 1910 - what we call long-johns).

By 1935 Coopers Inc. sold the world's first men's briefs, the design dubbed Jockey since it provided the support once only offered by a jock strap. 30,000 pairs of new Jockeys sold within the first 3 months of introduction. In the 1950's manufacturers began to make men's underwear from colored and/or printed material. In the 1970's and 1980's advertisers began appealing to the sexual side of selling, foregoing the long time ad practice of comfort and durability. Speaking of comfort - or lack thereof - the thong became popular in the 1990's.

So there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know - and maybe some things you didn't want to know - about men's underwear;)

Thanks for visiting today! I'll be giving away 1 copy of my erotic romance novella, 
TWICE IN A LIFETIME, to a commentator. 


Be Careful What You Wish For. . .
No-nonsense stuntwoman Isabella Douglas will do anything to stop an unwanted divorce and reclaim the happy life she had, even allow her old friend to concoct a magical spell to turn back time. But when the spell goes awry, Izzy finds herself trapped aboard a 1768 Caribbean pirate ship with a captain who’s a dead ringer for her sexy as sin husband, Ian. Convinced he’s playing a cruel joke, she’s furious – until she realizes he doesn’t know her or believe they’re married.
Captain Ian Douglas does not have time to deal with an insane woman who claims to be his wife; he has to save his kidnapped sister. But as Izzy haunts his dreams and fills him with erotic memories he can’t explain, he’s forced to admit he feels more than lust.
Trapped in a vicious cycle of past mirroring present, Izzy knows they only have days to find Ian’s sister and prevent disaster from striking a second time. If she doesn’t, their marriage will be destroyed again – along with the man she loves.

Jennifer Jakes is the multi award winning author of RAFE'S REDEMPTION, voted Best Romance 2011 and TWICE IN A LIFETIME. She is currently working on a historical romance set in 1898 during the Yukon Gold Rush. You can learn more about Jennifer at www.jenniferjakes.com


  1. Great post! I love the topic of men's undergarments :)

  2. Thanks for the overview! We can never have too much commentary on historical underwear!

  3. Hi Heather-
    There always seems to be more on ladies undergarments than on the men. I thought this might be useful;) Plus it was fun to research. LOL
    Thanks for stopping by our new blog!

  4. So very cool And you got the undies for the Romans right but they used a belt to keep it in place. You know the one with the cute dangly things in front. I've heard men like the 'feel' of that dashing across their groin.
    Now one lovely day a museum lady explained to me that , well, I was impressed at the size of King Henry's cod piece...and she informed me, men kept their money in there along with
    'the family jewels." Hummmmm...

  5. Hi Judy-
    Oh, that's interesting! And yes, those Cod pieces.....let me tell you I saw some crazy examples. Some of them even have faces on them. Gargoyles and stuff. Weird.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Loved the history, but gotta admit I prefer my man's undies on the floor beside the bed..can't wait for the new book to come out, it sounds wonderful

  7. LOL, Maxine! You sound like a woman after my own heart!! :)
    And thank you.
    Thanks for stopping by today:)

  8. The WINNER is...........MAXINE!! Congrats. I'll contact you with your free e-book.

  9. Really i loved very much and appriciate your thought.

    Thanks a lot for sharing it.

    Activewear underwear.

  10. Hi,
    You have really done the great job,wonderful article with informative stuff,i loves to follow your blog.

    For complete details please visit underwear

  11. I want really to tell you thanks for this most helpful information.

    most comfortable underwear

  12. Men, we've gotten messy. Such a large number of us have invested so much energy thinking with our family gems, we've neglected to consider them. We're not considering what modest hunk of exhausted cotton we're putting on the first floor. We're getting whatever is around, declining to purchase new drawers on the premise of the ones we have aren't in useless wears out yet mens silicone padded underwear

  13. Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it's driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.mens underwear south africa

  14. This is a fabulous post I seen because of offer it. It is really what I expected to see trust in future you will continue in sharing such a mind boggling post more information