Socks and jocks hardly make for a glamorous purchase, but they’re the foundation of good style (and hygiene).
Men are spending more and more on underwear (although cheap underwear can still be good) – more than they’d probably feel comfortable admitting – so we thought it’s a good time to outline what to buy and what to leave on the shelf without looking back.
Here, we go over the best types of underwear a guy should own, the types he could own (but shouldn’t) and how to bring total mastery to this mostly insignificant part of your life in 2018.
Classic White Boxer Briefs
Boxer Briefs are the most popular and versatile choice out there, and they’re our first choice for when your mum gives you a fifty and tells you to buy your own damn underwear. They don’t billow out like boxers, give you solid protection against chafing, and rarely break the bank.
Boxer briefs have enduring appeal, and it’s hard to go wrong with classic white. Colours like navy, grey, and black are solid backups and a mix of all of them in a stretch cotton is the way to go. While these are a wardrobe staple, it’s important you cycle through and toss them out regularly. Be ruthless. Remember, jocks are cheap, and white discolours faster than anything else. You’re better than ripped, stained jocks.
Geometric patterns float in and out of menswear but they seem to have landed comfortably into men’s underwear. Geometric prints are a better, less dweeby alternative to plain colours than a novelty or humourous print, but you should still keep it on the more understated end.
Avoid bright colours or garish shapes. It might be 2018, but ‘bold underwear’ isn’t a thing for guys, and we’re not too sure it ever will be.
Boxers bring a bit of the old-school to a guy’s underwear game (if there is such a thing). They’re still popular and most of us remember judging each other in primary school on who had the coolest, baddest boxers under their uniforms.
Boxers are great if mobility and comfort is a priority, and if you think you need all that extra room. However, they don’t feel so flash under a suit or slim pair of pants, and look dreadful bulging over a belt. That being said, lounging around on a Sunday in boxers and a bathrobe is a distinct pleasure, especially as you age, so they’re something to consider as you enter maturity.
Tom Ford’s never been shy of doing what he likes (it’s what we admire) and his silk boxers bring that unapologetic ethos home pretty hard. He’s gone for something you wouldn’t expect men to wear and none of us here agree on how well they’ll go. But, props to him for giving it a shot.
He’s gone for a variety, included muted neutral tones and animal prints. Not sure how many blokes will make the jump, especially in warmer parts of the earth, like Australia. Silk isn’t exactly a summer fabric, and I’m sure no one wants to roll into a meeting wearing Tom Ford, and a distinct fragrance of ‘unwashed swamp ass’.
There’s a distinct subgroup of men that seem to define themselves based on how ‘funny’ their socks are, and this seems to extend to their jocks now too.
Novelty briefs can break up the depressing singularity of a drawer full of white or black jocks, if you feel like some undergarment ‘pizzaz’ is the thing you need to fight through the day like a real go-getter. If this is the where your masculinity has led you to, you should purchase a few superhero-printed briefs and a couple that have awkward, dad-ish humour printed across the back.
Athletic Jocks & Compression Undergarments
It’s hard to pull off a fast break or light someone up when your thighs are chafing up and beginning to look like pulverised deli meat. Compression boxers have made great strides (get it?) in supporting performance and comfort during strenuous athletic activity.
They usually feature moisture-wicking fabrics and (heavily disputed) muscle support tech that should help you through a game or workout. Nike, Under Armour, and Skins have the market cornered, so if you want to give your Calvins a break during F-Grade rugby they’re probably where you should start.
Keep it to the court or field though, gents, they’re not the sort of thing you’d wear under a suit or to a Tinder date where you think you’ll finally hit a home run.
Men are coughing up more for their clothes, and underwear hasn’t escaped unscathed. It’s now possible to spend more on your jocks than on a nice shirt or night out, which is hilarious or a tragedy depending on who you ask.
Tom Ford finally succumbed to the urge and released the metallic, silky boxers we mentioned earlier. Balenciaga charges a hefty $310 for their boxer briefs (but at least they sell them in packs of three). There’s growth in the luxury underwear market, although most of us never though we’d hear such a phrase. Don’t be in awe of the price tag, though.
Before you buy, you should check the fabric tag, make sure it’s legit material, and remember that there are hundreds of more sensible purchases you could make.
Underwear Do’s & Dont’s:
- Replace underwear as soon as they become worn-out, discoloured or stained. You’re a big kid now. It’s time to act like one.
- Stick to lightweight, seamless types when wearing slim-fitting pants. It’ll look and feel better throughout the day.
- Stick to your personal style: fitted and plain for the classic gent; psychedelic for the vintage-love, and dual-tone and slim-fit for the active or modern man.
- Look to styles that make you feel confident and you’re comfortable wearing: Anything you have to keep adjusting or ‘thinking about’ should be left in the bottom drawer.
- Look to natural fabrics rather than synthetics: The best underwear are those made from cotton with a bit of stretch for breathability, softness and versatility. Active undies are an exception.
- Buy the right size. Too small and the waistband will cut into your side (giving you a muffin-top); too big and they’ll sag and bunch under your pants. Both are highly uncomfortable and look bad.