I had just moved into a new apartment and an old lady who lived on the ground floor knocked on my door. As she handed me a pair of underwear that looked very much like one I owned, I realised she wasn’t there to welcome me and invite me for a glass of schnapps. ‘I found these in my yard, Monsieur, and I believe they’re yours’ said she with a cheeky grin. Yes, it was windy and up till that day, I never saw a need for pegs. Luckily, it was one of my best pairs, not that it mattered much given that at her age, she was probably wearing a nappy.
To most of us, underwear is first and foremost a functional garment, which we wear because that’s what most people do and for beneficial purposes too. However, to go for just any underwear is plain wrong. Finding the right underwear is about feeling good – and that means both comfortable and confident, which is why one’s choice of underwear is indeed a personal one.
The different types of underwear – pros and cons in terms of comfort
Boxers, trunks, boxer briefs, and briefs all have a different fit and come in varying lengths, meaning how comfortable they feel will also depend on what they’re worn under. Boxers are best for sleeping in, as they feel less restrictive. However, because they fit loosely, they can be very uncomfortable when worn under most trouser styles, especially tighter fits. Having a low crotch, they tend to bunch and gather. They are also not the most recommended type to wear under shorts, due to their peekaboo risk.
With trunks and briefs, neither the gathering of too much fabric nor ride-up are anything to worry about, though briefs can cause panty-lines when worn under trousers/shorts in a fine fabric. In addition, both styles offer support in the right places though how comfortable a particular style feels depends a lot on the design of the pouch and how tight-fitting or loose the underwear is.
Thongs and jockstraps are another alternative. These will obviously avoid the visible panty-line but I’ll leave it up to you to decide on how comfortable or not they are. Personally, I don’t find them very appealing on men but hey, that’s just my opinion.
The contribution of design in maximising comfort
Some of the brands that specialise in men’s underwear, such as Andrew Christian (available at KIR ROYAL), are focusing on what is labelled as ‘anatomically correct’ design. This is intended to offer maximum comfort by basically respecting the natural make-up of the male anatomy. The result is a sensation of having everything in place without that intrusive or restrictive feeling that underwear can sometimes have. Minimising the use of itchy tags and stitching is another factor that makes a particular design more comfortable than others. Clearly the choice in men’s underwear has become far less simplistic than what it once was, to cover more than just type but also design.
The importance of fabric-type for comfort
For a special ‘night’ you might wear a particular pair of your preferred type of underwear – one you probably keep for such an occasion. Similarly, you’d want something that’s suitable for the gym or any other sport activities, not so much for style but for comfort. This is where fabric plays an important role.
For everyday use, particularly in a warm climate such as ours, what one should really be after is underwear in a soft, light, and breathable fabric, such as cotton or modal. You would also be more comfortable in fabric that can absorb moisture easily, such as bamboo cotton or rayon. Underwear made from synthetic fabrics, which are non-breathable and therefore, trap heat, such as nylon and satin are best worn when intended to be removed soon after – just to set the mood.
When it comes to sports, using your everyday underwear will not only speed up the deterioration of the fabric but also prevent you from maximising comfort. Sports underwear is usually made from a highly moisture-absorbent fabric with cooling properties, such as COOLMAX or Pima Cotton, which is just what you need to avoid skin irritation, when sweating yourself out. The fit should also offer some support to keep the family jewels in place.
Feeling better-dressed in stylish underwear
Back in the day, men had no real choice except for a handful of colours in rather unflattering designs. In recent years, the market for men’s underwear has exploded and in response, so has the availability of designs. Probably fueled by the multiple marketing campaigns featuring male footballers in underwear showing off an enviable bulge, as much as by a general increase in image-consciousness amongst men, we have come to see underwear as more than a purely functional garment.
We choose that design that appeals most to us – classical or trendy – wanting not just comfort but to also feel good about ourselves, sexier, and yes, more confident. Essentially, I wouldn’t feel well-dressed in old underwear that’s seen better days, even in a new and stylish outfit. It’s why more men are opting for branded underwear, as opposed to the unflattering Abanderado styles we grew up in. Even if no one will know what we’re wearing underneath, it doesn’t matter. Wearing good underwear is no longer about impressing others but about feeling good. Agree?