Boxers, Jocks in Whitie Tighties. A Brief History of Men's Underwear
A Selection of Mens' Underwear
Underwear and outerwear were originally the same thing, a twist of material placed around the hips to protect the modesty of the wearer. By the Middle ages a simple pair of pants was invented with ties at the waist and loose leg holes. By the time of Henry the Eighth, the cod piece was developed to protect the male genitalia. It became more and more exaggerated, especially in the case of Henry the Eighth who suffered from syphilis. The large capacity was said to allow him to wear salve soaked bandages to treat the condition not because of his Royal endowment. Lesser mortals used the spare capacity to carry money and other valuables besides the family jewels.
By the late 19 th Century, both men, women and children were wearing the Union Suit an all in one garment with a convenient drop flap at the rear, this was the precursor to the long john pants named after a famous boxer of the time. At the same time the jockstrap was invented by a gentleman from Chicago who took pity on the bicycle jockeys of Boston who suffered personal injury while riding over the cobbled streets. Later a moulded cup was added to prevent injury when men played with balls, especially when hard, as in baseball and cricket.
The Hanes company developed a superior form of the long john which quickly became a favorite but with the advent of WW1 the troops were issued with button fly drawers adjusted by ties at the hips. Most men then favored these undergarments. However in 1935 an apparel engineer invented the Jockey brief underpants which became a roaring success and sold in huge quantities. It is in fact, the 75th anniversary of the Jockey brief this year, 2010, which are known as Y fronts in the UK.
Underpants never looked back and by the 1970s colored underwear appeared and elasticated materials were used. This gave rise to form fitting undies like speedos, dubbed budgie smugglers by Australians,The Australians are very fond of this native bird.
Today the range of men's underwear is immense. Not only is it worn under the clothing it is often on display by younger men who wear the saggy pants look. Not every one's favorite look! Now fashionable underwear with comfort is available in all colors and designs. Some , like the square pants example, obviously designed for the man with a sense of humor!