"I'll bet most women have a tendency to think all men’s underwear is pretty much the same.
Your guy likes boxers, so you buy him boxers. But not all boxers are the same. There are subtle differences like seam placement,
waistbands, stitching, cut, and most importantly, fabrics. Men know if they like a piece of underwear, but they may not know
exactly why. I’m going to explain some of the differences so you’ll know what to look for when buying men’s
Men's Underwear Features
Basically, there are 3 types of waistbands on men's underwear: (1)
the encased elastic waistband, (2) the sewn inside elastic waistband,
and (3) the sewn on (usually logo'd) elastic waistband.
The encased elastic waistband is found mostly on boxers. Like in
elastic-waisted pants, the boxer fabric is folded over at the waist
to create a casing. The elastic is threaded through the casing and
causes the boxer fabric to gather. This is a great solution for
men who are allergic to latex, sometimes found in elastic. However,
this waistband usually leaves vertical red imprints on the body.
Elastic can also be sewn inside the waistline of a boxer. This way,
the boxer looks like an encased waistband, but from the inside,
the elastic is exposed to the body. This style gives a smoother
feel against the skin and eliminates the vertical red imprint marks
on the body.
The sewn on elastic waistband is pretty much the norm now on briefs
and many other men's underwear styles. It's comfortable against
the body, leaves very little if any red marks, and provides a great
location for the manufacturer to brand his product. Several manufacturers
are also making their elastic waistbands with microfiber, or having
the inside brushed. This gives a softer feel to the body and even
greater comfort. At HisRoom, we give you waistband construction
information in our "Fitter's Comments" on every product.
Here's an interesting fact. Fewer than 20% of men actually use their
fly. That's right; the majority of men simply go up and over. A
few even go down and out. Thus the fly is more of a decoration than
a functional feature.
Regardless of whether it's used or not, a fly will always will be
a stock feature on men's boxers. Some have a center button or snap
on the fly. This helps to keep the fly closed, but in the case of
the Tommy Hilfiger
, it's a branding detail � all Tommy Hilfiger boxers have
a green button hole and a logo'd button.
Lately, the traditional brief has made quite a few changes to its
fly. More and more, the traditional double - layered cross - over
fly is disappearing. Initially invented by Jockey, this traditional
brief fly tends to flatten out natural contours and gives a man
no definition. A "contour pouch" is quickly replacing the old design.
This pouch actually provides more room, gives the man a more normal
silhouette, and provides comfortable support. The 2xist
has been given credit for popularizing this new brief
fly front. I've seen another new design approach to the traditional
brief cross - over closure in the Ted
- the "Y fly front." Basically, the opening is horizontal
instead of vertical. Our model loved this new design and many men
have become converts.
will almost always have a brief style fly treatment. This makes
sense when you think about it because both are made in a knit. There
are a few boxer briefs with a traditional boxer fly; however, the
fly has multiple buttons or snaps in order to ensure closure.
Recently, a lot of design changes have occurred between a man's,
well, ah� legs. For increased comfort and improved fit, HisRoom
is seeing less and less of the traditional intersecting of back,
front, and leg seams in the crotch area. Instead, gussets and panels
are becoming more popular, and are a whole lot more comfortable.
A gusset is a piece of fabric, generally in a diamond, rectangle
or triangle shape, inserted in a garment to allow for more space
and greater ease of movement. In men's underwear, the gusset appears
along and around the inseams. They not only provide an improved
fit, but allow the garment to have fewer seams. The underwear is
thus form - fitting and comfortable.
Inseams are also becoming shorter. Boxer briefs have been all the
rage. However, when their inseams are too long, the leg tends to
creep up and needs frequent adjusting throughout the day. This symptom
is particularly apparent on men with muscular thighs. Men who enjoy
the support of the boxer brief, but not the creeping are turning
to the new underwear style known as trunks. It's really a boxer
brief with a 1" - 2" inseam and looks like the swimming trunks worn
in the 50's. They are very flattering, don't creep, and their lines
do not show through pants.
The back seam (or absence of it) is a very important issue to most
men. Too short, and this seam will create a wedgy feeling. And,
many men just don't like sitting on top of a back seam all day.
There are a couple of solutions on the market. Many brands design
underwear without a back seam. They'll use a gusset design to shape
the garment instead. There's also a construction technique called
the 3 panel back seaming or balloon back. Basically, there are two
seams in the back that run down the center back of each leg. Zimmerli
uses this construction technique exclusively on all their woven
boxers. To see this, simply click on any of their back views.
This issue primarily concerns boxers and boxer briefs. Men want
freedom of movement without feeling that their stride is limited,
or that their underwear legs need to be constantly adjusted.
Men know that running in boxers just doesn't work - the boxer leg
binds them from reaching a running stride. However, for everyday
wear, a boxer leg can be perfectly comfortable without binding.
, look for boxers with plackets or slits on the side.
These slits are usually 1 1/2" � 2" tall. Men with well - developed
thighs should not only look for plackets, but also boxers with front
pleats. These pleats give even more leg room. And, of course, don't
overlook the popular knit boxers. Though they rarely come with side
plackets, the fact that they are knit allows the boxer to stretch.
Many wearers of woven boxers have switched to knit
simply because they are more comfortable.
When it comes to leg openings on boxer briefs, men have found there
is a delicate balance. Too tight, and the leg will keep creeping
up your leg and need to be adjusted throughout the day. Too loose,
and you'll feel like you have less support. If the boxer brief is
all cotton with no elastic around the legs, this boxer brief will
be stretched out at the end of the day. It simply won't look as
nice as it did in the morning. The secret is to find a boxer brief
with a little elastic in the leg hem. This elastic should be just
enough to be form fitting, but not too tight so that it will creep
up as you stand and sit throughout the day. Boxer briefs with a
little elastic will also look better on you at the end of the day.
Cin2 designer, Gregory Sovell, has given a lot of thought to this
issue. He feels his boxer briefs have just the right mix. However,
Sovell cautions that men with well-developed thighs will probably
always have issues with boxer briefs. Thus they really should look
at wearing a brief because the leg opening is not an issue in the
Here's an interesting and rather whimsical fact about jock straps.
The size of the cup gets larger as you go up in waistband size.
This, of course, makes no sense because there is absolutely no correlation
between a man's waist size and the size of his package. So, why
does the industry do this? Well I spoke with several jock manufacturers
and all confirmed this sizing to be the industry practice. Why?
Because men are unwilling to assign a cup size to their "package."
Women do it all the time with breast size, but men simply won't.
So, fit men with an admirable package must either get a jock with
too big a waistband, or one with too small a cup. At least, now
you know how a jock's cup is sized.
The length of a man's t-shirt should be around 3" below his pant's
belt line and not exceed the bottom of his pants fly. Any longer
(see image: left
), and there is just too much to tuck in. Any shorter,
and his t-shirt will keep un-tucking.
This sounds simple, but it's hard to hit exactly for the obvious
reason that men come in different heights. Adding to this issue
is the fact that men buy t-shirts too big thinking they will shrink�
but they don't. At HisRoom, we tell you in the fabric content whether
a cotton item is Sanforized. If it is, that means the cotton fabric
of that garment has gone through a patented process and the cotton
will shrink no more than 1%. Most quality t-shirts are Sanforized.
The solution here is to find a t-shirt of the correct length (see
), and then measure its side seam. HisRoom gives you
the side seam measurement in the Fitter's Comments section of each
t-shirt. So, when you go to buy a new t-shirt, look for Sanforized
and a side seam within an inch or two of your ideal side length
and you'll have the right t-shirt length.
Have you noticed in stores how they're able to display t-shirts
with a single rod threaded through the sleeves? They hang perfectly...
like a flag. Well a t-shirt made like that only looks good on scarecrows.
We humans don't walk around with our arms held out. We generally
have them resting at our sides. A t-shirt cut so that it hangs straight
on a rod will have a bunched look under the arms and a goofy kind
of flap jetting out from your arm. These are poorly made and unflattering
t-shirts because their sleeves are not shaped with a cap, but rather
are nothing more than a rectangle-shaped sleeve piece sewn around
If you want to look good in a t-shirt, buy one with a cap sleeve.
James Dean and Marlin Brando both wore t-shirts with cap sleeves.
How can you tell if the t-shirt has a cap sleeve? Lay the t-shirt
flat. If the sleeves point directly away from the body, this is
not a cap sleeve. If the sleeves angle down towards the sides of
the t-shirt, they have a cap sleeve.
T-shirt/undershirt sleeves should also be form fitting. If they
are too wide, they won't lay nicely under a dress shirt. The best
sleeve length for a t-shirt is mid to upper biceps. A form-fitting
cap sleeve that comes mid-biceps is the most flattering sleeve you
The trend in men's underwear is that it be attractive and show off
a man's physique. Apparently, this message has not made its way
to everyone because most men are running around in underwear too
large for them.
Men's underwear should fit the body without binding or bagging,
regardless of a man's size. Underwear that binds is uncomfortable.
But baggy underwear can be just as bad. Too big, and you have too
much fabric to tuck in and arrange. It can also feel hot and create
a lumpy look. Don't buy underwear too big assuming it will shrink.
Underwear today is cut to fit and will not shrink wash after wash.
So, look at yourself in the mirror while wearing your underwear.
I'll bet you could go down at least one size and look better. And,
the woman in your life will think you look great.
I've saved the most important feature in men's underwear for last
� the fabric. Feel is probably the most important criterion for
most men - underwear needs to be soft. This is why most men's underwear
is made in high-quality cotton with long fibers. The softest highest
quality cottons are pima cotton, supima cotton and Egyptian cotton.
Microfiber is another very soft fabric for men's underwear. Microfiber
is man-made and is thinner than silk (the thinnest natural fiber
you can find). And, the thinner the fiber, the softer the fabric.
Often, microfibers have wicking properties built into them as well.
This means that the fabric is not only soft, but wicks moisture
away from the body, and dries quickly. Some elastic waistbands on
men's underwear are made from microfiber, including styles from
They're very soft and feel great against a man's skin.
HisRoom goes to great effort to list comprehensive fabric contents for each garment. This can be found in one of the tabs on
each product's page.