In the world of men's underwear there is one design that has stood the test of time for nearly 85 years. Y-Fronts have outlasted fashion fads, outsold mimics and outlived critics. Not that there have been many.

Jockey's Y-Fronts hit the ground running, selling 30,000 pairs of male briefs in 90 days when they were launched in 1935. Today 'Jockey' and 'Y-Front' mean men's underwear to many gents around the world.

These classic, practical, thoroughly comfortable male underpants have never strayed far from the original incorporating the famous Y – a reference to the front opening design which also provides additional support.

Generation after generation of gents have worn and loved Y-Fronts ever since, says Deadgoodundies' Adam Davies: "To many men they are 'proper' underpants and many of our customers wouldn't dream of wearing anything else. They're made from breathable pure or stretch cotton, and the Y-Front works on anything from a midi or maxi brief for men to longer leg shapes we now call boxer briefs, all the way to traditional long johns."

A BRIEF HISTORY

Launched in the depths of a freezing winter in Chicago, Y-Fronts were a new innovation, offering men briefer underwear with more support and 'hold'. These pants were first sold in the UK in Simpsons of Piccadilly in 1938, and in 1948 each member of the British Olympic team was presented with a pair of Y-Fronts. From day one they sold in their thousands and the rest, as they say, is history.

The classic looks of Y front underwear for men might make this a safe choice in male briefs, boxer briefs and long pants, but over the years Jockey have added colour and updated the elastic waistband. Original white in smooth or finely ribbed cotton has been joined by black, navy blue, even sky blue, and in addition to single packs, there are now multipacks offering identical or varied colours.

The Jockey brand has also echoed the practicality of their original in annual fashion collections featuring modern takes on the Y in briefs and shorts with a fly. This is a side opening providing the same right-hand access and support.

Adam has one regret about men's Y fronts for DGU…

"Years ago Jockey created a brilliant line of Y-Fronts called Retro. They used the familiar design but in bright colours like orange, pink and red with a white waistband and Y trim. Our customers loved vintage inspired retro y fronts and when the range was discontinued we bought as much stock as we could, but sadly they have never been repeated."

Jockey Y-Fronts remain the underwear of choice for generations of men around the world. The look is epitomised by the pure cotton Jockey Classic 2100 Y-Front Brief which DGU stocks in two options: £7.50 for waists 32-44 in black, white, grey, navy and azure blue or £10.00 for waists 46-60 in black, white or grey. There is also a DGU best selling 3-pack at £18.00, offered in four colour combinations.

 

The Y-Front collection includes an unusual option – the three quarter, calf length Jockey Spurt 100% Cotton Y-Front Over Knee Long John at £17.00 for sizes M-XL. In pure cotton, in white, navy, grey marl or steel blue, they are popular for gents who want breathable but warm long pants for working outdoors, winter sports or even under a suit, but don't want fabric right down to their ankles. There is of course also a full length 100% cotton men's long john in the same colours, plus black, at £17.50.

 

Today Jockey offer a sporty, longer leg boxer brief for men with the classic opening. There's a brilliant retro ecru ribbed option in the Jockey Classic Cotton Rib Y-Front Midway Brief (£16.50 for sizes S-4XL), or midway male shorts in the Classic 2100 (£11.00) and Spurt (£11.50) ranges. This pure cotton mid-thigh style adds the y front to a very popular shape with more leg cover.

And for a more modern take on the traditional Y-Fronts look, there's the Jockey Spurt 100% Cotton Y-Front Brief, £9.00 a pair in pure cotton, in black, white, navy, grey marl or steel blue for waist sizes S-XXL. These look a little different because the y front is shallower and the waistband has a fashionable stripe.