Boxers or briefs? This question about the best men's underwear choice has been asked a million times – and a million men probably have a slightly different answer! Deadgoodundies sets out to unravel the difference between boxers and briefs (and boxer briefs), tackle the questions of comfort, support and styles, AND identify the best shapes, fabrics and colours for 2019.
What more could a man ask?
Well, he might question which design is better for slim gents, larger thighs, or guys who need more room in the pouch. He may wonder whether he should choose cotton or silk, modal or microfibre. He will definitely ask about leg length on boxer shorts and tighter trunk style maxi briefs.
Boxer, boxer brief or brief – what’s the difference?
BOXER - traditionally the term 'boxer' was referred to a loose fitting, woven fabric boxer short with plenty of air between body and fabric. Boxer is used more generally now and loose-fits as boxer shorts.
BRIEFS - as the name suggests are tighter and tinier… Also known as slips and male bikinis, briefs range from minuscule micro and mini underpants to midi shapes with more fabric covering the body.
BOXER BRIEFS – a hybrid between baggy boxers and tighty whities once known as maxi undies. Think boxy short, a trunk shape echoing the fit of snug men's swimwear, or the same fit with a slightly longer leg. BUT while originally 'boxer brief' was used for designs with a longer leg, offering more thigh cover, today it tends to refer to any deep sided brief that fits close to the body. Today's stretch fabrics, from cotton to silky microfibre and modal, ensure these undies guarantee masculine support, comfort and a flattering shape.
SHORTS and TRUNKS – for DGU boxer SHORTS are those looser-fitting men's underwear products that hang against the body rather than close up. TRUNKS is another word, borrowed from male swimwear, for short-legged boxer briefs.
• Traditional boxer experts appreciate the looser fit of the Doreanse 1505 100% Cotton Boxer Short (£15.00) with a functioning, discreet, no-button fly.
• Jockey's Air Brief (2 pack £18.00) comes in a silky fabric in black, white or navy.
• HOM's patented horizontal opening features on their best selling cotton-modal HOM HO1 Boxer Brief (£26.00).
BOXERS? For Deadgoodundies' customers, loose or looser fitting boxer shorts have a limited appeal. This category of men's underwear represents the smallest proportion of overall sales online at DGU. But they still have a place as favourites for sleeping, relaxing around the house and for guys who prefer to 'hang free' and want total freedom of movement. The potential drawbacks with boxers are that they can bunch up under other clothes, inadvertently reveal more than you intend, and offer minimal support where it matters.
BRIEFS? Narrow or deep-sided, the right briefs look and feel wonderful, provide admirable support and containment, and work especially well for sport and other energetic activities. Some men worry that briefs will grip and chafe, but the right size and shape will hug and protect.
BOXER BRIEFS? These really can offer the best of both worlds – good coverage and support combined, at whatever level you prefer. Depending on choice of fabric and design features, such as a lined or unlined pouch, shorter or longer leg length, and features such as breathability or a rear seam, boxer briefs can be perfect for under a tailored suit, casual for weekends with jeans, fine and silky or substantial. Some brands even cater for gents who need more room around the thigh or up front!
So… Is it better to wear boxers or briefs – and why wear boxer briefs? Which men's underwear is better for you? Possibly all three, because it's not just boxers vs. briefs!
DGU say a man's reasons for choosing a particular style are very individual. But the result should answer all these questions: (a) is this underwear comfortable? (b) does it fit well so I don't have to keep readjusting? (c) does it provide the right support? (d) will it make me feel good too? And finally - will it end up at the back of my undies drawer, or will I put this boxer or brief straight on again when it's back from the wash?
BENEFITS (THE GOOD BITS)
Q: Which fabric is most comfortable?
A: In all three shapes, brief, boxer brief or boxer, choice of fabric is personal and environmental… Men must choose materials that feel good against their skin and work the way they need. For example staying cool and comfortable, and, above all, fitting well. Many men's underpants have flexibility built in to cater for different body shapes and movement. Others, especially luxury options like silk, sheers or lace, fit like a second skin and must be ordered carefully.
Q: Do technical fabrics really work?
A: Cotton remains king as the standard go-to choice for hot weather (and hot bodies) but many brands also offer designs using high tech yarns that will allow the body to cool by wicking away sweat – or actually change the way they work, warming or cooling to keep your personal environment steadily comfortable!
Q: How important is it to choose the right size and shape?
A: Essential to avoid rolling, chafing, bunching, sweating, squeezing, gripping and squashing in all the wrong places. If boxers and especially boxer briefs and briefs are designed to fit tight, don't be shy about buying up a size. Deadgoodundies has individual size guides for each brand because their sizing can be very different, some use exact waist measurements for each size or a range 'to fit', such as 32-34 waist.
Q: Waistband – deep, narrow or none?
A: Men have strong feelings about the presence and depth of waistbands on their underwear. Many prefer the security of a deep band of elastic and the banner this forms for their favourite brand name. Others like the look and feel of a covered waistband - here the body fabric of the briefs or boxers encases the waist elastic, which tends to be shallower. Some guys avoid waistbands altogether, a choice almost exclusively possible in briefs.
NO-NOs – DON'T DO THIS!
• DON'T wear boxers or briefs that squeeze your balls – and if you're keen to boost your fertility potential, it pays to keep testicles cooler in looser undies
• DON'T keep wearing men's underpants when the waistband is frayed, flared or remains folded when they come out of the wash, they’re just past it!
• DON'T wear exactly the same shape/colour/fabric every day – learn to enjoy different designs for different purposes. Pants for the gym aren't always the right ones for date night as well…
A QUESTION OF COLOUR…
Some men are devoted to one style of male underwear, always in the same colour, often from the same brand. But even a slight shift can open up a whole new world of enjoyment, if they dare…
• Swap black boxers or briefs for grey or dark navy (they can go in the wash with the original black underwear, no problem).
• If they MUST be your favourite colour, swap totally plain fabric for a 'self-pattern' like stripes or jacquard which add a bit of flair (and still go in the same wash!).
• White is hard to beat, so try a different shape, treat yourself to luxury underwear once in a while, and ALWAYS bin anything past its whitest best.
• Cotton only – hard to give up, but men who like the feel of pure cotton could be tempted by cotton-modal mix fabrics which feel much the same, and better!
• Do you wear the same again and again out of habit, preference or just laziness – if you've not worn something different for more than two years you could be missing out. Your crown jewels will thank you for the change.
Q: How do you decide what is the best length boxer brief to wear?
A: It's totally personal, depending on the circumference of your thighs and how much material you like, or need, against your skin. Several men's underwear brands produce boxer briefs with different leg lengths, which is a dream come true for guys who have a specific look in mind. Boxer briefs in the maxi/trunk shape fit just onto the top of the leg, while others stretch 3-6-9 inches down the thigh. Much longer cycle length shorts will cover the top half of the thigh, occasionally even closer to the knee. Look out for sportier designs offering more leg cover and cooling fabrics to avoid overheating. DGU's product descriptions point out specific features for each product, especially inside leg length, which is approximate depending on personal fit.
Q: Which pouch is the ideal shape on a boxer brief or a brief?
A: Single layered or lined, shaped to enhance or totally smooth and subtle, again the pouch is an individual preference. But bear in mind that for extra support, two layers are better than one, some ergonomic men's underwear has a clever pouch that allows a gent to dress up, down or either side, and the right seaming can make all the difference. Briefs by their nature contain and control genitals in an easily recognisable way, while boxer briefs can be a simple, supportive shape or have a patented pouch created for maximum comfort. Guys who like more capacity up front, want to make the most of what nature gave them, or even minimise any 'prominence' can find something for them on DGU. There are even designs from the new brand Cut 4 Men that can house a special pad that not only forms the perfect shape but avoids wet spots.
Deadgoodundies has something for everyone…
• Obviously for Men cater for gents who need more room in the thigh and pouch with the PrimeMan AnatoMAX Trunk (£23.50) - 11 options, including plains and striped Lenzing modal.
• Cut for Men's luxury cotton underwear including the C4M Brief (£26.00) can house a bespoke pad (£8.00 - sold separately) to guarantee ultimate shape and support.
• Ergowear's FEEL Modal Brief (£19.00) is popular because the fabric is superb, but also because the ergonomic design creates a 'nest' that lifts genitals.