By Preston Blackburn
Billions of dollars are spent every year in order to keep our most prized possessions protected. It’s not enough to just rely on the decency of man, for we have created highly effective security systems, intelligent enough to outsmart any common citizen in an effort to protect what matters most. However, sparkling diamonds, ancient artifacts, and century old documents are not the only things that need protection. One can argue that the most precious jewels that need airtight security is attached right onto the human body, more specifically, the human male body. Men’s undergarments have taken many forms throughout the years; an industry creating the boxer, the brief, and God’s greatest gift to man, the boxer brief, has catapulted into a money making juggernaut, making the protection of men’s…eer…most sensitive area their top priority.
From the days of Adam and Eve, coverage became a very important part of attempting to remain decent. At the time, the fig leaf did the job however, that didn’t provide any support and I can’t imagine accidentally getting into some poison ivy. We then fast forward to the loincloth which was just a small piece of leather that hung loosely from the waist. The codpiece was the next to emerge, completely surrounding the body with closures down the front that made it easier for men to relieve themselves without taking off all their clothes. Around the 1920s, men were wearing long, flannel drawers that stopped at the knee. They gave protection from their outer garments as well as much needed support. Eventually as fashion changed, the desire for more breathing room became apparent mainly in sports. Jacob Golomb, founder of the boxing equipment company Everlast, decided to create underwear that mimicked the loose fit of the shorts that the boxers wore. Not surprisingly, boxers were not an instant hit. And it wasn’t until after WWII that they began to compete with the classic brief (Boxer, Brief, or Loincloth).
Concurrently, men’s underwear was about to change forever due to the innovative ideas of Arthur Kniebler (Knee-bler). In 1934, Kniebler received a postcard with a man on the front dressed in a white, one piece bikini style bathing suit. After a lot of experimentation, Arthur created the snug, legless brief that offered a high level of support. This brief became known as the jockey or “tighty whitey” (Boxer, Brief, or Loincloth). In the 1970’s and ‘80s, underwear began to become more fashionable with brands like Calvin Klein giving a fresh take on the classic piece. And eventually, the boxer brief hit the shelves giving the wearer the best of both worlds.
It’s safe to assume that underwear has become a staple in most men’s everyday attire. Whether you’re looking for support or looking to just hang free, briefs and boxers have evolved to a place where “packaging the package” is no longer uncharted territory. Protection is ultimately what every man wants and with all the new options available, how could he resist the need to make his own…err…jewels sparkle.
Trex, E. Boxers, briefs or loincloth? a brief history of men’s underwear. August 5, 2013. http://mentalfloss.com/article/22897/boxers-briefs-or-loincloth-brief-history-mens-underwear