Is That a Codpiece in your Pants, or Are you Just Happy to See Me?

By: Rachel Dean

Surprisingly, leather underwear didn’t start with porn Rachel1stars or people that wanted to hear their nether regions squeak. Actually, leather underwear began almost 7,000 years ago when man used it to cover himself. These loincloths were used until the Middle Ages rolled around when “braies” took their place. Braies were like loose-fitting pants made from linen that ran all the way down to the mid-calf. Unfortunately, they required a lot of unnecessary effort like tying them at the waist and shins. Bathroom trips could never be spontaneous until the “codpiece” was invented. The codpiece used buttons, snaps, and ties and was used to allow men to urinate without having to spend 30 minutes disrobing.  Wetting yourself after one too many drinks would hopefully come to an end.

Rachel2As clothing became short, decorating your crotch became a priority. Padding your codpiece wasn’t just a sign that your insecurity lied directly between your thighs, but it was also very stylish after Henry VIII started the trend.  The Victorian Era until the 1930s was all about knee-length flannel “drawers” with matching undershirts. Cute. In the 1930s there finally came a bit more diversity in men’s underwear; the introduction of boxers and briefs. Jacob Golomb, founder of Everlast boxing equipment, began the movement of developing underwear similar to men’s boxing shorts – hence the term, “boxers.” Obviously he replaced giant leather belts with an elastic band on account of…well, it’s just not practical. Since we’re on the topic of practical, some men didn’t find the support they needed from boxers, however. Who can blame them? It’s a hard transition from skin-tight flannels to your junk flailing all over the place.

As luck would have it, designer Arthur Kneibler received a postcard from France with aRachel3 man on the cover in a bikini style swimsuit.  Kneibler knew this would give the kind of support, ease, and practicality most men were in search for. The term “tighty-whities” came after they were originally dubbed “jockey shorts.”

On January 19, 1935 Kneibler’s store, Coopers, took the jockey shorts to the department store Marshall Fields in Chicago to see if the product would sell.   On the first day, all 600 pairs of jockey shorts sold out and they sold 30,000 more within the first three months.  By 1971, Coopers changed the name of their company to “Jockey” due to the overwhelming success and popularity.

Moving into the 1980s and 1990s, underwear became more than just a necessity, it was fashion. Calvin Klein made headlines, made millions, and made people pass out with his raunchy underwear ads. Now we see underwear designed after TV shows, movies, holidays, and pretty much every major comic book character. Underwear has come from a piece of leather to protect men’s disco sticks from catching on fire, to an item seen as fashionable. With respect to Kneibler’s tighty-whities, I think I’ll take the new, sleeker designs for my man.

A Leaf for your Brief

By Preston Blackburn

Picture4Billions 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.

Picture1From 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).Picture3

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.

Picture2It’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.