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The great underwear debate


Stitched Up

Benjamen Judd looks at how clothes can make or break the modern day man.

View more entries from Stitched Up

Essential No-Show Brief, $21.99, 2(x)ist, Click for more photos

Men's underwear

Whether it is briefs, boxers or something in between, here are our picks for dressing your best underneath. 

Your guide to dressing dapper down under.

When it comes to style, most of the attention is paid to a man’s outward appearance.

It’s great if a guy has the means and inclination to make an effort, but it’s almost comical how many of us drop the ball once we peel off our $300 jeans - like offering a well-wrapped gift only to deliver an incredibly crappy present underneath.

So just be aware that if you’re single and ready to mingle, a pair of five-year-old, stained tighty whiteys isn’t going to make the best impression.

Of course it is also important for a man to feel comfortable down there. And while some guys are perfectly content with the undies their mum and gran send them on their birthday, the rest of us don’t want to spend one day in Rio, let alone five.

Here, then, are some things to consider when taking care of your packaging.

Most of us probably started out wearing the same brand and style as our dad. For me this meant a pair of good, ol’ Y-front briefs. Though the “easy access” exit to help out at the urinal is roughly 500 times more complex than just pulling them down, they’re a pretty solid foundation.

But, all jocks aren’t created equal. American Apparel, for example, cornered the market for a while there. With their simple, logo-less design and large array of colours it was a no-muss, no-fuss wonderland. Until you realised that they flat-pack your junk as if it’s made at IKEA. To protect the life of any future children I might have, I made the change to classic Bonds boxer briefs and never looked back.

Then there are also lucky undies, aka the ones you wear to a job interview or when you actually want to get lucky. I recommend a pair of Calvin Klein classic boxer briefs in grey marl. They’re a touch pricier but something about the stitching makes you look a bit manlier, irrespective of size.

Like exotic foods and drunken karaoke, there are many things you should try at least once in your life. After a friend waxed lyrical over his love for boxers, I decided to take them for a test drive. Though ultimately not for me, there are some pretty simple guidelines to follow.

First up is fabric. You might have received some “comical” silk or satin boxers as a gift and there is only one way to handle this: receive them with a smile and then throw them away once you are safely home.

Otherwise you might be tempted to put them on when you’ve run out of clean ones. If so, prepare yourself for a day of silently uncomfortable hell as you have your own private game of slip and slide. Not to mention that the humid Australian climate combined with satin and eight hours in the office does not a delicate bouquet make.

Instead, stick with cotton boxers and go with a block colour or check. And make sure they sit close to your body. You’ll still encounter some bunching issues if you wear them too big and you’ll have to stick your hands down your pants to sort out the issue, which looks mighty shady on public transport

I occasionally forgo briefs when I’m in between washes or too lazy to walk over to the drawer. There are those who suggest that it’s unhygienic and to them I say, I just showered, thank you very much, and it’s just a thin slip of fabric away from wearing boxers. Visually, steer clear of tight jeans, and know that going commando in trackies is akin to wearing no pants at all.

There is something far more important to consider if and when you decide to freeball – and that’s the zipper. Luckily, button-up jeans are pretty popular nowadays but if you’ve ever zipped up too quickly and gotten your bits caught up in the action, as I did one fateful day, you’ll be having some serious second thoughts.

What about you: Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to dressing the boys?

47 comments so far

  • I prefer a good old G-Banger myself... I train to the max and want peeps to see my hardwork when I wear a nice pair of fitted pants... Waletails don't bother me... Train hard, Go Hard, Be Hard!!!

    So Money
    Date and time
    April 13, 2012, 4:09PM
    • men like you make my bowels shift.

      Ms Anthropist
      Date and time
      April 13, 2012, 8:08PM
    • and here marks the actual moment when I got old - I have no idea what any of that means.

      Well except for the obvious ego thing!

      Date and time
      April 14, 2012, 10:55AM
    • Ahh, naked misandry. So how do you feel about women preoccupied with their own body image who wear flattering underwear? Is it "their body, their choice, their right?"

      So why are men who do the same to be ridiculed?

      The answer is that misandry - hatred of men- is so ubiquitous, we hardly notice it any more. Here we can see dual standards; what's OK for women is NOT OK for men.

      "Men like you" stereotypes broad swathes of men, in a way that similar stereotypes of women would be completely unacceptable. Ms Anthropist men are not women, they have testosterone coursing through their veins, and if So Money wants to feel good about himself in his own way, who is hurt? Who is demeaned? Who is threatened?

      Why the anger?

      But women are more equal than men?
      Date and time
      April 15, 2012, 1:34PM
    • I'm pretty sure (I hope) that So Money's response was meant to be humorous, as the g-bangers aren't given as an option. And it is! :-)
      If not, then probably somebody I'd be rather fascinated with from afar (and not in a good way).

      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 4:07PM
  • Mostly Bonds hipster or boxer trunks, in colours handpicked by the missus. There are a few fancier pairs in the drawer as well, CK's and Orotons and the like, but it's all much of a muchness to me (and, importantly, the missus).

    My shameful secret: I sometimes wear black running skins under my jeans, just above knee-length. The front porch is a bit snug, but the scaffolding does wonders 'round the back.

    Date and time
    April 13, 2012, 4:35PM
    • Just buy a pair of Spanx.

      Date and time
      April 13, 2012, 11:52PM
  • I've got all of the major groups of undies... briefs, trunks/boxer briefs and boxers. It all comes down to the mood really.

    Sometimes I wear boxer briefs, but only in colder weather. They seem to hold a lot of heat down below, so definitely a no go in summer! Seems like there's a big price premium for being fashionable too. Boxers can be really comfy, if the pants they're under aren't too tight. But there's the old bunching up problem. Some of mine are quite slim fitting, which works pretty well.

    Most days though I just wear normal briefs. Not some grandpa ones, but decent quality ones. Comfy, cool, good support... everything that's needed really. But then I'm pretty practical.

    South Yarra
    Date and time
    April 13, 2012, 4:38PM
    • Mens underwear with a difference? It's everywhere if you look around. Nice to see that guys at least have a choice these days. I've even seen some underwear for guys called lingerie!

      Date and time
      April 13, 2012, 4:44PM
      • While its nice to dress up with underwear...what really counts is the body underneath. Underwear adds don't feature the beer belly slob..So work on that before you add the touch of class?

        Ima Sponge.
        Armidale, N.S.W.
        Date and time
        April 13, 2012, 5:14PM

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