"If you have a skinny waist and slight frame then girl boxers may be a fun fashion experiment, but for the majority of curvy and pear-shaped women, use your boyfriend as your canvas"
Since the Garden of Eden, male underwear has been a fashion statement. It’s been a wild and rocky journey too, from the rather perverse chausses that Chaucer might have sported right up to and through the epic 1950s invention of nylon. It’s the last barrier in the bedroom before sex, boxer shorts guard the golden tools from which the concept of ego first sprung.
Why is it then that so many men today still wear frumpy and sacrilegious pants acquired in five-packs from the market? Surely they saw a Mark Wahlberg ad at least once as a young man, or paid a tiny bit of attention to the rise and rise of Calvin Klein? Sadly it seems the onus is on Eve to be the impetus of Adam’s underwear, but thankfully it’s an exciting market…
To the fashion follower boxer shorts are an essential commodity. Like eau de toilette, they offer a way to buy into a fashion house that usually they cannot budget. Especially with an increase in low waist trousers and jeans, a flashing glimpse of a certain name strapped around his pelvis can make a huge impression.
Calvin Klein’s ivory tower was somewhat rattled when Bjorn Borg launched an exotic line of pants in that looked bound to win, game, set and match. Soon enough, CK launched their own collections of neon geometric designs and louder lettering. Last year, Borg surpassed Klein as Sweden’s biggest underwear label. Whether Borg can keep his boxers in the box, or if the CK empire will strike back remains to be seen. What we do know, is that pants are a big deal.
For the sexually confident stallion, we have Domenico and Stefano to thank power-dressing the scene, challenging the boundaries of masculinity and rocking the yacht by dedicating metres of billboard space to men on men, with men, in pants.
For a sincere and intelligent look, choose Emporio Armani in coal, or truly English gent will prefer Paul Smith.
The more sexy and light-hearted man is catered for by aussieBum who offer a spectrum of beach-inspired designer pants, ranging from fun items like the Hipster Pirate, or the nightclub friendly Glo series in melon, strawberry and pineapple. They also have retro designs, a popular purchase this summer being the lifeguard homage Spin series.
Since 2005 Topman and H&M have really injected underwear consciousness into young male teens, with hundreds of pulsating colours and barmy pattern ideas like crosswords or Pacman, the fashion industry knows all too well that these boys are going to grow up to be pants-mad.
The teenage demographic today is a very sexually liberated one. The Skins generation, as led by Nicholas Hoult. They are no strangers to party nudity, as promoted by Ryan McGinley, American Apparel and Vice magazine. Heavily affected by the 80s comebacks of recent years, they are committed to fashion, yet they are much more prone to partial nudity, and so we can hereby understand why boxer shorts embody the pinnacle of male cool.
Of course the girl-boxer is a concept that never quite took off, with the exception of a Camden market indie blip and the infantile followers of Jack Wills, but what it does prove is that women have a heightened interest in the male undieworld. If you have a skinny waist and slight frame then girl boxers may be a fun fashion experiment, but for the majority of curvy and pear-shaped women, use your boyfriend as your canvas.
In a fashion climate where masculine ideals are stretched to be increasingly effeminate and yet paradoxically defined by physical strength and prowess, underwear is an important area for your man’s identity to flourish.
Intelligence, power, humour, sex, wealth. The right pair of boxer shorts can say it all. In these environmentally aware times, switch of that tumble dryer and compliment the apple-blossom in your garden with a washing line of beautiful male underwear.
Above: Charge of the pants brigade. The Victorian gents preferred more room in their pants, as not to over accentuate the sexual organs, and consequently feed the lower mind.
Below: Gucci aren't using the naked buttocks of a male model to sell their underwear. Of course not. They just want to make sure their customers read the washing guidelines on the inside label with utmost care.
For those of you who found this article by searching for male underwear on Google, this blog The Jack of Hearts is written by Jack Cullen. Fashion is one of its major limbs, alongside TV criticism, pop music and media.