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Anatomy of men’s underwear – briefs

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This explains the various features of men’s underwear or briefs like fabric, waistband, the elastic, the fly, inseam, gusset, back seam, leg opening, Jock cups etc.

This explains the various features of men’s underwear or briefs like fabric, waistband, the elastic, the fly, inseam, gusset, back seam, leg opening, Jock cups etc.

Features of men’s underwear

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  • Waistband

    Basically, there are 3 types of waistbands on men’s underwear:

    1. the encased elastic waistband,
    2. the sewn inside the elastic waistband, and
    3. the sewn on (usually logoed) elastic waistband.

    The encased elastic waistband is found mostly in boxers. Like in elastic-waisted pants, the boxer fabric is folded over at the waist to create a casing. The elastic is threaded through the casing and causes the boxer fabric to gather. This is a great solution for men who are allergic to latex, sometimes found inelastic. However, this waistband usually leaves vertical red imprints on the body.

    Elastic can also be sewn inside the waistline of a boxer. This way, the boxer looks like an encased waistband, but from the inside, the elastic is exposed to the body. This style gives a smoother feel against the skin and eliminates the vertical red imprint marks on the body.

    The sewn on the elastic waistband is pretty much the norm now on briefs and many other men’s underwear styles. It’s comfortable against the body, leaves very little if any red marks, and provides a great location for the manufacturer to brand his product. Several manufacturers are also making their elastic waistbands with microfiber or having the inside brushed. This gives a softer feel to the body and even greater comfort.

  • The Fly

    Here’s an interesting fact. Fewer than 20% of men actually use their fly. That’s right; the majority of men simply go up and over. A few even go down and out. Thus the fly is more of a decoration than a functional feature. Regardless of whether it’s used or not, a fly will always be a stock feature on men’s boxers. Some have a centre button or snap on the fly.

    This helps to keep the fly closed. Lately, the traditional brief has made quite a few changes to its flight. More and more, the traditional double – layered cross – overfly is disappearing. Initially invented by Jockey, this traditional brief fly tends to flatten out natural contours and gives a man no definition. A “contour pouch” is quickly replacing the old design. This pouch actually provides more room, gives the man a more normal silhouette, and provides comfortable support.

    Boxer briefs and trunks will almost always have a brief style fly treatment. This makes sense when you think about it because both are made in a knit. There are a few boxer briefs with a traditional boxer fly; however, the fly has multiple buttons or snaps in order to ensure closure.

  • Inseam

    Recently, a lot of design changes have occurred between a man’s, inseam legs. For increased comfort and improved fit, there is less and less of the traditional intersecting of back, front, and leg seams in the crotch area. Instead, gussets and panels are becoming more popular, and are a whole lot more comfortable

  • Gusset

    A gusset is a piece of fabric, generally in a diamond, rectangle or triangle shape, inserted in a garment to allow for more space and greater ease of movement. In men’s underwear, the gusset appears along and around the inseams. They not only provide an improved fit but allow the garment to have fewer seams. The underwear is thus formed – fitting and comfortable.

    Inseams are also becoming shorter. Boxer briefs have been all the rage. However, when their inseams are too long, the leg tends to creep up and needs frequent adjusting throughout the day. This symptom is particularly apparent in men with muscular thighs. Men who enjoy the support of the boxer brief, but not the creeping are turning to the new underwear style known as trunks. It’s really a boxer brief with a 1″ – 2″ inseam and looks like the swimming trunks worn in the ’50s. They are very flattering, don’t creep, and their lines do not show through pants.

  • Back Seam

    The back seam (or absence of it) is a very important issue to most men. Too short, and this team will create a wedgy feeling. And, many men just don’t like sitting on top of a back seat all day. There are a couple of solutions on the market. Many brands design underwear without a back seam. They’ll use a gusset design to shape the garment instead. There’s also a construction technique called the 3 panel back seaming or balloon back. Basically, there are two seams in the back that run down the centre back of each leg

  • Leg Openings

    This issue primarily concerns boxers and boxer briefs. Men want freedom of movement without feeling that their stride is limited, or that their underwear legs need to be constantly adjusted. Men know that running in boxers just don’t work – the boxer leg binds them from reaching a running stride. However, for everyday wear, a boxer leg can be perfectly comfortable without binding.

    For woven boxers, look for boxers with plackets or slits on the side. These slits are usually 1 1/2″ ? 2″ tall. Men with well – developed thighs should not only look for packets but also boxers with front pleats. These pleats give even more leg room. And, of course, don’t overlook the popular knit boxers. Though they rarely come with side plackets, the fact that they are knit allows the boxer to stretch. Many wearers of woven boxers have switched to knit boxers simply because they are more comfortable.

    When it comes to leg openings on boxer briefs, men have found there is a delicate balance. Too tight, and the leg will keep creeping up your leg and need to be adjusted throughout the day. Too loose, and you’ll feel like you have less support. If the boxer brief is all cotton with no elastic around the legs, this boxer brief will be stretched out at the end of the day.

    It simply won’t look as nice as it did in the morning. The secret is to find a boxer brief with a little elastic in the leg hem. This elastic should be just enough to be form-fitting, but not too tight so that it will creep up as you stand and sit throughout the day. Boxer briefs with a little elastic will also look better on you at the end of the day. One should really look at wearing a brief because the leg opening is not an issue in the brief style.

  • Jock Cups

    Here’s an interesting and rather whimsical fact about jock straps. The size of the cup gets larger as you go up in waistband size. This, of course, makes no sense because there is absolutely no correlation between a man’s waist size and the size of his package. So, why does the industry do this? Well, I spoke with several jock manufacturers and all confirmed this sizing to be the industry practice. Why? Because men are unwilling to assign a cup size to their “package.” Women do it all the time with breast size, but men simply won’t. So, fit men with an admirable package must either get a jock with too big a waistband, or one with too small a cup. At least, now you know how a jock’s cup is sized.

  • Silhouette

    The trend in men’s underwear is that it be attractive and show off a man’s physique. Men’s underwear should fit the body without binding or bagging, regardless of a man’s size. Underwear that binds is uncomfortable. But baggy underwear can be just as bad. Too big, and you have too much fabric to tuck in and arrange. It can also feel hot and create a lumpy look. Don’t buy underwear too big assuming it will shrink. Underwear today is cut to fit and will not shrink wash after wash. So, look at yourself in the mirror while wearing your underwear. You could go down at least one size and look better.

  • Fabric

    The fabric is the most important feature in men’s underwear. Feel is probably the most important criterion for most men – underwear needs to be soft. This is why most men’s underwear is made of high-quality cotton with long fibres. The softest highest quality cotton is Pima cotton, Supima cotton, and Egyptian cotton. Microfiber is another very soft fabric for men’s underwear.

    Microfiber is man-made and is thinner than silk (the thinnest natural fibre you can find). And, the thinner the fibre, the softer the fabric. Often, microfibers have wicking properties built into them as well. This means that the fabric is not only soft, but wicks moisture away from the body, and dries quickly. Some elastic waistbands on men’s underwear are made from microfiber. They’re very soft and feel great against a man’s skin.

Men’s Underwear Fitting Standards

Some Standard Underwear fitting is as follows:

 Fitting Description
Contoured Form-fitting, meant to hug the body; usually a
stretch knit fabric.
Relaxed More loose fitting; usually a woven cotton fabric.

Standard Men’s Brief sizes

Waist 28″-30″ 32″-34″ 36″-38″ 40″-42″ 44″-46″ 48″-50″ 52″-54″ 56″-68″
  1. Dan says

    It’s true about the jock cup thing. It can get a little annoying. I prefer a classic brief because I just tend to like my legs exposed and am a slimmer dude. I’m a 30-32 waist (jeans 30)and most of the time I have to buy at least size 34 to get the package size comfortable. I’m only a little above average in the package area. Sometimes I even have to get up into the size 36. Wearing size 36-38 as we speak in a bikini with contoured pouch. In a way this makes sense though because if the average waist size in United States by measurement is around 40” this means that guy can likely fit into a generous size large underwear as a size 40” waist by measurement will be a sz 38 in men’s bottoms US sizing. This translates to a sz “large” jock cup, and it’s better to have more room than less. That can get really annoying though in 100% cotton underwear especially if there is a seam and your junk is moving around across a seam. Also a cup slightly too small for a man’s package in 100% cotton jersey is generally ok, as overtime it will accommodate him after some wearing. Modal in general is terrible fabric for underwear unless it is compact. The dryer absolutely destroys modal overtime and it looks and feels like absolute garbage quickly, especially in men’s underwear as we experience more abrasion and the fabric for the averages man’s pants is abrasive. Exposed seams in the crotch of underwear is a big no no, especially in a traditional boxer as your offered no support and just hanging free. For a boxer brief I can wear a medium 32-34 though, as the space that is created between the thigh and groin area generates a ton of space and stretch. especially as the day progresses and the fabric starts to give.The fiber the gauge and the longer the fiber length typically makes for way better underwear. Although thin underwear made of cheap lightweight cotton knit jersey can actually be surprisingly comfortable due to the breathability and effortless stretch and “invisible” feel due to the fabric weight.

  2. Tommy says

    I have always thought of this as a “pee drop” catcher. 🕥😉

  3. Jill Risdon says

    On reading descriptions of men’s pants some say ‘closed’ pants. What does this mean? Surely it cannot mean that there is not a flap to free the penis when he needs to have a pee?

  4. Laura Price says

    I am making my first pair of men’s briefs and am trying to learn about the best way to design a well-fitting pair. You’ve offered some great information. Thank you! I’m wondering if briefs typically contain elastic at the leg openings, or are they simply sewn with a coverstitch for the hem? I’m not sure if elastic would help the brief stay in place better, or if it would feel restrictive on the body or leave unwanted lines.

  5. Deirdra Rocha says

    Underwear makers are starting to put what I think is called the “gusset” going all the way up the under. Even if it is halfway, it’s not for everyone. I have 4 boys and 2 of them HATE it! They absolutely can’t wear the underwear if it has the stitching down the front of the under. It causes irritation so I hope this isn’t the direction the underwear companies are going. Please offer both options! 🙏 I am having a hard time finding boxer briefs without it and even #Hanes is going in that direction.

    1. Deirdra Rocha says

      Please pass this information on so that consumers have an option. I beg of you and my sons would really appreciate it!🙏

  6. Junk UnderJeans says

    Very interesting technical look at mens underwear. I appreciate this as a manufacturer and seller

  7. James Anderson says

    I love this blog. You really put a lot of efforts in this blog. I am wearing men’s brief for many years. I brought most of them from danielalexanderunderwear.com. I love men’s brief because it is very much comfortable and supportive to wear.

  8. Manna Den says

    This blog states everything about men’s brief. Well, here I am a happy customer for men’s brief. Men’s brief underwear is the definition of comfort and coziness. I have bought it from bebrief.com.

    1. Victor Valdez says

      ⁹I love wearing Doubleback seat briefs from Tiger Underwear.net, These briefs are so soft and fit nice,and will last a long time.My son love wearing there Four layers seat briefs,they sell in different colors.

    2. Steven says

      Your overall comment is very confusing. At one point you seem to be talking about the subject (first sentence), then in the second sentence, it appears you are talking about a possible brand, “a happy customer for men’s brief” (brand?) and in the third sentence, it definitely sounds like a brand, ie; Hanes, Jockey, etc. by referring “Men’s brief underwear” Your last sentence leaves me scratching my head. Maybe you got edited because you gave the name of the store?

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