The first known undergarment dates back to 7000 years BC, prehistoric man used animal skin to hide and protect his important parts when living his hunter-gatherer lifestyle. For many millennia, not a lot changed. In ancient Egypt, everybody from the pharaohs down the common slave used the simple loincloth. The pharaohs wore a more elaborate form of the loincloth called a shendoh, They even took a good supply of the garment into their pyramids for the journey to the afterlife.


Codpieces and the middle ages

Many Variations of the codpiece was worn well into the middle ages The first appearance was when baggy trousers called braies came into fashion. These linen pants were worn extended from the waist down to the mid-calf; the user stepped into his breeches and he had to lace them tight around his waist and shins. These fastenings were not very convenient, the braies did provide plenty of coverage, but when the wearer got too hot he had to undress to his underwear to cool off.

All of the lacing and caused the wearer other problems especially when nature called thus the need for a frontal flap. A flap that opened at the front had buttons, snaps, or laces to hold them in place. The flap enabled the wearer to urinate without removing their braies, this was especially useful when the wearer had a little too much mead.

These early form of the codpiece were usually quite simple, however as hemlines rose, they took on a more decorative function, too. Henry VIII began to pad out his flap during the sixteenth century and all of his loyal subjects quickly followed suit. Some scholars later speculated that Henry VIII's padded codpiece might not have really been a bit of boasting about the size of his credentials but was designed accommodate bandages to the pain from a suspected case of Cupid's disease. It's worth noting that codpiece " expansion " continued throughout the mid-sixteenth century before tailing off around 1590.

Boxers and Briefs

Boxer and Briefs did not exist until the second world war. Before this period and from Victorian times men had mainly worn tight flannel "drawers" as underwear with flannel undershirts or vests. Classic underwear store aim to provide high quality products at a fair price making items of classic underwear.

In 1925. Jacob Golomb, the founder of the sporting goods company Everlast, began to change the design of the trunks worn by boxers. Golomb realised that the trunks boxers wore were not ideal so he changed the leather waistband with versatile elastic waistbands. Thus the Boxer Shorts were born.

Boxer shorts were not an immediate success as underwear, though. They lacked the support that drawers and union suits had offered. It was not until WW2 did they catch on which also saw the introduction of briefs.

The birth of the Briefs or Y Fronts

Underwear design changed forever in 1934 instigated by Arthur Kneibler, a designer working for a footwear company Coopers in the USA. It started when he received a postcard from a friend who was on holiday in the south of France.

The postcard showed a man wearing a skimpy (in relative terms) bikini swimming costume This inspired Arther to use the design as a basis for men's underwear.

Early Jocky Shorts or Y Fronts.

Kneibler designed a brand new body-hugging, legless undergarment with a frontal Y-front fly opening. The manufacturers named new product "Jockey shorts" because of the great support it offered which was equivalent to the garment worn by Jockeys called Jockstraps.

The new design for Jocky shorts went on sale in a department store and the initial 300 pairs sold out within one day. Coopers sold 30,000 pairs of briefs in the first 3 months. Cooper's success continued so well that in 1971 they changed their name to Jockey.

The Secret Service provides Joe Boxer a lift

The designer Joe Boxer became all the rage with the fashion conscious youth. Clothes designers began to remodel our undergarments from an item we hid underneath our pants into a fashion statement. The cuts became tighter and sexier, and styles became flashy, loud, and sometimes outrageous.

One of the main drivers of this new fashion of snappy underwear was Joe Boxer. They started creating new designs in 1984. One famous design for Macy's was pants that included a Velcro-attached removable raccoon tail. Joe Boxer also made the headlines 1985 were they designed some boxers with the image of hundred-dollar bills on them. The lawmen decided that these pants infringed on forgery laws so they seized 1,000 pairs of the offending pants. Joe Boxer rather than fight it through the courts turned the whole thing into a publicity stunt and got a huge amount of free advertising out of it.

Underwear and the Nation's Economic state

There have not been many drastic changes to the design of men's underwear over the ages from loincloths to the emergence of briefs and boxer briefs. It is true to say that there have been no great new innovations since the introduction of boxer briefs in the nineteen nineties. There has been no great observations or commentaries on the state, evolution or future of men's underwear until Alan Greenspan the retired chairman of the federal reserve made an observation that the state of the men's underwear industry is a very important indicator of the nations economic health.

The article Greenspan wrote concerning underwear and the economy was straightforward and clever. He observed that most men have a drawer full of fairly worn and used underwear which they tend to wear until the elastic goes or they are full of holes. He further stated that since work colleagues and friends don't usually see a mans underwear the man does not really care what state the pants are in so buying underwear is not a high priority. When men start fearing that the economy might worsen and he needs to look for ways to save money he will stop replenishing his underwear as an easy way to save money. So the state of the men's underwear business is a good indicator of the state of the countries economy. Here is a place you can buy vintage and retro underwear for men and boys:


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