The Not-so-Brief History of Boxers

The Not-so-Brief History of Boxers

Welcome to the completely and utterly true (mostly anyway) history of boxers. In the vast tapestry of history, it's often the smallest, most overlooked threads that weave the most compelling stories.

Boxer shorts, those humble undergarments, have quietly made their mark, shaping not just the comfort of wearers but also the pages of history itself.

Pre-Boxer History

Since the beginning of time, men have been drawn to one quest in particular, a quest that has transcended through time and space. The quest for supportive underwear.

This quest led men through history to discover some inventive methods of supporting their junk. Prepare to delve into a world where cavemen were not just hunters but also fashion pioneers, where loincloths doubled as the ultimate multitasking garments, and where undergarments evolved from glorified fig leaves to high-tech wonders.

And remember that ‘Hell hath no fury like a man with uncomfortable underwear’, or so the saying goes.

Keeping It Cosy Since the Dawn of Time

Keeping It Cosy Since the Dawn of Time

These early fashion aficionados weren't just busy chasing mammoths and discovering fire, they were also pioneering the world of undergarments (albeit in their own primitive way).

However, our Neolithic ancestors may have been onto something. While there is evidence that suggests that cavemen wore clothing made from animal skins in a cape-like fashion, little is said about their undergarments. This enables us to draw two conclusions. Either the caveman liked to go commando, or they made do with animal-fur underwear (probably extremely comfortable if not a little itchy).

ole trusty loincloth

The Ole Trusty Loincloth

From the Aztecs to the Egyptians and even Ancient Incas, they all shared the same free and breezy fashion secret. The loincloth. If you ever wanted your nether regions to feel as secure and cosy as a well-wrapped burrito, the loincloth is your answer. It's the OG of undergarments, providing wearers with a sense of freedom that modern boxers or briefs can only dream of.

Picture this: You're strolling through the bustling streets of the Aztec Empire. Feathered headdresses sway in the breeze, and the pyramids glisten in the sun. But what's the fashion statement of the day? The loincloth, of course! Aztec men were the epitome of loincloth aficionados. These rectangular pieces of fabric, often made from woven plant fibres, were wrapped securely around the waist, leaving the legs exposed for maximum mobility. It was like the precursor to cargo shorts but with fewer pockets and more airflow.

Travel bit back furhter

Travel a bit farther back in time to the land of pharaohs, pyramids, and of course, the mighty Nile. The Egyptians knew a thing or two about style and comfort. Loincloths made from linen were the choice du jour, especially in the scorching Egyptian heat. They provided comfort while the ancient Egyptians built wonders that would leave us awestruck today. These loincloths not only kept things cool but also allowed for the agility required for pyramid construction, chariot races, and fashionable strolls along the Nile's banks.

Zoom over to the other side of the world and explore the fashion tastes of the Ancient Incas. Their version of the loincloth was just as practical and undoubtedly breezy. Made from colourful textiles, the Inca loincloth was not just a functional garment but also a vivid display of craftsmanship. In the heart of the Andes, where the air is thin, a well-ventilated undergarment was a must. Incas knew how to stay cool while ruling an empire from the heights of Machu Picchu.

The loincloth, it seems, was more than just underwear, it was a statement. It said,

I’ve got comfort and style, and I’m not afraid of who knows it

The Ultimate Exaggeration- The Codpiece

Ladies and gentlemen, step into the dazzling world of the Renaissance, an era known for its artistic achievements, grandeur, and extravagant fashion. While Shakespeare was penning sonnets and artists were crafting masterpieces, there was something else stealing the spotlight, the codpiece! 

This quirky fashion accessory isn't just an embellishment, it's a story of style, masculinity, and, well, anatomical emphasis (Try telling a Renaissance man that size doesn't matter).

While bathroom breaks were quite the ordeal in elaborate Renaissance attire. The codpiece allowed for quick and discreet access, making it a practical and somewhat whimsical solution.

the ultimate exaggeration-the codpiece

Seafaring Undies

The question that started it all… What kind of underwear did pirates wear? While it is generally agreed that pirates did in fact go commando, it does prompt some interesting lines of thought. When we think of Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, or Calico Jack, we have to ask ourselves…

  • What kind of support did you need while sword-fighting?
  • Did they opt for the minimalist approach, embracing the wind and sea spray?
  • Or did they have their own swashbuckling secrets when it came to undergarments?

History actually reveals that pirates were very conscious of their panty lines. Because their breeches were so tight, they often just forgo underwear completely. Allowing their booty to enjoy a level of freedom that others were not privy to.

In fact, you would not be the first to wonder what our swashbuckling friends were wearing. Our own origins at Swag began as a quest to answer this very question. Though we assume that our sea-faring mates would have loved our Pirate Duckies Boxers of course.

seafaring undies

Do as the Romans Did

Now we all know that men and the Roman Empire go together as perfectly as peanut butter and jam, as bangers and mash, as nuts and bolts. So it’s no surprise they had comfort and style in mind when it came to their underwear choices. As we peel back the layers of the toga, we can discover that Roman men wore a garment known as the subligar or subligaculum served as the precursor to modern underwear.

Think of it as the Roman equivalent of today's underpants. Made from simple, breathable cloth, the subligar provided support and protection, much like contemporary briefs.

origins of boxers

Origins of Boxers

Now we come to the moment in history we have been waiting for, the pièce de résistance, the birth of boxers.

As the quest for comfortable underwear continues, the year 1925 approaches and one man has a brilliant idea.  As the name perhaps hints at, the boxer underwear garments were originally designed for the sport of boxing.

The loose and flexible design of boxer shorts provided boxers with the freedom of movement required in the ring. And who wouldn't want to feel unencumbered when dodging punches? Much like our swash-buckling sea-fearing friends, these men needed a level of flexibility and mobility that normal underwear could not meet.

The shift from traditional undergarments to boxers was further expedited by innovations in clothing design. Elastic waistbands and advancements in fabric technology allowed for the creation of comfortable, breathable, and stylish boxer shorts. This combination of sports influence and fashion ingenuity brought boxers into the mainstream.

Over time, boxer shorts evolved from their initial functional design to become a fashion statement of their own. Today, they come in a wide range of styles, fabrics, and patterns, catering to personal preferences. Boxer shorts are no longer just a practical choice, they're also a means of expressing one's style. Whether you prefer a classic plaid or a pair with bananas printed all over, boxers have you covered (literally and figuratively).

the perfect blend

The Perfect Blend

However, men would not be satisfied with the option of boxers OR briefs, no, no. Next, we introduce the ultimate hybrid hero of the underwear world – the boxer briefs.

You want the comfort and freedom that boxers offer, but you also need the support and snug fit of briefs. What do you do? Enter the boxer briefs! These nifty undergarments combine the best elements of traditional boxers and briefs, offering a fit that's snug yet breathable. It's as if they were designed to provide the perfect balance between a carefree breeze and rock-solid support.

Just like traditional boxers, boxer briefs come in a variety of styles, patterns, and colours. Whether you're into classic monochromes or you want to make a statement with fun prints, there's a pair of boxer briefs for every taste and personality.

fun prints

Innovations in Fabric and Design

The quest for the ultimate underwear doesn't stop at the creation of boxers, it continues to evolve with the times. In the modern era, boxer shorts have undergone a fashion transformation. No longer confined to the realm of just functional underwear, they've become a canvas for creativity, innovation, and self-expression.

Moisture-wicking materials keep you dry during workouts, and stretchable fabrics provide extra flexibility. You can now find boxer shorts for all seasons and occasions, from thermal designs for chilly winters to lightweight options for scorching summers.

Whether you're a fan of superheroes, sports, or simply want to make a fashion statement, you'll find boxer shorts that let your inner style shine.

swag superheros inner

Modern Trend Setters

Would you be surprised if you learned that nearly 75% of Americans have worn holey underwear? And no, we are not talking about briefs blessed and dipped in Holy Water, we are talking about your Johnson playing peekaboo behind tattered cotton. We’d like to say that our blokes down under have more dignity than this, but alas the results have been struck from the record to maintain what little pride we have. And no we are not talking about briefs blessed and dipped in Holy Water, we are talking about your Johnson playing peekaboo behind tattered cotton. Honestly, what would the Romans say? 

According to HuffPost, boxer briefs are actually the most common type of underwear worn by men. If you were to take a random poll, you would find that roughly 60% of today’s folks wear boxer-briefs. Apparently, men want the best of both worlds, and can we blame them? However if you were to take a random poll, you would find that roughly 60% of today’s folks wear boxer-briefs. Apparently men want the best of both worlds, and can we blame them? 

And if you were wondering if anyone has continued the commando in honour of the buccaneers of old, you will find that less than 10% of men are following the sea-faring tradition. 

Fashion, it seems, knows no boundaries, even in the realm of undergarments. The unseen revolution beneath our clothing is a reminder that, in a world where self-expression knows no bounds, even the most personal choices, like underwear, can become a statement of who we are and how we navigate the world.

Infographics

A Legacy of Comfort and Style

The next time you put on your favourite pair of boxers or briefs (or a loincloth, we don’t judge), you're not just getting dressed, you're embracing a legacy of comfort, style, and self-expression that stretches back through the ages.
Complete your own quest for the ultimate underwear and find a style that best suits you and your Johnson today.

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