One Man’s Quest for Good Underwear

Friend of TehBen.com April Garrus has something special to share with us today. Give it a deep, hard read and check him out on Twitter and his Amazon page.

Men: what are you wearing?

I bet you don’t get that question often enough. And even when you do, there’s probably an area you’re neglecting. For all the effort we go through to select our clothing–either for looks or function, we often overlook what could be the most important layer of all.

…and I ain’t talking about socks.

You’ve read the blog title so let’s stop playing coy. My dudes, we’re here to talk about your underwear and why I doubt you’re giving them enough attention. So sack up and strap in, because I’m about to change your life.

 My Quest For the Perfect Pair

I followed, I believe, a pretty typical underwear path in my life. I changed from briefs to boxers sometime in grade school. So long Pokémon prints and hello…California Raisins? Look, they were hand-me-downs, let’s just move on.

Boxers kept me satisfied all the way until my early twenties, when I bought some boxer-briefs for my more athletic moments. These moments were rare, so they didn’t see much action. As I took a greater interest physical activity, my usage of closer fitting garments grew as well and eventually, when I was doing MMA, I purchased my first (semi-designer) trunks. 

They were nice. I even wore them with jeans on occasion. It was a good feeling to be snug and held in place with no bunching, but I still leaned towards shorts. I thought it was better to be free range, and I didn’t want anything “cramping my style”. You get it. You’ve probably thought the same thing at one point or another.

Eventually I learned to dress myself like a big boy, which meant wearing clothes that actually fit. And that meant the boxers had to go. This isn’t to say I don’t like boxers or that you’re wrong for wearing them. I still wear shorts as a strong half of all my underwear choices. What I mean is–with slimmer pants came less room for free-floating fabrics. 

In my new appreciation for closer fitting jeans I found that boxers were too cluttersome and bunchy, all words my computer tells me don’t exist. They would ride up, get bundled, and give me a puffy look around the hips. And not in the good way. That free-range sensation I enjoyed before was now an annoyance. So I made the tough decision to switch to the boxer briefs full time. Boxers are now for my life at home in scrubs (they’re very practical pajamas) and basketball shorts.

But over time, even those boxer-briefs became too loose. I was all over the place in there and wearing even tighter pants at the time. It was a phase. So I found and bought some compression shorts at my local Wal-Mart. They were great…for about a month. Then I decided they, while tight, they weren’t very accommodating in the luggage department. They were designed to give support through sheer force of sartorial arms. That is to say, they just shoved your nuts against your body and told you to get used to it.

But I didn’t get used to it.

I knew that somewhere out there in this great big world, other men had suffered my discomforts and had stepped up to make a difference. I won’t call these men heroes, because what is a hero? But by god, if helping your fellow man isn’t heroic, I don’t know what is.

Thus began my quest.

And below I’ll discuss some of my early investigations. But first, you’re probably wondering something.

Who cares?

Why Underwear is Important

Fair question. I know that here in the US, especially in the rural small towns of the Midwest that I call home, there is a very low premium placed on men’s fashion. There is a certain American pride that is taken in wearing the cheapest, non descript clothing you can find. Giving society the benefit of the doubt, we’ll just chalk this up as working class practicality.

But here’s the thing. I fully believe in the, “look good, feel good” mantra. If you put on some fresh, good-looking clothing that fits and compliments your attributes, you feel better. And feeling better is something we can all appreciate. And if this works for your outer layers, then surely it applies to your inners as well. Hell, I’d say it’s even more important. Underwear is the closest thing to you, keeping your closest things in order. So get yourself a support system for your boys and wrap it all in fine fabrics. Find out what you’ve been missing.

And see if you don’t feel better.

The Early Stages

What follows are my first attempts to experiment with different underwear styles in my search for that perfect pair, as well as a classic standard. Each of these items were purchased, again, at my local Wal-Mart because it’s good to start with the most cost effective options first. Wal-Mart is very affordable and is readily available in my community. This meant that I could buy and wear them on the same day without paying out too much. Finding something good for a low price is the ideal situation.

Hanes Tagless Boxers

A classic brand and a standard style. I still use these and they make up about half of all my underwear choices. As I said before, I really only use these at home for leisure, but still they are a good choice in my book.

  • Fit and Construction: 

Hanes boxers are well made and pretty durable for what they are. I’ll get a new set every couple years when the elastic begins to go out or maybe a hole forms in the seat. 

The material is thin and breathable. I can’t recall having any sweat issues that I would attribute directly to the material itself, rather than the nature of being free within a set of boxers. They are also soft–not exceptionally, mind you, they’re not silk. But still, they are pleasant enough to have on that I typically don’t notice them unless I’m wearing “real” pants.

They fit well if I buy them in the right size, not too tight and not too baggy. They are right in that perfect area of slim and loose. I don’t have any problems with catching or pulling when I do random spinning heel kicks though my house. Also, they’re tagless! It can get a little scratchy at times, but more often than not, it’s a non-issue.

  • Look

They look like boxers. I’m afraid there’s not much more to it than that. If you like the way boxers look, then you’ll be happy. If you don’t, you won’t. They do have an exposed waistband, which maybe you’re not into. Personally I like it, because I like to have things regulated into zones, but….you know. Whatever.

I enjoy the patterns…for the most part. They’re subdued, which I count as a plus. But for every subtle line pattern in a pack, there’s some weird flower wallpaper print. Not a big fan of those, but you get what you get.

  • Cost

These things are very affordable. They come in packs, often with a bonus pair thrown in. Add into that the durability I mentioned before and you have a good buy.

  • Negatives

The biggest drawback of these boxers is that, they are boxers. In my opinion, as a man who likes to know exactly where all his stuff is at, I don’t find these suitable for much more than leisure wear. When I’m out in the wild, fighting crime, or rescuing damsels, I don’t want to be bothered by my shorts bunching up. Maybe that doesn’t bother you, but it bothers me. That’s what started this whole business in the first place!

Other than that, there isn’t much to say. These are a good standard measure of quality, and a benchmark that I intend to use in future reviews.

  • Disclaimer 

I will note, I have never bought nor worn designer or high-end boxers. They don’t have much to them in the way of construction, so I never really saw the need, as it would just be different fabric for the shorts. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s happened before.

Silkskins Second Skin

After my foray into compression shorts, I felt like I was on the right track. I also got the idea that I needed something with a pouch. So when I found Silkskins I was excited. They seemed to have everything I wanted, but how did they turn out?

  • Fit and Construction

They seem well made, and my pair have held up well over my couple years of ownership, though they haven’t seen much use (stay tuned).  It’s a nice, soft compression fabric, that isn’t too tight. It get’s pretty thin when you put them on, so it breathes fairly well and I didn’t have any issues with the legs riding up. Quite the opposite, in fact.

As mentioned before, they are designed with an athletic, contour pouch which is something I look for in all my undies now. They also have an ingenious top opening fly that I wish more brands would incorporate. This is easily the best feature of these shorts and the highlight of my experience with them.

  • Look

These shorts look great! It’s near impossible to beat a pair of plain black boxer-briefs when it comes to classic sex appeal. Looks wise, I can’t imagine these ever going out of fashion and I’ve gotten plenty of complements. Is that too much information?

They do have an exposed waistband but it’s the same shade as the shorts themselves, so it doesn’t stand out and gives you a seamless look.

  • Cost

I don’t recall the exact amount I paid for this pair. I can’t imagine it was very much, as I was just getting started in my undergarment adventure. Looking them up on Wal-Mart’s website, however, listed them as both out of stock and way too much. $30 underwear isn’t unprecedented, but let me tell you, these are not $30 underwear. Maybe a pack of three could justify that price, but you buy these one at a time. And that brings me to…

  • Negatives

I mentioned that I don’t wear these much, and there’s a reason–they’re just not very good. I wish they wore as good as they looked, but that’s just not the case.

They have the pouch, which is great, but it’s not very useful when the legs keep pulling the crotch of the shorts down. At that point it just becomes an uncomfortable nuisance, and the support seams that were designed to be helpful are now cutting into your creases in unexpected ways.

You can pull them up, sure. But they’re pretty elastic, so you end up hiking them past your bellybutton in a futile attempt to keep your bits in place. And then they slide back down ten minutes later and you have to start all over again. I tried rolling the waistband too, but it doesn’t help. Nothing helps. They’re just not designed well enough to be effective, at least not for me. 

I don’t recommend these, but I do still wear them on occasion for emergencies or just to remind myself how bad they are.

Jockey Life Men’s 24/7 Comfort Bikini

Here we’re pushing the boundaries of what a lot of men may be comfortable with. These are essentially panties designed for men. That phrase is used loosely, as there are no special accommodations made for said men. These are fabric made in a flat form, but after my ordeal with the SecondSkins, I started thinking different. If the legs of boxer-briefs pulled the crotch down, rendering the pouch useless, maybe I needed to ditch the legs altogether. Maybe I just needed something to keep myself sectioned off.

  • Fit and Construction

These boys are snug. I would say that is their defining feature. They also sit low, below the hips. This fit style was new to me and took some getting used to. But the cotton is soft and airy, leaving me with no complaints about heat or breathability. By nature of being briefs they give plenty range of motion in the hips, meaning I can keep doing those spin kicks I talked about. 

Construction wise, they’re pretty sturdy. There’s not much to them, just the leg and waist seams. Other than that, it’s flat fabric all the way around.

  • Look

They look good if small briefs are your thing. But keep in mind, these are called bikinis for a reason. They are pretty small and tight leaving little to the imagination–which could be a good thing, in…certain circumstances. There is an integrated waistband, meaning a lower overall profile. Something to consider, as you may not be used to the waist of your pants touching directly to your skin.

They also come in solid colors, which I appreciate. My pack had shades of blue, a red, a light grey, and a black. It’s hard to go wrong with the basics.

  • Cost

I can’t really complain about the price. They come in a pack of five, so you’re getting each pair for dollars apiece. All things considered, you’re getting your money’s worth with these briefs.

  • Negatives

Now, I don’t know that I would call these negatives, per se. Let’s call them instead, things I didn’t enjoy, because it’s not really fair to complain about bikini briefs fitting like bikini briefs, is it? My biggest complaints about these garments do stem from the fact that they are bikinis. They’re small, tight, sit low on the hips and high on the butt. 

Because of this, I feel like I’m both confined and escaping at the same time. I’ve got some parts slipping out every time I move, meanwhile everything else is strapped in place. There’s also the issue of seams cutting into delicate skin, which I would consider a draw back. I wore them for quite a while, but never really got used to it.

Again, I’m not sure that I would call these negatives as much as I’d say they were the nature of the beast. I’d be interested to try another brand of bikini in the future to see how they stack up. But for now we’ll leave it as a neutral–not bad, just not for me.

What’s Next?

That is the question. Well, I have already taken several more steps on my journey to find that perfect pair of men’s underwear. But I’ve also been stationary for some time. I’ve found a brand that I like, but I wouldn’t call them perfect. With so many more yet to try, I can’t just sit around wearing “good enough” underthings. We have to be bold. Daring! So gird your loins men, adventure awaits! 

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