A Brief History Of Underwear Evolution : How Did It Come To Be?
Believe it or not, the very humble piece of clothing did not always enjoy the limelight.
As a piece of cloth journeyed through the various times and ages, its depiction and anatomy changed while getting adapted to its current time period over the decades.
Here’s a “brief” history of the men’s underwear.
- The Famous Loincloth
Loincloth has been a rudimentary piece of clothing that would humbly cover the groin region. Used almost 7000 years back and more, the loincloth has been written about extensively in many literature pieces as research and documentation. It also had its own variations in style depending on the local cultural influence.
For example, the Mediterranean region men like the ancient Egyptians draped it with some length to the garment, making it fashionable and functional. On the other hand, the Americans like the Incan civilizations circa the14th century, the Americans draped it much shorter in length -just functional.
2. The Infamous Codpiece
With the evolution of loincloth, came the Braies in the Medieval period, between 400-1400 AD. They were knee-length, in woolen or linen material, and could be tied closed or buttoned and mostly worn by Celts and Germans.
It was Henry VIII of England who set a rather odd trend of padding his codpiece. Maybe he did it to bump up the confidence, but it had men add larger and larger codpiece packages, which became ridiculous after a point.
3. The Industrial Age Revolution
Between the 1800-1900 AD, the Union Suit was patented in Utica. It was a buttoned-one piece garment with long sleeves and pants. It was extremely comfortable, but because the concept was still sinking in and was new, it garnered a slew of vulgar nicknames. Eventually, American boxer John L. Sullivan made the garment famous, naming them “Long Johns,” which is the name most know them by.
In 1874, C.F. Bennett, while working for a Chicago sporting goods company, made his contribution to men's underwear – the jockstrap, which was designed to serve one well in any high-impact sport.
4. The Evolution of Briefs and Boxers in the Modern Age (1900-present)
The first briefs left the line of Chicago's Coopers Inc on the 19th of January, 1935. These have an elastic band around the waist and both legs near the groin. Finally, it featured a Y-shaped fly for easy access. It was a revolutionary step forward in modern men's undergarments, receiving the infamous cognomen: “tighty-whities.”
Alongside briefs, boxers entered the market in the 1930s.
The next step in the modern evolution of men's underwear came with Giorgio Armani in the form of boxer briefs, released in the 1980s.
Another invention of the 80s were trunk briefs. They were similar to Armani's creation, except that the inseams were a little shorter.
Then as we all know, soon, big names like Calvin Klein entered and revolutionized the men’s underwear scenario.
Designers put them on the runway, and the meager piece of humble loin clothing would never be the same.