The best men’s underwear guide you’ll ever read

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Unless you’re a) David Gandy or b) one of those guys who has to take it too far by stripping off on a night out, your underwear is not for public consumption. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve got licence to wear the living daylights out of whatever overstretched, greying grundies that you can get your mitts on. Underwear matters.

And, it’s not just incase you get lucky or hit by a bus that you should pay attention to what lies beneath. Compiling the perfect underwear line-up will do wonders for how you feel in your clothes and will soon put a stop to your boxers getting funny ideas about moving far further northwards than your trousers.

To make sure your underwear etiquette is on point, we’ve put together absolutely everything you need to know about getting your kecks in check. And funnily enough, it turns out that your mum doesn’t know best.
How To Pick An Underwear Style
Of all the seminal moments in a man’s life – graduations, weddings, the first curled fist of your child around your little finger – none means more than the first time he chooses his own underwear.

But what worked for prepubescent you isn’t your best choice now. Your body’s changed. Your needs have changed. Somewhere there’s a fit that’s more snug. More supportive. More flattering. Let Olivia Francis, founder of underwear experts Hamilton & Hare, be your guide to buying pants that are anything but.

Briefs
“This is the traditional Y front. It’s not for everyone but it offers great support and a neat fit. Particularly good for men with large thighs.”
Boxer Shorts
“Traditional boxer shorts offer maximum coverage, comfort and breathability but can often bunch and ride up so do not work well with slim trousers. [Look for] a modern, tailored cut that is much more flattering and works well with slimmer legwear. This means they will complement any body shape, being both flattering and extremely comfortable.”
Trunks
“These are a newer style and offer the simplest silhouette, ideal for wearing under slim-fit trousers. They sit perfectly on the hip, a little lower than other styles, and are short in the leg, cutting across mid-thigh, which make them best for men with skinnier legs.”
Take care with ‘hipster’ styles, warn the experts at M&S; they sit low, so work best with tucked in shirts. Or you risk an intimate breeze every time you bend down.
Boxer Briefs
“These are a hybrid between the traditional boxer short and the trunk – they sit on the waist and are slightly longer in the leg. Universally flattering and versatile, they’re the go-to option for most. Particularly good for those with fuller buttocks.”
Athletic
“If you’ve ever tried to run in baggy boxers, we sympathise. Athletic underwear comes with special requirements – it has to keep you in place and be breathable enough to cope with sweaty gym sessions.”
The Right Underwear Fabric
Three things matter in your most intimate wear: comfort, support and breathability. Underwear brands have long defaulted to cotton and jersey, which provide all three. But textile innovation offers the modern man new ways to keep himself cool and dry.

Cotton
An old classic. “This is a brilliant fibre for underwear,” says Francis. “It’s naturally breathable, soft and hypoallergenic.”

Jersey
It’s soft and lightweight with a natural stretch, making it the perfect choice for guys on the move. The Sunspel team advise to “opt for a stretch style, with higher elastic content for added support if you spend your weekends exercising as opposed to relaxing.”

Lyocell Jersey
Hamilton & Hare developed this exclusive spin on traditional jersey. “We use a natural paint nanofibre and blend it with cotton for a luxurious feel – the microscopic nanofibres offer unparalleled smoothness as well as moisture absorption.”

Silk
It’s a classic choice, but silk is quickly disappearing from the underwear market. And for good reason. “Although it offers incredible lightness and breathability, it’s a delicate fabric that doesn’t benefit from wash and wear and damages easily,” says Francis. Leave to Peter Stringfellow.

Mesh
The go-to material for sports-oriented underwear, mesh is light and breathable. Some brands go even further and use heat-sensitive mesh fabric that helps disperse body heat and leaves your pants feeling cool to the touch – even after a bout of cardio.
Underwear Rules
Clear Your Drawers Out Regularly
No matter how well you treat your underwear, eventually those tighty whities will turn to grubby grundies. Make sure that you have a regular check-in with your collection of underwear (about every three months or so) and dispose of anything that you’d be embarrassed to be seen in by a significant other.

Pick Your Fabrics Wisely
In most cases, cotton underwear is a great option because it’s natural, breathable and will absorb a degree of unwanted moisture down below – it’s basically your best bet for every day. But if you’re exerting yourself, things get a little more, ahem, steamy, so you’ll need to look for fabrics that bolster cotton’s natural assets by wicking away moisture. A cotton-spandex blend is ideal for gymwear and won’t need to be wringed out after you’ve achieved a PB on leg day.

Size Yourself Up Properly
For reasons which we won’t go into, trying on underwear in shops isn’t good form. Having an awareness of your core size and sticking to a certain brand when you’ve found the perfect fit is crucial for comfort, however.

Underwear which comes up too large will have you shifting around in your seat all day, while anything that’s smaller than it should be will cut off your circulation rather than boost your package. Size matters.

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