Now mens underwear styles is not a populous topic as say women’s underwear styles. In a regular department store, there could be an entire floor dedicated to women’s underwear. As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon to see entire stores dedicated to women’s underwear. Men’s underwear would be relegated to one tiny corner with maybe a few shelves at best.

Out of those, the majority would be nondescript boxer briefs, or briefs, which are often just produced for function and not form with not much in terms of styles offered.

Given that, the vast majority of men, and possibly even women looking for a gift for the men in their life, might not know of the different mens underwear styles that are available. Or know of the variances available within these styles.

In this post we’ll go through the main major categories of mens underwear styles.


This is the ever ubiquitous trope that appears in almost all mainstream western media when men’s underwear is considered, particularly in Americana influenced milieu that’s permeated from the late 80’s to almost present day. Boxers, mainly made out of cotton when they first appeared, are loose fitting with an elastic waistband that can either sit on the waist or hips and extends down to about upper to mid-thigh level.

Men's boxers illustration
Men’s Boxers Illustrated

Boxers are so named as they were originally designed to be worn by, surprise, surprise – boxers. Before boxers, the underwear, was created in the 1920’s by Everlast, boxers, the fighters, used to wear tights held up by belts. This new garment of course was more comfortable and easier to use and was subsequently the inspiration of the boxer underwear.

However some of the most common issues was that these would bunch up under clothes and offer no support whatsoever. For this reason more snugger fitting, shaped mens underwear styles emerged.

Boxer Briefs

These fall between boxers and briefs offering more support with a snugger fit than boxers do and more coverage than briefs. Often grouped together with briefs, however, the gamut runs from leg lengths running mid thigh to just nearly the same length as some briefs. Even in those cases the straighter leg cuts set them apart from the traditional brief style.

Men's boxer briefs illustration
Men’s boxer briefs Illustrated

When it comes to style and comfort, boxer briefs are a great style to go for as they work well with almost everything.

Now based on the form and name, one would assume that boxer briefs would be the natural evolution from boxers. However, these would only appear in the 90’s; read on to find out which style came on the heels, or trunks rather, of boxers.


Now when it comes to male underwear, in most parts of the world, this is what not only comes to mind, but would be readily available.

Material used for briefs tend to be cotton with synthetic blends added in for enhanced benefits, although bigger brands would offer more modern materials offering better comfort and resilience than just cotton.

Briefs are defined by wide front and sides and typically with a full coverage back. The front is usually cut in a ‘V’ or arc shaped style that joins the side with a double layered pouch that might have a fly for that old era esthetic.

Men's briefs illustration
Men’s Briefs Illustrated

These offer a function and form in a neat package and works with most any type of outer clothing. For anyone looking for the middle of the pack, these are the go to option. These would typically be the only other option available in conservative western countries when it comes to mens underwear choice.


These are often grouped together with briefs, however the gamut of bikinis runs typically with sleeker and more minimalist cuts.

Often with thin, or light weight material being one of its defining features, what sets bikinis apart is comparatively less material than briefs – often with just one layer of fabric. The front can be very high-cut or low-rise or a combination of both, which comparatively narrower waist band and sides than briefs. The back could range from full coverage to quarter coverage. Anything less might fall into thong territory.

Men's bikini illustration
Men’s Bikini Illustrated

Bikinis are practical and lightweight and is great for someone looking for less material or something a bit more sensual. Sometimes referred to as slips, you might be able to find these in your local department stores. Although for more sleeker cuts and designs, online shopping would be recommended.


Thongs are defined by the fact that the back would taper to fall in between the buttocks to flow through to join the front of the underwear. It’s this narrow joining piece which this garment borrows it name from – thong.

Thongs would offer one of the most secure and sensual styles of all the underwear types. They can range with very wide fronts and waist band, similar to briefs, to quite narrow, minimalist front and waist band like bikinis. The back tapers either directly from the waist band, or with extra body material for wider styles, to a triangle that leads to the thong part.

Men's thong illustration
Men’s Thong Illustrated

These are great for any style of clothing, from loose fitting to tight pants where other types would tend to ride up or shift and provide for more freer movement. These might be available in some department stores in metropolitan areas with some major brand names like Calvin Klein even offering a thong option. When it comes to style, function and sensuality, thongs are hard to beat. Apart from adding a great sensual piece to the wardrobe, the minimal fabric means easier washing, drying and storage – which is great news for the oft traveled.


These are typically the skimpiest options available which offer a barely there feel. Often in very light weight material, with varying levels of support, G-strings generally have very narrow waist band – almost to be point of being “string-like”, hence the name.

The front can range from a small triangle to a narrow tower and the back can taper directly to a skinny string or with a small triangle at the top looping up to the front.

Some of the softest, free flowing G-strings would be the closest to boxers as they would flow freely around the body and mixed with the barely there feeling, would be somewhat similar to the loose nature of boxers while still offering support and security.

Men's string underwear illustration
Men’s String Underwear Illustrated

These would be most suitable for wearing with loose lounge clothes or just by themselves for a free, unrestricted sleep while still keeping the genitals secure and in a comfortable position.


Well there you have it, a quick glance at the different mens underwear styles. There is always comfort in wearing what one is most used. Especially after moving away from highly entrenched styles such as boxers or briefs, it can be quite liberating, even exhilarating, being able to wear more sensual and expressive styles such as bikinis or thongs.

However switching up styles once in a while is great for finding something in another style which you had not encountered before and might be enthralling, as well, a palate cleanser for re-appreciating the current style in a whole new light when you return.