Men’s Underwear Through The Ages

Written by Willie MacDonald


Posted on September 21 2022

In the beginning, there was man, then man needed something to keep ‘em tidy, and underwear was invented. Join us in this journey exploring men’s underwear through the ages!

The Invention Of The Loincloth

The first type of underwear ever worn by men was the ‘loincloth’. This was a simple solution to keeping your private parts wrapped up and secured. It was similar to what we would think of now as a ‘nappy’ and consisted of a long strip of material wrapped around the legs and tied at the waist to secure it.

Early civilizations were mainly established in hot countries such as Ancient Greece and Egypt, so men often wore loincloth as their only form of clothing. While this seems a little silly to us modern thinkers, back in the day, it was an effective way to keep cool and comfortable in the hot sun!

Cache-Sexe And The Fundoshi

The Fundoshi is a type of Japanese men’s underwear that consists of a strip of cloth found around the hips, secured at the small of the back by knotting. The excess is brought between the legs and tucked in the front to hang like an apron. The Fundoshi, in many ways, is a predecessor to the modern thong underwear, as its back offered less coverage than a typical loincloth.

The Cache-Sexe was also an early underwater invention; however, unlike the loincloth and the Fundoshi, it was often made of more decorative materials. The typical Cache-Sexe had a triangle of material (cloth, beaded strings, etc.) attached to straps around the waist and between the legs that fastened the triangle over the genitals.

Today, the Fundoshi and Cache-Sexe are still used within their respective cultures! Though they may be less popular, they are often worn for cultural celebrations and events requiring traditional dress.

Firemen’s Flaps And The Pantaloon Revolution 

Skipping ahead to the Industrial Revolution, we saw men’s underwear take shape in the way we know it today. This was due to the ability to mass-produce garments.

Before, you would have to make do with what you could or pay for someone to make you a cloth; the industrial revolution made it possible for factories to manufacture lots of underwear cheaply and sell them at a lower cost.

The Pantaloon was a key type of men’s underwear during this time. It took the form of a long boxer short or legging when it was first introduced. Over time, the legs became shorter, and they began to look more like the modern boxer shorts we know and love today.

Another common undergarment of the late 19th century was the union suit. The union suit was invented in New York and was a one-piece suit that extended to the wrists and ankles, covering the whole body. It had a buttoned flap known as a “fireman’s flap” to make the process easier when nature called.

The Modern Day – How Did We Get Here?

Once we could mass-produce underwear, it was much easier to experiment with styles, change, and adapt to the times.

As people began to wear lighter clothes, there became less demand for excessive underwear like the union suit. People wanted easy-to-wear men’s underwear that could fit under their clothes without lines, so boxer shorts and men’s underwear as we know it today became much more popular.

The Future Of Men’s Underwear

We hope you’ve enjoyed this handy history of men’s underwear! While loincloths and pantaloons may be intriguing options for the modern man – it’s always advised that you invest in some really good, comfortable men’s underwear to keep ‘em tidy as you go about your day.

Here at Bawbags, we have plenty to offer and using special technology like our T.W.A.T tech for our Cool De Sacs, we’ve managed to make some ultra-modern men’s boxers that’ll keep you feeling fresh and comfortable. With hundreds of exciting styles to choose from, and size options for XS - XXXXL, we’re sure you’ll find your perfect pair in one of our collections!