Who Invented Underwear? A Brief Trip Through History

Who invented underwear? Nooks men's underwear

We tend to take things for granted. Our phones, food, shelter and worst of all, our underwear. 

We pay respect to the people who invented revolutionary technology and scientific techniques that changed the world. But we never acknowledge the people who made the simple things - like men's underwear. Who invented underwear? How was underwear invented? Where was underwear invented? In this short article, we're gonna take a trip back in time to uncover the secrets behind the best invention of all time - men's underwear and, our favorite, boxer briefs.

Stay tuned, because we'll give away a 10% off coupon at the end of this article for our buttery smooth boxer briefs.

Who Invented Underwear?

The 1940s

The men's underwear we all know and love today dates back to about the 1930s. On 19 January 1935, the first pair of briefs was sold in Chicago. Designed by an apparel engineer named Arthur Kneibler, the original brief had leg sections and an overlapping Y shaped fly. The company that created them named the design the "Jockey" since it offered support that was only available from - you guessed it - jockstraps. Jockey briefs proved pretty popular, and over 30,000 pairs were sold within three months. It didn't take long for word to spread, and the briefs soon expanded to the United Kingdom and across the United States. 

They were a hit.

In the 1930s, companies also began selling buttonless underwear with an elastic waistband - similar to what we see today. These were the first "real" boxers.

Fun fact: Boxer shorts are called "boxers" because they resembled the shorts worn by pro boxers.

But these elastic waistbands didn't last very long. World War II hit, and there was a severe shortage of rubber and metal. That meant no waistbands and no metal snaps. And once you introduce underwear, there's really no going back to freeballing.

Instead, button fasteners took over. Undergarments were harder to find as well, since soldiers abroad had priority to obtain them. 

Who invented underwear? Nooks men's underwear

The 1950s and and 1960s

Now up until this point, men's underwear mostly consisted of plain, white pieces of fabric which weren't really shown to the public. But the '50s is where it got a little interesting. Underwear began to take its place as a fashion item in its own right, and manufacturers began to introduce fun designs and patterns, which people loved. Manufacturers also started to experiment with rayon and newer fabrics like Spandex, nylon and dacron.

By the 60's, men's underwear was often printed in loud patterns and even included images of cartoon characters. Department stores also began offering men's double-seat briefs, a feature that would double the wear of the men's underwear and improve the comfort. You can see stores advertising these double seats on Newspapers.com if you're interested.

1970s to Present Day

Now we get to the '70s, where underwear began to be advertised hand in hand with sex. If we push women's underwear to the side (which was basically intertwined with sex appeal), it's clear that advertisers forgot about the comfort and durability that was the original "selling point" of men's underwear to adopt a more "sexy" look. Designers like Calvin Klein began featuring nearly-naked models in their ads for white briefs.

In the UK in the 1970s, tight jeans gave briefs a continued edge over boxer shorts among young men. I mean, have you ever tried to wear boxers with tight jeans? Not possible. 

Briefs also remained pretty popular in America from the 1950s until the mid 1990s and in Australia the brief became iconic.

Cue the 1990s - the intro of the boxer briefs. Our personal favorite. Along came Marky Mark in the famous Calvin Klein ad, showing off those white boxer briefs. That ad would go on to help launch his acting career and popularize the boxer briefs.

mark wahlberg boxer briefs ad who invented underwear

Today, underwear is pretty much commonplace. We'd be willing to wager that the vast majority of the world wears some kind of underwear whether it be briefs, boxers or boxer briefs. We also broke down the difference between the different types of men's underwear so you can decide what's best for you and your 🍆. 

Now you have the answer to the question: who invented underwear? What you do with this knowledge is up to you. Use it for good or use it for evil (whatever that may be?). BUT NOW YOU KNOW WHO INVENTED UNDERWEAR. 

Oh, and check out these awesome pair of boxer briefs. Marky Mark may have popularized boxer briefs, but he's never tried these. Maybe we'll send him a pair one day.

Oh, and here's that discount code: BOXERBRIEFS. Use that at checkout for 10% off any amount of undies. Buy 3 and we'll bump that up to 15%, no code needed.