Your ultimate online guide to buying men's underwear for 2012
Pants, socks and thermals. What they lack in sex appeal they make up for in practicality and let’s be honest, going out without pants or socks on is like stepping out naked – cold, breezy and, well, just not right. More importantly, a great pair of socks or the perfect underwear choice can make or break an outfit; bringing the outfit together or leaving you looking scruffy and mistmatched.
If you’re baffled by the sheer volume and choice of mens underwear for sale online then fear not, weary shopper, as Cafe La Moda offers you a helping hand in the form of our style notes. We give you everything you need to know to make an informed mens underwear-buying decision. After doing your fashion homework head over to our shopping pages and comparison tables to make sure you get the best bargains on a wide variety of mens underwear styles. Underwear and socks are no longer just bad Christmas presents – horray!
Men’s underwear: pants
Boxers Arguably the most conventional style of men’s underwear, boxers are often cited as being the most comfortable shape. This mens underwear style is loose with a straight cut leg that covers the behind and some of the leg and almost always features a working front fly. Since the boxer short has a loose style it works best under loose-fitting trousers and shorts. This avoids the problem of bunched-up fabric and tell tale bulges on your pant leg. Boxers do have a tendency to bunch up and offer little support so avoid at all costs for physical activity!
Brief The classic brief is often characterized by a Y-front and a full rise, meaning it covers the body from the waist to the thigh. Mid-rise and low-rise briefs are exactly the same except that they begin lower down the body (2 inches below the waist and 3 inches below the waist, respectively). Briefs are less likely than other styles to rise up and provide good support, making them an excellent choice for physical activity or long shifts of sitting down.
Bikini The bikini brief sits about four inches bellow the belly button with thin, high-rise sides. This style of men’s underwear is best teamed with tight-fitting trousers and is a good option underneath ever-fashionable low-rise jeans.
Boxer brief Appropriately-named, the boxer brief is the middle ground between the brief and the boxer short. Extremely fashionable with the style-conscious man thanks to iconic ad campaigns from designer men’s underwear brands such as Calvin Klein’s, the boxer brief is probably the most popular style of men’s underwear at the moment. The boxer brief fits like a traditional brief but is cut longer in the leg, with a front fly design, like a boxer.
Men’s underwear: thermals
They may take the crown as the least-chic item of clothing you’ll ever own but thermal clothing can be a god send during chilly winter days. Lightweight styles are ideal for moderate temperatures and higher levels of activity whereas midweight is more versatile and can be used in a bigger variety of situations. Expedition weight is ideal for freezing temperatures when you need more warmth.
Wool Wool - particularly merino - is the most popular fabric for thermal clothes because of its unbeatable ability to keep you warm and snug. Merino wool is the best choice because it is less itchy than other types of wool.
Synthetic Synthetic fabrics are a good bet if you’re looking to buy thermal men’s underwear that’ll keep you warm without holding on to perspiration. Polyester and similar synthetics are cheap, lightweight, and easy to wash and dry. This makes synthetic thermals relatively low-maintenance. Beware that synthetics may smell due to the interaction of sweat and bacteria.
Cotton Cotton can be a cheap option for your new thermal mens underwear and works well to keep you warm in moderately cool environments. Cotton is probably not the best choice if you’re looking for very thick/warm thermals and should be avoided in situations where you’re likely to perspire because the absorbed moisture may counteract the warmth of the fabric.
Blends Blends such as polyester/wool are a good compromise because they offer the best of both wool and synthetics. They’re also normally cheaper than wool, making them a great option if you’re on a budget.
Men’s underwear: socks
Think there’s not an art to sock-wearing? Think again! Here’s our guide to socks and how to wear them, fashionably:
Your socks should match your pants to create a streamlined vision. Socks should never distract the eye so avoid clashing color contrasts or attention-grabbing prints. This does not mean that you shouldn’t, however…
Experiment with color. Stick with colors that complement your pants and shoes, or a subtle pattern that picks up on accents of colors. This will allow you to inject some personality into your look without compromising on style.
Match your socks to your dress code: a casual ensemble requires a dark sock that’ll simply continue the look of your jeans and shirt. A formal outfit requires something a little more refined – good quality, lightweight socks in a dark color are a must.
Liven up a dressy outfit by matching your socks to tones in your tie or scarf. Argyle or polka dot patterns are a good way to make a dressy look fun.
Keep socks the same color or a darker colour than your top.
White socks should only ever be seen at the gym.
Under no circumstances are mis-matched socks ever acceptable.
Likewise stained white socks or socks with holes.
Likewise socks with sandals.
Things to consider when buying your new men's underwear
Before you buy your new underwear, here are some pointers to consider that’ll ensure you get the best styles and fabrics for your lifestyle:
Where you work Do you work in an environment that requires you to move around a lot or sweat? Stick to cotton underwear because it will absorb any perspiration away from your body and keep you feeling cool and fresh. Do you have to wear tight-fitting clothes for work such as a suit? Avoid boxers since they have a tendency to bunch up. Remember the golden rules when it comes to sock-wearing etiquette – this is especially important in a corporate environment where you need to make a good impression on clients or your boss (no Star Wars socks!)
What you normally wear Consider your clothes and wardrobe. What kind of style do you have? If you have lots of slim-fitting pants consider a boxer brief. Lots of low-rise jeans? Mid or low-rise briefs would be a wise addition to your collection. Consider the color scheme of your wardrobe too. Do you wear a lot of a certain color or color group? Look to buy socks that complement these colors. And remember, staple black and white pants and neutral toned socks are essentials and should be your number 1 choice.
Lifestyle Do you play lots of sports, go to the gym, or generally lead an active lifestyle? Boxer briefs are extremely advantageous in that they work well under tight clothes or sport/gym clothes as well as being comfortable and supportive. Look for a breathable fabric and small details like no stitching around the crotch, to avoid rubbing or irritation.
Delivery and returns
It is always best to check online independent retailers’ delivery and returns policy before buying men's underwear. Many retailers will also not accept returns on underwear if the hygiene strip is removed so double check their online policy before you commit to buy.