Which underwear should I wear: Men's style guide to choose from different types of underwear

Updated on March 7, 2016

Which underwear should I wear? Should I buy briefs or should I buy boxers? Should I choose to wear trunks or should I wear jocks? Which type of underwear will look good on me? From the classic full rise briefs to men's thongs and bikini underwear, this post is every man's style guide when it comes to buying the right kind of underwear and avoiding a faux pas in front of girlfriends and wives in the bedroom, and mates in the locker room.

Fruit of the Loom men's low rise fashion briefs
Fruit of the Loom men's low rise fashion briefs | Source

1) Low rise briefs

Low rise briefs are possibly the most popular and commonly worn underwear by men. This type of underwear is a slightly cropped version of the full rise Y-front briefs which cover a larger area.

Low rise briefs by popular brands including Jockey, Hanes, Tommy Hilfiger and Dockers come in various designs, colors and pouch sizes.

Low rise briefs: Who should wear this type of underwear

  • Body type: Low rise briefs are the most common pair of men's underwear which is why they are universally liked. Men of all body types can wear low rise briefs without risking a faux pass. They won't look too out of place even on guys who have a bulging tummy or guys who are extremely skinny.
  • Style: Universal.
  • Color: While choosing colors for low rise briefs, men should stick to whites, blacks and other darker shades like dark blue, dark green or various shades of gray. Bright colors are best avoided.
  • Things to know: None.

Jockey full rise pouch brief
Jockey full rise pouch brief

2) Full rise briefs

Full rise briefs are a classic men's underwear and extend to cover an area much larger than that covered by low rise briefs. Full rise briefs extend from the waist area right to the end of the buttocks while enveloping the sides with a Y-shape that is less prominent than smaller underwear.

Full rise briefs are bigger than their low rise counterparts but smaller than a boxer brief which covers a portion of the thigh too.

Full rise briefs: Who should wear this type of underwear

  • Body type: Similar to low rise briefs, full rise briefs are popularly accepted as an underwear which will look good on most body types. Men who are obese or too skinny should can avoid this type of underwear and opt for boxers if they find themselves less comfortable and confident.
  • Style: Full rise briefs attracted mass popularity a couple of decades back but are considered less trendy from a style perspective now. Teenagers and guys in their twenties should ideally avoid this style of underwear if they want to be trendy and not made fun off while stripping down to their underwear in the boys locker rooms. Married men may prefer to wear full rise briefs as underwear because they are typically perceived to be more comfortable than other options.
  • Color: White is a classic color for full rise briefs.
  • Things to know: None

Hanes men's classic tartan boxer
Hanes men's classic tartan boxer | Source

3) Boxer shorts

Boxer shorts are known to have received mainstream acceptance as underwear for men post 1950s. They are similar to shorts except they are generally made from cotton and have an elastic at the waist.

Boxer shorts are a popular choice because they are a very comfortable type of underwear for men. They are available in various colors and patterns.

Boxer shorts: Who should wear this type of underwear

  • Body type: Apart from being one of the trendiest types of underwear for men of all ages, boxer shorts are also a perfect choice for any guy who has body image issues. This underwear will suit guys with a skinny body frame as well as guys with a heavy body frame. Boxer shorts will help men who find themselves embarrassed to strip down to their underwear in front of others in changing rooms or at the beach.
  • Style: Boxer shorts are trendy and universal. They are a must-have any guy's underwear drawer. Professionals and guys who wear business clothes every day should avoid boxer shorts as underwear during the day because the crease of the excess material may show from the outside of formal pants.
  • Color: As underwear, boxer shorts give a wide range of color and pattern options for the style conscious man. This is the underwear in which you can veer away from solid colors and buy boxer shorts in tartan plaid and other printed patterns.
  • Things to know: Guys who are into sports, athletics or other activities that require a lot of movement should avoid wearing boxer shorts as underwear because they don't provide a pouch, support or any form of compression.

Men's boxer brief
Men's boxer brief

4) Boxer briefs

Boxer brief are like boxer shorts except that they fit tightly like normal briefs. This underwear starts from the waist and at least covers more than half of the thigh. Along with jocks, boxer briefs are a popular pick among guys who are athletes or are into working out.

Depending on the brand, boxer briefs commonly have a pouch at the front for support and have strategically placed seams to stop them from riding up or gathering up at one place during movement.

Boxer briefs: Who should wear this type of underwear

  • Body type: Boxer briefs are unlikely to suit guys with very skinny legs because the underwear may sag around the thigh area. Guys who are obese may also want to avoid potentially embarrassing bulges at the wrong places because boxer briefs cover a large part of the body. It is a perfect fit for men with athletic body types.
  • Style: Boxer briefs are symbolic of a personality who is athletic and always on the move.
  • Color: Boxer briefs are available in various colors however black and other dark shades look better than others. Bright colors are best avoided.
  • Things to know: Boxer briefs are a must in every fitness crazy man's underwear drawer.

Calvin Klein men's trunk brief
Calvin Klein men's trunk brief | Source

5) Trunks

Trunks are seen as a hybrid between briefs and boxer briefs. They are shaped similar to boxer briefs except their legs are shorter. They should not be confused with swim trunks.

Trunks as underwear score high from a utility perspective. They are comfortable and provide a lot of support at the same time. They are great for guys who are active, travelling a lot or always on the run.

Trunks: Who should wear this type of underwear

  • Body type: Unlike boxer briefs, jockstraps and low rise briefs, trunks don't look too shabby even on men with larger bodies. Trunks will look good on most men including guys with slightly thin bodies who may be avoiding boxer briefs from the fear of being conscious about highlighting their skinny legs.
  • Style: Trunks are trendy and are a good alternative to boxers if you are fond of wearing low rise denims. If you wear your pants from your bottoms, trunks are a good underwear choice for you.
  • Color: Trunks look really good in black and white. Men who like to be style conscious even with their underwear can buy trunks which have a contrasting element against the black color of the fabric. For example, black trunks with a red elastic band look sexy.
  • Things to know: None.

Diesel jock underwear for men
Diesel jock underwear for men

6) Jocks or men's bikini underwear

Jocks, also known as men's bikini underwear, are they type of underwear models are often pictured wearing on ramps and billboards. A jock's design exposes more thigh and provides the bare minimum coverage on the front. It is like a normal brief underwear at the back.

Jocks were originally known to be made as an accessory for guys participating in sports or athletics to provide extra support. However they have become a popular underwear choice as more men found a liking to jocks and bikini underwear as a daily wear option.

Jocks and men's bikini underwear: Who should wear this type of underwear

  • Body type: Jocks or bikini underwear are designed in a way that they show more skin, leading to a common perception that only men with the best of bodies should ideally be wearing them.
  • Style: Jocks are not the type of underwear that can be carried off by any guy. Only a man with truck loads of confidence and attitude is likely to carry them off with style.
  • Color: Jocks are all about putting up a great show. On the right body, they look awesome in many colors including bright ones like red, sky blue, green and orange. Wearing bikini underwear in everyday life is all about making a style statement so bright colors and peppy design look cool.
  • Things to know: Jocks are risque for guys who have the slightest of doubts that they can't carry it off. It can be the cause of low confidence if a guy has stripped down to his jocks in front of a girl.

Calvin Klein men's body thong
Calvin Klein men's body thong | Source

7) Thongs

A thong is a type of underwear which provides bikini-like coverage at the front but only has a thin strip of cloth at the back, leaving a the buttocks exposed.

Thongs have not received mainstream popularity with men. Most guys like to avoid wearing a thong as a day to day underwear. Thongs are generally associated with a type of bikini or underwear women wear. There continues to be social stigma attached to the concept of men wearing thongs.

Thong: Who should wear this type of underwear

  • Body type: There is really no benchmark when men wear thong underwear. It is a personal preference and anyone can wear it.
  • Style: Individualistic.
  • Color: Thongs are an eccentric type of underwear for men. Guys who wish to try a thong really have no limits with color, fabric or style.
  • Things to know: Traditionally, men are not expected to wear thongs. Guys should be prepared to face a lot of jokes if they are caught wearing thongs by their school or college mates. An attempt to spice things up in the bedroom appears to be the only commonly accepted reason why a man would wear a thong.

Homer Simpson boxer shorts
Homer Simpson boxer shorts

8) Themed underwear

Themed underwear is men's innerwear which features prints of some of the most famous TV, cartoon, movie and comic book characters. There are many options including underwear with prints of Superman logo, Spider-Man webs, Mickey Mouse, Transformers and Simpsons characters among others.

Themed underwear comes in various shapes, sizes, colors, patterns and prints. It is just not the geeks and the nerds who have a fancy for themed underwear. Couples who want to bring some fun and excitement in the bedroom also buy themed underwear.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        jeff 7 weeks ago

        thongs for me everyday. wife likes them too

      • profile image

        Per 5 months ago

        Thongs mostly for exercise and summer, mini briefs/bikinis for the rest of the time if it is not long john winter temperature.

      • profile image

        Alden 9 months ago

        Low rise, bikini, or thongs for me.

      • profile image

        Michael 10 months ago

        Full Rise briefs for me everyday of the week

      • profile image

        Unknown 12 months ago

        ...I am not sure about any other guy that might be reading this but for me I prefer thong underwear and I am straight

      • iguidenetwork profile image

        iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

        Very interesting topic... I haven't had any themed underwear yet but I'll buy some one of these days! :)

      • Charlotte Lenard profile image

        Charlotte Lenard 5 years ago from Oak Park, IL

        My husband would love this!

      • soconfident profile image

        Derrick Bennett 5 years ago

        Very interesting topic. I'm more of a boxer shorts kinda guy.