Real Women's Boxer Briefs
One Woman's Impassioned Quest
Maybe you hate teeny panties. Maybe you are an athlete. Maybe you are of larger size. Maybe you are trying to create a comfortable DMZ between your thighs. Maybe you are tired of getting overheated in synthetics and microfiber. Maybe you are tired of all the extra fabric that comes from pouches.
Whatever the case, you are like me. You are a woman who is on a quest to find real boxer briefs made for a woman's body, made from cotton fabric, with a genuine long-leg. And not some deceptive keyword stuffed web page trying to sell you an annoying panty, boy short, or piece of shaperwear.
This is it my sisters! I am on the quest to find real women's boxer briefs. I'm going to put my money where my nether regions are and actually buy some of these things and wear them until we find what we are looking for.... Are you with me?!
In my personal history, I've worn very nearly every style of underwear known to woman-kind. Some of that comes from the eras in which I've lived and some from being a person who is interested in costuming. What's both surprising and not is how often the undergarments worn by women are not all that comfortable.
I don't know exactly when I first tried on a pair of men's boxer briefs, but I can tell you that the style was probably only a year or two old, that the brand I tried was Calvin Klein, and that I got them while doing a spate of outlet shopping with my mom. In short, they were super cheap and it seemed like a fun thing to try. I wanted something to wear under a sarong while camping that wasn't outerwear-shorts and would keep my thighs from chafing.
Those boxers did the trick and I must have shown at least a half dozen women my underwear during that week of camping. They'd say, "I just can't wear a sarong even though it's boiling out, my thighs would kill me." I'd peel back a sarong flap to flash a bit of boxer leg and the reaction was always the same. "Ooooh, that's so smart!"
So, roll forward in time... I still like the concept of men's boxer briefs but they have a few fit issues. They presume I'm a taller human (the one time I met former Squidoo community head Megan Casey, her first words were, "Oh my god, you're a peanut!") and they presume I have boy stuff that needs a pouchy space between my legs. But at the same time, I am after that longer leg you get with a proper boxer brief. And I'm cheesed at all those people on the internet who keyword stuff or name things that end right at the thigh crease as being boxers. My thigh poochies curse you!
When you look at the pictures included here, you see the most-typical items which are referred to as boxer briefs online. The girl version certainly is brief, so brief the boxer part seems to be missing. And thus, an underwear quest was born...
It's a Conspiracy!
Seriously, how come now that women are the predominant consumers we still get stuck with tons of stuff made in ways we don't like? How come a man who wants his underwear to come down 4"-6" inches in the leg has no problem? How come men can find this in nice cotton knit? Who decided that any woman who might want to do the same needs to be squeezed within an inch of her life by industrial spandex?
An Underwear Dictionary, or How a Costumer Thinks of Underwear
Not only did I major in costuming in my undergrad years, but I spent seven years working for a company that made lingerie. Between classes where I had to memorize a ton of names of historical garments and then working in a professional manufacturing setting, my take on underwear comes with words that mean certain things. I'm going to share some of those words and interpretations with you here because you will better understand what I'm talking about later. Your personal experience and vocabulary may vary.
- Bikini: This is a triangle of fabric in front, full-coverage in the rear and fastens across the hips with thinner straps
- Bloomers: A period-style of underwear that is loose cotton, fits up to the natural waist and goes down to or just below the knee. Slightly puffy-cut legs and often finished with a gathered knee and a ruffle.
- Briefs: These often bear the nickname "granny pants" these days, as they refer to underwear that rises to the waistline and covers the entire rear and hips. Mostly white.
- Boxers: The male style of underwear that is like a pair of shorts. These used to be just plain white (old school military) or plaid and baggy (yay, 80s!) but modern variants tend to take their styling from athletic wear and often some in knits now.
- French-Cut: This refers to women's underwear that has a very high-cut leg opening, offering a very narrow front and leaving the entire thigh crease open.
- G-String: When I worked for a women's wear company, this meant our tiniest panties which were a small triangle of fabric in the front, and about 1/4" elastic used to make side and backstraps. Almost no coverage.
- Pettipants: More of an underwear cover than underwear itself, these are frequently ruffled and worn by square dancers and other performers to hide their actual underwear but meant to be seen under skirts when twirling.
- Thong - If you hear me talk about thongs, I am speaking of small profile underwear that is most-often entirely crafted from fabric but also entirely edged in elastic for the snuggest fit. The backstraps on these tend to be the 1" width mandated in the states of Texas and Florida as required for "dancers."
Test #1: Focxers
imported British boxer briefs, designed by women for women
Maybe it was because it was late at night and maybe it was because it was the night before my birthday, but the very first pair of women's boxer briefs I'm tested were made by Focx in the UK. Part of why I started with these was that they were the first thing I found after a few hours of web hunting that entirely fit the bill. Designed for a woman's figure, cotton, a true boxer brief cut.
These are the original style by Focx, they have a note on their website that the new cut is a bit longer in the leg. I got these because they were on sale, and between the exchange rate and shipping, these are still some pricey pants. (In England, "pants" are underwear and "trousers" are outerwear, in case you didn't know.) These do have a fly like men's underwear, but the ladies who make these call it a "keyhole" and it lines up for female anatomy.
The sewing and seaming is excellent. I tend to live in jeans and don't own a car, so comfort and non-bunching while walking is an extremely big deal to me. These boxers didn't slide down, and they didn't ride up too much. I'd say a 9 out of 10 on holding their position. When I'm not walking around I tend to be parked on a ball chair in front of a computer, and that's a great way to test bunching. Not bunchy at all, yay!
I've owned these long enough to go through a few seasons, and can report on their fit under jeans. It's great. They are fine in my skinny jeans, or the fleece-lined babies I pull out to get through the depths of winter.
If you can bear the expense (these are still way cheaper than bras for busty gals), I recommend you give a pair or two of these a try.
Test #2: Comfort Choice Boxer Brief
Ordered from Roaman's
I gave up wearing white underwear when I went off to college (and I'm not a pastel pink panty girl either), so I had to hunt a bit to find the Comfort Choice boxers in black. It wasn't too hard given I had an actual brand name to guide me.
These are thinner cotton than the Focxers, with a higher waistline and a slightly longer leg. I'm very tubular/apple-bodied and I can see how some sisters who are very strongly hourglass-shaped might not get a good fit from these. They are really straight-up-and-down. The waist band is quarter-inch covered elastic. If you like a lower rise in your jeans/trousers, you'll find that not only do these boxers come up higher than the waist on your pants, but they then start to roll down.
These boxers are less bulky in the crotch than the Focxers with their keyhole.
Test #3: Girls Will Be Boys
A US-based underwear manufacturer
I found the GIRLS WILL BE BOYS (GWBB) brand thanks to a recommendation in the comment box at the bottom of this article and went to check them out right away. Right fiber, excellent color options, appropriate sizes, prices pretty much par for the course.... so I ordered two pair in purple. Shipping was fast (items were in stock) and packaging was good.
These are some of the closest in boy-style and yet they do entirely away with any sort of front pouch or opening and really, that's sort of nice for reducing bulk in the crotch. Waistbands do not roll down, but they are that screaming advertising logo all the way around that ultimately makes me wish it wasn't there. Legs are a touch longer than original Focxers but fit well and do not ride up too much under those skinny jeans I love.
This company wins on color options (lots of great solids) and they are domestic, which saves me gazillions on shipping from overseas. As of now, this is my go-to underwear.
The Valley of Fire Three-Way Challenge - Whatever You're Thinking, It's Just About Underwear
Here's a literal field test report from the spring of 2014, in Nevada's own Valley Of Fire State Park. This is the Silver State's oldest and most-lauded state park. I've been camping here with a group in (mostly early) May for a decade now. At first I was just attending this four-day fire circle gathering, but now I also volunteer and hold multiple roles of responsibility and oversight. And this year, as one of any number of new things I try each year to make my experience more pleasant, I compared the three styles of women's boxer briefs across three weeks in a climate totally the opposite of what I live in, in super-active conditions.
I spent a week and a half at my fave women's retreat, then spent a handful of days in Las Vegas, and then hit the desert hard for pack-it-in-pack-it-out, with wild winds, temps and sand, sand, sand. The lowest temps I was outside in may have gone as low as the upper 40s, with that being driven by intense wind. I know the one last April Saturday I was in Las Vegas, and out walking around slightly lost, it hit 100. That just sucked. My Seattle-attuned-body just gave me the finger all day. It didn't matter how much water I drank.
I wore cut-off shorts, skinny jeans and had long underwear to supplement the shorts as an option. I had a garment that could be either a skirt or a shirt, and did both with it. And I had a couple sarongs. I had some boy cut panties for a couple nights where it was all about the psychedelic yoga pants (bet you didn't know I was one of those, did you?) but for the most part, I was wearing boxer briefs. In the end, no pair ever gave me a total fail. This means I never had to stop what I was doing and "fix" my underwear or change out of a pair that had turned hateful. And given that we had limited bathing available, that's important.
Under my cut-off shorts, all variants of boxer briefs were perfect. Just really happy campers. If I decided to suddenly jump into the leggings/long-underwear under the shorts, the GWBB did best and Focxers did the second best. The ComfortChoices' just aren't fitted enough to stay *perfectly* smooth under so other fabrics and they bunched enough I made sure to not wear them when I was doing a lot of pants layers.
Because my Focxers are the older style with the shorter leg, they can actually do okay under those fancy yoga pants of mine. The bold pattern distracts from any line left by the boxer leg, which is really slight anyway.
Under the thrift-store, I'm-going-to-the-shower-or-its-boiling dress, I actually liked the ComfortChoice the best as they were the most leggy and lightest in the heat of the day.
For sarong wear, the bold logo waistband of the GWBBs makes them more of a style liability unless you want to advertise. To me, I don't mind if a logo waistband shows above jeans, but I don't want it with a sarong. So the ComfortChoices, with almost no waistband, worked well for pairing up that way.