Every morning as men around the globe dress for work, it can be relatively safely assumed that few, if any of them give much thought to the actual origins of their underwear that they put on. The history of mens underwear, is in fact, a fantastic story that is still unfolding to this very day.
It begins with the basic loin cloth. The first documented examples of this basic, yet highly functional garment hail from the tombs of ancient Egypt. However; it can be safely assumed that men actually began to wear a loin cloth around the time that they created the first fabrics.
As time progressed and men began to cover themselves with more clothing, both out of necessity and an evolving sense of style, they tended to leave their loin cloth on. Although it was a much lighter loin cloth, it served the function of protecting this delicate area of the body from the rough wool and animal skins that earlier garments were made from.
The transition of earlier tribal societies from hunting and gathering to organized agricultural economies played a major role in the development of more elaborate types and styles of clothing. As outer garments and leggings began to evolve into what might be recognized today as the beginnings of trousers, the light loin cloth began to evolve also.
The bulky wrap around loin cloth that worked so well for centuries now looked and felt bulky under a stylish grain farmers pants as he strolled down the path, headed for the local village. This is when the first prototypes of what would eventually evolve into todays modern mens underwear were developed.
They were light, short legged pants that were most likely made from cotton of soft wool. They would be worn under the more heavier outer pants and were held on by a tie string that wrapped around the waist. These prototypes of todays modern mens underwear weren't sold in stores, but rather, they were made at home or by the local seamstress if someone had the means to pay for them.
Mens underwear, as they are known today made their first appearance at the dawn of the industrial age. This when whole societies first began to march off to work in the morning and then return back home in the evening. It was the early to mid 1800's and on Fridays the men all stood in line at the factory office to receive their paycheck.
With the advent of the industrial age and the paychecks that it created, also came the mass manufacturing of clothing and the very first sweatshops. It was in these first garment manufacturing shops that things like elastic waistbands were developed and first installed on underwear that was packaged up and sold out of the first clothing stores.
It was in these stores that the first factory workers of the industrial age spent some of their earnings on their underwear. During those earlier times 1850-1900, the preferred choice in underwear was the "long john" that covered from shoulders to ankles.
World War One, it turns out, would be the impetus for change that gave birth to "jockey shorts". It was American solders affinity for a shorter, compact and more comfortable regulation issued style of underwear that brought about a change in the style of underwear that men around the globe now wear.
About the Author
Jeff J endorses Chris Tyrrell who writes for MyShreddies, creators of stylish, supportive underwear for men. View the range of mens boxer shorts on the website.