Where the runway meets the street

My underwear is personal, but like most things that are personal in nature, I am happy to talk freely about them. There is a journey to behold, and where underwear is concerned, that journey begins with my mother. She bought my first pair and still contributes to my stable of skivvies each holiday season. So come with me, and let us talk of things undergarment.

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Read about some of the underwear I have enjoyed over the years after the jump…

Like many males who I have queried on the matter, boxer shorts came along with puberty. The dawning of sexual maturity seems to demand a new underwear scheme, but, like many a manchild, I needed my mommy to buy me some. And buy them she did—with expert aplomb, in fact. The first time I tried on my own, I picked up a $4 three pack at a flea market. The polyester blend fabric not only trapped the odor of my musk, it seemed to magnify it to no end.

It was not long after this ill-fated attempt at buying my own underwear, that I mentioned to my mom that I was getting tired of boxer shorts. She picked me up some boxer briefs from Banana Republic, which set the tone for most of my underwear choices up to this day. I always grab a few pairs of their bb’s or sports trunks (pictured above; no pee fly) whenever I pass through an outlet mall. It usually takes at least a year for the elastic in the waist and legs to start wrinkling, and the cotton/spandex blend keeps my musk trapped where it belongs—a sound investment.

When I moved away from my native Denver to the wild Midwest steets of Chicago, I brought lots of the underwear my mom had given me along. Eventually, it started wearing out and I needed more. Remembering my failed attempt at getting some for myself from years earlier, I was tepid to the quest. H&M stepped in to help. There, I found bins full of monochromatic boxer briefs that were soft and simple. I snatched a few packs and they kept me covered for damn near five years. Inexpensive as they were, the elastic lasted forever. The cut was higher on the leg, which took some getting used to, but I sort of liked looking at myself in them in the mirror. By no means equipped for the task, I felt like an underwear model.

Of course, more recently, H&M has enlisted a Yoda among underwear models in David Beckham. His line of “bodywear” takes their usual product up a notch—in theory at least. They don’t look all that different from the usual stuff, but do bear the soccer star’s name front-and-center on a little square tag. That’s him wearing his goods up at the top, and you have to admit, he’s got just the right posture—making his kit look competent but not over-sized.

If I may digress into the world of underwear models for a few, this anonymous fellow has been flashing his lump over at American Apparel for a while now. You can find photos of him in clothes, too, but it is shots like these that fascinate. To my mind, he looks like a man in his underwear should: confident but not cocky, and a little bit perturbed. His “why are you looking at me that way” stare makes the product seem more approachable.

And indeed, I have gone the route of AA underwear. The few pairs I have owned were beloved for their bright colors and white trim, but seemed to have rather crap elastic in the waistband. I griped enough about it that my wife stepped in and solved the problem for me with a pair in the next size up. The still hug my nethers but, thus far, have remained in fine form.

Where will I go next? Hard to say. Between the two ladies in my life—mother and wife—my stock gets updated regularly. But it does fuel the inner fire to go out and hunt your own pair of underwear from time to time. While I don’t fancy much of their menswear, Patagonia has caught my eye with their Active Sports Boxers. I like to think of myself as a sporting fellow and the idea of underwear built for dudes who chop lots of logs and haul them about on ATVs appeals to me. Because even though, in one sense, my mother still dresses me, I am a man. (jt)

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