The below-the-belt debate

JaLynn Hardy's view

Students voice their opinions on whether they prefer boxers or boxer briefs

Boxers or briefs?

Credit: Andrew popik

Men’s underwear has undergone the gamut of styles and shapes throughout history. It’s come a long way since the loincloth or union suit. But how did it get to be what it is now?

According to, boxers and briefs came into style around the ’30s due to a new-found use for the elastic waistband. The term ‘boxer shorts’ was coined after professional athletes at that time.

But there was still one more invention to come. In 1934, Jockey invented an easy-to-use diagonal vent applied to boxers and briefs. Then the basic shape remained the same as new textiles were introduced over the years.

By the ’80s, designer underwear became in style from such houses as Calvin Klein, Sauvage and Tommy Hilfiger. Ad campaigns used sex as the gimmick for buying men’s underwear.

One of today’s top choices was introduced in the ’90s — the boxer briefs. In case you’re not sure what they are, boxer briefs are boxers that are more form fitting with a top similar to briefs.

Now, men typically do not buy underwear because it’s sexy or it’s their favorite color. It has to do more with form and function or because their mom or girlfriend bought them.

For women, men’s underwear is so much more than that.

Ever meet a new guy and wonder if he’s a boxers or briefs type? Or say you’re a guy: Ever wonder what women are thinking of your underwear? Well, I decided to ask around, and here’s what I got.

Both the guys and girls at Kent State picked boxers over briefs and boxer briefs. The general consensus for guys was that boxers are more roomy and comfortable. For women, boxers are just plain sexy.

Freshman finance major, Kendall Keyser, said it’s attractive when guys wear boxers.

“They just look hot when a guy is walking down the street and they hang out a little bit over his pants.” 

However, boxers can present a challenge for men when wearing a certain style of pants. 

Kris Nied, a junior chemistry major, admits that even though he prefers boxers, sometimes he wears boxer briefs.

“I prefer boxer briefs when you’re wearing a slimmer fit pant,” he said.

In fact, my poll would suggest that the boxer brief could be on the rise. It’s not just men that like boxer briefs. It’s women too.

Sophomore fashion design major, Julianna White, likes the close knit look of them on a guy.

“I just like how they’re more form fitting. They don’t remind me of an old man.” 

And what does remind her of an old man?

“Whitey-tighteys” she said. “Because they’re just ugly.” 

Her friend agrees.

But, on the other hand, boxer briefs are attractive.

Sophomore marketing major Laura Walter said briefs remind her of her dad.

“Boxer briefs are the sexiest because you get the little pelvic lines,” she said. “They look good on toned men.”

So, briefs have really gotten a bashing here. But, one brave soul decided to make a stand and took the plunge. Twenty-one-year-old Keith Teneyck happened to be hanging out with his friends from Kent State the day I was polling and said he prefers briefs.

“I used to wear them when I was a little bit younger,” he said. “I just fell in love with them. I like them because they offer comfort, security and tightness. I wear tight clothing and I like to wear briefs. Boxers tend to ride up when I wear tighter jeans. They’re very uncomfortable to wear under them.”

So, the next time you’re out shopping for men’s underwear, you might want to take some of these things into consideration. But, as for boxers vs. briefs, really, your opinion is the one that counts.

JaLynn Hardy is a senior broadcast journalism major who studied fashion design for two years and is a fashion columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].