What kind of underwear are you wearing right now? What does it feel like?
Underwear is the one piece of clothing that is consistently switched for a clean one on the daily (I do hope). As for the underwear model, I mostly go for a pair that is squeezed in between my buttocks or butt cheeks. That means there is not too much fabric to run up my bum; it is already in there. So while I enjoy wearing a string, g-string or thong (because every version of the English language has their own word), I want to talk knickers today. Hopefully you’ll understand my journey of confusion to underwear enlightenment!
Men’s underwear styles
Let’s get something straight first. Men’s underwear is just as confusing as women’s underwear. In both cases for me there is the straightforward classification of underwear that embraces your bum or that goes between your butt. A quick check at a website for men’s underwear threw the following terms at me: boxer, trunk, brief, jogger, jockstrap, jock and string. Here are some of the classics:
Boxer (Brief): These are generally your classic, tight boxers with a medium length leg. They’re a good option for sport and every day wear because of the support and they also work well under almost any clothing.
Boxer Short: The second most popular underwear for men, these are the loose variety of boxers. They’re loose and airy and while they offer less support, they’re great for sleeping and under loose, pleated pants.
Trunk/Jogger: These are similar to a Boxer Brief but with shorter legs and a square cut (they make a straight line at the hips instead of a slight curve).
Brief: Another classic, they offer more coverage at the back and finish short on the thighs at the front.
Bikini Brief: Similar to the brief but with a higher cut leg line, lower waist and narrower on the sides
The Jockstrap: These are designed to offer the most support in high impact sports.
The Thong and String: These are perfect for anyone wanting less coverage. Both have a piece of material, the string smaller than the thong, that connects.
As always, some pairs of underwear are preferred for different activities. The styles with shorter legs or that sit between your butt at the back seem to be liked for exercising, as there’s less material to rub. Currently, Moja produces boxer briefs which you can find here. Our health and hygiene projects also mean that underwear and sanitary pads are locally created and distributed in Tanzania. The underwear for boys that is most popular there is the boxer short, and that’s what is produced. You can check out our health and hygiene projects here.
Women’s underwear styles
When we look at women’s underwear, more explanation can be found about the different models. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always make things more clear. So, the terms that can be encountered in this field are; brief, bikini, boxer, thong, string, G-string, V-string, hipster, cheeky, brazilian, tanga and high-waisted… just to get started. Here are some styles to know:
Bikini Brief: This is a classic and most briefs for younger people are cut in the bikini model. It has a high cut leg and plenty of coverage at the back.
Classic brief: Similar to the bikini cut with even more coverage on the front and back.
High-waisted: This is the classic brief with a high rise waist. That offers even more coverage for those wanting that.
Thong: With less coverage on your butt and hips, thongs are a great choice for those looking to avoid panty lines. They are one of the most popular styles.
String, Tanga and Brazilian: These three styles are all similar to the thong but the fabric shape varies slightly for each style. They tend to all have less fabric on the hips in comparison to the classic thong.
G-string: Again, a g-string is similar to a thong but with absolutely minimal fabric. This makes them perfect for when you absolutely need them not to show through tight or semi-transparent clothing.
Cheeky/Hipster: The coverage of the cheeky at the back is something in between a brief and a thong. Many styles often have wider hip bands to prevent underwear lines.
Boxer: Women’s boxer styles, often called boy shorts, have a rectangular shape and have more leg coverage. They are popular for lounging but also for wearing under a flowy skirt, as if your skirt flies up, they’re a mix between shorts and underwear.
While the styles of briefs can leave a panty line, it’s not an issue with many clothes. Plus, the extra comfort and coverage is great for chilling at home and especially during a period. At Moja, we currently produce cotton thongs and briefs for women, which you can find here. Our impact projects also include producing reusable sanitary pads locally which you can learn more about here.
To make it more “fun”, combinations are possible. Men’s underwear combinations are mostly restricted to boxer briefs and boxer shorts. With women however, there are brazilian strings, high-waisted thongs, boxer briefs and cheeky hipsters or hipster cheekies. Of course, some brands like to call their underwear a name that they like, and that makes choosing a style even more confusing. Not to mention different countries and regions having their own slang for panties, knickers, undies and more! Who knows, names for underwear might be just as diverse as the people spread out across the globe. In the end, the most important thing is that they are comfortable. And are they?