Men's Underwear Dos and Dont's

by Mike Quartly

Do replace old underwear

We’ve heard the statistic tossed around that eight years is the average length of time it takes men to replace their underwear. Whether or not that’s accurate (and we hope it’s not, frankly), no matter how long it takes you to replenish supplies, once a pair has seen better days -- a small hole, a tiny rip, a little fray -- toss it in the trash. Is this a heavy price to pay for a relatively negligible imperfection? Maybe. But wear and tear with underwearsock is a dangerously slippery slope. And as for those lucky boxers you’ve been holding onto since your dorm days, clear a space in your drawer and lay them to rest – forever.


Do have a collection

Men should have at least ten pairs of underwear on hand at all times. That’s one for every day of the week plus two additional for weekend nights and another thrown in for good measure or some sort of, um, emergency. Active guys – the workout buffs, outdoor types and all-around heavy sweaters – will need a few more to meet their needs. The opposite isn’t true for couch potatoes: sitting around all day doesn’t mean you can get away with fewer.


Do find your brand

Variety is the spice of life except, perhaps, when it comes to underwear. It can be difficult to find a brand that fits just right -- one that holds the goods in place without being too tight or too loose. But once you happen to stumble upon the right kind, it’s a good idea to stock up. Sure, you can go wild with different colours, super soft eco-friendly fabrics and maybe even a print or two. But your best bet is to always stay loyal to single name that you know works for you.


Do wear a variety of underwear styles

So, while being a one-brand man is a definite do, it’s also important to have an assortment of underwear for various activities. Briefs provide the right support for almost every situation from bar to boardroom. But sometimes you just need to set things free come bedtime with a looser fitting boxer. And then, of course, there’s the hybrid known as the boxer-brief -- an ideal way to get both support and coverage for a hard-core workout. Keep each set separate so you always have the right pair ready to rumble.


Do wash your underwear every time

Did you know that dirty drawers typically carry up to a gram of fecal matter? Sick. Fortunately, the answer to keeping clean isn’t wearing a disposable diaper. Loose-fitting boxers won’t get you an extra day’s worth of wear, either. Underwear should be washed after each use, period. Use regular bleach if we’re talking whites since it packs a heftier punch than the color-safe kind.


Don't go commando

Freeballin’. Letting loose. Living large. Call it what you want, but opting out of undergarments is never acceptable. Sure, a cool breeze down there would be more than welcome on a sizzling hot summer day. But the risk of raising the flagpole in public is just too high -- not to mention the gnarly nether-region germs you would be rubbing directly on to your clothing.


Don't wear man-panties

The high-cut, hip-hugging bikini brief was created to up the ante in sex appeal. Oddly enough, it can do just the opposite. Men’s underwear should always look like it was made for a man. If you have to wonder, keep on shopping. And yes, this rule applies to everyone -- European, gay, or otherwise.


Don't tolerate stains

Underwear isn’t limited to a discussion about briefs and boxers; it includes beaters and T-shirts too. Sporting either of those with a gruesome golden pit is enough to turn a stomach or two. The yellowish tinge comes from the urea in sweat, the same waste product found in urine. Sadly, getting your T-shirts white again is nearly impossible. Chalk it up to an active lifestyle or overly enthusiastic sweat glands and buy some new bright white undershirts at the first sign of discoloration.


Don't wear boxers under trousers 

Boxer shorts have their rightful place in your underclothing collection. They’re great for sleeping, and if you’re partial to putting a little more swing in your step, boxers are fine with jeans. But during the 9-to-5 grind, stuffing a bulky, baggy boxer short into finely tailored trousers is far from flattering. Suiting up calls for more refined undergarments, ones that don’t require an extra tuck or tug.


Don't show off your underwear

Designer drawers came to life around the same time Marky Mark decided it was cool to drop trou with Calvins. Well, you aren’t Mr. Wahlberg and this isn’t 1991. Conceal your tighty whities (or similarly distinguished boxers) and let them show when it really counts: behind closed doors.

The next time you’re pressed to get dressed, remember one thing: the better your underwear looks on, the greater chance someone will want to take it off.

Mike Quartly
Mike Quartly


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