I think a good place to start is at the beginning. I’m going to begin with underwear, the first article of clothing that most of us put on our bodies in the morning. This is of course unless you go commando, which honestly isn’t something I particularly recommend. Aaannnyway, I don’t know many (though I’m sure there are some) masculinely-expressed or butch people who wear feminine underwear. For some of us, our undergarment choices help define how we express ourselves – not just to the people who get to see us in our skivvies, but is a boost to our own self-esteem as well.
I remember reading an essay in a queer anthology years back that talked about a young butch’s struggle with reconciling her gender/identity/orientation and her relationship with her family. Things came to a head when she was visiting home during a college break, and her father found her men’s cotton boxers in a combined load of laundry. He flipped, she initially got ashamed, and it was one of those topics that could have easily been hidden from daylight forever. She took her father to task, educated him about who she was, and sent a clear message to her family that she was proud of herself, and the identity she was growing in to.
I think that for a lot of us this is a common theme. I remember purchasing my first pairs of boxers. I didn’t really know what I wanted or what I liked or what would be comfortable; I just remember buying them with the same surreptitious feelings I’d had when convincing my girlfriends to buy me porn from straight bookstores. I got them home, put them on, looked in the mirror, and liked what I saw. Finally wearing the right underwear made me feel at home, and this one event began a love for selecting what I consider to be the best in men’s underwear.
Continuing with my full disclosure theory, I should tell you in advance that I spend more on underwear in a year than some do in a lifetime. Really. It’s nothing for me to drop upwards of $30 on a pair of underwear. Admittedly, I’m a little snobby. But that’s not the point here the point is the information part, so I’ll get to that.
There are LOTS of choices to be made when selecting men’s underwear. Cotton boxers. Stretch fabric loose boxers. Boxer briefs. Trunks. Bikinis. HUGE sub selections within those categories. But I’ll narrow it down to what I think the best choices are.
I think that cotton boxers and the stretch fabric loose boxers tend to bunch in really bad places for female bodied people. Yes, everyone is different and your experience may not be the same as mine (and I welcome your feedback) but this has held true for many that I know.
I also typically enjoy brands that are favored by gay men, as opposed to say Hanes or Fruit of the Loom – easily accessed supermarket brands. I like having to put a little effort into it. This is not to say that I don’t own anything by those brands (love FotL undershirts) but wearing “designer” underwear brings out the inner fag in me, and it’s a feeling I really really like.
Underwear made from a cotton/spandex blend are usually the most comfy and durable. I like ones with a 95% cotton 5% spandex blend. The following “types” are usually found with this fabric mix:
Thongs, bikinis, regular briefs. I don’t find these to be comfy. You may, and I encourage you to experiment. I know butches who like men’s bikini and briefs, but to me they feel to much like woman’s underwear, and tend to ride up uncomfortably into my thighs. I also find that they aren’t cut to fit curves as well (because they’re not) and don’t make me look as good as I know I’m capable of looking.
Boxer briefs, due to their “cling” factor, are a favorite amongst butches, but for me, well, I’m not that tall, and I find that the length comes down to just above my knee and tends to not be the most comfortable choice.
My ultimate choice for men’s boxers is the “trunk.” The cut is similar to the “boy cut” girls’ underwear style, however these extend further down the thigh, and tend to not ride up very much at all. They also have the thick stripe waistband of which I am particularly fond. Here is one of the “Love Kills Slowly” line by Ed Hardy.
They cling to you but (if fitted correctly) not uncomfortably so, and they tend to make your behind look great – which is helpful for me because I don’t have much of one. Additionally, most of them have just a small pouch in the front which will lay flat for regular wear, and for not-so-regular wear, will accentuate your “assets” nicely, lends some extra support and, if wanted, provides concealment.
Now on to procurement. As I mentioned before, I’m a snob. My favorite underwear manufacturers are typical gay-boy favorites. 2Xist, Calvin Klein, Ed Hardy, Ginch Gonch, and Diesel are pretty much at the top of my list. 2Xist is actually my favorite, and they make what I find to be the longest lasting, best wearing and washing trunk available. Admittedly, this comes at a price; they range between $18-$28 a pair. Sometimes they can be found on sale at local discount department stores (I got my first pair at a TJ-Maxx) but truthfully, I much prefer online outlets for underwear purchasing. International Jock is, in my opinion, the best site for this kind of shopping, and they often have really good sales and closeouts. An example of the 2Xist brand:
I also want this site to be relevant for everyone, not just those with deep pockets or those willing to eat ramen instead of real food to look good. I understand that for many, a wardrobe budget isn’t going to be blown on what most aren’t ever going to get to see. With that in mind, I have found that my favorite company 2Xist actually has an offshoot brand called Evolve. They make underwear exclusively for Target, and you can buy 2 pairs of their trunks for $8.99. While not quite as well made as the parent brand they are very well priced and accessible, a “best buy” in the arena of underwear. Sportswear manufacturer Adidas also makes a very cost-effective line of trunks; I’ve found them at Kohl’s (about $10-$12 a pair) and other like department stores.
I hope that this post has given you some encouragement and inspiration. I have found that nearly all of my intimate partners have appreciated the care I’ve taken in selecting my underwear – especially if I pick out a VERY special pair, (the most whimsical – and pricy – of which can be found at Ginch Gonch) it NEVER goes unnoticed. Or unremembered.
I’m a fairly muscular and somewhat stocky butch, without much curve or ass action going on, and so of course my opinions are going to align with that body type. And likely you’re different – admittedly I’ve never met a butch that didn’t look good in trunks, but that’s just me.
What kinds of underwear work best for you? Where do you like to shop for them?