To get a good understanding of any subject it’s always a good idea to go back to it’s origins. The earliest findings of underwear has been recorded as far back as ancient Ta Ma Rayay, Kemet, Mizraim or Egypt as it’s commonly known today.
This was the birth of what’s known as the humble Loincloth or Schenti as referred to by academics. Many of the garments of the time still survived till this day. This under garment was a simple, single piece item wrapped around the waist and tied at the front. The material would have often been a natural, light weight and breathable linen. I guess this would have been semi Commando with great ventilation which is very important for mens health (a subject we will discuss in a later article).
This was often worn as a type of over garment but ancient art in the Valley of the Queens shows pharaohs wearing sheer outer garments, rendering the loincloth or Schenti a type of under garment.
This style is very similar to what is worn by men across Africa and India during ancient times up until this day. The Ancient Egyptians were very advanced and way ahead of their time so we could take a leaf or two out of their book in regards to their choices. Much of this would be due to the extreme temperature where comfort and keeping cool is a big consideration.
I would love to walk you through a brief history of mens underwear up until this point but I don’t think I could do it quit as eloquently as the lovely Danielle Bainbridge (Creator and host of “Origins of Everything).
Check out her video below “A Brief History of Men’s Underwear”
From loincloths to long johns and codpieces to jock straps, Danielle takes a “brief” look at the history of male undergarments!
Bartels, Victoria. “What Goes Up Must Come Down: A Brief History of the Codpiece.” Research Horizons. Cambridge University. 20 April 2015. Accessed 7 March, 2018.
https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/featur… Cole, Shaun. The Story of Men’s Underwear. New York: Parkstone Press, 2009. Cunningham, Patricia. Reforming Women’s Fashion, 1850-1920: Politics, Health, and Art. Kent, Ohio: Kent State UP, 2003.
Hill, Daniel. American Menswear from the Civil War to the Twenty-First Century. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech UP, 2011.
Gordon Williams. Briefing on Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature. London: The Althlone Press, 1994. Koda, Martin and Harold. “Jockey: The Invention of the Classic Brief, “Textile and Text 15 Vol 2, 1992, 30.
Krulwich, Robert. “Alan Greenspan’s Underwear Drawer” The Bryant Park Project, NPR, January 1, 2008. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/s… Peacock, John. Men’s Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook. With over 1000 Colour Illustrations. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996.
Rushton, Susie. “A brief history of pants: Why men’s smalls have always been a subject of concern.” UK Independent. Tuesday 22 January 2008. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-st… Williams, Gordon Briefing on Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2001.
Article by Jeremy Salmon