Following the suggestion of this website, and after viewing several Gildan commercials on You-Tube, I decided to give Gildan boxer briefs and t-shirts a try, which by the way, I am wearing as I write this blog post.
I was unfamiliar with the Gildan line of men’s underwear before reading about it here on UndershirtGuy.com, but I can now report that I am happy to have been introduced to Gildan products.
A Bit Of History
Let me begin this essay by stating that I have been a fan of boxer briefs since they were first introduced by Calvin Klein in the early 1990s. They have remained my preferred style of underwear to this day.
I was probably a college student in the 1960s before I ever purchased underwear on my own. Prior to that, I wore whatever my parents provided me with, and I am sure I wasn’t the exception. In those days, most of my dormitory buddies, and subsequent fraternity brothers (including myself) wore white cotton briefs.
Occasionally a “dorky” freshman would arrive at school wearing old-fashioned, baggy, boxer shorts, but a little friendly peer pressure usually helped him get with the program in “brief” order. We sported all the common brands of the era: BVD, FTL, Hanes, Jockey, and Munsingwear, plus whatever house brands may have been sold at our respective hometown department stores. But regardless of brand, we proudly took our pledge swats in our skivvies – “May I have more sir? Thank you, Sir!”
At some point during my college career, I bought a package of what were then labeled “mid-length briefs”. These were longer in the leg than what we currently associate with boxer briefs, extending to about mid-thigh.
I discovered that I liked them for several reasons. They provided necessary support but without the sometimes “high and tight” feel of regular briefs. The flat-seamed leg openings didn’t show through my pants. At our college we were not allowed to wear blue jeans and the sight of underwear lines beneath khakis or dress pants were frequently the source of giggles or jibes from classmates.
Finally, during the harsh Midwest winters – short of wearing long johns, which was definitely regarded as “uncool” – the extra leg coverage provided a bit of insulation from the cold. A number of other guys also wore them, which mitigated the feeling being different. But once out of college, I could decide on whatever style or brand of underwear I chose to wear.
And by this time, I was hooked.
Underwear Styles Change Over Time
Mid-length briefs remained fairly common throughout the 1970s and early 80s. Most American brands of men’s underwear offered some version of this brief. I generally preferred J.C. Penny’s Stafford line of mid-lengths briefs or classic Y-front, “Jockey Midways.” But as male underwear gradually became more fashion conscious, the mid-length brief pretty much faded into the background or disappeared from department store shelves altogether; the Jockey Midway being a notable exception.
Fashion of course is as fickle as human nature. When Calvin Klein introduced the “boxer brief” in 1993, and as flaunted by a sexy, young Mark Wahlberg, I thought I had been reunited with an old friend (boxer briefs, that is). I could be stylish besides – even if few outside of the locker room would ever see the source for my style. Unfortunately, I quickly became dissatisfied with my CKs.
While I liked the weight and softness of the cotton fabric, the legs tended to stretch out of shape after only a couple hours of wearing, riding up into a wad in the crotch of my pants or levis. Throughout the day I found myself “unstylishly” tugging at, and adjusting my underwear for simple comfort and movement sake. The thick hems of the leg openings increased the bulk and discomfort. The exposed stitching across the garment was rough and in some pairs the fly opening was so small as to be non-functional.
These factors combined with the premium price-tag told me “nope – false friend.” Other up-scale designers quickly followed CK’s suit and brought out their versions of the boxer brief. I tried several of these as well: A&F, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. All shared similar design flaws (IMHP) to those of CK, and at comparable prices. To counter “creeping leg” syndrome, some designers added elastic to the leg openings. This added further stricture and caused permanent creases in my flesh.
My Quest Continued
In my quest for the perfect boxer brief, I’ve also tested most of the mid-to-lower priced brands sold at chain department stores, such as Croft & Barlow, FTL, Hanes, Jockey, Joe Boxer, Roundtree & Yorke, Stafford, etc., again without much satisfaction and for similar reasons.
The older brands of men’s underwear had, by this time, updated their earlier “mid-length” briefs to imitate designer name brands. Some manufacturers, to lower cost no doubt, employed coarser or flimsier grades of cotton, or supplemented the cotton with varying percentages of synthetic fabrics. I’ve consistently found the latter to be less absorbent of perspiration during exercise or warm weather. Nor do I enjoy the skin irritation that synthetic fabrics often cause me.
I want the clothing closest to my body to be of as natural a fabric as possible. It may sound boring, but I have also always preferred white underwear to colored versions.
Gildan Boxer Brief Review
These certainly fall into the mid-to-lower price range, which currently retail online @ $10.49 for a package of four. Not a problem. I’ve spent far too much money on underwear during my lifetime! More importantly, they possess features that I very much appreciate.
The all-cotton fabric (in the solid color briefs anyway), while perhaps not of as high a thread count as used in some costlier brands, feels both smooth and soft on to the skin. It is absorbent during exercise, and perfectly suitable for everyday wear.
The waistband is substantial, comfortable, and doesn’t roll. The taped front seams extending down through the crotch are also smooth, look good, and help shape the goods. Gildan provides as much support as I’ve encountered in any boxer brief and the fly is large enough for convenient egress without fear of fallout.
The over-all sizing is good for me. I customarily wear a 36” waist in most pants. As boxer briefs tend to come in paired sizes, e.g., Medium 32-34”, Large 36-38”, a size L can sometimes border on being too large or billowy. Gildan boxer briefs may be sized slightly small, which seems to work well for me.
I will be curious to see how they feel after repeated laundering. Instructions on the package recommend washing in cold water, which may indicate a potential for shrinkage. Time will tell, but so far, a perfect fit.
And now for the leg coverage, the distinguishing feature of boxer briefs over standard men’s briefs. Gildan boxer briefs have a 3.5” inseam. This is fairly standard nowadays for all-purpose boxer briefs. I could still wish for a slightly longer leg however.
Older “mid-length” briefs had a 5-6” straight-cut leg, which made for a smooth fit with minimal, or no ride-up. The hems of Gildan boxer briefs are lined with a small amount of spandex, and this mitigates the ride-up somewhat.
So have I found a “favorite” pair of underwear? Let me answer that in Gildan boxer briefs, I have come pretty darn close! I would recommend Gildan boxer briefs to any man looking for comfortable, well-made, and reasonably priced underwear. And for those who prefer more colorful underwear, Gildan boxer briefs are also available in several colors and color-stripe combinations.
Other postings on this blog address the corporate goals of the Gildan Company, and their recent entry into the men’s underwear market. The Gildan corporate website is also fairly explicit about their pro-active approach to environmental sustainability, fair labor practice, community involvement, and product safety.
So, give Gildan a try. It may just become “your favorite pair of underwear”.