Classic Boxer Shorts
Classic Boxer Shorts.
(20) Mens boxer shorts were first marketed by Everlast in 1925, and introduced into the UK in 1947. This was the first time that an elastic waistband had been used – To allow for better movement for boxing.
While we design and make both stretch and woven boxers, this page is devoted to the tailored, classic woven boxer shorts.
Woven fabrics do not have any give, so they need to be looser and more precisely tailored. They must be cut with sufficient ease to fit comfortably, but not to ride up the leg.
This can be achieved with expert pattern cutting, using pleats, gussets, vents, elastication, gathering and ergonomically shaped panels.
Woven boxers may go in and out of fashion, but they are always extremely stylish. Today they are both stylish and very fashionable.
It is no longer just the older gentleman who is attracted to the classic boxer undershorts. The young too have begun to see the attraction of crisply tailored underwear.
The styles available today are limited compared to those of the recent past, but a search of the internet can reveal many vintage interpretations of the classic boxer styles that we can replicate. A resurgence of classical boxer styling is well overdue.
Vintage Boxer Styles.
Just look at all the different vintage boxer styles compared to todays offering – Styles with pleated fronts, cinch backs, waist yokes, and side waist grippers. I dont know why these styles are no longer available, but we find that they are popular requests.
We have tremendous experience of custom made mens boxer shorts, both for individual clients and small designer brands. We can make any type of boxer, with no minimums.
Each garment is custom made to your own requirements, in your own fabric, or ours. They are made by a small family run factory in Dundee, Scotland. We dont do large quantities – Just bespoke garments, and small orders.
Mens boxer shorts are a very specialised field of clothing that requires experience and knowledge, in both pattern cutting, and garment construction.
It is an interesting area of fashion for budding designers to explore, as there is much scope, and limited competition. You just need the right skilled people to interpret and create your designs.
Types Of Boxer Shorts.
Woven boxers come in a variety of styles. Some are mass market, with limited features, while others are high quality, luxury designs with special features.
We get a lot of call for cinch back, or French back boxer styles that are not generally available today, unless you have them custom made. The cinch back style would normally have a flat waistband, with an adjustable tab at the back waist, and front pleats for ease of movement.
Some early vintage boxers used a flat waistband with side ties in either fabric, or webbing. This may have been due to a shortage of elastic. Some military styles would use this method.
Vintage styles often have pleats at the waist for extra movemnet. They may have single or double front pleats, with or without elastication. Or they may have pleats at the side, or the back. Front pleats can be particularly beneficial, as they allow for extra stride width when we walk. They also help prevent stress on the front thigh when crouching down.
Types Of Fly Opening.
Most modern boxer shorts are made with an all round, continuous elasticated waistband, and an open fly design. Some styles will have a single button in the centre of the fly. Some will have a concealed fly with a hidden button. Some will have no fly at all.
Gripper boxer shorts have a fly that fully opens, secured with buttons, poppers, or snaps at the waist.
The fly opening normally follows the centre front line, but sometimes it may have a wider front opening
As most men dont actually use the fly, it is as much a decorative feature as a practical one.
Elastication was introduced into mens boxers in the late 1920`s.
There are several types of waistband on mens boxers :-
Encased Elastic Waistband –The top of the waistband is folded over to provide a casing for the elastic. This can be a little bulkier, and harsher against the skin, than other methods. There is usually two to five rows of top stitching used to secure the elastic.
Inside Sewn Elastic – Also known as a plush waistband. A brushed soft finish elastic is sewn inside, to appear as if to be an encased waistband from the outside. This has a softer feel against the skin. Normally there is two rows of top stitching used to secure the elastic.
Sewn On Elastic – Bare elastic sewn on. These will often be branded, and becomes a distinct feature. A non- roll waistband may be a feature.
Flat Waistband – Not generally available today, flat waistbands would normally have no elastic, but an adjustable cinch back.
Flat Yoke – Again, not generally available today, boxers with a flat front yoke will normally have a cinch back opening, as well as front pleats for ease.
Most modern day boxers have a fully elasticated waist, or are fully elasticated except for the front fly area. Vintage boxers may have a flat front yoke, with a side gripper elastic section.Or a flat waistband with an adjustable cinch back.
Most good quality boxers will use a flat felled seam construction, while some will use a french seam. The flat felled seam will show a double row of top stitching, while the french seam may have a single row, or no external stitching.
A french seam is a more labour intensive type of seam construction, more often used by designer brands. It can be narrower than a flat fell seam, but may be slightly bulkier.
Stitch length is a sign of quality in mens underwear. As a rule, the more stitches per inch, or centimetre, the higher the quality. 18 stitches per inch is fairly standard.
Centre Back Seam.
Having a centre back seam provides for a more tailored fit on the whole, but it is associated with a certain discomfort through the infamous wedgie problem. The reason for this is that the leg fork provides a sharp edge to sit on, rather than a flat surface area that other methods provide.
It is not necessary to have side seams on boxer shorts. If you have a three panel back, then you will probably not have them. Side seams may be more cost effective, or may allow for a better fabric grain alignment, which affects the direction of stripes.
For a little more thigh movement, a short side seam vent can be added at the hem.
Three Panel Back.
The three paneled back style is designed to eliminate the wedgie problem associated with a centre back seam. In this style the centre back seam is replaced by a shaped back panel.
This is less tailored than the centre back seam style, and makes for a slightly billowing shape at the back.
The three panel back can either be constructed with a flat felled seam, with twin needles stitching, or it can have a double layer bagged out panel.
The balloon seat is the type of fit you get when you use a three panel back construction. The back panel is shaped in order to provide more forward bending and general movement.
It is intended to prevent the wedgie problem, and riding up on the thigh that is apparent with the more conventional centre back seam construction.
The inseam measurement is an important part of the boxer short design. It also dictates the function and comfort of the garment. Boxers normally have an inseam of 3″ – 7″. Having too long an inseam may cause the shorts to ride up at the thighs.
On a boxer with a centre back seam, there will normally be one inseam, centrally placed. There are a variety of other options also available, using godets, panels and gussets. These tend to provide for more comfortable fitting.
For styles with an inside leg panel, the inseam will need to be a bit longer than for a regular style.
Gussets And Panels.
Gussets are more widely used in stretch underwear than in wovens, but there are a variety of ways to use panelling to achieve a good fit. Sometimes an inside leg panel is used to provide comfort and shaping. This panel can be a french seam, or a lap felled seam. Or it can be a double layer bagged out. All of these methods provide a neat finish.
Yoke Front Gripper Shorts.
As with the standard Gripper style, the yoke front gripper style has a fully opening front fly. Some yoke front boxers will have a pleated front and a gathered back. Some have side waist elastication, while others have gathering into the waistband, and adjustment tabs, or tie backs.
We can provide bespoke boxer shorts for our clients. Although we can supply just one garment, it is far more cost effective to order multiples.
Why dont my shop bought boxers fit ? Pants of all types, including boxers are sized by waist measurement, even though the garment is generally not made to fit on the waist, and probably will not measure as the label size anyway.
Most trousers are made to fit on the high hip, which is significantly bigger than the waist. So, if we buy a size 34″, the waist may measure 37″ ( The label may read “To fit 34″ waist” ). Our own true waist may be significantly bigger even than that.
We are normally willing to put up with a muffin top effect, as long as it feels comfy, and looks OK. Although the garments are sold by waist size, we are in reality, buying for our hip size.
Most brands use a standard grade increment of 2″ per size for both the waist, and the hip. But as we age, the waist ( especially the front waist ) is where most growth takes place.
A high quality, age related brand is more likely to understand how the waist:hip ration changes, and will grade their styles accordingly. But even so, we are all shaped differently, and need to maybe be more aware of our hip size when buying these garments.
Because fully elasticated boxers are cut very square, if we are to grade boxers to allow for a different waist;hip ratio, we would grade the waist and hip the same, but allow a varying elastic measurement.
What sets a luxury boxer short apart is often the type of buttons used, and how it is sewn on. A luxury boxer will probably use pearl buttons with shanks. The shank is the extra thread that is sewn around the main threads to give the button more depth and some rigidity.
Troca buttons are cheaper than pearl buttons, but plastic buttons are cheapest.
The fabric is a very important part of a boxers design. Tailored undershorts need to look stylish, and feel comfortable next to the skin. The fabric is probably the most important thing that distinguishes a luxury product from an ordinary one.
The most popular fabric for mens boxer shorts is cotton. It is both absorbent and breathable. For quality the most important factor is staple length. Longer staple cotton can be spun finer, and so feel softer, last longer and look better.
There are a number of high quality cottons in two-ply or three-ply,used to make boxer shorts :
- Pima Cotton
- Sea Island Cotton
- Supima Cotton
- Egyptian Cotton
How Much Fabric Does A Boxer Use ?
The fabric usage for a mans boxer shorts depends mostly on the width of the fabric. For a 60″(150 cms) wide fabric, most mens boxers should take under a metre.
If you are looking for large scale production for boxers, especially when going offshore, it is essential to provide the factory with a professional tech pack. We offer a tech pack service to our clients.
Learn How To Make Your Patterns.
We run a one-to-one pattern cutting course for mens underwear, in either Greenwich, or Walthamstow.