Boxer shorts, or boxers, are common terms for loose-fitting men’s underwear secured by elastic. So named because their resemblance to the shorts worn by athletic boxers, boxer shorts allow freedom of movement and comfortability. Boxers are available in a wide variety of patterns and colors, and are even worn partially exposed in some fashion trends.
In the late 1920s, elastic banded trunks were originally designed for use by boxers, moving away from traditional belted styles. During World War II, shortages in buttons, snaps, and leather lead to a greater production of boxer shorts, as they used none of these materials and were made out of easily accessible fabric. The garment’s popularity grew, advertised for its comparative comfort and relaxed style.
Boxers are generally made of soft fabric, such as flannel, cotton, jersey, or silk. They are designed to sit comfortably on the lower hips and end at the mid-thigh. Most boxers have a front fly that may be open or have small buttons or snaps. Since the 1960s, patterned boxers have been available in nearly every design imaginably, from martini glasses to moose.
The popularity of the boxers may have something to do with a popular urban legend suggesting that tight underwear can lead to reduced sperm count. Whether this is good science or not has never really been determined, but it remains a popular concept. Some proponents of the theory suggest that increased temperatures can lower sperm production, and snugger underwear can raise body temperature levels.
Boxer shorts are considered casual wear by fashion experts, and have become an important part of skater punk and grunge fashion styles. For this trend, usually seen on teenage boys, oversized pants are worn extremely low on the hips, allowing the boxers to be exposed. Generally, the more flashy the print of the boxers, the more successful the outfit. Many schools consider this trend indecent, however, and have banned youths from displaying their underwear in any way.
Modern incarnations of the boxer shorts include the popular boxer brief, which resembles the shorts in length but is usually much tighter. Many women’s short pajama bottoms are also called boxers. Running shorts for both genders may be referred to as boxer-style shorts.
Boxer shorts range in price depending on the manufacturer and material. For a simple pair of cotton boxers, expect to pay between $5-$10 US Dollars (USD.) A name brand boxer in silk or satin can be considerably more expensive, usually around $20-$30 USD. Men’s boxer shorts make great lounge wear for men or women, and look to continue their extreme popularity throughout the 21st century.