A Brief History of Tighty Whities

history of tighty whities men's underwear tighty whities

A Brief History of Tighty Whities

Carl Wesley Men's Retro White Cotton Briefs

Tighty Whities are about as classic as underwear can get.

They're the bread and butter of the undergarment world. The underwear you can rely on for comfort. The first underwear you wear as a child.

Have you ever stopped to think, "who invented tighty whities and why do we have them?"

Okay, maybe not. But soon you'll be an expert on the topic.

We're going to answer the burning questions you never had about tighty whities so that you can impress your friends at the next trivia night!

Here we go, everything you need to know about the history of tighty whities and more.

A World Before Tighty Whities

What came before tighty whities?

The first-ever known type of undergarment dates back almost 7,000 years to prehistoric times. Cavemen used leather to keep their man parts safe while completing daily tasks. Several thousand years later, loincloths were still all the rage among ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

Over the years, underwear has evolved. In the middle ages, braies were an undergarment that covered men from the waist to mid-calf.

In the 20th century, boxers entered the scene ten years before briefs. However, they weren't as popular as other types of underwear like long johns or union suites.

Finally, in 1934, tighty whities burst onto the scene in an unlikely way.

Unlikely Inspiration

Tighty whities happened entirely by accident. In 1934, Coopers, Inc. hosiery company executive and designer Arthur Kneibler had an epiphany.

His friend sent him a postcard from his vacation in the French Riviera. On the front, a man was wearing bikini-style swimwear.

It dawned on Kneibler that this type of swimwear could become a type of underwear.

The first model of tighty whities was legless with a Y-shaped front with similar support to a jockstrap. It used cotton, so it was light and didn't need ironing.

Coopers, Inc. branded it as a "jockey brief" and launched it to great success.

The Evolution of Tighty Whities

Tighty whities were wildly popular from the 1930s to the 1970s. After the 70s, underwear transformed from being an afterthought into a fashion accessory.

New styles in the 1970s and 80s became sexier and showier. Gone were the days that underwear was strictly functional.

Tighty whities started to be seen as the "granny panties" of men's underwear and fell out of fashion for a bit.

Many people now see it as either "old man's underwear" or "children's underwear."

However, brands like Carl Wesley have put a more modern, sexier version of tighty whities back on the map with their upgraded briefs.

Variations of Tighty Whities

Today, there are many types of tighty whities on the market.

Some continue to be functional underwear that is familiar and comforting. This style is still ideal for men who don't want to think too hard about their undergarments.

Another variety of tighty whities that men rock are logo undies, popularized by Calvin Klien, that ever so subtly peek out from the top of jeans. They're just as much of a fashion statement as they are functional.

Lastly, tighty whities like Carl Wesley Retro White Cotton Briefs are classic, sexy, and very comfortable. They're a modern take on the traditional style that drives these briefs into a new era. 

Are you looking for a new pair of underwear? Check out our great selection of styles.


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