The History of Men's Underwear
From the fig leaf to the Roman subligaculum
According to the Bible, Adam and Eve opted for 100% natural products when it came to covering their shame – and their private parts. By using the celebrated fig leaf, they unwittingly gave birth to the whole concept of underwear.
In Roman times, the natural look was a thing of the past. Clothing – and the desire to hide more than just one’s private parts from public view – had become the norm. Under their togas, however, the Roman men wore a subligaculum to cover their genitals.
Hard times for men’s underwear
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire resulted in a corresponding decline and fall in awareness when it came to men’s underwear. The Barbarians – as the Romans called all those who could not speak Latin – apparently had no use for such garments. In fact, nobody appears to worn any kind of underwear until the late Middle Ages.
As time passed, however, long linen shirts became increasingly popular. And since linen proved to be agreeably soft to the touch, people started to wear these as undershirts to protect their skin from the rough, scratchy outer garments that were still customary at the time.
The slow development of men’s underpants
Several decades were to pass before men’s underpants in the narrower sense were to reappear on the scene. While outer garments were subject to changes in fashion, the hygienic habits of the majority remained largely unaffected. Only a few aristocrats and rich merchants enjoyed the luxury of silk underpants.
The 1860’s and 1870’s witnessed great developments in this area with the invention of a new kind of shirt tail. And by 1876, the whole Prussian army was equipped with cotton underwear.
Even buying men’s underwear has now become easier: using the same principle as they did for socks, the founders of BLACKSOCKS have now revolutionised underwear sales. BLACKSOCKS is turning underwear and T-shirts into a service, so there’s no longer any need to think about replacing your underwear and T-shirts and buying more. Just like with our socks, we send underwear and T-shirts to your house free of charge so that you no longer have to rack your brains wondering whether or not you have enough underwear at home. Subscriptions can be purchased directly in our underwear and T-shirt subscription shops.