In my post “Hang Time” I discussed the value of wearing boxer shorts. I titled this post “Boxer Brief”, which is also a style of men’s underwear, but in this case refers to ‘brief’ as a short discussion on the topic of finding the perfect boxer shorts.
Anyone from my generation invariably started out wearing tighty whiteys, the snug, often white underwear with no leg to speak of and probably made by Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. Interestingly, the name boxer was coined because this style of underwear was actually adopted from elastic waist band trunks designed by Jacob Golomb, the founder of Everlast for actual boxers. Here is an interesting article on the history.
I started wearing boxers in my 20’s and only veered for a short period when boxer briefs, which are actually tighty whiteys with legs, came onto the scene. But nothing offered me the comfort that did boxers. For a while boxers were hard for me to find. I actually think my first brand was in fact Hanes. The quality was not great, but they were comfortable. Boxers are generally made of a lighter cotton than briefs and since underwear are worn often, the wear and tear on boxers tends to show up sooner. I wanted to find the best quality and comfort I could find. This search led me to Brooks Brothers. I was in my preppy days and was already buying their shirts. The first boxers I got from them were comfortable but they were too loose, meaning there was too much fabric to push into my pants. Then as I wore them, the quality didn’t hold up as well as I had hoped. There was something missing in the cotton quality.
Over the past ten years, I had been shopping regularly at Neiman Marcus and decided to try their brand of boxer. I actually really like them. The fit was comfortable and the quality of cotton was above that of Brooks Brothers. I buy almost everything on sale at Neiman’s and picked up several pair. I only replaced a third of my underwear at first and when I went to replace the rest, Neiman’s was out of stock. So I tried Saks for their brand and they also were out of stock. It was a boxer strike. When my buyer at Neiman’s finally called me to let me know their brand was available again I was extremely disappointed to find that they had outsourced their boxer production to China and it had dropped many levels in quality.
In reading Simone Crompton’s blog ‘Permanent Style’ last year, I ran across his choice of underwear brand and decided to give them a try. The company is Zimmerli out of Switzerland which Simone highlighted in a 2011 blog post: Link
I decided to try the same style as Simone chose, but not only did they arrive small, they were not boxers. If you read Simone’s blogs you will see in a recent post that he has actually switched to a new favorite underwear. He looks at quality, durability and comfort. I decided that I would try the Zimmerli boxers before giving up on that brand. I ordered three pair in hopes that they would be perfect. They were expensive and of good quality fabric, but they were not perfect. I am not a clothes maker, but I actually think there is an art to making nice boxers. They have to be loose and flexible without stretching, move with the body and fit nicely under pants. That is a tall order. What surprised me most about the Zimmerli boxers was that they made the seem run down the middle of the butt cheek, the place where you definitely don’t want a seam. I sent them back and continued my search.
It led me to looking at companies where I had already purchased quality products like ties, in this case, The Rake. The Rake has a nice selection of boxers and the EMMA WILLIS brand in particular caught my eye. Like Zimmerli, there is a little bit of sticker shock, but I decided to give them a try. I ordered three pair in Sky Blue. It is too early to report on the durability, but the fabric, cut, styling, luxury and comfort are exceptional. They might be the perfect boxer. Here is a description of the product from their website:
All of Emma Willis’s underwear are made at their Gloucester factory using the same grade of material that they use for their bespoke shirts – so you can be assured of quality when it comes to their luxury boxers. These boxers come in a relaxed but falttering fit, with an accommodating elastic waistband thread through a cotton tube so that the soft fabric carresses your skin in lieu of a waistband. Finished with mother-of-pearl buttons for a touch of refinement.