Readers, it must be said: there is something about old-fashioned men's underwear that is very alluring. Or is this a minority viewpoint?
Of course, I'm talking about those old high-rise boxers, ideally with buttoned yoke waistband, not knit briefs.
I have a few vintage boxers patterns, all dating from the 1940's. My most recent purchase arrived this weekend and includes an undershirt pattern -- basically a woven shirt with no sleeves or collar -- a first for my pattern stash. I love the envelope artwork, don't you?
Woven undershirts weren't uncommon in the first half of the last century, though knits drove them into oblivion. I first read about this style on the fascinating blog Unsung Sewing Patterns.
When the top and bottom connected, you had a union suit. These still exist, of course (I once had a red pair from L.L. Bean) but they're full-length and made of knit fabric.
I made a pair of vintage 40's boxers a few years ago out of Simplicity 1960, which dates from 1945.
You can find these old underwear patterns pretty easily in the usual
places. But does anyone sew them up and wear them? I've never worn
mine out of the house for two reasons: 1) I made them from an old
cotton/poly sheet and they're not very comfy, 2) The waistband
comes at least four inches higher than my highest rising pants.
When men wore their pants at their true waist, the high rise boxer made more sense (and they do tend to camouflage one's love handles).
Today, not so much...
In closing, friends who have an opinion about such things, do you think this vintage type of underwear, undeniably more modest than anything you'd find today, is:
1) Best reserved for community theater productions of "Death of a Salesman."
2) An interesting piece of fashion history, best left in the proverbial dustbin.
3) Still sexy and just in need of a pattern tweak or two (i.e., keep the yoke but lower the rise).
Would you wear -- or like to see the man (men?) in your life wear -- vintage-style boxers? (How about a striped woven onesie?)
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!