identity politics

On Butch Style: Briefs

I still remember the day I had an awakening about my underwear, much like my butch breasts / bras moment a few weeks back, where I found some girly undies in my drawer and wondered why I even owned any like this anymore.

This was years ago, now, and any time I bought new undies, they were always briefs – not “boy briefs” from the girl’s section, but men’s briefs. And pretty soon I had a whole drawer full of ’em, save a few that were my favorites. But then I discovered those few favorite pairs, back in the back, lacy or silky or whatever they were, and I realized I hadn’t worn them in years, and that I couldn’t forsee myself wearing them in the future.

So I got rid of them. I haven’t missed them once.

These days, I’m a briefs kind of guy. Yes, sometimes it’s awkward to be the only girl (“girl”) shopping in the men’s section, and I do get looks or stares or scoffs from both other male shoppers and the sales people. That used to bother me, but I’ve come to the realization that I have just as much right as they do to be there, to be shopping there, to buy clothes that I like on my body, and as I’ve developed more and more comfort in this gender-bending space, I see their responses as their issue, not mine.

I do like boxers, but generally I wear them as pajamas or kick around the house kind of wear, not so much underneath slacks or jeans, I find them too bulky. And perhaps because I’m not particularly thin, the hybrid boxer-briefs aren’t really comfortable either, they tend to ride up and I notice them, I tug at them, they itch, they annoy me. And I don’t know about you, but really, my main goal for most of my clothing is that, once I put it on, I don’t really notice it again. I’m not so into fashion, though, that I want people to notice my clothing – I would rather someone look at me and think, “Hey, Sinclair, you look great today,” rather than, “oh wow, Sinclair I love your shirt.” KnowutImean?

So, these are some of my favorite briefs that I’ve found in recent years. Comfortable, cute styles, affordable – briefs I wouldn’t mind wearing on a date. I’ve had a few questions about where I shop for my underthings lately, so here’s the rundown.

Gap basic briefs
$16 for a 3-pack
White, grey, or black

I don’t remember them being this cheap, but that’s what the website says – the ones I have are slightly different, grey and white, and I remember them being more in the $12 each range. I like these three-packs, I may have to go pick some up.

Their fabric is very, very soft, that’s the best thing about the Gap over other brands.

(Real men wear pink.)
American Apparel Baby Rib Men’s Brief
$12 each, 30 colors, XS-XL

Forgive the (cis) boy shot, you know I don’t generally do that. But the awesome colors and white lines of the American Apparel briefs make them still some of my very favorites.

Plus, you can get matching tee shirts for pretty much any of the colors that the briefs come in. Once upon a time, I read an article that claimed that these matching briefs-and-tee-shirt combos from AA are pretty much the lingerie of boy wear, meaning that girls kinda go nuts for it.

And I have to say, in my experience? This has pretty much been true.

H&M’s men’s briefs
Various colors & styles
(photo from andreasmarx on flickr)

H&M is the third store that has my favorite briefs. Unfortunately, they don’t have an online store, and they are pretty limited in their stores around the country (I don’t think they’re on the West Coast at all).

They’ve got some really excellent patterns, great solids, really cute stuff. The fabric is a bit thinner and feels more synthetic than the other two, but they are still smooth and fit well. They carry a lot of boxer-briefs too, actually many more boxer-briefs than regular briefs, so those of you who dig that style might be particularly fond of this place.

Men’s underwear guy has a review of H&M briefs with some decent photos.

So that concludes my brief post (hah) on butch style.

Alright, butches (and other masculine gals) out there: How about you? Boxers or briefs? Where do you buy your undies? Favorite brands or styles?

Femmes (and other folks who date masculine gals), what are your favorite undies to see your boi in? What do you love, what do you hate? What do you always buy your butch for holidays that she never wears? What do you wish she wore? What do you love that she wears?

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

22 thoughts on “On Butch Style: Briefs”

  1. Rose says:

    My stud wears tight fitting lycra longer in the leg style boxers (or maybe they're not called boxers at all!). They capture her bottom (!) and the tops of her delicious, strong thighs perfectly! Yum! Does it for me!

  2. Fafner says:

    Boxers for swimming, briefs for packing. But for daily wear? Commando all the way.

  3. rimma says:

    Never a panty or a brief – always a boxer! Actually boxer briefs with a button front (never a Y front) for sex and hot, muggy weather. Regular 100% cotton boxers the rest of the time. The boxer briefs are generally Calvin Klein or Joe Boxer. Most brands don't have the button front. The boxers are usually from Old Navy, the Gap, or Banana Republic and have either stripes or some entertaining graphic on them.

    Recently I got a pair of these boxer briefs with a cell phone pocket. They are cute, but I haven't put anything into the pocket yet.

  4. D says:

    I started wearing boxers on a daily basis my freshman year of college, which was about 13 years ago. Nowadays, I wear the "Men's Patterned Boxers" from Old Navy every day – packing or no packing. I don't like the boxer-briefs for the same reasons as you, but will wear a pair of tight-fitting briefs while fucking in lieu of a harness.

    While I'm never self-conscious about buying them at the store, I do tend to change quickly in the ladies locker room at the gym to avoid inquisitive stares from the other women.

    [Good point about the locker room – that's a whole other subject really! I tend to change quickly too; locker room etiquette can be so awkward. – ss]

  5. i love my boxer-briefs for drag – comfy, boyish, they hold everything in and don't bunch up the way boxers do.

    love – the soft softness of those jersey material boxers. especially to thieve for sleepwear

    hate – girls 'boyshorts' – none of the sexy, all of the bunching up

    i've never known a girl who wears briefs (or, not well enough to know about them =) …come to think of it, i don't know that i know any guys who wear briefs either, it seems like not the thing to do in your 20s. i suppose briefs tend to put me in mind of tighty whities and superman underoos, but these aa (and other such trendy – and cute!) ones might change that, 'cause i can definitely conjure up some pretty pictures regarding said "lingerie of boy wear"

  6. Any and all actually. Boxers for sleeping, and often under baggy shorts. Boxer briefs for jeans or dress clothes, and briefs for packing. The GAP ones hold form really well and have a long life elasticity-wise. By far my favorite briefs for packing. Although now that I invested in Aslan's packing harness, it's much less of an issue.

    Uniqlo has good briefs, but the boxer brief legs don't tend to retain elasticity.

    My gripe with H&M (I believe they now have a few stores on the West Coast, primarily in the Los Angeles area) boxer briefs is that the legs tend to roll up, leaving you with semi-awkward, unintentional briefs, and the waistbands aren't particularly well contructed. It's not long before elastic is peeking out from the fabric. I wouldn't get another pair.

    Hanes does really comfy boxers, and although I don't generally wear girl's underwear anymore, when I do, the Hanes women's boy shorts are amazingly comfortable.

    American Eagle has decent boxers, once you trim the tags, which can be slightly scratchy. On the AE front though, stay away from the boxer briefs. The waistbands tend to fold over themselves… again, not well contructed.

    [Hey thanks, good points & recommendations all. I don't tend to go for the H&M boxer briefs so I haven't noticed, and my briefs from H&M are elastic waistbands, not fabric-covered, and they have held up well so far. I always forget about AE. – ss]

  7. haha…when I used to measure actors for a living, we used to specify that the boys had to wear tighty-whities at their fittings. few complied. maybe it is a generational thing, though older guys didn't usually wear them either!

    I sadly never had an opportunity to measure a butch professionally…

  8. miss sunday says:

    i've never really been picky about my girls under wear choices. what i really do love is when what ever she is wearing under there has a thick waist band.

    i love the way it looks peeking over her jeans, and the way it feels when i put my hands on her hips.

    besides that… it never stays on long enough to matter.

  9. Becky says:

    I've never liked anything tight or constricting. In fifth grade I went particularly berserk and went commando for two years. Now, being the grade's tomboy at that age is hard enough, but if others realized I didn't wear underwear, well, the sh*t would hit the fan! I mean, with gym four times a week, that's hard to avoid. So I switched to boxers, and nearly 10 years later, I'm still in boxers. I like that they're just a protective layer under my shorts or pants, but don't feel any different. I think they also help prevent chafing, like when wearing jeans or other stiff/unworn pants. Mostly I wear the men's briefs from Old Navy and Gap, but the AE ones are nice too. They're more expensive, but Hollister and Abercrombie make really really really soft boxers, too. If I've found my size, I'll order new ones online when they're wearing out.

    But when I was younger, my mom used to take me out to find what size and style would fit by pretending (and talking) that we were looking for boxers for my twin brother (who happens to be a complete figment of her imagination, seeing as I only have sisters, and don't have a twin). How transparent!

  10. Jade says:

    I am a sucker for a boi in black CK boxer-briefs.

    le melt.

  11. Dana was a boxers-only type-a gal until the recent practice-packing-at-home adventures. Briefs have seemed to hold everything in nicely where boxers are too loose. I actually love the way she looks in briefs and I can't imagine boxer briefs on her at all. Of course I wear the girl kind and will concur in reference to the rolling up of the legs. Hanes, unfortunately, does not allow room for the girth of my womanly thighs in their soft, otherwise comfortable girly boxer briefs.

  12. Essin' Em says:

    I like my partners in boxers. There is just something so hot about seeing the hint of a boxer waistband peeking out above their pants. In fact, I was in the ER last night, all drugged up and in pain, and L had re-adjusted her shirt, so I could see them, and I forgot all about the pain for a minute as I just took in the utter hotness of them. Mmmm.

    I like to wear boxers as PJs too :)

  13. carys says:

    i like h&m, and in norway there are plenty of h&m stores around. i usually go for the plain and white boxer briefs, but sometimes i go totally crazy and buy something wild, like boxers from the swedish label nudie.

  14. Qua says:

    I love boxer briefs and always wear them on dates or special ocassions. I think a hard dick outlined in boxer briefs is really sexy — but on a daily basis I go for cotton panties because they breathe a lot better than men's underwear, which gets too hot and thus uncomfortable. I don't really like them though so if anyone has suggestions for really breathable briefs or boxer briefs I'm all ears. H & M has great designs and is cheap, for boxer briefs and for boxers.

  15. Samantha says:

    I looooove the H&M boxer briefs on a hot andro girl. The patterns they carry are amazing. There is just something so hot about a dyke and her briefies ;)

    I have to say, as a femme, the first thing that attracts me to a dyke is her sense of style. Shirts, ties, sneakers, hats, belts…I pay attention to ALL of that. That mixed with confidence, attitude, wit, masculine energy…sighhhh…her swagger, it's like a breath of fresh air.

  16. Girald says:

    Does the extra space in front bother you who wears them? That's the reason I have never bought men's briefs, only boxers…

  17. Alex says:

    I know I'm responding to this post a week or so late, but I just have to comment. I am nearly a 100% briefs kind of guy. And you are right, the american apparel men's briefs are like men's lingerie; my girlfriend goes crazy for them, and I feel like a sexy stud in them. Thanks for standing up for briefs wearers everywhere!

  18. Jen says:

    Well, this femme has a thing for the girl version of American Apparel Boy Briefs. I think they're lower in the waist and a bit more girl cut – but they are the most dang comfortable things I've ever had on. Of course, my beloved Hanky Panky thongs will always have their place, but I kinda like the unexpectedness of having those boy briefs peeking out from the waistband of a girlie get up….leaves them guessing:) Gender expression as performance indeed!

  19. kacee says:

    I'm more of a boxer breif type. My pants are usually loose to get away with them. Boxers are too likely to bunch up for my liking. I've been buying guys underwear since my freshmen year of high school. I even wore little boy's breifs when I was too small for boxers.

  20. Trapper Jock McIntyr says:

    Chalk up another positively-vaginated boi here prefers to wear boy's briefs (tighty whities) over panties! There is something so erotic about running my fingers along the fly front, and then sticking them in. I also like boxer-briefs. They are equally hot. A total TURN-OFF though is plain boxers. Ugh. They look f-ing dumpy!

    BUT — the absolute hottest thing when it comes to a total gender turn on is wearing a jockstrap or a cup. I love the feeling of the straps hugging my cheeks and way the scratchy fabric of the pouch tickles my lips! My GF SParky like it to, which is why we both wear 'em — either unpacked or for an extra gender twist when looking somewhat girlish — packed :-)


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