Digging through time in the underwear drawer


I was organizing my drawer recently and noticed how many briefs I still had that bore the iconic Calvin Klein logo. It made me think of how CK really did start it all and was one of the very earliest to truly modernize and innovate men's underwear. It is easy to forget how much things have changed in the men's underwear market in just the last 10 years. I thought I would share a little CK underwear history here with scans from the various product boxes from the last 9 years and a few comments as well. I couldn't find all my original boxes unfortunately so I'm missing several lines including the XT and Tech lines but if I have any luck tracking those down I'll post them back into this article.



These are some of the oldest standbys of Calvin Klein underwear. Available in sizes by waist measurement and a variety of colors including dark blue, green and orange these were some of earliest CK briefs available in more than just black and white. Although a solid traditional cut brief back in the day, these wouldn't make my top purchase list in today's market considering they lack the more specialty pouch designs available in the Body line.


This line was the first foray into spandex stretch cotton for Calvin Klein. I remember that they were incredibly comfortable with the high degree of stretch and the thinness of the fabric. The only downside was that they didn't have much of a pouch design and subsequently didn't provide much shape. Nevertheless at the time back in 1999 these were some of the best briefs, trunks and boxer briefs to own. After the Cotton Stretch line was discontinued, the similar 365 line of underwear filled the void with a stretch cotton blend available in a broad variety of colors and patterns.



The seamless line was the first all-synthetic line of underwear offered by Calvin Klein and one of the first lines to be offered in a variety of bright colors including primary Blue and Red. The seamless line was available in a variety of cuts including a hip brief, boxer brief and thong. I own several pairs of the seamless line but do not wear them much now considering the cut wasn't the most flattering with a flat front and the synthetic blend didn't breathe as well as more modern blends. 


The Body line was the first true enhancing pouch design offered by Calvin Klein and remains a staple of their lineup even today. Initially this line was only offered in white, black and gray but eventually a broad range of colors were available in a mostly subdued palette including light blue, navy blue, brick red, olive green, bright orange and purple. This line was offered in a broad range of cuts including thongs, hip briefs, briefs, trunks, boxer briefs and a rarely seen long-john. 



The Cotton Rib line was another relatively short-lived line that included a slightly different pouch design from the body line in a stretch cotton rib material. A thong, sport brief, trunk and brief version of the rib line were available in black, white and dark gray (a first for CK underwear). The cotton rib line was later phased out and then reintroduced as the Pro Rib line in 2006.



The cotton Mesh line was a relatively short-lived experiment but proved to be one of my favorite fabric blends Calvin Klein provided in their underwear. This line was available in a range of cuts including bikinis, briefs, trunks and boxer briefs. The colors were relatively limited including white, black and olive green. I still wear these all the time as they are great for sports with the airy mesh fabric that breathes very well and provides cooling during active sports. The Cotton Mesh line patterns were primarily based on the Body line and included the same pouch cut.


Pro Stretch was introduced as a sportier version of the Cotton Stretch line with a pouch as well as a tighter cut with a thicker fabric. The waistband on the Pro Stretch line is narrower than all other Calvin Klein lines. Initially offered in just white and black, other colors have been produced for the fabric as well as variations in the waistband. The Pro Stretch line remains an active product for Calvin Klein and is currently available in a variety of cuts including cycle shorts, boxer briefs, briefs, hip briefs, thongs and jocks.



This is just a basic brief that remains a staple of the line but doesn't win any points in my book. The fabric blend is unremarkable, the design is boring with a flat front that doesn't shape well and the colors are limited to black and white. I probably wore this just once or twice and then banished it to the back of the drawer.



The Pima Cotton line is still sold in a limited range of cuts including hip briefs and boxer briefs. Made from a very thin cotton these are useful for warm weather months. The pouch design on this line is radically different from the other lines including past and present with a deep, narrow shape to it which isn't the most flattering but does provide a certain freedom of movement which helps keep things cool. 


After retiring the original Cotton Rib line, Calvin Klein reintroduced the concept with the same cuts offered in a slightly re-tooled weave of the material. These remain one of the few lines that offers a sport brief cut as well as a brief and trunk version.


Now's your chance to contribute to the dialogue. Have this item already? What's your experience? Not sure about buying? Share what's holding you back. Wondering about something not covered in the review? Now's your chance to ask the question!

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