Unfortunately very few books have tried to take the subject of underwear seriously with an interest indiscussing the fashion item objectively as an important part of men’s fashion history as well as its many styles and forms. The simply titled book “Underwear” tries to fill this niche with its 141 pages of content mixed between text, graphics and photographs all about men’s underwear. The strength of this book can be primarily mined from the first 3rd where the author makes a solid effort to detail the long history of men’s underwear including how it evolved in both usage, manufacturing techniques and advertising.


The text is well-written and an easy read which will make flipping the pages of this somewhat diminutive book a fun if all-too “brief” adventure.
The text is well-written and an easy read which will make flipping the pages of this somewhat diminutive book a fun if all-too “brief” adventure. There is a mix of straight up text combined with a variety of more technical information scattered throughout the book with special pages devoted to each style of underwear with close-up original photography as well as a set of model images taken specifically for this book.

The models chosen for several of the photos make for an interest choice as they aren’t the typical build for an underwear model and fall into the “average” every-day guy category. I think it was refreshing to see slightly less “perfect” guys being used to illustrate men’s underwear fashion.

I liked the sections devoted to defining different materials e.g. cotton vs. spandex as well as some basic lessons in the taxonomy of laundry care e.g. gentle cycle.


You’ll find a section devoted to men’s underwear brands but this is where the book falls a bit short since the brands are all heavily focused on European lines (understandable as this was written primarily for a European audience).
If you’re looking for an exhaustive inventory of underwear brands readily available in the US, this is not the book for you. 
You won’t find any of the newer brands like C-In2, 2Xist or Andrew Christian but to be fair, some of those weren’t even around when this book was written. The more narrow focus on brands and the dated content does limit some of the appeal of this book. If you’re looking for an exhaustive inventory of underwear brands readily available in the US, this is not the book for you. 

The overall typographic design and visual layout of this book is particularly weak with somewhat haphazard choices that sometimes distract from the reading experience. The organization feels a little random with content sections of similar topic interspersed throughout rather than printed in a specific order.  

If there’s one thing that’s more problematic than the layout, however, it’s the extremely small size of this book. At barely 6” wide this book is more like a pocket edition of what would have been better designed as a much larger publication.

The book loses additional points on content where, at the latter half, the reader is served up mosaics of pre-published manufacturer’s photography, none of which is unique to this publication. A few photo spreads would have been warranted but to pad so many pages with these photos without additional context or commentary starts to lessen the impact of what is otherwise a decently informative read.


Despite the many flaws and issues I had with this book I still recommend it for anyone interested in reading up on men’s underwear. Quite simply the field is under-published, so even with a less than stellar book such as this, I’m likely to give it a recommendation flaws and all. The cheap price that you can pick this book up online also affects my recommendation since it’s hardly a big hit to your wallet to spend less than $10 for a new copy.


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