The first known underwear dates back almost 7000 years, when prehistoric man used leather to cover and protect his loins while running prehistoric errands. For several millennia, not much changed. Ancient Egyptian art shows everyone from the pharaohs on down the line decked out in loincloths of their own. The pharaohs even wore a sort of specialized kilt/loincloth called a shendoh, and took extra supplies of the garment into their pyramids for use in the afterlife.
Variations on the loincloth seem to have persisted into the Middle Ages, when loose-fitting trousers called braies came into fashion. These linen “underpants” extended from the waist to around mid-calf, staying-in via the laces around the waist and shins. Braies had the advantage of offering a lot of coverage, so if a laborer got too hot he could strip down to his bottoms while still maintaining a sense of decorum.
All of the lacing made answering nature’s call a bit of a hassle.
Enter the codpiece.
A codpiece opens at the front using buttons, snaps, or laces to enable men to urinate without removing their braies.
Early codpieces were practical, but as hemlines rose, they started to take on a decorative function, too. When Henry VIII began to pad his codpiece in the 16th century, all of his loyal subjects followed suit. Codpiece padding and growth continued throughout the mid-sixteenth century before tailing off around 1590.
“Boxers or briefs?”
Before the 1920’s, this question would have gotten you a blank look. Neither boxers nor briefs had been invented’ yet. From Victorian times until the 1930’s, men mostly wore tight-fitting knee-length flannel “drawers” beneath their pants and donned similarly snug flannel tops as undershirts.
In 1925. Jacob Golomb, the founder of the venerable boxing equipment company Everlast, started to tweak designs for the trunks worn by pugilists. Golomb realized that the leather-belted trunks fighters had worn weren’t totally ideal for movement, so he replaced the leather with more flexible elastic waistbands.
Boxer shorts weren’t an immediate success as underwear, though. They lacked the support that drawers and union suits had offered, so men weren’t crazy about them. It really wasn’t until after World War II that boxer shorts took off to challenge their younger siblings, the briefs.
Underwear drawers changed forever in 1934 when Arthur Kneibler, an executive and designer at the Wisconsin hosiery company Coopers, Inc., received a postcard from a friend who was visiting the French Riviera. The postcard depicted a man in a bikini-style bathing suit and “apparel engineer” Kneibler had an epiphany: why couldn’t this type of swimsuit be converted into underwear?
It was Jan. 19, 1935, that the first briefs were sold, in Chicago. According to Shaun Cole’s The Story of Men’s Underwear, they were a new kind of supportive, elastic underwear that Kneibler and his colleagues dubbed the “Jockey” to conjure images of a jock strap, an athletic undergarment that would have been known to their customers.
Coopers took its first batch of Jockey briefs to Chicago’s landmark department store, Marshall Field and Company, the briefs were displayed along with that season’s new undershirt. And although Chicago was in the grip of a blizzard, the entire load of 600 pairs of Jockey briefs sold out on the first day. The item was an immediate success, as within three months the company sold 30,000 pairs and Cooper’s added the “y-front” fly opening a few months later.
Coopers kept making and marketing its wildly successful underwear and in 1971 the company changed its name to Jockey.
The Secret Service and Joe Boxer…..
Designer underwear became all the rage in the 1970’s and 80’s as labels like Calvin Klein began to transform our drawers from something we hid under our pants into the sort of fashion and lifestyle choice one could flaunt in a bad music video. Cuts became tighter and sexier, and underwear designs became flashy, loud, and often humorous.
One of the main beneficiaries of this new obsession with snappy underwear was Joe Boxer, which started making skivvies in 1984 when it filled an order for Macy’s that included a design with a Velcro-attached removable raccoon tail.
Joe Boxer really jumped into the spotlight in 1985, though, when it made boxers printed with the image of hundred-dollar bills. The Secret Service decided that these duds violated forgery laws and confiscated 1,000 pairs of the offending underwear. Instead of simply hiring lawyers, Joe Boxer turned the seizure into a lighthearted news event and the image of boxers as a playful alternative to stolid briefs grew.
How underwear takes the Nation’s Economic Pulse
Although there haven’t been many huge underwear breakthroughs since the introduction of boxer briefs in the early 1990’s (and even those are sort of a throwback to the union suits favored by pre-1930’s men), boxers and briefs found their way onto the financial pages in early 2008. That’s when former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan revealed that the state of the men’s underwear industry is an important indicator of the economy’s health.
The logic Greenspan outlined regarding underwear was simple and elegant:
Many Men have a drawer full of underwear that they will wear until the elastic is dead and the boxers are riddled with holes. Since coworkers and friends generally don’t see a guy’s underwear, replacing these frayed undergarments often seems like a discretionary purchase for men. As such, when men start fearing the economy is in a downturn and need a place to save a little cash, they simply stop replenishing their underwear drawer with fresh Jockeys.
Sure enough, when the economy started to tail-off in 2008, annual men’s underwear sales dropped by 12%.
If that’s not enough proof that the history of men’s underwear is fascinating, take a look at these 13 vintage photos of skivvies from the pre and post-briefs eras. (click the photos to see the caption)
Thank you to Ethan Trex of Mental Floss and Time Magazine
Meaningful Peacock Symbolism in Culture and History
The peacock might be thought to have some of the most admired human characteristics. They are a symbol of integrity and the beauty we can do when we endeavor to show our true colors.
In history, myth, legend and lore, the peacock symbolism carries portents of: Nobility, Holiness, Guidance, Protection and Watchfulness.
You might like to contemplate the powers of the peacock when you need more vibrancy and vitality in your Life
The peacock can rejuvenate self-esteem levels too. If you’re feeling “blah” and blue, imagine the glorious, techno-color display the peacock provides. This puts us in a proper mood to embrace your own nobility. In no time, you’ll be walking tall and proud as a peacock!
Here is a list of keywords linked to peacock symbolism:
In Greco-Roman mythology the peacock is identified with Hera (Juno) who created the peacock from Argus whose hundred eyes (seen on the tail feathers of the peacock) symbolize the vault of heaven and the eyes of the stars. (Note: there is something about Argus watching the bovine form of Io…..)
In Hinduism the peacock is associated with Lakshmi who is a deity representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and good luck.
Similar to Lakshmi, the peacock is associated with Kwan-yin in Asian spirituality. Kwan-yin (or Quan Yin) is also an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, good-will, nurturing, and kindheartedness. Legend has it that she chose to stay a mortal even though she could be immortal because she wished to stay behind and aid humanity in their spiritual evolution.
In Babylonia and Persia the peacock is a guardian to royalty, and is often seen in engravings upon royal thrones.
In Christianity, peacock symbolism represents the “all-seeing” church, along with the holiness and sanctity associated with it. Additionally, the peacock represents resurrection, renewal and immortality within the spiritual teachings of Christianity.
You know, the ego isn’t a bad thing, as the peacock clearly indicates. There’s a reason somebody coined the phrase, “proud as a peacock”. If you watch the male – they are about as cocky as they come. Showing off and wooing his ladies. It takes a lot of brass to attract a bevy of peahens. This is a symbolic nod to us encouraging us to get some hustle in our bustle. The Peacock reminds us sometimes it’s totally okay to flaunt our stuff and show off our skills. Peacock energy can remind us we are amazing, and we should fan out our assets to land the opportunities we are seeking.
No reason not to dress in fine feathers as a female, too – Alice + Olivia Peacock pieces to help:
Decades Two was having a “Black Friday” showcase of their black items. As dievca was noting the ones that spoke BDSM (Versace 1992 Bondage shoes, Jean Paul Gaultier turn-lock suede leather skirt, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, etc.) she noticed that she had pieces from Decades Two in her saved photos (Rodarte, Dolce and Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood 1976 Bondage Shirt). All together the pieces make a fantastic collection, no matter which language you use.`
(click on the photos for more detail)
The Pork Chops were fabulous, the wine-fantastic, appetizers-excellent, green beans-good, rice-poor, lemon meringue pie-a disaster….Me? I was an excellent Hostess. I even offered 15 minutes of Fireworks on the Hudson River for entertainment! It took the attention off dessert – Thank goodness.
Full Blown fireworks from Hoboken…why? I have no idea. Fashion Week? Maybe.
What did I wear for the Dinner Party?
Street Style NYC Fashion Week
Sissel Eldebo Waterlily Frill Dress, Danish Design.
They source the silk from India, it is mostly leftover Sari silk. If they can only make five dresses, they make five dresses.
I wore my “one of a kind” dress with the matching thin fabric belt tied at the waist.
My pattern and the Target sandals I wore:
Mustard Yellow with pattern was the way I could finally get my Yellow Dress. You know, the one I have been desperately longing for~. A floaty silk dress which I hope Master tosses the skirt up when I wear it for him. It billows.
dievca should have gotten photos….
she didn’t think fast enough.
Wandering into the centre of Lille, dievca passed the French chain store NAF NAF. Years ago, when she was in Paris for the first time, she bought a great T-shirt at NAF NAF and has fond memories.
About 28 years later, dievca walked into another NAF NAF store. It’s similar to a “Morgan” or a “Zara” – a lower to mid-level young persons’ store.
dievca did the fast pass just to look at the fashion, avoiding a huge tulle dress and finding a beaded linen, v-neck t-shirt. she bought one in white and one in forest green. Success!
She and her friend made their way down two levels of stairs to pay for the tops.
In line, there was a Mamma and two daughters (around 12 and 16) with three of the poufy tulle dresses in hand. Two of the Pink and one of the Blue:
Apparently, the Mamma was going to wear one pink dress, the older girl was going with the pink dress and they were trying to get more at 70% off for a wedding party. The younger girl and others were going with the blue.
Incredibly tacky, but maybe a lot of fun.
The checkout was chaotic. The sales Lady was on the phone trying to get more dresses, the daughters were wandering around, the line was building up behind dievca. Then they opened a new line and before dievca could get around the store furniture, everyone cut in front of her~ dievca’s friend was being very patient.
dievca moved into the new line, her friend stayed behind the poufy dress chaos and they waited. And waited. Fascinated by the process of the Sales Lady stuffing these Big A** dresses into shopping bags. The lady was encapsulated by the tulle, she almost got eaten. They were so fascinated they forgot to take a photo. You will have to use your imagination.
dievca was finally able to buy the t-shirts in the original line and the flustered Sales Lady forgot to desensitize the tags. dievca managed to set-off the alarms for the next store.
You know, thinking about it….the poufy dress might have been fun as a Presentation Outfit!
Diversity, dievca, Diversity!
Striped t-shirts and dresses are always fresh for the Summer.
A Classic Look that carries from year to year.
dievca found the ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo cotton pique striped dress at Barneys, last year, and spent the money on it because its one of the few shift dresses she has been able to wear with her curves. That said, she has been wearing it in the heat. Today it is going over her swimsuit for a jaunt to the beach. With capped sleeves, a deeper “V” neckline, forgiving yet crisp fabric and pockets, it satisfies her desperate wish to wear a shift dress.
dievca is paring it with:
Enjoy your Saturday!
dievca had the brilliant idea of riding her bike to 60 Centre Street to reschedule her Jury Duty.
she thought it would save time and avoid sweltering in the subway.
Reviews of the subway:
“It’s like a wet sauna,” said Todd Ronin, 36, as he waited for the R train, “like a dirty wet sauna with all the germs and the lovely things you find here.”
Paul Pope, 40, an electrician lugging about 40 pounds of equipment with him. The sensation, he said, was not pleasant. “Do I look too pleasant? Look at me, I am drenched right now. I am so drenched.”
“If it’s humid, that’s the worst part, ’cause New York turns into a swamp,” said Diego Medina, 33, who was heading home toward Ditmas Park. “There’s something about the humidity in the city and the crowding, I think, just gets people, makes people a little more crazy.”
That bike ride?
A Bad Idea.
dievca was completely drenched with sweat, too.
Her dress, her underwear, her hair – everything was…..soaked.
Then she ran back to work and froze in the Air Condition because she was completely wet.
That brought to mind the 2005 NY Times Article about Luxury Retail vs. Low End Retail Air Condition temperatures. The findings were, the more exclusive and expensive the store, the lower the temperatures (click here for the article)
After melting, things did get better. dievca decided since she came home wet, she would just go up to the rooftop to soak up some sun. It was really windy up on the roof and that dried dievca’s dress quickly. Lying in a bikini for 45 min warmed up her fatty tissue (boobs and ass).
Pasta and kale salad for dinner.
Then dievca topped the evening off with a silly Pinot Grigio (the bottle made her smile) and a Good Humor Ice Cream sandwich (childhood memories)