Waistbands & Social Constructs

Why is men's underwear so boring and less varied than women's?

How’s that for an opening line? How could this possibly be a blog post for X-Dress? Watching the responses on the blogs as they come in, I thought that this might an interesting topic to discuss. (By the way, thank you to everyone who is contributing to the blogs, as they make them so much richer, and give more readers the permission to do the same.)

So, let’s discuss the how the look, feel, design of underwear directly relates to social constructs.

Let’s break this down. If we look at typical men’s underwear, not just tighty whitey’s, but typical brand name off the shelf style kinds.  The waist band is wider, tougher elastic, and creates a rather sturdy appeal.  There are no frills, and are made of classic cotton, and come in a wide assortment of color selection, being black, white, navy blue, and the every so sexy grey.  Around the legs, the elastic is turned inwards in order to provide greater support and a no slip surface.  Men’s underwear should be made with solid construction. Sound about right? 

Now, let’s look at women’s underwear, or in this case, the underwear from XDress. The waistband is lighter, and sometimes not even clearly visible as it is usually covered by lace or other materials. With panties, the material is softer, lighter, smoother, and usually made from silk, satin, or fine cottons, or finer fabrics.  There is often more frills and design such as picot elastic, lace trim, and the use of multiple fabrics together such as a satin and lace combination. The cut is usually higher up in the leg rather than around the thigh, and lower in the torso. Sometimes even using more of a see through material, or something a little more revealing. Women’s underwear is made with a delicate construction, to the point of having a lingerie bag to wash them in so that they don’t get damaged. Now, colors, you can get pretty much any color under the sun, from bright, to softer hues, to pastels, to bright and bold. Even having multiple colors together to catch the eye. Sound about right?

Now, what does this have to do with social constructs?  Well, if you see how men’s underwear is made and sold, it defines the manly man.  Rugged, strong, supportive, no frills, well constructed, get the job done, and know what you are going to get.  Let’s also look at the color component from a social construct, blue is for boys, and pink is for girls. For most men’s underwear choices as I mentioned, you can get white, black, navy blue, or the ever so sexy grey.  Why would a manly man care what color he wore, as long as it worked? What about dress in general, men’s clothes can be loose and baggy, doesn’t have to really match, and as long as it is functional, who really cares? Let’s also look at haircuts just for fun, short hair for boy’s, long hair for girls.  Boy’s don’t cry, girls don’t get mad. 

Let’s look at women’s underwear, and compare it to social constructs.  Women’s underwear is softer, finer, delicate, gentle and graceful. Lot’s of frills,  finer materials, revealing, and always wearing it to feel sexy and even a bit risqué. Go into a brick and mortar store, and with XDress, look at the color selection, especially the new glow line such as the Glow Popover Lace Bra in aqua. Bright, fun, risqué, and pushing limits a bit.  How does society like to see women dressed?  Tight, form fitting, show of what you got, and lower cut lines, and leave something to the imagination.  The colors are often matching weather that be with a bra and panties, or accessorizing.  

Would a women, or those like us who wear XDress worry about it’s function, or it is more about how it looks and feels?

Social constructs have clearly drawn the lines between males and females. How we are to behave, how we look, what we wear.  As I have mentioned in the past, if a woman wears men’s clothing loose and baggy, it is considered ok. If I wore a bra, panties, a form fitting dress in public, imagine that.  Society has a long way to go. 

I want to thank XDress for being bold and creative enough to provide the platform and clothing for people like us who like to break society norms. It gives us a place to be ourselves, and also have a place of understanding when we question these “norms”.

What are your thoughts on waistbands and societal constructs?

WB

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12 comments

Only 6 responses so far? Let’s get this conversation going! I would appreciate your thoughts on the constructs out there.
I really enjoy writing these blog posts, but even greater than that, I love reading the responses. We can all learn and support each other through this forum.

What do you all have to say??

WB

WB

Social constructs are good too. They give order and purpose to society
But if they are rigid there in lies the problem

Clothing goes thru various style changes depending on the era

We r now in the era of wider choices for me and wider spectrum of genders

It’s no different that if u r looking at clothes from 1776 to 1876 to 1976

I m glad I m
Seeing it in my 60s

Stevie

Who knew that the cut, color, and shape of a fabric could wield so much power? ;)

What’s allowed fashion-wise under the umbrella of masculinity is so very limited. This is why it’s inspiring to see this being challenged and expanded by people such as Mark Bryan wearing skirts and Alok V. Menon who wears whatever the hell they want. Both look fantastic.

For me it comes to this: wearing pretty underwear is fun. It makes me feel good. I enjoy it. It’s great that Xdress is here providing us with alternatives that allow us to express ourselves more fully.

R

This is a really interesting blog and chimes in with a lot of thoughts I have on the issue – thank you! Stereotypically male clothing is boring and practical and we are forced into it from an early age. Any opportunity to try something else has to be grasped. I also wear Bjorn Borg pants because they offer fun, bright designs, which is such a rarity. But finding XDress was a revelation, discovering that sexy underwear that feels good to wear is out there!

J

It’s been over 40 years since I wore mens underwear but can still remember with horror at the thick, rough elastic waistband that seemed a size or two smaller than should be and the bulky rough sewn seams down each leg. Now thanks to the likes of Xdress I’m caressed in soft sensuous fabrics with delicate and pretty trims and bra’s that give you a gentle hug of confidence all day long. My partner tolerates but does not approve of my underwear and would be so embarrassed if she knew I venture out in heels, tights, pencil skirt and blouse. Mostly people are too busy with their own lives to notice me, it’s just when I’m in a coffee shop or small store that I get the stares. Most are disapproval types but some are like I think they are just secretly going ‘wow’.

David

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