'Whoa - easy there fella," you might, not unreasonably, think to yourself upon sighting the strapping lad running towards you in nothing but his smalls. He's the New Zealand rugby star, Dan Carter (below). Exactly what, I can almost hear you all clamouring to ask, do his underpants say about him?

Enter "pantology". Yes, "pantology", the penetrating and rigorously thought-out study of men's underwear habits. Oh, alright then - it's just a cheap, playful and mindlessly entertaining marketing ploy courtesy of the underwear designer and manufacturer, Jockey.

"Our panels of experts believe that what a guy chooses to wear to hold his most treasured possessions can reveal a great deal about the type of man he is," say the clearly somewhat frisky powers that be at Jockey. There's no arguing, of course.

"Combining science, psychology and lifestyle, 'pantology' is the bible of underwear, containing advice on what type or colour of pants should be worn for every imaginable situation, whether it be on a date or at a job interview." From thereon in, the theory becomes steadily more murky.

"The scientific explanation for 'pantology' comes down to the body's 'sacral chakra' - the area that emits energy just under the belly button, very near where pants are worn," apparently. Whatever, with the help of psychologist Dr Helen Gavin, feng shui doctor Paul Derby and celebrity lifestyle fashion guru, Nick Edie (who has just replaced Julien Macdonald on Project Catwalk so he must be really classy), Jockey have deduced that the best colours for a man to wear should he feel "stressed" or "nervous" are "earth colours such as dark red, brown or dark grey". Men who wear a thong, meanwhile, (you know who you are) are apparently "sending out huge positive vibes" from their sacral chakra to those around them. Well, that's one way of putting it.

For those for whom this is too much information (and it is true that overly worrying about one's underwear is rarely advisable), The Independent is happy to provide a less elaborate system of its own. It can be neatly summarised as follows:

Men should wear nothing but boxer shorts (briefs makes them look like they've borrowed their girlfriends' bikini bottoms) and the jersey ones are more sexy than the crisp cotton ones which err on the side of Little Lord Fauntleroy flouncy. Their underwear should be white, black, grey or navy. Flowers are not funny, not even if they're Liberty print. Neither are cartoon characters, Christmas underpants, Valentine's Day underpants... it goes on. In the end, it may be science, but certainly not rocket science. Oh, and finally, however stressed a man may or may not be, he should never, under any circumstances, wear underwear in an earthy colour...