Not-so-brief history of Y-fronts
Tuesday 26 September 1995
The underwear brand Sloggi is trying to make the humble Y-front sexy with an advertisement featuring the slogan "Sloggis for women" alongside a muscular male torso clad only in a pair of Y-fronts.
The Y-front was patented in September 1935 by the US hosiery firm Coopers. Sceptics said the Y-front, produced in knitted fabric with a sturdy elasticated waistband and the inverted "Y" opening, would never catch on: men were just too conservative. But sales rocketed and by the Fifties it was the standard undergarment for a generation.
During the Seventies, chain stores such as Marks & Spencer launched Y- fronts emblazoned with racing cars or footballers, in garish colours with contrasting nylon trim. They were bought by a well-meaning army of wives, mums and aunties because men were incapable of buying their own (31 per cent of men claim not to buy their own underwear).
Today, Y-fronts are a dying breed. Marks & Spencer says the undergarment accounts for only 13 per cent of sales, despite costing pounds 10 for a set of three, while boxers (from pounds 5.50) and the increasingly fashionable Calvin Klein-style "trunks" (from pounds 6.50) make up 19 and 20 per cent of sales respectively. The M&S spokeswoman Carol Richardson says: "Y-fronts are bought by older men. Younger men are much more vain."
Sloggi concedes that Y-fronts are one of its least popular styles, but its spokeswoman Sue Loder says: "The Y-front is being hyped as a trendy garment, and like all high-fashion items it is worn by the minority." Despite this, Y-fronts were chosen for the advertisement above any other style "because they most definitely looked the best on the model".
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...