Known by a medley of names, the brief started out as a daring, yet immediately popular, fashion item. However, as daring as it once was, the brief is now seen as the mainstay of every wardrobe, both for men and women.
A Brief History
First devised in the mid-1930s, the brief was the brainchild of Coopers Inc., the internationally renowned department store based in Wisconsin. Briefs were originally known by the moniker Jockey, since they offered a similar level of support and comfort that might be expected from a jockstrap, although they differ somewhat in cut and style. The idea for this innovative, bold step in the world of undergarments came when a designer working at Coopers supposedly saw a postcard from the chic Riviera in the south of France that depicted a beach-goer in a tight, radically short bathing suit. The design had never been seen before in the Anglo-Saxon world and it took American style and marketing ingenuity to take the brief from being a quirky daydream on the French Riveria to being sold in the underwear division of every department store in the world, and consequently, to every customer's wardrobe. Since this stroke of retailing genius, Coopers has changed its trading name to that of Jockey International Inc. to reflect its best-selling central article, the beloved brief.
But Coopers has by no means sole claim to this most important garment. It has been adopted and adapted in the lingerie, swimwear industry atUKSwimwear.com
and nightwear worlds, as an accompaniment
to a bra
or teddy, as part of your swimsuit, or built as a panel into an all-in-one piece. The brief's main characteristics are its tightness and length, or rather lack of length. Many briefs are equipped with elastane or Spandex to give a springy tightness that fits close to the skin without constricting. And unlike hosiery or outer garments, such as trousers, briefs tend to stop anywhere between the mid-thigh right up to the highest point of the hips, some taking this high cut to extremity, giving a very sexy, high-fashion appeal. As far as the top band of the garment is concerned, briefs usually extend to cover the lower navel or slightly above. This cut is most often known as "full cut" and its sister styles, "mid cut" and "low cut", can vary between designers and brands.