Saturday, December 2, 2006

Apple #209: Underpants Around the World

The other day, I was singing a song about underpants. Nothing fancy, it went like this, "Underpants! Underpants."

So I wondered, what kinds of underwear do people wear in various countries around the world?

I had expected to find lots of different kinds of garments. But in general, most countries' underwear looks a lot like underwear worn here in the U.S. Even with bras, too. Or at least this is true of companies posting pictures on the Internet.

Mainly, what's different is the style. Here is one example of what I mean:

Men's underwear, made by Adonis Clothing in Bulgaria)

So, just assume that for each country listed below, all the underwear is mostly the same, except for slight differences in style. I've noted only particular garments that seem especially unusual.

I should also say that the way image-posting works in Blogger didn't allow me to post many pictures from these international sites directly onto this page. If you want to see what a garment looks like, in most cases, you'll have to follow the link.

  • In India, one manufacturer makes a loose-fitting, cotton boy-short for children, called "bloomers." They have slightly different names for other things, too:
    • Men's undershirts are called "vests"
    • Long underwear is called "body warmers."
  • In China, the AB Group makes a couple interesting items:
    • "Anti-bacterial, smell-proof underwear". These are available in briefs for men, teens, and women, as well as shorts for women, which are sort of like briefs but with a little extra length at the legs.
    • Far-infrared suits for women. These are thermal pants with matching long-sleeve tops, with the additional feature of an infrared raised fiber. This material radiates infrared rays emitted by the human body back to the skin, thus not only providing extra warmth but also "expediting the blood circulation and facilitating metabolism." I guess you wear this stuff, you get warm, you sweat more, you lose a pound or two.
  • Another company in China, Yimi Lingerie, makes a thong but with extra support, called the "T-Back Brief." From the front, it looks like a brief: white and with an extra panel at the top. But in the back, it does that special thongy thing, though a little less narrowly than most thongs available here.
  • In Turkey, a company called Anil Lingerie makes lingerie that looks like what you might see in a Victoria's Secret catalog. In addition to these very modern and seductive items, they offer other peices of underwear with contrastingly old-fashioned names:
    • Knee-length (half) slips they call "petticoats"
    • Girdles and body-shaping extended-length underwear they call "corsets"
    • Kombinezons or "chemises" are full-length slips.
      • Incidentally, chemises have been around since medieval times. They are generally white or off-white garments like plain dresses that were worn beneath the showier dress or robe, if you were a man. The man's undershirt is the descendant of the men's chemise.
  • In Iran, one underwear company called Lano makes the seamless Hilper for women
    • It's an undershirt made of microfiber with a yoke-type neck, and the straps cross around the neck rather than over the shoulders.
    • I have no idea why it's called a Hilper.
  • In Australia, the very popular Holeproof company's Underdaks for men come in a variety of styles. Perhaps most arresting is this style, presented here in royal blue:

(Photo from Bizrate UK)

  • King Style underwear, based in Taiwan, seems to be suffering from some inelegant English translation of the description of their underwear:
King Style's main product, "Man's underwear" with a unique pouch for save-keeping the "balls" has been underwent many tests and has been proved to eliminate the problems created by traditional man's underwear.

Overall, I've highlighted above the various differences that I saw. But really, looking at so many pictures of underwear from various countries all over the world, I saw a lot of really similar stuff. It actually makes me feel kind of good, to know that in Iran, say, people that I might normally think of as pretty different from me, are actually wearing underwear much like my own.

Maybe that's something for the diplomats to discuss before they get down to business: what kind of underwear to you wear? Do you prefer cotton or polyester? Underwire or racerback? Really, the possibilities are endless.

Body Care International (India)
AB Group, products for women (China)
Yimi Lingerie, products (China)
Anil Lingerie products for 2006 (Turkey)
Lano (Iran)
BTC Textiles (the Netherlands)
Holeproof underwear (Australia)
Engel GmbH product overall view (Germany)
King Style underwear (Taiwan)

1 comment:

  1. Someone gave my wife and I pairs of these when we were visiting in New Zealand:

    The best part is their slogan:



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