Y Fronts Underwear UK – Popular Jockey Mens Briefs / Pants
Welcome to Y Fronts where we’ll be covering some of the best y-front and fly-front underwear available to buy.
We’ll be looking at fly underwear in the style of briefs, boxer briefs or trunks, and maybe a few boxers too.
(Note: If you were looking for the Jockey Retro Range in briefs form, unfortunately that style has been discontinued. It is only available in y-trunk form and has 3 colour options to choose from – Fuchsia (shown, more of a dark pink, and closest shade to red available), Navy (dark blue), and Powder Pink. You can click on the retro image to shop for all colour options.)
History of Y-Fronts
Y-Fronts, or more affectionately tighty whities were first sold in the UK in 1938. They were originally created earlier in the 1930s in the USA. In 1934 to be precise, although they did not officially go on sale in the US until 1935.
In the US, they are called Jockey Briefs or Jockey Shorts, named after the company that manufactures them – Jockey. That’s what they should have been called here too, but the British public had other ideas, as did UK manufacturers. Let’s take a look in more detail.
What we now call y-fronts today, originated from a company called Jockey in the US. It was introduced and is sold there as the Jockey brief, but ended up being known informally as y-fronts over here. Incidentally and perhaps ironically, the Jockey underwear company itself used to be called Coopers after the name of the family behind the products.
After the successful deployment of this new form of underwear, and the spectacular success that followed, the Coopers company decided to rename itself, after the product. The product itself was named after a play on the Jock Strap – what a mouthful, eh?
So the company Coopers rebranded itself as Jockey International Inc. in 1972. However, using the term Jockey Shorts or Jockey Briefs never caught on in the UK, instead this style of underwear and successive variants would to this day be known as simply Y-Fronts or tighty whities.
Despite the many Americanisations that have happened in the UK over the years, such as changing the name of Marathon to Snickers and Opal Fruits to Starburst, Y fronts remain Y-fronts. perhaps because it is a generic term rather than a brand name. Therefore no company can hope to easily rename it. That said does anybody remember the failed attempt to rename Coco Pops to Chocho Krispies back in 1998? Sometimes even brand names can not be renamed for commercial convenience.
Jockey Briefs Renamed Informally By Brits As Y-Fronts
Why did Jockey shorts or briefs end up being called y fronts in the UK? Well simply because of their inverted “y” shape design. So why not state the obvious and just call them y front briefs as you see them, right? However as we know, the “y” design was never meant to simply be a fashion statement. It actually serves a very useful purpose, via provision of a hidden seam or fly that allows quick and easy access to the penis, to pull it out for urination, or if you prefer, the call of nature.
The design of y front pants ensure maximum comfort and support for the male package. The original Jockey Y-Fronts qualities of being soft, made of fine cotton and having a great fit make y-fronts a popular choice for men and have ensured the survival of the y-front for over 70 years since its creation. The original colour of white y fronts still remains a popular colour choice today.
Fly-Front Briefs / A-Fronts / Fly Briefs
Today, there are styles of y fronts that no longer feature the y style in the form that it has become famous for. In fact there may be no y as such visible at all. But they have retained the easy access side opening or fly mechanism. This includes some of the Jockey underwear UK designs. Calvin Klein and Diesel are two of the big names that have taken the y-front and breathed a new sense of life, trendiness and fashion into what would otherwise be a boring and drab undergarment.
Jockey Retro Y-Fronts
2009 officially marked 75 years since the first appearance of the Jockey Y Fronts. To celebrate, Jockey released the Jockey Retro Y-Fronts and matching Retro Shirts range. It was available in 6 different colours.The briefs and shirts have since been discontinued, but the retro trunks are still available in 3 different colours. Jockey underwear for men is as popular today as it ever was.
In recent years, a compromise has been formed between y-fronts / briefs and boxer shorts. Of course the name y-boxers would not quite sound right, so they are called boxer briefs or trunks. They are shorts, but provide the comfort and support provided by briefs.
Just to confuse matters further, some outlets have decided to call these boxer shorts too anyway, despite a clear difference in the design and performance. While some boxer briefs do have a y front opening, other styles have a side fly opening or button opening. We’ll cover the traditional look y front underwear and the side fly aka A-Fronts or fly-fronts, and button opening variations here.
Calvin Klein Briefs?
Not sure where it comes from, but there seem to be a lot of people that believe there is such a thing as Calvin Klein Y-Fronts. Well they are right and they are wrong.
Calvin Klein do manufacture briefs and trunks with a fly. But these are simply Calvin Klein Fly Briefs. Click here to buy some.
In a way it’s understandable. Y-fronts has become a term to replace what should be called Jockey briefs – in part because there were at one point plenty of underwear with a y-fly in the UK that were not made by Jockey.
So it is not surprising that any briefs with a fly might now in turn be referred to as Y fronts, even without the inverted Y design.
Fly-Fronts / Y-Fronts For Women
While y-front underwear remain a popular mens briefs UK underwear, a perceived demand for Y-front underwear for women emerged. Fashion as we know is ever evolving, what was in fashion 10 years ago, is now something acceptable only in a Fancy Dress Party. And some things that go out of fashion, return to being in fashion.
Some styles simply endure – like the trusty underwear name sake of this website. And some fashions cross boundaries. As part of Jockey’s 75 year anniversary since the launch of the Jockey Brief, they created women’s y-fronts briefs.
Anyway regarding the continuous blurring between male and female fashions, which Calvin Klein captured so well in some of its campaigns and the CK-One fragrance, this perhaps comes as no surprise. After all, male grooming is a still young and booming industry and one that was traditionally female only. Men’s skin care was rare enough 10 years ago, but now there are specific and ever expanding men’s cosmetics and skin care ranges too.
A change in fashion and an industry where beauty ad cosmetics companies have muscled in (pardon the pun, or not) on what was once a female only domain. Or at least they did in ordinary day to day life, as opposed to the entertainment industries that already used female products when required. And in that context, it is of little surprise to see female expansions into male fashions like male briefs underwear styles.
Fly Briefs For Women Endure For Now
The y-fronts style doesn’t appear to have been too successful, and has since been discontinued. However a few womens fly front briefs styles are still available.
So now women have had a chance at y-fronts too. It doesn’t seem to have caught on and seems that like mens nylon y-fronts it ended up being more of a gimmick than a serious valid new underwear style. Perhaps in part because after all, the main point of a y-front – the hidden seam for convenient access, is unnecessary for a woman. It is therefore simply there for reasons of fashion.
However, there are still a few fly brief for women designs out there for women that want them.
Y-Fronts Are Recession Proof
On a final note, Y-fronts have also become more popular than ever now due to the recession. Y-fronts in the UK outsold boxer shorts in 2009 for the first time since the early 1990s – funnily enough, when Britain was last in recession.
It has been joked that the reason for this is because y-fronts give men a greater sense of security than loose fitting boxer shorts, and in troubled times, security is needed. We’ll cover Jockey y fronts and other brands as well as other styles of underwear here.