Before the human race decided that wearing layers of clothing was the only way to prove you were a decent person, underwear was often outerwear too. Now these items would be classified as underwear…backward, uncool underwear…but our ancestors used to stroll around in these quite comfortably.
The Japanese Fundoshi
This male underwear is about five feet in length and made from cotton. In essence it looks like a more bulky version of the thong. After the Second World War, when western briefs made their way into the Japanese markets, the fundoshi took a step back. It is still used during certain cultural celebrations.
The Indian Kaupinam
Also made from cotton cloth, the kaupinam is secured at the waist by binding four bits of the cloth together. It has fallen out of use except for those who wear it due to its religious significance. It is also worn by Indian wrestlers.
The European Braies
These looked somewhat like capri pants but were loose-fitting and laced up at the waist and below the knees. The crotch area had a flap, codpiece, so that the wearer didn’t need to take off the braies to relieve himself. It became quite fashionable for men to stuff their codpieces to appear bigger.
The Native American Breechcloth
The breechcloth is worn with a rectangular cloth passed between the legs and held in place by a string; cloth flaps are left hanging in the front and back. Most of the time, breechcloths were worn along with leggings and would also be worn by girls till they came of age.
The African Loincloth
The African loincloth was usually made of animal skins and was often a decorative piece of cloth; it could have painted designs, tassels, fur and embroidery on it. In many tribes, the loincloth was aimed at covering the front, leaving the butt fully exposed, though loincloths did differ from tribe to tribe.