While important, looks are not everything. Take these fugly string Y-fronts designed for, and worn by, the Norwegian army since the 1930s; they may well make one look like a dangerous sex offender on the run but, by God, are they comfy.
I leap for joy when my pair are dry on the line and I urge all Archblog readers to snap up a pair or two from uber-trendy German e-tailer Manufactum. Trust me, you'll never set foot in the underwear depts of GAP or M&S again.
From Norway. String underwear.
The Norwegian army commandant Henrik Brun won himself a place in history as the inventor of string underwear:
In 1933 he sewed together his first set from old fishing nets and then presented them to the assembled officers´ club - including King Håkon VII. Sadly the reaction of this select circle has not been recorded, but Brun's idea must have caught on, because the manufacturer Brynje from Larvik has been supplying all units of the Norwegian army since 1950, for even in peacetime, these troops are up against a bitter enemy - the winter temperatures experienced beyond 57 degrees north.
Of course nowadays the underwear is not made of herring nets but from hard-wearing, sweat absorbing cotton on special raschel machines. Civilians too have learned to appreciate the advantages of this type of underwear, which keeps you warm, thanks to the thin layer of air trapped in the mesh, yet prevents a build-up of heat and can barely be felt on the skin. We have discovered from the relevant magazines, that endurance sportsmen in particular, appreciate this lightweight underwear.
Of course, there are people who maintain that the string vest is more at home on a building site or in a pigeon loft.
But if the likes of miners appreciate the qualities of these clothes when underground, it's no wonder they wear them in their time off. In fact it should be looked upon as a compliment.