How Should Underwear Fit?

man modeling underwear
This post may contain affiliate links. At no cost to you we may earn a commission. See our full disclosure for more info.

How should underwear fit? Underwear should fit so well that you’ll forget you’re wearing one. It should be snug enough to stay in place but give enough breathing room where it counts. There should be no chafing, skin irritation, or any other form of discomfort.

Picking underwear that fits perfectly requires some measuring and a little trial and error because the various underwear types are designed differently and it affects how they fit. Aside from this, your body type also affects fit and comfort. 

I’ve gathered the relevant information available to help you find the perfect fit. In this article, you’ll discover the signs that tell you if your underwear is too tight or too loose, how to find your size, as well as remedies for your underwear size problems.

In my underwear journey, I’ve had my fair share of fits that are both great and horrible. I hope this helps you find the one so that you won’t have to go through the underwear sizing trouble that I’ve experienced. 

Should Underwear Be Tight Or Loose?

Underwear that fits just right will stay in place throughout the day. How it should fit depends on the type that you’re wearing. Briefs and trunks are supposed to be snug, while boxer shorts are roomier. 

For boxer briefs, it should be comfortably snug all around except the crotch area which should have enough space to accommodate your package.

But whatever underwear type you’re wearing, there are telltale signs that tell you if your underwear is too tight or too loose. If you experience any of these discomforts, then you’re wearing the wrong size. 

How To Tell If Your Underwear Is Too Small

Restricts Your Movements

If you feel like something’s gonna rip every time you move, your underwear’s too tight. 

For boxer briefs, the leg band shouldn’t wrap your legs too tight. You’ll know this is the case if your skin is already bulging. 

This can make moving uncomfortable since there’s additional pressure against your body.

Aside from the legs, the waist is another area where you can feel restriction or tightness. 

Waistbands can press against your lower abdomen and this is bad news for guys with stomach issues as the pressure on the lower abdomen or stomach can trigger acid reflux. 

Causes Chafing

Areas prone to chafing are the inner thighs, buttocks, or groin area. When it’s too tight, your movements can cause friction and lead to chafing. The problem can be compounded by your underwear’s fabric. 

But this can also happen with loose underwear too. When your underwear moves around in your pants, it will no longer be in place to provide the needed protection. This can lead to irritation or chafing when the skin rubs against each other. 

Leaves Skin Marks

Skin marks or impressions happen when your underwear is pressing on your skin too much. Aside from skin marks, you may also feel pinching in certain areas.  

Rough fabrics or those that absorb moisture can add to the skin irritation and cause chafing. Even if it doesn’t, you can bet that it’ll be an uncomfortable ride. 

It Rides Up

Wedgies happen when your underwear rides up. It’s uncomfortable and can be embarrassing. This tends to happen when your underwear is too tight and has been stretched too far, making it easy for your butt to take a bite off it.

How To Tell If Your Underwear Is Too Big

Slides From Your Waist

You can’t miss this one. You probably know how your pants droop if they’re too big for you. The same thing should never happen to underwear. 

Underwear is a grab-and-go product. You grab one, wear it and you’re all ready to go. You shouldn’t be worrying about it throughout the day. If it keeps falling or moving each time you move, you might be better off going commando.

Bunching Up

Bunching is more common with boxer shorts. Your shorts are too big especially for the pants that you’re wearing. They can be visible from your clothes and can make you look sloppy.

How To Tell What Underwear Size You Are

The only way to know what underwear size you are is to measure your vitals. Knowing your exact measurement will help you pick the most comfortable size.

You’ll have to measure your waist as your waistline size as this is the basis of underwear sizes.

 All you need to do is get a measuring tape and wrap it around your waist, just below your belly button. Leave a space just small enough to insert a finger or two. That’s your waistline measurement. 

However, if you have wide hips or a big butt, you might have to go a size up to accommodate the extra baggage. You’ll only find out once you try on the underwear with your waist size. This is where trial and error can come in. 

And this is what happened to me. I have a small waist but had to go one size bigger because of my big butt and thighs. 

Underwear Size Chart Men’s

Men’s underwear sizes are often universal and standard. Your favorite brand should have size charts for you to check their sizing matrix. 

Sizes come in S, M, L, XL, XXL but some may have XS or go up to XXXL. The chart should show the size and its equivalent measurement in inches. It’s important to check this since brands may have a different conversion matrix. 

Below is a table that shows the typical men’s underwear size chart.

SizeWaist (in)
S28 – 30
M32 – 34
L36 – 38
XL40 – 42
XXL44 – 46

With your waistline measurement in hand, you can now accurately pick your underwear size. 

Should I Go A Size Up In Underwear?

There are a couple of instances where you need to size up in underwear.

The first is if you have wide hips and buttocks. In this case, your hips are wider than your waist so you’ll need a bigger size to accommodate the extra space. This shouldn’t be much of an issue since underwear often comes with elastic waistbands that adjust to your waistline.

The second instance is when you’re caught in between sizes. You’re a size 35? Go for the Large since it fits size 36. The one-inch difference shouldn’t be much of an issue. 

However, you’ll only find out once you try it on.

How To Make Tight Underwear Loose

In case you bought underwear that’s too tight for you, don’t throw it away just yet. There’s a way to make tight underwear loose and fit better. 

But before doing the steps below, you first have to check the fabric. This method will only work with stretchable or elastic fabric.  Otherwise, you’re going to be fighting a losing battle. Fabrics like cotton and polyester are elastic, making it possible to loosen it up permanently. 

  • Wash with cold water: Machine or hand wash with cold water. Don’t put any detergent or fabric softener.
  • Soak: Let it soak in the cold water for 24 hours. This lets the fabric absorb as much water and expand.
  • Check: After 24 hours, check if it expanded. If it hasn’t, you can leave it for another day.
  • Dry: Once you’re satisfied with its expansion, remove it from the washer without wringing. This allows the water to stay a bit more and expand the fabric. Let it drip and dry.

This technique usually stretches underwear a size bigger. If it doesn’t loosen after soaking it for 48 hours, that’s the time you can throw it away.

How To Shrink Underwear

Now if your underwear is loose, there’s also a way to make it smaller. Again, the right kind of fabric is key. Cotton, wool, rayon, linen, and silk are fabrics that can shrink. Meanwhile, such isn’t the case with elastic materials like spandex and polyester.

Here are the two methods that you can use to shrink your underwear:

  • Wash with hot water: The hot water causes the fabric to shrink. After washing, air dry your underwear and fit it once dry. If it’s still loose, proceed to the next method. 
  • Tumble dry: Choose the dryer setting for cotton fabric and set it to the highest possible temperature if it’s not automatic. Let it run for 20 minutes. 

In case it is still a little loose, you can repeat the whole process. If it still fails to shrink after two attempts, it’s safe to call it quits.

Scroll to Top