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Meet the trunk: How, when & why men should rock this underwear style

Do you know a pair of men’s trunks when you see them? No, we’re not talking swim trunks. Not the furniture item, either. 

We’re talking about an underdog style of the men’s underwear world. Not because they’re not popular (or fantastic!) but because not all men know their proper name. That’s right, there’s a chance you might have a pair of trunks in your underwear drawer (or on your body) right now, without even knowing it. 

Men’s trunks have been gaining in popularity in recent years, but the correct terminology for this style isn’t as well-known as it should be. It’s like that amazing actor you recognize from that show — you know, the one with the hair, and, like, that face — but whose name you’ve never bothered to retain. 

Or that guy who sits near the copier at work, who’s always so friendly whenever you stop by to pick up your document. After a few years of at least weekly small talk, you know a lot about each other’s lives: relationship status, kids/no kids, where you each grew up. But names? 


Fortunately, we’re here to give credit where credit is due. It’s time to get better acquainted with the trunk — and give this upstart but versatile men’s underwear style the recognition it deserves. 

After all, you and your drawers spend even more time together than you and...Copier Guy. And it’s always good to know more about what’s going on in your pants, right? 

Trunks: The Boxer Brief’s Flashier Cousin

Trunks have been described as the offspring of Brief and Boxer Brief underwear styles. And this rings true. They offer the close, supportive fit of both styles, with a leg length between the two.

Tommy John’s Trunks all feature a 4.5” inseam, whereas the brief inseam is 0” and the Boxer Brief extends much farther down the thigh, with an 8” inseam.

You could think of this as a balanced choice or a happy medium between the two extremes of men’s underwear leg lengths. Or you could see Trunks as the slightly flashier, cooler cousin of the more staid and solid Boxer Brief. (Which of these perspectives you take depends entirely on your own style preference at any given time, we should add.)

The Trunk likes to talk up its good looks and confidence because, although versatile, this underwear style is slightly less so for most men than the always-trusty Boxer Brief, whose extended leg length is most protective of the body during exercise, preventing rubbing and chafing through the length of the thigh. 

The Trunk may still be suitable for light athletic activity, but its real selling point is its flashier (but still not too flashy) style. Leg lengths shorter than those of Boxer Briefs allow men with great thighs to show them off. 

At the same time, Trunks provide more coverage and - to many men’s minds - a more modern style than most Briefs can muster. (However, under Tommy John’s care, the classic Brief enjoys a revival in assertive, masculine, up-to-the-minute colors, color combos, and stripes — nothing boyish here). 

There are more reasons a man might opt for a Trunk. All of the following scenarios might make this style a good choice:

  1. On men with muscular thighs, The Trunk shows them off (whereas the Boxer Brief downplays them with more coverage, and the Boxer de-emphasizes the shape of the body with a looser fit). 
  2. On shorter men, the Trunk can make the legs look longer, providing a more proportional appearance than a Boxer Brief and creating the visual appearance of greater height.
  3. On men who just want to show a little more skin for any reason, Trunks are a way to showcase their confidence.
  4. Men might opt for the Trunk as a similar-length alternative to the looser-fitting Boxer, for more support, for a tidier, updated look, or to reduce the discomfort and poor appearance of bunching under slimmer-fitting pants.
  5. Men might opt for the Trunk over the Boxer Brief for less bulk and heat retention in warmer weather, and for invisibility under most shorts. 
  6. The Trunk can be a great option for men looking for a balance between comfort and sex appeal.

      The Tommy John Trunk

      All Tommy John trunks feature a stay-put, no-roll waistband, contour pouch, and horizontal Quick Draw® fly. Wedgies are guaranteed gone for good. 

      While all our trunks share a 4.5” inch inseam, they come in a wide variety of fabrics, colors, and prints for a range of activities and preferences. 

      Want to adorn your lower half for the holidays with prints that are festive but classy? We’ve got you covered. Looking for a lightweight material perfect for travel? Look no further. Want the best cotton basics for everyday wear? We set the standard. 

      Find your perfect pair of Trunks by checking out the Tommy John’s full selection of premium offerings.