It all began in 1934 when Arthur Kneibler, vice president of marketing at Coopers, Inc. (now Jockey International, Inc.), saw a postcard from the French Riviera of a man on a beach wearing a bikini-style swimsuit. Coopers French jockey Shorts Ad

He immediately knew this surprisingly brief style needed to be transformed into underwear. At the time, nothing offered that kind of comfort and support – boxer shorts and union suits reigned supreme. For years, athletic men had been wearing contrivances called “athletic supporters” for extra comfort. With the brief, they could enjoy that comfort all the time. And, so, the brief was born – and men wanted it.

It first hit store shelves at Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago on January 19, 1935. Store personnel were so excited that the entire store window was decorated to promote the innovative new style. However, it was a moment that almost never came to be. Marshall Fields Display 1935

A huge snowstorm struck the city the night before they were to go on sale and the store manager asked that the briefs in the window be swapped out to showcase winter outerwear. Before the employees could make the change, they noticed something: shoppers had already snatched up all the briefs on the floor and had started to take the underwear out of the window display! In fact, 600 pairs were sold that day and a whopping 30,000 in the first three months. The briefs were so popular the company had to hire a local aviatrix and her plane, The Masculiner, to more rapidly distribute the briefs to retailers. The rest, as they say, is history! Coopers Masculiner_02_2.22.1935

One thing’s for sure; the brief has come a long way in 80 years. Today, it remains the second-most popular silhouette for men maintaining its market share alongside boxer briefs. The brief has evolved, too, with low-rise offerings, colors and patterns, and innovative fabrics and technology.

A moment in history that almost never came to be! But it did, and we want to celebrate. Head over to Jockey.com/80 for your chance at prizes, including 80 pairs of Jockey briefs! #EmbraceTheBrief

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  1. Terry Garland says:

    Thanks for sharing a great piece of garment history!!! It was interesting and I’m reminded how exciting new products can be and Great Retailer’s that were willing to promote it.
    Happy Birthday Brief’s

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