Thursday, October 26, 2006


Underwear is Obsolete

In the beginning, underwear was used for two reasons: 1) to keep the wearer warm in the winter and 2) to keep “outer garments” form being soiled. But times have changed. Thanks to advances in heating and washing technology, humans now spend most of their lives in climate controlled environs and wash their clothes after only one wearing. So unless you are prone to “accidents”, there is no point to wearing underwear in the modern world.

Over time, tradition will give way to progress. I predict that boxers and panties will go the way of the codpieces and corsets within the next 100 years. Unless, of course, Michael Jordan is still alive. If he keeps selling 'em, I'll keep wearing 'em!

Maybe instead of saying "Progress is comfortable disease" Walt Whitman should have said "Progress is a cool breeze"!

Except that women's undergarments is a huge business....
Interesting idea, but I disagree. People don't necessarily wash their "outer garments" after just one wearing (do you wash your jeans every time you wear them?). I think the modern world will always have a place for underwear.
I have to agree with Chris and Travis.

Underwear (women's especially) are more than just practical barriers between people and clothes.

And, even if we don't "need" underwear, it doesn't stop us from wanting and demanding to buy them. I think they'll be around for way longer than the next 100 years.

I do not, but I am a very filthy person. I hear that most people are much cleaner than I am. :P

On the other hand, assuming most people do reuse some clothes before washing, I would bet they wash their underwear after each wearing. How much less expensive is it to wash a pair of underwear than a pair of jeans? Is the ammount of money saved greater than the cost of purchasing the additonal garment (underwear)?

I have not done any calculations, but my gut tells me there wont be much difference between the two.
It will come out in a wash, so to speak (I couldn't resist).


Jenna & Chris,

Very true that underwear (especially women's) is about more than pragmaticism. Modesty and eroticism are other factors to consider. But these are things that change with time as well. A hiked-up hoop skirt has been replaced by a low-cut top as we what we find sexy. I don't think it's impossible that lingere might also fall out of fashion.

I would predict that men's underwear sales will fall much faster than women's, but I imagine that both will start falling when our children are our age....At least until the robots take over.

The cost of washing jeans, in my case, includes lugging them to the basement floor and back up, as well as having to "break them in" after every wash. Jeans are not comfortable when you first put them on after a wash, in my opinion.

I will always have a place for underwear and so will all the co-workers I polled, but only time will tell if your prediction is true. Next generations may be completely different.
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