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  • Writer's pictureThe Underwear Review

What’s the Difference Between Briefs and Bikini Briefs?

Key differences between the two with side-by-side examples.

Comparison of briefs underwear vs bikini briefs underwear.

Nowadays, men have a wide variety of underwear choices at their disposal.

Whether it’s design, fit, style, fabric, or brand, there’s no shortage of options for men.

Even longstanding classics are receiving upgrades and stylish new takes on original designs.

For example, one of the most popular variations of the men’s classic brief is the men’s bikini brief.

You may be wondering, though, what gives bikini briefs their own special designation?

The main difference between classic briefs and bikini briefs is that bikini briefs have only waistband on the sides, connecting the front and back fabric panels at the top.

Classic briefs, on the other hand, have a few inches of fabric that extends down from the waistband and rides along the side of the leg to create one consistent garment of fabric.

Here, we'll go over some of the more notable bikini brief characteristics and provide side-by-side visual comparisons with the classic brief design.

Bikini Briefs Have a Low-Rise Design

Compared to the classic brief design, bikini briefs sport a low-rise fit.

This means that the waistband sits right at your hips and slightly below your natural waistline.

Some men prefer this cut simply as a more comfortable fit on their body type, while others like the way it fits under pants.

Side-by-side comparison: Bikinis have a lower-rise fit than briefs.
You can see how briefs (left) sit higher on the waist than bikinis (right).

You can see in the picture above how the waistband on the classic brief (left) extends slightly above the natural waistline and sits on top of the hips.

On the other hand, the bikini (right), sits right at the hips and the waistband falls just below the natural waistband.

This low-rise design isn’t exclusive to bikini briefs, as you can find low-cut brief styles, as well as low-cut thongs, trunks, and more.

However, a low-rise fit is a signature feature of bikini briefs.

Bikini Briefs Have a Narrower Cut Than Briefs

The signature feature of bikini briefs is their narrow cut that does away with the more concealing nature of classic briefs.

Classic briefs tend to encase the whole pelvic area, whereas bikini briefs utilize a pouch fit in the front.

Many men find that the pouch design provides more comfort and breathability.

Certain designs may even provide some lift and accentuation for your anatomy.

Side-by-side comparison: bikinis have narrower cut than briefs.
Bikini briefs (right) have a noticeably narrower cut than briefs (left).

The back of the bikini often looks similar to that of briefs, but again with a slimmer cut than classic briefs that can even trend closer to a thong in certain designs.

Keep in mind, however, that all bikinis have a back that covers some portion of your glutes (whereas thongs run between the glutes).

The signature narrow cut of bikinis are most noticeable from the profile, which you can see in the picture above.

Bikini Briefs Use Less Fabric Than Briefs

Not surprising with their open-leg design, bikini briefs use less fabric than the classic briefs do.

While the design of briefs is cut to surround and wrap the pelvic area in fabric, bikini briefs forego the extra fabric on the hips and upper legs altogether, opting for just the waistband there.

Side-by-side comparison: bikinis use less fabric than briefs.
Bikini briefs (right) use less overall fabric than briefs (left).

The fabric then runs between the legs and connects at the waistband on top.

This results in smaller fabric panels in both the front and the back.

The front is typically designed as a pouch for both comfort and support to your anatomy while the back can vary in cut but typically covers most of your glutes.

This minimal fabric design allows for greater mobility, a freer fit, and an overall sleeker look when compared to classic briefs.

Here's What to Look for When Purchasing Briefs and Bikini Briefs

Whether you're looking for a new pair of briefs or bikini briefs, there are a few characteristics you’ll want to keep an eye out for when browsing.

As we covered above, bikini briefs will have a comparatively narrower cut than briefs, use less overall fabric, and sport a low-rise fit.

Of course, different underwear brands will go about this in different ways.

But the brands that give extra focus to essential characteristics like fabric type, seam detailing, and waistband fit tend to be brands that you’ll come back to time and again.

Example of high-quality bikini underwear.
The Separatec Supersoft Modal Bikini has a soft stay-put elastic waistband.

There’s nothing quite as important as the waistband when it comes to making or breaking a pair of underwear.

Look for bikini briefs that emphasize a comfortable and secure waistband that stays put without pinching.

The same is true when it comes to finding a great pair of briefs.

Look for briefs with premium fabrics that prioritize softness, breathability, and moisture-wicking.

Example of high-quality brief underwear.
The Pair of Thieves SuperFit Briefs utilize breathable mesh fabric.

These qualities will ensure a comfortable and distraction-free fit that works great for all-day wear.

Also, don’t forget about finding a roomy fit in the front that compliments the male anatomy.

Look for mention of a contour pouch that provides comfortable support.

If you're looking for the most comfortable options, check out our picks for the Most Comfortable Briefs and the Most Comfortable Bikini Briefs.

And if you're curious about adding other underwear styles to your rotation, discover all of the different underwear types that are available to men.


Most Comfortable Series

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