What Are Men’s Long Underwear Called in America?

This particular style of two-piece underwear showcases not only long legs, but long sleeves as well, making it the go-to choice for individuals seeking to combat the biting chill that accompanies winter months. Often donned as an additional layer beneath regular clothing, long underwear serves as a protective barrier against the harsh elements, enabling wearers to maintain a comfortable body temperature even in the face of bone-chilling weather conditions.

What Does Johns Mean Underwear?

Long underwear, known by various names such as long johns or thermal underwear, refers to a specific type of undergarment designed to provide warmth, particularly during cold weather conditions. This style of underwear typically comes in a two-piece set consisting of long legs and long sleeves. It’s commonly worn by individuals in colder countries as an additional layer of clothing to retain body heat and protect against the chill.

While this term may not be universally recognized, it’s frequently understood within certain regions of America. The name “Johns” is believed to have originated from John L. Sullivan, a renowned boxer of the late 19th century who was typically photographed wearing long underwear during training. Over time, this association led to the use of the term “Johns” as a slang term for long underwear.

With it’s useful functionality and evolving fashion trends, this undergarment continues to be a staple in many peoples wardrobes, particularly in colder regions of America.

The History and Evolution of Long Underwear

Long underwear, also known as thermal underwear or long johns, has a rich history and has evolved over time. It was first created in the mid-19th century as a practical garment to keep the body warm in cold weather. Originally made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton, long underwear provided insulation and moisture-wicking properties.

As textile technology advanced, new materials like polyester and synthetic blends were introduced, offering improved warmth, breathability, and moisture management. This led to the development of more advanced long underwear options, including those with specialized designs for outdoor activities like skiing or hiking.

Today, men’s long underwear is commonly referred to as thermal underwear in America. It’s available in various styles, including one-piece suits, two-piece sets, and leggings, each offering different levels of insulation and comfort. Whether for work or outdoor adventures, men’s long underwear continues to be a go-to garment for staying warm in colder climates.

As the popularity of loose trousers known as knickerbockers grew among men for sports, a peculiar trend emerged. Women’s undergarments, too, began to be referred to as knickerbockers. Eventually, in the late 19th century, this term underwent a subtle transformation, evolving into the more commonly recognized term: knickers.

What Did They Call Underwear?

In the realm of undergarments, the nomenclature often evolves over time, reflecting changes in fashion and social norms. When loose trousers became popular among men for sporting activities, they were sometimes referred to as “knickerbockers.”. However, interestingly enough, womens undergarments also began to adopt this moniker. As the late 19th century approached, this terminology underwent further transformation and the term “knickers” emerged as a shortened version.

This linguistic shift is a testament to the influence of evolving societal norms and the merging of fashion trends across genders.

It’s fascinating how the terminology surrounding undergarments can undergo such intricate transformations throughout history. This linguistic journey highlights the fluid nature of language and the influence of shifting cultural practices on our vocabulary.

In the late 1800s, men’s undergarments remained relatively unchanged, with tight-fitting flannel drawers serving as the go-to option. However, the advent of the US Civil War introduced a new style – the union-suit, a one-piece, long undergarment that offered additional coverage and comfort.

What Was Mens Underwear Called in the 1800s?

What’re mens long underwear called in America? Well, in the 1800s, men had a limited range of options when it came to undergarments. Surprisingly enough, the same style of undergarments persisted throughout this entire period, and even carried over into the early 1900s. The most common type of mens underwear during this time was a pair of tight-fitting, knee-length flannel drawers. These drawers were sometimes referred to as breeches or pantaloons.

However, during the US Civil War, a slightly different style of undergarment became popular among men. This was known as the union-suit, which was essentially a one-piece, long undergarment. The union-suit featured long sleeves and long legs, providing full coverage and warmth during the harsh winters on the battlefield. This undergarment was typically made of flannel or other warm materials to keep the soldiers comfortable.

While these styles of mens underwear may seem outdated by todays standards, they were the norm during the 1800s. It wasnt until later in the 20th century that men began to have more options and styles in underwear, as fashion and technology advanced. Today, you can find a wide range of mens long underwear, or simply long johns, in various materials and styles to suit different preferences and needs.

Evolution of Mens Underwear Styles From the 1800s to the Present

The evolution of men’s underwear styles in America has undergone significant changes since the 1800s. During the 19th century, men commonly wore long underwear known as “union suits.” These one-piece garments provided full coverage and warmth, typically made from flannel or wool.

In the early 20th century, as fashion trends evolved, union suits gave way to two-piece undergarments commonly referred to as “long johns.” These consisted of long-sleeved tops and pants made from lightweight materials like cotton or rayon.

In the mid-20th century, with advancements in textile technology and increasing emphasis on comfort, a new style called “long underwear” emerged. This style resembled the modern briefs but with full leg coverage.

In recent times, men’s underwear has diversified further, and there are various styles available, including boxer briefs, boxers, trunks, and briefs. Each style offers a different level of comfort, support, and coverage, catering to individual preferences.

Overall, the evolution of men’s underwear styles from the 1800s to the present reflects changing cultural, fashion, and technology trends. Today, men have a wide range of options when it comes to selecting their preferred type of long underwear.


It’s versatile nature allows men to layer it under clothing or wear it independently, ensuring maximum warmth and comfort. Embracing the nickname "long johns," these undergarments have become synonymous with winter fashion and a symbol of practicality. So, when the frosty winds blow, remember to don your long johns and stay cozy throughout the chilly season.

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