The tired old “Boxers or briefs?” question is outdated.

Because men today (fortunately) have more options. Umashan Naidoo head of Menswear Design says that “Men’s underwear is not just about thebasic Y-front anymore, purchase for purpose is a key factor when shopping for underwear”. After all, your berries need one kind of fit when you’re headed out for a jog – but you wouldn’t wear those same drawers on date night any more than you’d show up at dinner in biking shorts. Your first step? Pick the right fabric, and then the right cut.

Nylon

What it is
That “wicking” microfibre used in gym tees and shorts? It’s often nylon.

Why you’ll like it
It’s soft and keeps you dry. Also, like other synthetics, nylon retains vibrant colours.

When to wear it
In fall and winter, nylon works with anything from gym shorts to wool trousers. When it’s hot, avoid combining nylon underwear and light-coloured khakis – you might end up with a case of the butt sweats.

Modal

What it is
This manufactured fibre is spun from reconstituted beech tree cellulose. “People who like nylon underwear, but still want something that absorbs should try modal.

Why you’ll like it
The softness is unbeatable. “Like second skin” says Naidoo.

When to wear it
With jeans or suits, it’s a more comfortable (but less supportive) alternative to nylon and cotton.

Polyester

What it is
A synthetic with good colour retention.

Why you’ll like it
When manufactured as a microfibre, it’s thin and sexy. You can get poly down to half the thickness of cotton.

When to wear it
Poly is ideal for travel because it’s easy to wash and dry. Wear it with slim pants, but avoid it on hot days; poly absorbs even less moisture than nylon.

Rayon

What it is similar to modal but with slightly more lustre, rayon is made from any source of cellulose, usually wood pulp. Rayon tends to stretch, so look for a rayon/lycra blend.

Why you’ll like it
It feels as rich as cashmere.

When to wear it
Rayon offers little support, so it’s best for short intervals, like nights out.

Cotton

What it is
The classic favourite that’s natural and breathable.

Why you already like it
It’s what everyone grew up with. It’s soft and absorbent, and similar to modal or rayon.

When to wear it:
It’s all-purpose, except for workouts – rather choose nylon.