If you’re like most men, you probably don’t put much thought into the kind of underwear you’re buying. You probably grab the first pack of mens boxer briefs you see in your size and move on. You might even ask your wife to buy your underwear for you. If that’s you, it’s time to try switching up your underwear a little.

When you wear the right underwear for your body type and clothes and the occasion in question, you’ll get a lot more out of your undergarments. Underwear is there to keep your pants clean, offer you the support you need, absorb sweat and body fluids, and keep you from chafing. The right fabric can even help regulate your body temperature. But to truly get the most out of your underwear, you need to be wearing the right styles and fabrics at the right time. Here’s how.

Know Your Body Type

Every man’s body is different, but most men’s bodies fit into one of five common body type categories. They are:

  • Triangle (narrow shoulders, wide hips and waist);
  • Inverted triangle (wide shoulders and narrow waist);
  • Rectangle (shoulders and hips roughly the same width);
  • Apple (a rounded torso that is wider than the shoulders and hips); and
  • Trapezoid (wide shoulders and only slightly narrower hips).

Which underwear should you choose for your body type? Boxer shorts and boxer briefs tend to fit well on just about every body type, but boxers are best suited to the wide waist and thick legs of triangle, trapezoid, and apple shapes. Trunks, which are similar to boxers but a little shorter and slimmer fitting, suit triangle, inverted triangle, and trapezoid body types best. Briefs are best on thinner, more athletic body types, while thongs and jockstraps are best for extremely confident and/or muscular men.

How to Choose the Right Underwear for Your Body Type and Clothes

Dress for the Job

When choosing a pair of underwear, consider what you intend to do while you’re wearing it. If you’re doing any kind of physical labour or exercising, supportive boxer briefs made with performance fabrics can offer the functionality and support you need. Avoid wearing boxers to exercise or do manual labour, as they don’t provide much support and aren’t likely to completely prevent chafing. In fact, if chafing is an issue for you, you’ll probably want to choose a performance fabric designed to prevent chafing.

If you’re working in the office or lounging at home, choose whatever pair suits your body type and feels most comfortable. Most men prefer boxers or briefs for less physically demanding tasks.

Wear Slim-Profile Underwear Under Slim-fitting Clothes

Underwear are meant to be worn under your clothes, but that doesn’t mean that thick, loose or bulky underwear can’t ruin the line of your garments, especially your slim-fitting garments. Whenever you’re wearing skinny pants, a slim-fitting suit or trousers, or other tight clothes, you should wear the smallest pair of underwear you feel comfortable with. For most men, that’s a pair of briefs. Briefs offer support with a low profile that won’t bunch up under tight pants or ruin the profile of a slim-fitting garment.

However, there are other options, too, typically jockstraps or thongs. Both minimize visible underwear lines under clothing, and depending on how confident you are, they can be perfect for date night. Jockstraps were originally intended for men who needed extra support during athletic activities (hence the name), but there are lots of stylish options available — and every single one of them shows off your package to its fullest advantage. And thongs aren’t just for women anymore — there are lots of men’s thong styles available on the market for the man who wants to show off his assets.

Choosing men’s underwear should be just a little more complicated than boxers or briefs. When you’re wearing the right underwear at the right times and in the right situations, you’ve got the support you need to stay comfortable and confident, and you can tackle the tasks at hand without worrying about your appearance. At work, at the gym, on date nights, and lounging around the house, it’s always worth it to make sure you’re wearing the right pair of underwear.