Excellent men’s underwear – made from eucalyptus-tree pulp

British brand Hamilton and Hare aces the boxer brief in eco-friendly Lyocell

The main fabric in Hamilton and Hare boxer briefs is zero-waste, chemical-free Lyocell
The main fabric in Hamilton and Hare boxer briefs is zero-waste, chemical-free Lyocell

I take clothing seriously. Rather too seriously, perhaps. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that when the need to refill my underwear drawer recently arose, I tackled the task with great depth of research and tried out the grey-mélange boxer briefs from several different brands.

From left: Hamilton and Hare boxer briefs, £35, and Tubular trunks, £32
From left: Hamilton and Hare boxer briefs, £35, and Tubular trunks, £32

The eventual winner was from British brand Hamilton and Hare, a decision based primarily on the fabric – a blend of 32 per cent cotton, four per cent elastane and 64 per cent Lyocell. The latter is a cellulose material made from eucalyptus-wood pulp, which is similar to other natural alternatives, such as bamboo and modal, but is zero-waste, requires no chemicals or pesticides and uses up to 20 times less water in its production than cotton. 

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But I must confess these environmental benefits were of secondary consideration; first and foremost I was taken with the feel of the fabric, which is fine yet robust, similar to cotton but softer and silkier. The Hamilton and Hare boxer briefs (£35; £155 for five) also fit well, breathe well and have lasted well. Design points include a fabric-covered waistband rather than elastane (I haven’t noticed a difference in comfort here, but others might) and the label on the outside at the back, again to increase comfort. Personally, I’d prefer something printed on the inside so that the outside is free of branding, but it’s a small point.

Hamilton and Hare Tubular trunk five-pack, £136
Hamilton and Hare Tubular trunk five-pack, £136

I also tried the seam-free, 80-per-cent bamboo Tubular trunks (£32; £136 for five), which sounded like they would be supremely comfortable but weren’t for me; I found them too flimsy. However, the Tubular T-shirts (£60), which come in white, black and navy, I thoroughly recommend.

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Simon Crompton is an author and journalist and the founder of a leading website on luxury and bespoke menswear, PermanentStyle.com, which receives over a million visitors every year. He is the author of several books including The Finest Menswear in the World (Thames & Hudson). @permanentstylelondon.

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