Sunspel Icons - The British Boxer Short

Invented by Sunspel in 1947, the British Boxer Short is engineered for supreme comfort. It took a 1980s TV ad to turn it into a global cultural icon – but for those in the know, Sunspel’s has always been the boxer of choice.

Sunspel introduced the boxer short to Britain in 1947. John Hill – our owner and great-grandson of our founder – took an American underwear concept and re-engineered it for exceptional comfort: transforming the design and using a long staple fine cotton to create a new kind of luxury underwear – one that feels great against the skin.


The original British Boxer Short looks pretty great too – as the world discovered in 1985, when model Nick Kamen caused a sensation by taking off his jeans in a launderette for a famously sexy Levi’s TV ad. He was wearing only a pair of crisp white Sunspel boxers underneath, and the look instantly captured the nation’s imagination.

As style journalist and broadcaster Robert Elms put it: “Before the boy in the launderette, nobody wore boxers. White cotton Sunspel boxers were the inspired choice of underpants, appearing both timelessly cool, and crisply modern. Almost overnight, men who would once have seen boxer shorts as stuffily old-fashioned were clamouring to look like Nick Kamen and buying boxers in their droves. And ever since, a pair of white cotton Sunspels has been the boxer choice of those in the know.”



Boxer shorts originated in American sportswear, but it was Sunspel’s John Hill – great-grandson of our founder – who brought it to Britain and reinvented it as a luxury undergarment.

Hill introduced a series of groundbreaking design innovations. He created a back panel to replace the uncomfortable central seam. He introduced double-turned feldlock seams to eliminate rough edges, so that the whole garment feels like one smooth block of material. He removed the excessive ‘bagginess’ so that they could be worn with a slim trouser. And he chose the softest, most luxurious long staple cottons for unparalleled lightness and breathability.

With just a few minor tweaks here and there, we have used these original specifications to make the Sunspel British Boxer Short ever since.
A timeless menswear classic, precisely calibrated for everyday luxury.


Shop the British Boxer Short.


Back to Stories