The InsideHook Guide to Better Basics

Trust us: your socks and underwear are more important than you think.

April 6, 2023 12:01 pm
a collage of men's basics on a pink background
The best men's basics are the cornerstone to any great outfit.

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

2023 is the year of the evolved man, and we couldn’t be more excited. Better online resources, increased access to serious jawns and a plethora of killer style intel has made it easier than ever to look your best. But in this new age of firm garms and excess ‘fitspo, it can be easy to forget about the one category of your wardrobe that matters the most: your undergarments. The best men’s basics are an every day essential.

This is not, however, to suggest that basics haven’t caught up with the sartorial revolution currently underway. From silver-infused boxer briefs by British brands to modern updates on 100-year-old Brooks Brothers classics, the best basics for men have grown and improved with demand for smart, functional garb to get them through the day.

What Makes a Good Basic?

Given their usage, a truly good basic hinges on two core qualities: comfort and functionality. You don’t want your undershirt (or socks, for that matter) to devolve into a sweaty, scratchy mess at the first sign of trouble. A great basic is one that’s discrete, sensible and above all wearable day in and day out.

Keeping with the new age of affordable, premium clothing, there are more options than ever that fit the bill. Advancements in materials like lyocell (a bamboo fiber that imbues a serious breathability factor) and silver-infused tech has all but eliminated the dreaded swamp ass, and quick-drying tees have become office standard for the big board meeting (although a classic Kirkland joint is always a fine move).

Upgrading to the best men’s basics is a journey, and we fully intend to be your spiritual sherpas. As such, we’ve compiled the need-to-know pieces that’ll take your sock drawer from zero to hero. Below, the best basics for men in 2023, from Mack Weldon to Uniqlo and beyond.

The Best Men’s Basics in 2023:

The Daily Driver Briefs

Whether you’re posted up at the laptop or nailing down roofing, a good pair of supporting, cool-drying boxer briefs is the best way to make it through the day unscathed. Look out for stretch materials and sweat-wicking tech — added benefits, like silver odor diffusion or an iconic waistband, don’t hurt either — for the optimal pair of drawers.

The Essential White Undershirt

The art of the undershirt is a tricky one to master, but it ultimately comes down to two things: comfort and thickness. Avoid beefy tees and heavyweight cotton, and opt for something cool to the skin and lightweight instead. A classic tank is always an option, too. Regardless of your choice, grab the most fitted size you can find, and let the tee work for you.

The 35 Best T-Shirts for Every Type of Guy
From heavyweight pocket tees to silk shirts, theses are the best t-shirts, period.

The Cozy Crew Sock

Forget no-shows and ditch the ankle socks — real men were a classic, timeless crew sock. It doesn’t have to be flashed (we’d actually prefer you didn’t), just a grippy, cushioned cotton blend that’ll keep your dogs at ease all day.

The Best Men’s Socks for Virtually Every Situation
From no-shows to knee-highs and everything in between, these are the best socks money can buy

The At-Home Lounge Short

Lounge shorts can be worn out, but they’re best served in the comfort of your own. Embrace the cozy fleece comfort, and don’t forget to grab a pair with drawstrings.

The Best Sweat Shorts for Men, Whether You’re Sleeping, Lounging or Lifting
Embrace the freedom that fleecey five-inchers can provide

The Hang Out Boxers

For the less-than-stressful days, a boxer is often the move, given its unmatched breathability and general casualness. Newer models are being blended with lyocell and spandex for a bit of extra give — we can’t rave enough about the merits of a button fly, either.

The Daily Statement Sock

The statement sock kinda breaks our core tenants of basics (reminder: comfort and functionality over all else), but given that there are so many poppy styles that check both of those boxes, we’ll let it slide. If you’re gonna go wild, lean into the less-than-standard ways: unusual materials, expert weaving or even a loud graphic beat out “funny socks” any day.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.