Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Banares Langoti | Its what's inside that matters most

My love of menswear is all too commonly piled under the quickly assumed blanket of shirts, pants, vests, ties and jackets. But what about robes and socks and swimwear and lounge clothes and most important of all: underwear? The "western formula," as I often call it, offers us a quick and easy prescription for what this means in the states. Boxers or briefs? And for those interested in the much-loved hybrid, we have the boxer-brief whose praises are often sung thanks to its blending of sport and tradition while maintaining freedom of movement in front.

I remember while in high school I was watching MTV during the Clinton presidential race, and after all major platforms were covered and the heavy topics openly discussed, the REAL question on the table was "Which is it, Mr. Clinton. America is dying to know - boxers or briefs?"

But like most things in our commercially driven world, I can't help but feel like the script is too strict. Campy spin-offs and persistent subcultures have dabbled with the occasional bit of improv in this regard, offering up quirky, fun or more daring alternatives - but each of them still seems to directly relate to the basic plan of "boxer" or "brief." They may reveal in a new way, conceal with a new fabric, or pay homage to any number of fantasy worlds that offer a peek into a market that shows promise for increased sales. But the formula is the same, and the outcomes predictable.

More exciting to me* is stepping outside the Western realm and celebrating options from other cultures, other places. The beautiful and affordable style I recently found at my beloved Travelers show us an aesthetically simple, perfectly pragmatic option that Indian men have embraced and worn for years. And while the tradition has likely faded as they opt for westernized styles today, the look of this garment - called langoti -is powerful both on and off the body.


What I like most is that this is a garment entirely about fabric. No elastic. No fly. No tricky layering or complex cutting - this triangle of cloth with its long rectangular tail and waist-ties provides the wearer with much needed support and coverage with the comfort and beauty of a soft, beautifully printed cotton cloth. Its using fabric in a way that lets it do what it does best - fold, gather, wrap, support and protect the human body.

I celebrate langoti. I celebrate adopting the ingenuity of other cultures. I celebrate langoti!

My langot laying flat on the floor.

The scale of my langot shown in comparison to my own body.


An Indian wrestler exercising in his orange langot.



21 Comments:

Blogger Satoko said...

Hey, those are what my grandpa wares. I think they are the traditional underwear in Japan too!

8:44 PM  
Blogger MC said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:14 PM  
Blogger MC said...

Hooray! What exciting news. Your grandpa knows where its at!

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Rachel M said...

where's the pic of you wearing your langot?!

9:12 AM  
Blogger RM said...

Friend, please tell me while wearing Langot, where to put your penis is it upward or downward to protect the same. Your comments will be appreciated. If you reply me at rajivmadhav@gmail.com

Thanks and Regards

Madhav

7:51 PM  
Blogger Fundoshi 4 All! said...

Have you investigated the Japanese fundoshi? I think you'd enjoy it on many of the same grounds, especially the rokushaku-style fundoshi.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey wheer do u find this banarasi langoti from....?? In delhi

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are the dimensions of you langoti for yourself, and would the work gor a man with a 33-34' waist? how ong the ties? how long the narrow strip?

Thanks, jothwade1

10:45 PM  
Blogger Deepak said...

hi,
i have posted a video how to wear a langot, i hope it will be good for those who want to wear it, and if you need tourchase it contact me at ansuia74@gmail.com
this is the youtube video link,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EtEcqZcx88
blessings

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What materials is made the langot?

9:57 PM  
Blogger Thomas Sullivan said...

Where can you buy them, I live in the UK, London?

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where do you get langot in bangalore

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where do you get langot in bangalore

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