Knobby. Time to sort out the underwear drawer. Seriously.

Yes. I know, this sounds like The Bloke has jumped the shark. Why on earth would I be talking about an underwear subscription? Well. Read on, there is good reason to sort out your neglected underwear drawer. Also. Don't panic. There are no photo's of me in underwear in here.



Believe it or not, this is something I decided to do on my own back, not actually as a promotion for an underwear company. Though, if you consider I own pant’s with ball vents built in – it isn’t that far out of line!

I really didn’t intend to write anything about it initially, but, as there becomes more (good) focus on men’s mental health, I thought it might be a good article to actually put together – explaining, after many years of a rather, well, functional underwear draw, I now have a monthly delivery of a pair of undies in an unknown, but generally very bright design!

The genius of Einstein

I tend to not wear a wide variety of anything. A long time ago I hear a quote/story about Einstein’s wardrobe choices – and it stuck with me. You see, so the legend goes – Einstein’s wardrobe only contained white shirts, black pants, black shoes. Why? To reduce choice – or – more correctly – it reduced the need for him to use energy deciding what to wear on any given day – he felt he had more important things to attend to – like solving the mysteries of the universe! You can see a similar ethos in a few other’s – Steve Jobs comes to mind. The ‘uniform’ became one less thing to think about in the morning before getting out and onto it!

You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.
Barrack Obama

From simplicity can come clarity. And I think we could all do with some more clarity in our lives.

Decision Paralysis

Now, I am not as arrogant as to suggest that I am likely to come up with any contribution to the world like Einstein over my life – but – I certainly like the idea of reducing ‘irrelevant’ decisions from my life so I can focus my energy on things that have more interest to me – I only have so much mental capacity in a day – and spending it on deciding what to wear seems like a bit of a waste.

This also ties into our limited capacity for self control – if we overload ourselves first thing in the morning with choices, this can reduce our capacity to continue to make good decisions later on in the day. That’s why I like routine – it lets me get into my grove, which frees my mind up to be creative and produce words better in articles like this!

An interesting side note here though – look at that jacket he has on in the last photo. Here is the story about it.

However – there is actually another aspect that ties into this ethos:

Buy once. Cry once.

For me, it is also about finding something that is the perfect solution for whatever challenge/task I have in front of me – then sticking at it. I don’t own a lot of clothes (relativly speaking) – but what I do have – I have generally researched, tested, ticked off, then happily tucked away as ‘done’. I owned one pair of boots that got worn nearly every day for years. I still rank them as one of the best purchases I have ever made. They are nearly worn out. Guess what – I will also get another pair of them. This is not to say that there isn’t a better pair of boots out there – and maybe, one day, when I feel the itch, I will try something else – but right at the moment, I don’t see any need or area for improvement over what I already have – so why seek something I dont… wait… this sounds like another saying we all know – “If it aint broke, why fix it?” – for me – this also means taking the time up front to do your research, but then committing to the decision and moving on once made.

So like Socks? Function over form?

So – is this to say I found the perfect pair of underwear years ago and just stuck with it? Or – like socks – it’s just something that doesn’t really matter in the bigger sceme of things?

Well, as you might have guessed, as someone who likes to spend a bit of time on my feet – you quickly realise that socks, are actually a very important part of your footwear ‘system’ – so no, it’s wasn’t because I didn’t think underwear was important.

However, I more didn’t see much too consider in a pair of underwear – so found a pair that were comfortable, and stuck with them. I had cotton for every day wear – and got some merino boxers for outdoors work. I have found, over time, that merino can be a little too delicate for every day wear – so tended to have two choices. It was more of a choice of material based on wicking properties. So. I ended up with a drawer of black boxers.


The other part of this conversation/decision focused around the simple fact, that, for most of us (who are not underwear influencers on Instragram), no-one else, apart from the partner, ever gets to see our underwear.

Ironically as well, while many guys like the idea of their partners (talking from my traditional Hetronormative1 perspective here) dressing up in all manner of things, most guys would balk at the idea of ‘dressing up’ in the bedroom – so underwear is relegated to functional.

As it turns out, I am also recently single, and despite some of the best intentioned2 advice by my mates – I am in no rush to be jumping onto tinder or seeking company of any kind – so it’s likely just me appreciating my underwear any time soon.

This also, as fair warning – means you won’t be seeing any images of me in my underwear – so no need to be nervous scrolling on down this article.

Body Image

There is a whole seperate discussion about male body image and media influence. “in my day” – girls got Barbie Dolls with their physically impossible proportions, and boys got G.I.Joe and He-Man – with equally impossible physiques in many cases.

Changing Times

I don’t know exactly what it was that sparked the thought. But last time I decided to get a new pair of underwear – instead of the normal black, I really extended myself, and got blue! How adventerous!

This made me realise –

  • My entire underwear drawer was in black
  • There was really no need for it to be that way
  • If no-one else was likely to see them – why not go a little brighter?

Time for a Change

So. I decided that maybe, just maybe, it was time to broaden the horizons when it came to my underwear drawer. But where to start? I remembered, from early Tim Ferris Podcasts, the notion of a underwear subscription. So I looked into MeUndies – the company he has been sponsored by for quite some time. But, ah, well… talking of Vanilla. I mean this in the nicest way, but I think, if my father was looking for a subscription, it would be perfect for him. I am sure they are comfortable though. But not quite what I was after.

Enter Knobby

Australian. We can learn to live with that. They do at least have a NZ centric ad. I mean, it’s the Aussie one with a differn’t graphic up front, but, whatever. It’s closer than the US, and, us folk down here in the southern hemisphere do actually have more in common than differnt. Truth be told, my kids are part Australian as well. 😉

So – I stumbled upon Knobby during my goggle searches for subscriptions. Liked the cut of their jib, pondered for a long time about the definetly non-black design of their undearwear and figured I would give them a go – I can always can the subscription!

I opted to join the club – which basically means – I choose the type of size, and every month I get a new design turn up in the mail. I don’t know in advance what that design is.

A Subscription Model? Why?

Well, I liked the notion of the same fit each month, but with something new in the colours/design department. The intent is one in / one out – so each month I get a new pair, I will throw one of the old ones out – I actually havn’t counted how many pairs of underwear I own – but figure that means I will likely be throwing a pair out somewhere after a year of owning them. That seems reasonable for wear.


I also liked the idea of a bit of a supprise. It turns it into a simple, but fun moment each month. I get a notification they have left, when they get into NZ, and then a little package of fun turns up.

The first package included a can opener (I use my leatherman generally, but all good!) a very cool little bag (now assigned brass holding duties) a couple of sets of stickers and the underwear.

The stickers were tied into the underwear design, and everything screamed of a company that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and are having a lot of fun in the design process.

Then, the second package turned up. With a differn’t supprise in it! Again, tied into the design of the underwear, but now I am looking forward to both the new design, and whatever new little extra the folks over there think up each month. Little, simple pleasures I realise, but why not?

The Technology

Of course, I like my technical clothing. So I figured, if I was going to do this, it needed to be something I could wear both urban, day to day, as well as hunting/tramping/shooting.

The material is from CoolMax – it is a mix of poly and spandex and is designed to breath and wick away sweat – traditionally, synthetic (unlike merino) has also meant the potential for smell – but these things incorperate Sanitized Actifresh – which, in theory combats this – I havn’t taken a pair of these for a week long trip in the bush – so will have to report back on that later. It is possible you alreday have technical garments in the saem fabrtic.

However – this is also partly an experiement by me to try a differn’t kind of material in my layering system – initial reports is that I don’t feel clammy like some older synthetics were apt to do when getting warm. So far. So good.

The Company

As I was doing a bit of research for this article – I came across this video. The founder does the explaining for me here. Turns out, he covers off many of the reasons I thought to try them out.


So. Undies.

Yes. I just wrote a rather long article about my underwear!

I am two pairs in, and looking forward to the enxt pair. It’s a little, smart hightlight in my life at the moment. And it is also one, little task that I have ticked off as not having to sort out any more. So – while I may have introduced effort into which funny and bright pair of underwear to put on, it’s actually something I look forward too.

Also – support

Is legendary. I had a question about sizing. It got sorted. Quick. With a certain element of gun, which, is not something I would normally attribute to customer support dealings.

I suggest you go check out Knobby at their site. It a world of boring underwear – why not doing something a little fun for yourself – even if no-one else ever gets to see them?3

  1. You could also say Vanilla, though, if you know what I mean by that, you might also appreciate what it means that I know the term as well – just saying. 😉  

  2. though sadly misguided 

  3. Oh, and who knows, you might get the odd compliment on them!