The once derided Y-front is now the fastest selling underpant of the year
Sales of Y-fronts have increased by 35% since the recession began, according to the retailer Debenhams.
In March Y-fronts outsold boxer shorts for the first time since the early 1990s - the last time when Britain was in recession.
A spokesman for the store attributed the success of Y-fronts to the "greater sense of security" they provide.
Y-fronts were launched in America 74 years ago, but in recent years shoppers have favoured boxer shorts and trunks.
Debenhams says its sales figures reveal the surge in purchases of Y-front began in November, just as the effects of the recession were starting to be felt.
It increased rapidly in January, before reaching an all-time high at the start of April.
In total, sales of Y-fronts had gone up by 35% during the six-month period, the company said.
It is the standard white style of Y-front that is proving the most popular, rather than the tighter, trendier versions of recent years, according to Debenhams.
Spokesman Ed Watson said: "These are the sort of pants our fathers wore.
"They provide a much greater sense of security than loose-fitting boxers, and perhaps, in these troubled times, that's what men need to feel."
Loose-fitting boxer shorts and slimline trunks were previously by far the biggest sellers in Debenhams' men's underwear range.