There has been some talk of Mormon temple garments, what some people call Mormon underwear. So I thought I would say a few things about them. The Church discourages its members from engaging in casual conversation about temple garments so I will be brief;)
After a Mormon has gone through the temple he or she is expected to wear what is called “the garment,” or temple garment. In form it is usually a two piece undergarment consisting of what looks like a t-shirt and an extended leg brief. The pictures below are ordinary undergarments which can be purchased at any department store, but they look almost exactly like Mormon garments. In fact if you were in a locker room you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. The Mormon garment is about 1 to 2 inches longer in the leg.
In the 19th century the garment was a one-piece garment similar to long underwear–the length went to the wrists and to the ankles. In the 20th century it was modified to a short sleeve one-piece garment that went down to the knee. Sometime during the late seventies or early eighties the church went to the two piece format currently in use. The one piece garment is still available, but I don’t know anyone who wears one. A long underwear version is also available which is nice for especially cold winters, but the usual fashion is the two piece described above.
The garment is available is a variety of fabrics: cotton-poly jersy, nylon mesh, cotton-poly rib nit, corban, dri lux, thermax, and 100% cotton. The t-shirt-like part is available in scoop neck, crew neck, or v-neck. The bottom part is available in boxer or brief, midcalf or thermal. The church makes available for active duty Army servicemen a sand colored garment which conforms to NATO colors. Except for the military garment, the garment is always white.
The undergarment for men and women is cut differently but has basically the same form.
The garment serves several purposes. One of which is to maintain standards of modesty. It is generally not appropriate to have the garment visible from underneath one’s outerwear.
The garment is always an undergarment.
What it symbolizes
Clothing was first fashioned by God himself: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Gen. 3:21.) The Lord knew that the Fall had opened Adam’s and Eve’s eyes to their nakedness, as well as unleashing powerful new appetites and desires. Out of love for his children, he dressed them in coats of skins.
Clothing Adam and Eve was one of the first acts of mercy the Lord extended to mortals. A richly symbolic gesture, clothing humanity foreshadowed the final mercy God will grant his children when he shall clothe them in the “robe of righteousness” and “garments of salvation.” (Isa. 61:10.)
The garment is to be worn underneath street clothes at all times. Exceptions are bathing, swimming, or other activities incompatible with the wearing of the garment.
Sometimes people will say that Mormons are buried in their temple garment. That would be easy to misunderstand. When a Mormon is to be buried he will be dressed–if a man–in white slacks, a white shirt and tie, white shoes and socks. His garment will be underneath this clothing, as an undergarment. There are also temple robes that will go over the outerwear. Except for the differences in male and female clothing the manner of burial for women is the same.
Also important to note: there are the temple garments and then there is a separate set of clothing referred to as temple robes. For example, when I go to the temple I am wearing what I typically wear to church–dress shirt, tie, slacks, etc. When inside I put on a white shirt and white tie, white slacks and white shoes. My garment is underneath this clothing–just as you would wear underwear. The temple robes go over the outerwear.