Whether you like them or not, budgie smugglers are back. When I was growing up in the 1980s and ’90s, such revealing swimwear was social death unless you were training for the 1500 metres freestyle. Baggy boardies ruled, preferably mid-calf with a flame motif smouldering up the leg. But fashion-forward men’s swimwear has become shorter and tighter than ever.
“Swimwear cuts are definitely changing, and guys are keen to show off more thigh … But it’s not in a seedy way,” says Richard Jarman, founder and creative director of Sydney swimwear label Commas. The four-year-old brand is gaining plenty of buzz on the global stage, showing at this year’s Milan Fashion Week Digital alongside Gucci, Prada and Fendi. “There are lots of really elegant short shorts available and I know so many guys who, a few years back, would never wear swim briefs but they’re happy to sport that now.”