Resurgence of Men Swimming : A Controversial Fashion Trend Makes a Comeback

Resurgence of Men Swimming

Resurgence of Men Swimming : After decades of banishment from mainstream wardrobes, one of fashion’s most divisive garments—the men’s swimming brief—is making a tentative return across the globe.

A Garment That Never Truly Went Away

While some argue that the swimming brief never truly disappeared, with its popularity evident on European beaches, particularly in France, and in Brazil, where it is embraced by the gay community and athletes like swimmers, water polo players, and divers, the question remains: Could this skimpy swimwear regain favor among men who prefer board shorts?

 Resurgence of Men Swimming

Speedo Leading the Charge

Speedo, the original purveyor of the much-maligned brief, seems to think so. The brand reports a remarkable increase in sales and orders across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with a staggering 200% rise compared to 2022. In the United States, Speedo witnessed a 54% sales surge from 2020 to 2021, and they anticipate surpassing that figure in 2023 (due to logistical changes in 2022, the data is deemed unreliable).

The Rise of Short Shorts in Men’s Fashion

Experts attribute the resurgence of this garment to a broader trend of shorter shorts in men’s fashion. Stephen Doig, Men’s Style Editor at British newspaper The Telegraph, points out that Prada and Dior have embraced the rise of the short short, suggesting that micro swim shorts could be a natural progression. Doig describes the men’s swimwear market as “booming” and highlights the diverse range of choices and design expertise available in men’s trunks, making the return of the swimming brief somewhat unexpected.

 Resurgence of Men Swimming

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The Enduring Appeal of the Speedo Brief

In an email interview with CNN, Kirsty Saddler, Speedo’s Vice President of Global Brand Marketing, emphasizes the enduring appeal of the Speedo brief. She deems it a classic, iconic, and globally recognized piece of swimwear that is both practical and comfortable for swimming. Saddler believes the brief’s versatility is a key factor in its resurgence, as it can be worn by men of all ages. A classic black brief works well for mature men in St. Tropez, while a neon print brief adds a vibrant touch for beach parties in Ibiza.

A Cultural Stamp of Approval

The cultural cache of the swimming brief has been elevated by a roster of celebrity fans, further fueling its resurgence. From Daniel Craig’s iconic portrayal of James Bond in “Casino Royale” (2006) to Olympic diver Tom Daley and soccer stars David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, influential figures have embraced the style. Actor Luke Evans and singer Ricky Martin are often seen sporting swimming briefs, and even fashion designer Giorgio Armani has been a devoted wearer for multiple decades. The enduring popularity of the brief is further exemplified by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has championed the garment for years.

The Origin of the Speedo Brief

The swimming brief, often referred to as Speedos, owes its fame to Australian artist and designer Peter Travis. Joining Speedo in 1959, Travis sought to create a swimwear style that differed from the longer-length Hawaiian-style swimming trunks that were fashionable at the time. His swimming briefs were available in various widths, ranging from 17.5cm to 7.5cm, with the narrower widths becoming increasingly popular over time. Contrary to popular belief, Travis designed the briefs with functionality in mind, aiming to facilitate movement for surfers rather than make a fashion statement.

A Contentious History

Australia’s history is rife with authorities attempting to regulate beachwear, particularly for women. In 1907, there was a proposal to enforce full body suits with modesty skirts for men, which was met with fierce protests and ultimately dismissed. Throughout the 1920s, tape-measure wielding inspectors patrolled beaches in Australia and the United States, scrutinizing swimwear deemed too revealing. When Speedos were first worn on Sydney’s Bondi Beach in 1961, their scantiness sparked controversy and even led to arrests for indecent exposure (charges that were later dropped). However, this incident inadvertently propelled Speedo into the global spotlight and significantly boosted its sales.

The Brief’s Rise and Fall

Briefs reigned supreme throughout the heady days of the 1970s and 80s. However, with the advent of grunge and the popularity of baggy board shorts in the 90s, the swimming brief fell out of favor. It became a source of amusement, donned as a fancy dress costume, seen as a relic, or even dismissed as a joke.

A Brief Revival

Yet, Speedo claims that the perception of the brief as a mere punchline is not universal. In Australia, for instance, the brief remains one of their bestselling styles. Kirsty Saddler attributes this to the brief’s versatility and its appeal to individuals of all ages. Additionally, elite and club swimmers, including Olympic champions Caeleb Dressel and Adam Peaty, opt for briefs during training sessions due to their comfort and functionality.

Embracing the Brief

While the return of the swimming brief may be met with mixed reactions, there is a certain allure to donning this garment. It is not solely about showcasing a “body beautiful,” but rather, there is a machismo majesty associated with it—even when worn by individuals with fuller figures. The key to embracing the brief is to wear it with confidence and truly own the look.

 Conclusion Of Resurgence of Men Swimming

the men’s swimming brief is making a tentative comeback, defying its banishment from mainstream fashion. Its resurgence can be attributed to the rise of shorter shorts in men’s fashion, the enduring appeal of the Speedo brand, and the stamp of approval from celebrities and athletes alike. While opinions may vary, the brief’s versatility and comfort continue to attract individuals across different age groups. Whether it becomes a lasting trend or a passing fad, only time will tell. But for now, the swimming brief is back in the spotlight, reclaiming its place in the world of men’s swimwear.

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