Speedos ahoy! The three menswear styles making their (unfortunate) comeback this summer

Wednesday, 01 Jun 2022 8:25 AM MYT

PARIS, June 1 — Fashion’s current appetite for all things ugly knows no bounds, it seems.

While women have recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with cycling shorts, Crocs and jelly shoes — relics of decades past — menswear is now doing its part to embrace some of fashion’s worst-offending styles.

As such, expect to see swim trunks, slides with socks, and sagging pants on the rise as the stars of summer fashion — and that’s (really) not good news.

Men might have thought they had escaped the sartorial surge of the ‘70s, ‘90ss and Y2K, but that was without counting on the determination of Generations Z and Y to bring these three decades back to the forefront of fashion.

As a result, as summer 2022 dawns, several fashion items that had long been off-radar — and perhaps rightly so — are set to return to menswear wardrobes.

So if style is off the table, you’ll have to rely on plenty of imagination (and a good sense of humour) to get yourself through this year’s vacation season.

Speedo style

Speedos, briefs — call them what you will, the legendary skimpy, skin-tight swimwear of yesteryear looks set to be the star of the beaches all summer long.

Often a staple at the pool, swim briefs had long been overshadowed by shorts or trunks, offering more comfortable, and especially more flattering cuts for the male form.

Today, the tables seem to have turned, as Speedo-style swim briefs are proving a major hit in the menswear department.

This we owe — in particular — to fashion designers, who were quick to put tight tiny styles centre stage in their latest shows.

Jacquemus and Dolce & Gabbana are some of the designer brands that have insisted on bringing this 1970s relic up to date.

And instead of proving a flop, this swimwear style has gained a following all over the world, showing a definite appetite for all things ugly, as previously seen in womenswear.

As a result, searches for the ‘swim trunks’ category have skyrocketed on many platforms. The global fashion search engine Stylight reports a 508 per cent boom in clicks for Speedo-type models in April 2022, compared to the same period a year earlier — enough to make this skimpy swimwear the star of the summer.

The classic slides-and-socks combo

Every year, we dare to think that we might finally have got rid of this duo, only to see it come back to haunt the menswear wardrobe.

The sliders-and-socks combo looks set to be slipped into any self-respecting (or not!) suitcase this summer to complete the German camper look — which we obviously respect too, despite its lack of style.

After being brought back to the forefront by Justin Bieber and David Beckham in 2017 — thanks for nothing! — slides and socks are now worn by a host of celebrities, men and women alike, placing this dubious combination at the centre of summer style, and in the fashion spotlight.

And some of the biggest luxury labels, like Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana, went as far as to design (very) high-end models to complement their streetwear offerings, in turn playing a major role in this unexpected comeback.

And, not surprisingly, many celebrities have jumped on the trend, from Rihanna to Kendall Jenner through many international football stars.

And, that’s without mentioning those who now dare to wear socks with regular sandals, mules, or even with Crocs.

Note that the sock is undoubtedly the accessory of the year, now selling at a premium as a means to enhance any type of footwear…

Sagging is back

Who could forget that time in fashion when men were being called out for wearing baggy clothes that were far too big for their bodies, offering the world a glimpse not of their tighty whities, but of their boxer shorts.

Well, sagging pants are making a comeback! Hailing straight from American prisons, where belts were banned, sagging was popularised by American rappers in the 1990s, before the rise of slim-cut pants, skinny jeans and other fitted styles.

Once again, it is the catwalks of the biggest fashion houses that have spurred the revival of this trend that was thought to be definitively dead and buried.

Streetwear brands like Supreme are now offering baggy pants that make sagging an everyday reality, but luxury fashion houses like Dior are also getting in on the act, showing that it’s more than just a passing trend.

At a time when designers are looking to combine style and comfort, it seems that men are being encouraged to dive back into this bygone trend that was once the subject of much debate.

It does, in any case, appear to have all the makings of a menswear trend for the longer term. Don’t say you haven’t been warned! — ETX Studio


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