SS24 menswear is bringing sexy back

SS24 menswear is bringing sexy back

by Robyn Pullen
5 min

New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 said “menswear needs to be sexier,” and it’s true. Let’s be honest, the girls have been getting their chests out on the runway for quite some time, and while it’s great that womenswear has entered a self-loving, confidence-boosting sexual revolution, it feels like menswear’s been left behind. ‘Till now.

From itty bitty crop tops and booty shorts to sheer and unbuttoned shirts revealing all, the new era of menswear is here, shedding layers as we speak. At New York Fashion Week, it was Lacquan Smith who set the standard for sexiness in menswear, with male models in looks as provocative as their womenswear counterparts – if not even more daring. One look which featured a blue mesh turtleneck put the wearer’s nipples in the limelight, whilst another showed off the model’s legs with a pair of tiny, metallic shorts.

Lacquan Smith©

Then GUESS USA released its Fall/Winter 2023 campaign, a series of editorial images featuring the brand’s new denim collection and more sweaty abs and toned, sledgehammer-swinging arms than we know what to do with. The concept of masculinity in the campaign is exaggerated to the point that it’s pornographic, showing (unrealistically) built men carrying out manual labour in some pretty revealing denim fits. Basically, the Fire Island-meets-YMCA hard-hats and moustaches were the cherries on top of GUESS USA’s very sultry, decadent cake. And we haven’t even reached the climax. With the rest of fashion month still pending, we already know there’s more slutty menswear looks to come. 

But it’s not all a newfound fad. Last season, Martine Rose’s Pitti Uomo 103 runway proved that provocative menswear doesn’t need to show skin. Instead she used sheer, silk blouses and suggestively low-rise jeans to draw the viewer’s eyes and imply an outfit’s sexual nature without needing to remove any layers.

GUESS USA©

However, in a more obvious display of sexuality, last season’s Milan Fashion Week saw Dsquared2 feature more crop tops than a sorority party at its FW23 show, and they weren’t just on Julia Fox. Male models appeared either scantily clad or entirely shirtless on the runway, wearing panties over their sweatpants and provocative, slogan tees that’d put Y2K princess Paris Hilton to shame.

Another brand to watch out for in the next few weeks is undoubtedly Diesel, known for its scandalous ad campaigns, collaborations with condom companies, and sex positive collections. At Diesel FW23, we saw men in skin-tight, full-body leather ensembles straight out of a BDSM fantasy and distressed-knit hoodies so unravelled that the model’s bare chest was visible through the fabric. For the brand that knows sex sells and uses it, men have never been sexier.

Diesel by Jack Chipper / Culted©

The only hang-up we have to admit having when it comes to more sex-positive menswear is that male models need more inclusivity. Whilst fashion’s opened its arms to including all types of women on the runway (after decades of being held accountable for not doing so), it seems that male models are still being restricted into a lumberjack-sized box. We’re very happy that female-presenting models can be authentically themselves and sexy no matter what makes them unique, so why isn’t the same principle being applied to men? Must they be ripped in order to sell the ideals of sex?

The movement of menswear towards sexier silhouettes and styles is admittedly less empowering when it’s all featured on the same type of body. However, it’s a hard trend to break given that luxury fashion brands which do show men in a provocative light basically always use models who fall under the term “hunk”: think Gucci for FW01, Versace for FW14, or Tom Ford for practically any season ever. We’re fed the narrative that women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes, but men are desirable only with zero body fat. Hopefully 2023’s sexual revolution in menswear will rewrite this.

Dsquared2©

But at the end of the day, menswear getting sexier isn’t just a gratuitous turn-on worth thirsting over; it’s also a pretty big step towards men’s fashion and men in general having more freedom, self-expression, and confidence. 

Back in the ‘80s, it seemed that men would wear mesh crop tops and booty shorts all the time (we’re looking at you, Johnny Depp) – in fact, we’re not quite sure why they stopped… But whether you’re keen to lose the layers or would prefer to keep the high neckline, we all know the sexiest thing anyone can wear, men and women alike, is confidence.

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