Budgie smugglers are back in fashion – and women everywhere are terrified

It might be cold enough outside to reach for the thermals, but in the latest fashion news that’s sure to give you goosebumps, the parrot smuggler is back.

Yes, we’re barely into Christmas, but one of the biggest trends of 2023 has already been decided, and tight and skimpy are the order of the day when it comes to men’s swimwear.

Last week, Welsh actor Luke Evans wore tiny black pants while soaking up the sun on Miami Beach. Meanwhile, Mike Tindall rang in the New Year wearing a bold printed pair while taking a dip in the UK. The former rugby player became famous for the miniature swimmers who followed him I’m a celebrity towards the end of last year, during which he wore a little more.

Budgie smugglers have also made it to the big screen. Micro records appear in the recently released second installment of Daniel Craig’s murder mystery franchise, glass bow. While Craig’s Benoit Blanc opts for modest striped bermuda shorts, the gun-toting duke parades around the pool in underpants so tight they look like they could cut off circulation at any moment.

Of course, Craig is no stranger to skimpy pants, having worn tacky turquoise La Perla pairs as James Bond in Casino Royale. When he emerged from the ocean, all rippling abs and very visible package, eyebrows and heartbeats rose across the nation.

In fact, budgie smugglers have had a few celebrity advocates over the years. Jude Law, Gary Barlow and Prince Harry are known to wear a pair. Who could forget David Beckham showing off his golden balls in tight white pants for H&M’s 2014 swimwear campaign? However, the latest resurgence has the question for men in Britain: should they follow suit – or rather a smidgen – this summer?

The answer is no. Apart from the fact that budgie smugglers make anyone who wears them look like an exaggerated schoolboy – or if there’s a lot of chest hair, like they’ve just stepped out of a 70s porno – they’re essentially a glittering lycra beacon, sought after by all those who unfortunate enough to be within range of staring at the wearer’s quivering crotch – whether you like it or not.

Not that I’m prudish, but personally I can’t think of anything that would put me off my sun lounger more than having my eye nearly gouged out by some prominent bachelor passing by. Talk about cocktails by the pool. Ick.

In my book, who can and can’t pull budgie smugglers is simple. Are you competing for the gold medal in the Olympic diving competition? If so, go Tom Daley and crawl into those tiny trunks. I hear the aerodynamic cut really increases performance.

More than Opinion

For everyone else, it’s a strict no. Not when you’re driving laps at the local recreation center, not when you’re frolicking on the beach, not even when it’s over 40 degrees on vacation. Husbands, boyfriends and partners, take note: your loved ones don’t need to witness your balls as you sail towards the sea. Tailored swim shorts that reach mid-thigh are a far more attractive option.

I’m afraid I’m fighting a losing battle though, apparently the youngsters are on board in skimpy panties. A 2021 survey by hotel booking site Hoo found that men aged 18-34 would be happy to wear them on the beach. With Gen Z’s trend-setting power well-proven (they’re the reason Ugg boots and fleece boots are back), we can almost certainly expect a swarm of Speedos this summer.

In fact, we may not even have to wait until then. With a new series Island of love launching at the end of the month, there’s a good chance the mansion will be filled with gym-wearing swimsuits that leave nothing to the imagination. Would you like some meat and vegetables with your TV dinner? Ergh, someone pass me the remote.

Frankie Graddon is a freelance fashion journalist

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