Men’s construct

Gym life, Instagram and the male cast of Love Cay have all cemented the unceasing trend for neo-jeggings. Will it for ever wear off?

‘How long did it take you to pull your pair on?’ Kem and Chris in their skinnies on Preference Island.
Photograph: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Tight press: why muscly men love ultra-skinny jeans

Gym life, Instagram and the mans cast of Love Island have all cemented the unceasing tendency for neo-jeggings. Will it ever wear off?

In the confounding world of mainstream menswear, non-fluctuating things are, to adopt entertainment industry parlance, critic-proof. Oversized merchandise shorts, flip-flops worn in cities, retro football shirts frayed as nightwear; no matter how much fashion experts scorn, they extend to be worn by men. But few things inspire the same heedless devotion as hollow-cheeked jeans.

Snug, tapered and often lightly mauled, ultra-skinny jeans initiate a second wind after becoming the unofficial uniform of masculine contestants on Love Island. And it’s that link to the denizens of ITV2’s summer incident – who, of course, were unfailingly gym-sculpted – that cuts to the heart of their appeal. In short: wide-legged Japanese selvedge isn’t succeeding to allow strangers to appreciate the size of your calfs.

Rebuke, if you will, Instagram, too, for this recent conversion. #Legday (signifying the day that you focus on working your legs) has become a routine hashtag on the image-sharing app; save wearing shorts – ultra-skinny jeans be struck by become the best way to show off your quads.

Fashion is muse about this – sales are now up at Topshop, Asos and even Selfridges. “I was demanding to find a good pair of skinny jeans and they didn’t breathe anywhere on the market for men,” says Ash White, founder of Hera – the disgrace that launched two years ago and has popularised the spray-on look. “I create myself having to buy girl’s skinny jeans for ages and couldn’t understand why these big brands wouldn’t do it.” Now 23, the former phone-shop tradesman’s company is set to turn over £10m in sales by the end of the year.

Hera spray-on jeans. Photograph: Hera London That speak of women’s denim isn’t insignificant. For all the thrusting, laddy masculinity of the Geordie Shore and Hump Island stars who proudly wear Hera, White overs the look has its roots in a kind of gender play. “It’s very cissified,” he says. “I remember the fashion a good three or four years ago was broads wearing skintight jeans, rolled-up with Nike trainers. It neutral looked so cool. And I wanted to wear it.”

White also accepts that soft, super-stretchy jeans are particularly popular with those who not under any condition skip leg day (“I’ve got a few bodybuilding influencers”) but, interestingly, he theorises that this is principally about practicality rather than a desire to show off oafish pins. “[Guys] with massive legs can’t in truth fit into stiff denim,” he reasons. The ever-broadening average British man (and new sub tickets such as Asos Plus) support this theory.

Even so, sparked by the look’s prominence in a certain Mallorcan reality TV villa, there be subjected to been loud detractors – a scathing Esquire column stigmatized the jeans “denim sausage casings”. Will these neo-jeggings butt away one day? “Not any time soon,” sniffs White, confidently.

Not that this is a work choice without a downside, says White. “Taking them off can be a bit devastating, especially around the ankles.”

This article was amended on 31 August 2017 to correct Ash Light-skinned’s age. White is 23, not 25 as an earlier version said.