Male cleavage is a thing now

Step aside, Hadid sisters. You're not the only ones with assets to brag about anymore.

Masculine stars are baring cleavage, as evidenced by the flashy, sexy looks shown by Harry Styles and other well-groomed professional athletes and models at recent fashion shows: shirts unbuttoned to the sternum and jacket collars rolled up allow beefy men to show off their well-toned pectoral muscles.

Women in the fashion industry aren't complaining. “I'm absolutely obsessed,” enthuses Karianne Barnett, a stylist who dresses top athletes like Usain Bolt, Rajon Rondo, and Victor Oladipo. “Buttoning things down or wearing a belly-button sweater is a sign of confidence, and it's very sexy.”

Case in point: her client, Dwyane Wade, in the stands: “He wore a zippered track jacket at the NBA Finals this year, and I loved it, and he loved it, and 50 percent of the world loved it. He was so confident, he didn't care about the other 50 percent.”

“Men with big, muscular chests like women with big chests.”

– Christian Choi, Stylist

This June, the Paris catwalks were abuzz with sexy models baring smooth pectoral muscles for designers like Dior Homme and Etude, both of which showed men without shirts underneath their suits.

As plunging necklines make the leap from runway to real life, stylist Alison St. Germain says they should come with a warning for some: “I love the look of a button-down shirt tucked in. I love linen and cotton shirts, but polyester is a big no-no.”

As for polyester, Barnett believes the trend is a by-product of a renewed interest in it in the 1970s.
“Everybody was showing off then,” Barnett said. “Maybe it was just because the disco was so hot that the guys had to unbutton their shirts.”

Stylist Christian Choi believes the trend is due to men's growing interest in developing their own personal style and staying healthy.

Harry StylesGetty Images

“Men are becoming more comfortable staying healthy and experimenting with fashion,” says Choi, creative director of Benjamin Custom Suits, a new menswear company that has styled Victor Cruz, Lamar Odom and Amare Stoudemire.

“People want to work out and show off their bodies, and this is one way to do that.”

But sometimes the style feels more “Jersey Shore” than urban sophistication.
“A man with a big, muscular chest is like a woman with a big chest,” Choi says.

“It is classy for women to wear low-cut clothing even if they have small breasts. The same goes for men.” Regardless of gender, “it is not classy to show too much cleavage.”

While being too muscular may not be a good idea, Barnett warns that there are some body types for which exposing cleavage is simply not appropriate.

“I know daddy bods were all the rage at one time,” she says, “but I don't want to see daddy bods and male cleavage. Those two trends should never intersect.”

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