The Swimwear Brief – The Ultimate Guide

The swimming brief, a global garment

You’ve probably never noticed, but the swimming briefs worn by men who love the sea and beaches vary from nation to nation, often quite noticeably. In most cases, the choice of one’s swimwear is strongly linked to the social context and cultural tradition of the country in which one was born or grew up, to the relationship each man has with his own body, but also to the degree of confidence one is able to show in public, perhaps in a crowded beach, when walking among people wearing only a small garment like a swimming brief. 

The success of a certain type of costume is ultimately also linked to the aesthetic sensibility developed by nations throughout their history, almost always linked to religious or social motivations. The most fitting example, from this point of view, is that offered by some Islamic countries, where most locals – and tourists – continue to use very modest and opaque swimming costumes, capable of ensuring almost total coverage of the most private parts of the body. But which are the nations in the world where the swimming brief is most popular?

Europe and Africa

The countries in which the swimming brief is used the most are certainly those located in southern Europe, i.e. all those nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and many others (including all those bordering the Adriatic Sea). In France, the use of swimming briefs is even compulsory in swimming pools and other public places, because they are considered much more hygienic than long shorts. 

As it has now become a casual garment, to be used even while travelling through the city in a car or on public transport, some believe that swimming briefs are preferable in swimming pools, as they would ensure a higher degree of cleanliness and healthiness. What is certain, however, is that in the northern European nations this kind of swimming costume is not as popular as in the warmer southern regions: in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavian countries, swimming trunks, or at least swimming trunks that cover up, seem to be much more popular. 

Russian-speaking populations also seem to appreciate the swimming brief: some of them even take it with them when they go on holiday abroad, perhaps to some faraway beach in Thailand or other remote regions of Asia. In Africa, the use of these garments seems to be especially widespread in a country like South Africa, where it is also used by millions of athletes every year.

Americas and Oceania 

In South America, the use of the swimming brief is certainly widespread in a nation like Brazil, where most local men are now used to wearing very small swimming costumes. This passion, albeit in different proportions, is also shared by most other South American nations. In the United States, on the other hand, the aversion to too skimpy swimming costumes continues to the present day, so much so that on US beaches one can certainly see that the most popular swimming costumes are swimming trunks, or at any rate any swimming costume long enough to almost reach the knee. Another country where swimming briefs are very popular is Australia, where they can be seen on almost all beaches. 


In Asia, the passion for swimming briefs is constantly growing. Until now, swimming briefs had only been noticed in places such as Hong Kong, but over the last few years they have started to spread considerably also in a country such as China. In cities such as Canton or Sanya, it is certainly not uncommon to come across men wearing swimming briefs, and their numbers are sure to increase. This trend is especially noticeable in those southern areas that attract large numbers of tourists from all over the world every year, who, with their flamboyant and small costumes, are gradually influencing local fashion and customs as well.

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