This year has seen a massive resurgence in the soft boy aesthetic, but it goes beyond just style. As the term suggests, soft boys are male-identifying individuals who display the tender traits, in how they act and how they dress and beyond, that are stereotypically associated with the feminine. More in touch with their emotions and often outfitted in a cardigan or a vintage tee, soft boys challenge the concept of toxic masculinity. If you would use the word "beautiful" to describe him, then he's probably a soft boy.
The soft boy has been re-popularised on TikTok, with accounts that embrace the viral aesthetic skyrocketing to internet fame and amassing hoards of dedicated followers. Soft boys share style similarities with e-boy fashion, characterised by traditionally feminine silhouettes, painted nails and a floppy haircut. Much of the fashion trends associated with soft boys can be traced back to K-pop boy bands, which tend to explore more androgynous modes of self-expression.
In the fashion world, you'll find soft boy equivalents on the runways of Dior under Kim Jones, Hedi Slimane's Celine and Gucci under Alessandro Michele, whose direction for the label's menswear collections is marked by designs that blur the boundaries between the masculine and the feminine.
Reacting to the increasingly progressive ideals of society today, designers are encouraging men to explore a less rigid sense of what it means to be and to dress like a man. Fashion has never felt more fluid than now, and the soft boy style is a manifestation of this shift.
If you're still having trouble picturing what a soft boy looks like, plenty of celebrities fit the bill — think Timothée Chalamet or Harry Styles. Another trait that defines a soft boy is that he is actually a softie. For example, Styles once ordered pizza and bagels for fans awaiting his Saturday Night Live performance in 2017, and just recently, left a handwritten note for a fan (and fed her fish!) after stopping at her house after his car broke down.
Here, L'Officiel rounds up some of the most endearing and stylish celebrity soft boys.