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Sexy men's fashions for well-defined bodies

Meet the new sexed-up male. He can be distinguished from the pack most quickly by his style sense.

There he stands, full of attitude and confidence. He dresses mostly in black, body-conscious _ sometimes tight _ clothing.

His manner bespeaks the safest kind of sex: the idea, the fantasy, the tease.

He has long had a handle on the biology of sex. Now he has turned his attention to the attitude, the enticement, the flirtation . . . the heavy petting.

This sexy man has some history in the fashion world.

Calvin Klein acknowledged the lure of well-defined pectorals and triceps with his underwear-clad Adonises some time ago. Celebrity fashion aficionados such as Prince have played the sexuality game everywhere from MTV to Cannes.

Designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler have spent many a season revealing the beefcake behind the briefcase.

Still, for men's wear, with its broad emphasis on function and comfort, blatantly sexy clothing is relatively new territory.

For most men, particularly straight men, clothes are for work and for play, occasionally to express personality, but rarely to express sexuality.

But in the past three years, fashionable sexuality has moved into the mainstream.

The habitues of the urban dance club scene have given the top 40 crowd a sleek, new, body-conscious fashion style born of erotic dance moves and raw energy.

Think of the skintight duds sported by folks such as C+C Music Factory and Deee-Lite.

Designer Donna Karan _ fresh on the men's clothing scene _ identified "sensuality" as a primary element in her new men's-wear collection. Andrew Fezza's sexy line, FEZ, has been promoted as "emotional."

Sexy old favorites have been revitalized. Everyone from Giorgio Armani to Ralph Lauren has a black leather jacket for fall. Vests have gone shirtless, left the boardroom and headed into the dance club.

And retailers, from department stores to specialty shops, have an eye on body-conscious clothing for men: pleatless trousers, stirrup pants, stretch jeans and leggings.

Lycra, a staple in women's wear, is settling into men's wear.

The fabrics have begun to cling. The clothes are cut leaner to reveal more of the body's shape. The look shouts sexuality.

"It's a freedom of expression," says Macy's men's fashion director Ray Wills. "It's a sign of the '90s."

Frederick's of Hollywood has seen an increase in sales of men's silk boxers and luxurious robes in the past two years, says spokeswoman Ellen Appel. And mostly, she says, it's women buying those items for men.

"Times have changed," Appel says. "Women are looking to men to be sexier."

Men's wear has embraced the cause.