Swimsuit season is upon us. With temperatures getting really warm and vacations abound, the idea of staying at a picturesque resort, hanging out by the pool, or laying out the beach makes us think “well I better go look for some swim shorts”. Searching for men’s swim shorts is actually more difficult than it sounds. I’m here to break it down and make it easy for you. At the end of this article, you should have a better idea of what to look for.
The goal of this article is to limit the time spending searching for some trunks. You can walk through any mall and find endless options when it comes to designs, fit, length, and quality. And once you start searching online, it gets even harder.
Here are some main points to focus on first when picking one out.
- Fit and Length
Long gone are the days of wearing extra long shorts that go way past your knees. You have to be very selective about how swim shorts fall on your legs.
It really comes down to the length and thickness of your legs, combined with your confidence level. Here’s why…
Guys with shorter legs can really show them off with shorter trunks. Look at 8 inch or even 5 inch trunks. If you don’t have built legs, you can still wear them, assuming you have the confidence to pull them off. You will definitely get more stares so understand the attention comes with the territory.
If you have longer legs, you can also wear shorter trunks, but understand that you will be showing A LOT more skin. So you have to be comfortable with it. Also, you can wear longer shorts and still have them look short because it’s all about perspective. 8-10 inch shorts look shorter on a guy with longer legs. It’s all relative to the size of your legs.
Just be confident with whatever you choose. I’m a huge fan of the 1950s-60s style of swimwear. Mid to shorter length shorts work really well.
Fitness Tip: In my case, I have to make sure I continue doing leg days. I prefer my shorts to be somewhat filled out. My quads and hamstrings need to fill them out as much as possible without being tight. They should still give me room to breathe.
Look at these different lengths from Bonobos.
Note: This applies to simple swim trunks worn for any occasion as well as lounging around. If you play any water sports, longer shorts (and even board shorts) are more up your alley. When I’m surfing, I prefer to wear knee length board shorts. They are more functional when it comes to maneuvering. Remember, it’s not all about the look, it’s about function and quality as well.
This is just personal preference. For typical swim trunks, classic blues or greens are always a safe bet. I would also opt for white trunks for specific occasions. Check out these sample ones from H&M.
If you’re going for functional shorts, you can get a little crazier with the design. Spots or checkers look great as well. Here you would be going for function vs your price.
You can find swimwear in all different price ranges. The quality will vary, obviously, but I recommend going for your desired fit, length, and design and then limiting by price. You can find some great ones for $30 or $250. It really doesn’t matter.
Just focus on the brands that make what you like.
Low end <$50
H&M makes some really great euro-inspired, lower priced swimwear that gets the job done in any occasion. You can also go with some standard swimwear brands like RVCA or Billabong. Abercrombie makes some great pairs of classic swim trunks as well if you can catch them on sale.
If you’re familiar with Orlebar Brown, then you’ll immediately recognize some similarities with Taylor Board Shorts right off the bat. Just like the infamous James Bond trunks, Taylor shorts are designed to go from the beach to the bar. They look great in any outdoor setting. I’m keeping my eye on this brand to see what they are going to continue to bring to the table.
Bonobos makes shorts at nearly any length you can find. They go from 9″ all the way to 5″! They have a surplus of designs to choose from and if you catch them during a sale, you can get some pretty neat discounts.
Higher priced >$200
Orlebar Brown is a more high-end option for swim shorts that are specifically designed for the all-around usage. If you know me, you’ll know they are my FAVORITE swimwear and nautical brand. I really love everything they have to offer. Their shorts have amazing fit. The Bulldog shorts are their standard (mid-length) shorts. They have a wide variety of colors and styles to choose from. If you want to channel your inner Bond, go for the Setter fit. They make them with classic colors like seersucker or navy, but they also have some with snapshot designs on them which are great if you really want to stand out.
It can be tough to justify the price of these shorts because they really are used for specific occasions during a specific season. If you live in a warmer climate, you can get even more use from them throughout the year. With that said, the quality of the shorts is really spectacular. If you get a more subtle, classic color and style, you can wear them for years.
Conclusion and What I Wear..
There are so many brands and styles that you can choose. I didn’t even scratch the surface. I just showed you a few examples of some styles that can really go a long way. I opt for more classic styles that will last me years. In many of my pictures, I wear a simple seersucker pair of swim trunks from J. Crew. The fit and quality are perfect for my needs. But I also see myself in one of the previously mentioned pairs soon..
Remember, men’s swimwear is tough to choose but it shouldn’t have to be. It’s all about the style and function. Then you can find something that fits your price range.
Leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions about what to choose!