Best Men's Bathing Suits by Style – AskMen

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Summer is beach season. At times, we understand that summer can be a real sun-of-a-beach — it’s torturous heat waves and unbearable humidity are nothing to laugh at. But who are we fooling? We can’t deny those oh-so-sunny weekends reserved for lying by the pool or frolicking on the sand. That’s why we’re here to inform you about warm weather must-haves but also to make sure we’ve got you covered in the best men’s swim trunks for you.
RELATED: How to Buy Swim Trunks for Your Body Type
To provide more insight into the world of men’s swim trunks, we’ve enlisted men’s swimsuit entrepreneur Kyle King as well as Tavik’s Senior Men’s Designer, Jordan Raths. King’s seven-year career designing men’s swim attire — not to mention the recent success of his eponymous swimsuit line — make him our go-to expert, while Raths’ decade of designer experience in the biz surely make him an expert worthy of contributing to the conversation. Whether your goal is to replace an outdated swimsuit or you’re curious about trying a new style, both swimwear pros believe today’s choices are better than ever.
“There’s so many options to choose from, which is such a shift,” says King. “I still hear guys say they can’t find the right swimsuit. But that really stems from not having access to all of the options out there.There are plenty of options, but you’ll have to shop online.”
And he’s right: The internet is a shopper’s mecca. Not only is it teeming with affordable — and body-positive — swimwear brands such Chubbies and even Nike’s mens swim trunks, but it’s also home to higher-priced lines for those with luxurious tastes. “Higher-priced swimwear is usually more expensive because the fabrics are of a much finer quality. And more attention is paid to details, like fit and sewing quality. It’s very similar to buying a suit: If you want a top-notch suit that fits like a glove … you’re going to shop at a luxury suit retailer.”
Understanding proportions and body types is the key to pulling off any swimsuit. Let’s begin with the surf-inspired board short: a popular cut defined by its drawcord waist and knee-length inseam. This particular style is flattering for taller men, especially when it falls just above the knees since it prevents a lengthy limb from appearing too long. However, anyone vertically-challenged should opt for shorter styles. Ideal for guys who favor long-length swimwear, “this style tends to look best between 18 inch and 20 inch outseams (or falling just at the knee),” Raths says.
“Knee-length swim shorts don’t look so good on short guys [nor anyone overweight],” adds King. “Shorter lengths are better if you’re short. And if you’re overweight, then shorter trunks are better, as well as solid colors and vertical stripes.” Also, remember: Longer doesn’t mean baggier. There’s nothing worse than appearing to be drowning in a board short. A snug waist along with a tailored leg always works wonders.
The swim trunk is a style defined by its square-cut design and mid-length inseam. According to King, this style has dominated the men’s swimwear market for well over a decade, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. The swim trunks popularity lies in its ability to flatter most body types.
For instance, shorter guys gain the most advantage from this style. Let’s just say an exposed thigh creates the illusion of added height. Also, heavier guys reap the rewards of a tailored cut in shorter lengths. But remember: Avoid constricting waistbands, which tend to pinch softer stomachs. You’ll want to make sure you choose the perfect fit — not too tight nor too loose.
Defined by its skin-tight fit and barely-there design, the swim brief (in all of its glory) leaves little to the imagination. Unfortunately, many guys think they need to have an incredible physique to actually wear a pair. But, contrary to popular opinion, it’s time to wake up and smell a Speedo.
“Honestly, I think any guy can pull of the brief-cut swimsuit,” King says. “Of course, it’s going to look more flattering the more in shape you are, but don’t all swim trunks? We really have to get over this notion that if you’re not in crazy good shape, you can only wear really baggy shorts. Look to the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s: You’ll see all body types wearing swim briefs. And it’s really about the attitude [you have] while wearing them.”
Prints were designed to draw attention. Raths believes this style of pool short can make a huge statement for the summer: “Fun and loud prints do have their time and place, and that’s poolside.” Men should search out printed styles that can be worn “above the knee or at a slightly shorter length with an elastic waistband short versus an all-out performance boardshort.” He also recommends a more tonal and subdue print that can work season after season.
MaaMgic Vintage Swim Trunks, $25.99 at
Chubbies The Whale Sharks Classic Swim Trunkt, $69.50 at
Hartford Printed Swim Shorts, $195 at
Men who actually find more value in saving the planet can do their part by sporting some cool eco-friendly swimwear. More swimwear brands are creating swim trunks out of recycled and sustainable materials. “Advancements in technology and a heightened sense of sustainability have resulted in an array of new material options that not only look good on, but are also environmentally friendly,” states Raths. Numerous styles from “just-above-the-knee board shorts to barely-there swim briefs” are becoming easily accessible online and super-affordable.
J.Crew 57% Recycled Nylon 5″ Breaker Board Short, $59.50 at
Fair Harbor 88% Recycled Polyester The Anchor Shorts, $68 at
Atalaye 100% Recycled Polyester Fregate Swim Shorts, $85 at
Retro is always in fashion. “Vintage styling and functional details allow you to still find a silhouette that you’re comfortable with in updated materials that feature various degrees of stretch, breathability, along with finishing techniques that capture the essence of a classic boardshort paired with modern details,” says Raths.
Orlebar Brown Dachshund Swim Shorts, $150 at
H&M Patterned Swim Shorts, $19.99 at
Birdwell 310 Limited-Edition Golden Era Board Shorts, $129 at
Whether you are a brief or trunk kind of guy, technology is presenting designers and brands with possibilities to produce excellent swimsuits at more affordable costs. From just-above-the-knee board shorts to barely-there swim briefs, we break down the most popular swimwear styles that will create the biggest splash on the beach or in the pool this summer.
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