It wasn’t that long ago that the only acceptable style of men’s swimwear was boardshorts, regardless of whether or not you actually surfed. But boardshorts kept getting longer and baggier to the point that they more closely resembled a pair of capri pants than anything you’d actually want to ride a wave in.
Fortunately, the style of boardshorts has evolved where today they are neither too long nor too short, neither too loose nor too tight. There has also been more diversity in the styles of swimwear, from the classic trunks with an elastic waistband to be more refined interpretations of Mad Men-era styles.
One thing remains unchanged: the bannana hammock is still not cool. But other than that, there is great latitude available to guys when they’re looking for a new swimsuit. So before you dive into the pool this summer, make sure you’re equipped with the right suit. We found eight that will keep you looking cool in the sun.
1. VILEBREQUIN X ROLLING STONES MOOREA
The Stones are rolling out a few collaborations tied to their Exhibitionism retrospective exhibit, one of which is this pair of Vilebrequin Moorea trunks featuring a collage of images from the band’s albums that drop later this month. Vilebrequin has been making its classic trunks with the elastic waistband almost as long as the Stones have been around. And just like the band, they always manage to stay relevant and cool.
2. OUTLIER NEW WAY
Outlier has long been on the quest to build the perfect shorts—not just for swimming, but for everything. The New Ways are cut to look as distinguished as Outlier’s pants (if you wear shorts to work, these are the ones to do it in) but they are also built with unique fabrics that allow you to run or hike in comfort. Most importantly, the materials dry quickly so you are always swim-ready.
3. ORLEBAR BROWN BULLDOG
Orlebar Brown is famous for printing classic photographs on its swimsuits that recall a more distinguished and elegant time. The image on this pair is of a surf race in Australia that was shot by Nigel Noyes. The Bulldog shorts also have side tabs to ensure a perfectly stylish fit.
4. PATAGONIA STRETCH HYDRO PLANING
Gerry Lopez is one of the most revered surfers of all time, gaining acclaim for his bravery and style on waves. He was one of the earliest surfers to ride in Indonesia and would apply this camo pattern on his boards to cut down on the harsh glare of the sun. Lopez’s original artwork is now being used on Patagonia’s board shorts, which dry exceptionally fast and are made entirely from recycled polyester.
5. THADDEUS O'NEIL ULTRA SUEDE
Men’s swimsuits, regardless of style, have always tended to have the same smooth texture. Designer Thaddeus O'Neil didn’t want to be bound by such conventions and created this sleek ultra suede pair that are made in New York City. Despite the different materials, you still don’t have to worry about getting them wet. But you might want to get comfortable with women wanting to touch your shorts.
6. OUTERKNOWN POCKET EVOLUTION
With its focus on sustainability, Outerknown makes these trunks from Econyl, a nylon that comes from reclaimed fishing nets. They are tailored like traditional board shorts, but also have side pockets to hold your stuff. The single pinstripe down the sides gives them a classic look.
7. AETHER COASTAL LACE-UP
All the seams on Aether’s Coastal Lace-Up board shorts are welded to prevent them from chafing, whether you’re sitting on a surfboard or making your way to a swim-up bar for another daiquiri. In addition to side and back pockets, there is another one on the thigh, so you have plenty of room to hold all your beach essentials.
8. SATURDAYS TIMOTHY
With all the soccer tournaments going on this summer, it’s a great time to sport these shorts that recall the tonal checkerboard pattern on Umbro soccer shorts from the ‘90s. The shorts have a net liner so your junk stays secure in the water.