Men’s Swimwear Guide

Summer is approaching at a rate of knots in most areas of the southern hemisphere and whilst I am sure you have all been hitting the gym to make sure that you’re in good shape for the summer, it’s also important to consider what style of swimsuit works best for you. So here is the ultimate men’s swimwear guide.

Today, there are many swimwear styles available ranging from tightly fitting swim briefs like the original Speedo or thong tanga models to roomy boardshorts. However, not everybody can pull off the swim trunks Daniel Craig wore in Casino Royale. First of all, it depends on your height and built. A thin man who is 6’8″ tall and thin should consider wearing longer and wider board shorts whilst a shorter man should opt for shorter trunks or briefs. Also, if swimming is the primary use, you need different swimsuits than if you just want to relax on the beach or by the pool. Firstly, let’s look at leisure swimwear. In order to make it easier for you, I created six categories: tall men (6′ or above), short men and then buff, thin or big build.

Are you 6′ or taller, with broad shoulders and chest, and do you like to workout? Then you fall into the tall & buff category meaning you can wear anything you like because chances are it will always look good on you. If you have a good tan, lighter colors like white or pastel tones look great, but bear in mind that white rarely stays that colour. In case you like bolder patterns, think about a classic paisley, madras or gingham.


If you are 6′ or taller with a slender build, go for traditional board shorts. An 8″ inseam is enough for people around 6′, and taller men can increase it to 10″ as long as they end above the knee. While a fuller cut is good, avoid the baggy board shorts trend from the 90′s as they have the unfortunate tendency of looking too youthful or simply too sloppy. If you are really tall, it will be difficult to find anything with a longer inseam. You definitely want to avoid vertical stripes, because these will give you the appearance of being taller and thinner than you already are. On the other hand, horizontal stripes may work for you. In any case, avoid skinny Speedo swim briefs because chances are it will make you look boyish.  In terms of color choice, your complexion should be a good guide: if you are pale, avoid extreme colors in terms of lightness and darkness, whereas men with a tan often look better with lighter or bright colors. A rich blue like in the picture (or green, red, etc. ) will work for anybody.


As a big & tall man, look for long, dark, solids boardshorts. If your thighs are not too strong, try to avoid shorts that are too baggy. If you prefer patterns, go for a micro pattern or vertical stripes. Avoid swim trunks, Speedo briefs and thong style swimwear.


The best style for shorter, buff men will be a trunk or boxer style because the shorter inseam makes  you look taller. I’d recommend avoiding suits with an inseam longer than 6″. At any cost, avoid board shorts because they make you visually even shorter and often overhang the knee, while vertical stripes will help you look taller.

Short-Buff-swim-trunks-600x424If you are short and slender opt for trunks, or slim board shorts with a shorter inseam. Avoid bold and large patterns, as they will overpower your small stature. Choose microprints, or low contrast stripes instead.


In case you are shorter and bigger, consider a pair of high-cut briefs that would give the illusion of longer legs. Below you can see the original model in khaki which was designed for the Underwater Demolition Team in the forties and which are still used by the U.S Navy Seals today. You want to opt for a looser fit without an elastic waistband, because it will make you look bigger. If the swimsuit cuts into your stomach, better go with the next larger size. Dark solids colors will always work and often have a slimming effect, but dark vertical stripes are also good as long as they are not too bold.

And there it is. Your guide on men’s swimwear for this summer according to your body shape and height. Does it get any easier? Naught.

You stay classy.


[Gentleman’s Gazette]


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