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A brief Men Swim Shorts history lesson

Forget those budgie smugglers or beach boy baggies – they just look so yesterday! Almost as yesterday as the woolen long pantaloons which were the suggested swimwear of the late nineteenth century. (Before that, nude bathing was saucily common – but not when the ladies were around). By the 1920’s a one piece suit was considered the thing to wear, covering the chest, the upper arms and reaching down to mid thigh.

Swim suits gradually became more like the beach shorts which look so good today. Check out Sean Connery in the 1962 James Bond film “Dr. No”. Connery looks very suave, but those shorts! Just a bit too low at the waist, a bit too high on the leg, and with a nasty belt – Connery pulls it off, but it’s actually a hard look if you haven’t got that perfect physique. (But at the same time, check out Raquel Welch, timelessly beautiful in a bikini which still looks sensational).

By the 1970’s, itsy bitsy teeny weeny swim shorts were the appalling challenge to the beach going male. Embarrassingly revealing, liable to fall off at critical moments, and just deeply unflattering to anyone with less than the absolutely perfect body – a challenge to most men.

Swim shorts were preceded by board shorts. Unstructured, baggy, elastic waisted, in alarming colours and patterns, these were loved by youngsters, less so by grown up men.

Where Do We Go Now?

Men Swim Shorts are the smartest, most stylish, most comfortable and the most universally flattering swimwear for men. A smooth outline, a good waistband, and a choice of leg length from short, for active swimming, to above the knee, for more of a walking around, protection from the sun vibe.

The preferred length for most guys is a little longer than mid thigh, but it does depend on whether you are tall, in which case go longer, or shorter, in which case go for mid thigh.

Look for good detailing like contrasting drawstrings, and a comfortable mesh liner made from man made fiber to minimise chafing and rubbing when the fabric is wet.

Colours for this season are a bit restrained. Choose navy, mid blues, greys and buff, or if you have darker skin, or a nice deep tan, there are some good pastels around – don’t be afraid of lemons or pinks, they look good. If you feel like a pattern, choose something small and restrained, these suit everybody.

Checkout our other guides to mens swimwear for more information.

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