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Mens bathing suits have only been with us for the past hundred and twenty years or so. Well into the twentieth century, it was considered manly for men to bathe in the nude. The first mens bathing suits were in fact, the birthday suit! Mixed bathing was not generally socially acceptable, for obvious reasons.

The Early Days Of Mens Bathing Suits

By the nineteen twenties, mixed bathing was the norm, and so men began to wear bathing suits. Men’s bathing suits would have covered the body from the neck to the mid thigh and down to the wrists. Bathing suits for both men and women were often made from wool, which was horribly uncomfortable, sagged and bagged and looked truly dreadful. Up to the 1940’s, even male swimming competitors in the Olympic games wore one piece suits which covered the chest and shoulders.

The Bare Chest Arrives

By the end of the 1940’s, encouraged by the glamorous images of Hollywood and hunky stars like Johnny Weismuller, the bare chest was the norm for men on the beach. From then on, it was simply a question of covering the bare essentials, and men’s beach fashions became almost (but not quite) as important as those of women.

A Multitude Of Choices

So now men are confronted by a multitude of options when it comes to choosing men’s bathing suits. Should it be the skimpy Speedo style, which rides up your behind and leaves nothing to the imagination? Or the bundled up elastic waisted baggy board shorts in dayglo clolours, slipping down over your butt the moment they get wet? Neither of these seem properly grown up somehow. No, most men these days go for smart, cool looking men’s beach shorts.

Beach shorts are neatly tailored with a proper waistband and a fly front. They can be pretty short, especially if you’re going to be mainly using them for swimming, down to just above the knee if you’re looking for more for sun protection or planning to be doing a lot of walking around. Colours to go for are fun pastels, neons, especially if you have dark skin, or classy neutrals like navy and cream.

Beach shorts look good on anyone, no matter what your size or shape. If you ate just a few too many pizzas this year, top the shorts off with a toning short sleeved cotton shirt for an elegant and gentlemanly look.