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Pool season is fast approaching and I’m the kind of guy you find there far too often. I’m in need of a new swimsuit and have been wanting to find one that’s a bit shorter than what most guys usually wear. But, how short is too short? I’m an athletic guy that’s pretty well built, so I don’t doubt that I could pull off something very “European”. But, I’m not looking to be the guy at the pool in the short shorts that border on indecent exposure either. I’m thinking I’d like something that stops around mid thigh, maybe just a bit longer. What do you think?
Hurrah, it’s finally summer! Let’s take a look around and see what we can find for this season’s swim wear.
Style #1: The European look. Named thusly because Europeans tend to wear less on their beaches (if anything at all) than we prude Americans. This look might mean a true banana hammock, or it could be closer to the swim version of the boxer brief. A couple more examples here and here.
Style #2: The board short. I’m using this term to mean a baggy short that hits at the knee. Very popular on modest American beaches. What I like about board shorts are that they come in so many great patterns. Look at all these: martini-inspired, retro-Hawaiian print, glorious plaid, crazy graphics.
Style #3: The swim trunk. This style is baggy like the board short, but tends to be several inches shorter than the board short. This style overlaps quite a bit with the previous style in that I’ve seen long shorts called trunks, and short trunks called shorts (are you confused yet?), but I think it’s worth distinguishing between the two.
Dave, I think you’re in the market for this third style. It’s shorter than the typical board short seen at the pool. The only downside is that if you want to show off your body, most trunks have that baggy cut that will hide your, ahem, assets. So, look for tighter or slightly shorter versions of the swim trunk–they do exist: here, and here. This last example is nearly a board short, but look how well it fits against the body, not too tight, but close enough to prove you’ve been working out. You *can* wear a tighter, shorter swimsuit than what is typically seen on American beaches, without looking like a knob. And don’t ever, ever let me catch you in something like this.
A final note: if you order online, check the in-seam of the swim wear you’re buying, and then measure that against your body to make sure you’re getting the length you want. Don’t rely on descriptions like “swim trunks” versus “board shorts.” I’ve separated out the categories of men’s swim wear above for our purposes, but designers tend to label their garments however they want.
This is not ‘Nam. This is swim wear. There are rules.
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