A Guy’s Guide to Swimwear

Published on

March 13, 2020


Alice Choi

Modern swimwear can serve both ornamental and useful functions; most aim for both. Swimsuits categorized by the length and looseness of their form.

Trunks Swimwear

Trunks are the most basic men’s swimwear in North America. They seem similar to shorts worn as apparel on the ground. But are produced from light, fast-drying stuff (usually fiber or polyester.) And highlight a tighter-fitting stuffing inside the shorts. Shades and inseam lengths can range widely.

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Boardshorts are a more extended variant of trunks that come to or beyond the knee. They often have a non-elastic waistband and fit closer to the thorax. Initially produced for “board sports” (surfing, paddleboarding, etc.), intended to have less stuff that could grab as you scaled your board.

Swim briefs

Swim briefs are often named “speedos,” a trademarked label that has been accepted for many years. They are compact, body-hugging swimsuits with a V-shaped appearance that bears the legs. Recreational swim briefs typically feature an inner lining. Briefs are much more common in Europe than in North America.

Square-cut shorts

Square-cut shorts are a body-hugging form that covers the wearer from the abdomen to the high thigh. The leg holes are cut straight across for a boxy appearance that is somewhat less revealing than angled swim briefs.


Jammers are knee-length, skintight clothes used by competing swimmers and other water sports professionals to reduce resistance. They resemble bike shorts, but without the stuffed crotch and seat.

Wetsuits and drysuits

Wetsuits are protectingion suits created for prolonged immersion, usually in the meaning of snorkeling, scuba diving, or board sports. They are pretty close-fitting.

Rash guards

Rash guards are a more relaxed form of all-body swimwear than a wetsuit. Utilized by water sports participants such as surfers, kayakers, and paddleboarders. Made from a UV-reflective material with a UPF grade.

Swim shirts

Swim shirts are an upper-body-only variant of a rash guard. They are gaining a reputation as a sun and surf protection choice for casual bathers.

All of the above styles can come in nearly any shade or pattern imaginable, granted one is willing to shop around long enough. Traditional tones and designs for men include dense navy blue, blue-and-white striping, and floral or Hawaiian-style impressions.

Purchasing a Swimwear

Know Your Current Needs

  • How much leg movement are you proceeding to do? Comfortable stuff, when wet, can chafe very fast, so a relaxed trunk form of shorts isn’t great if you intend on walking around in your outfit or using your legs for training. (Despite their title, boardshorts aren’t often worn by professionals these days; pro surfers usually wear compact, tight-fitting swimwear.)
  • How much real swimming (as opposed to wading and dashing around) are you proceeding to do? You’ll want to reduce resistance if you’re actually thrusting yourself through the pool for any length of time, making a tighter fit favored. The square-cut shorts are a reliable choice for a fit, shorter man who likes to swim as well as layout in the sun!
  • How much sun shelter do you want? For continued sun exposure, it’s worth viewing something that covers the upper frame as well as the lower.

Know the Visible Impression You Need

  • Are you seeking to impress anyone? If not, stop bothering. Don whatever is convenient and serves for you.
  • Are you striving to look professional? Traditionalist (but not overdone) length, standard styles (trunks or square-cuts), and dark, dense colors or restrained lines are for you. Navy blue with brass-shaded grommets and white rope ties are always secure.
  • Do you want to appear as good as you can? If so, you’ll need a style that compliments your body type and shade and design that’s eye-catching without being absurd. Think stripes, plaids, rich solids, or some not-too-crazy flowery patterning. More massive guys should avoid close-cut forms like board shorts, despite them being in style.

These questions will influence the tone, patterning, and form you choose to go with. Snug, form-fitting styles look chic and useful in the more significant cuts. But sexualized and only suitable for showing off your physique in the smaller cuts. More loose-fitting styles look less sexualized. But can also appear sunk and informal, which may or may not be what you’re reaching for.

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