When the relentless blaze of the sun’s rays starts shining down in the coming months, a few backstrokes in your local lido, members’-club spa, or, for the jetsettsers, the Adriatic will come as a welcome respite. And while a number of men aren’t exactly in support of showcasing some calf, sometimes the unforgiving, balmy climes dictate that we must, whether we’re in the water or taking refuge under a parasol – so a pair of swim shorts are a must.
There are rules, though. Generally speaking, we say that it’s best to eschew the surfer-style fits that are baggy and shapeless in silhouette; on the other end of the spectrum, a Y-front is best reserved for those with a certain degree of nonchalance and, let’s say, self-assurance. For something that is workable in both an urban-pool setting or balmier afternoons on the coast of Tulum, consider a tailored fit for a sleeker, more considered look, something that ends anywhere between the mid-thigh and just above the knee. Then when it comes to colour and pattern, there are myriad options. Here, to cover your bases, we’ve rounded up nine of the best swim shorts to invest in right now, from timeless staples to those with vibrant designs.
Keep things classic (and versatile)
A failsafe option when it comes to swimwear is to opt for a goes-with-anything pair that is tailored like your favourite chinos. The Deia, from new sustainable label Gusari, is a pretty good place to start, with its timeless navy colourway and pared-back design, which, apart from its D-hoop function, remains spare, allowing you to wear it with a more bold-patterned Cuban-collar shirt, or, if you want to double-down on the simplicity, a plain-hued knitted polo when at the cabana. Also consider these two other options that are made with subtle details that have understated, dressier features: The St. Barts, also by Gusari, includes two pin tucks at the front, while Hemingsworth’s Gurkha swim shorts feature double pleats on each thigh. Given their neutral, dark tones and blank-canvas-style nature, you’ll likely get the most wear and usage out of any one of these choices – or, consider grabbing all three, if you need a few of pairs on rotate.
Play with some pattern
The purpose of shorts, generally speaking, is of comfort, and it’s a piece of clothing that evokes images of languorous waterside days or breezy walks through Iberian villages – so, you may want to consider something with a more vibrant, whimsical design. At this point we should mention that you should bear in mind that spirited patterns shouldn’t equate to comical or slipshod. Our top picks in Apnée Swimwear’s Oursin range is the burgundy option, which keeps things on the right side of colourful, and the Ocean 50M that comes in a melange of contrasting yet complementary tones – better still, both are crafted from 100% upcycled plastic collected from the Mediterranean. Gusari’s other The Deia option is embellished in a geometric pattern that takes its cues from the Rubik's Cube, a design that is bold without making too much of a statement. Given that these choices are a bit busier, in aesthetic terms, than their pared-back counterparts, they’re best worn with more muted pieces, such as Birkenstocks.
Brighten up! (With some sensible colours)
The landscape of summer dressing is often dictated by items in loud shades. If you are looking to inject some colour into your sartorial palette, but are erring on the side of caution, we suggest eschewing the garish, brash hues and instead going for toned-down or more pastel-focused pieces. The St Barts shorts also arrive in a light-hued yellow (neither too neon, nor too deep in saturation) that look best in tropical climates, where they can be best complemented by the sunshine and the surrounding warm colours – or you can channel your inner Bond with the light-blue option. Also consider Hemingsworth’s offering in stone, which makes for a slight change from the ocean of beige cargo shorts seen in marinas and docks the world over, and the crossover belt fastening and polished-metal side adjuster buckles simply add to the safari-style look.
Need to brighten up your wardrobe a bit more this season? These are the 6 colours you should be wearing now…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.