The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Solid Pair Of Swim Trunks


board short swim trunks

flickr: lopez4949

This is a parade of awful.

If you haven't been to the pool or beach yet this summer, it's only a matter of time. When that moment comes, it is Business Insider's sincerest hope that you look like a gentleman.


It all starts with a solid pair of swim trunks.

By solid we mean not that obnoxious pair of red Hawaiian floral calve length board shorts you've had since High School. Back then you probably convinced yourself that you would have a late-stage growth spurt and eventually look like a grown up in those shorts, not like a kid wearing their older brothers clothes.

You thought wrong.

"Guys always wear their swim trunks too long," says Danny Agnew, New York editor of men's lifestyle newsletter, InsideHook. He made sure that a short potion of InsideHook's '37 Things A Man's Gotta Do This Summer' guide was dedicated to finding the right swim trunks.


"We're finally getting to the place in America where guys realize that swim trunks that hit above the knee just look better," he added.

gant men's polka dot swim trunks


Polka dot swim trunks from Gant, on sale for $52.80

Now why do they look better? Because shorts that hit above the knee make you look taller and leaner. Very simple.

Another major mistake guys make, according to Agnew, is that they get to wrapped up in the whole surfer aesthetic. Your shorts should match your personality. If you're the kind of guy that likes to wear blazers and solids everyday, it looks (and likely feels) ridiculous when you wear a pair trunks printed with neon hula girls to the beach.

There are a ton of options for guys that want to stay understated but still want a cool pattern. For that you may want to check out Gant, where shorts can range between $88 and $125. It's a good range, because you're going to want multiple pairs.

No one wants to be seen wearing the same moldy shorts all summer. It's just not right.


Two more guidelines to keep in mind:

  • The elastic waist is back in. You don't have to do it if you don't want to - you can still do the draw string or snap button - but the option is there.
  • The better shape you're in (and the more comfortable you feel) the shorter you can go. Think 5-7 inches in terms of length.

You see, the goal here is very simple. You want to be able to be able to transition from the pool to lunch easily. A solid pair of swim trunks looks enough like a pair of shorts that you can put on a button up and go back to the real world without looking foolish.

Besides, as Agnew said, "If you can't wear a pair of shorter shorts at the beach where can you wear them?"

A few more examples of solid trunks with notes from Agnew (bolded) below.

"[These trunks have] a more forgiving 6.7 inch inseam, classic vintage patterns, and they will monogram your initials on them. That's baller."


solid and striped swim trunks

Solid and Striped, California

Solid & Striped, The California

"A solid middle-of-the-road 5 inches and the best floral pattern we've seen. Not into pastels? Try the navy version."

gant pastel swim trunks


Gant, Pastel Flower Swim Boxer

"Yes, the underwear guys. Yes, you have to be in ridiculous shape. Yes, there will be women requesting that you apply sunscreen to their backs." Agnew out.