Choosing the right swim trunks for the season is no small decision. The best ones can showcase your style, make you feel more confident, and keep you relaxed all day long. But what's the key to figuring out the perfect shorts for you? We asked Santa Barbara-based fashion expert and celebrity stylist Mitsu Tsuchiya for advice on picking the right swimsuit. Here's what he suggests.
1. Consider The Fabric
The fabric and fit is the key, according to Mitsu. The stylist finds that performance fabric offers the most versatility for various body types and occasions. "Choosing a pair with performance stretch fabric is a good way to go," he says. It has extra stretch to expand or contract in specific areas for a better fit. As a bonus, quick-drying performance fabric offers more comfort, so you can wear them all day, for multiple activities.
2. Know Your Proportions
If you want to avoid looking like you're swimming in your shorts before you get into the pool, make sure you choose the right length for your height. Generally speaking, your trunks should land about 3" above your knee.
Shorter inseams create an illusion of length, so we recommend our 6-inch Sextants and One Shorts or 5-inch Bungalows if you want your limbs to look longer. Medium-length legs can choose a variety of inseams, but our 7-inch Bayberry Trunks are a sure bet. Finally, longer legs need an inseam to match. Our 8-inch Anchors and 8 or 10-inch Ozones will be your go-tos.
But it's not an exact science, says Mitsu, as height is only sometimes the indicator of leg length if you have a short or long torso. "Consider the ratio of coverage, which has to do with proportions," he says. Some short guys have longer legs, while some tall guys have long torsos so they might take a shorter inseam.
3. Create an Outfit from Head to Toe
You won’t be wearing your shorts just to swim. Whether you’re leaving your hotel room and walking down to the pool or hanging out at the bar after the beach, you’ll need to add a shirt. “I always imagine the head-to-toe look when I choose swimwear,” says Mitsu. So before you buy new trunks, he suggests looking at your wardrobe and noting your footwear options as well as shirt colors you might pair with those shorts. Or, if you’ll need to buy a few new shirts to go with a color you don’t currently have.
"If you find something you love with bold graphics or a large pattern, I suggest pairing it with something simple on top, like a nice white polo or solid shirt to tone down and balance it out," he says.
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4. Choose the Right Waistband
How your trunks fit at the waist can determine not only how comfortable you feel all day, but also how well they hold up when the waves roll in. “A stretch waistband works for most people because it offers extra room, and a drawcord is very practical when you need them to stay put as you swim,” says Mitsu. “The elastic waistband also works well for guys with thicker waists because it gives them a few extra inches.”
Classic boardshort waistbands, while equally stable in water, usually don't offer the same amount of give. Our Ozone Boardshort, however, is a fresh update to the old-school style, with a stretch back panel for extra movement when you need it.
5. Express Your Personality
“Swim trunks are seasonal, situational pieces that you can totally express your personality in, so it’s great to have a wide variety of styles,” says Mitsu, who says he owns at least 20 pairs of swim trunks to suit his mood or location.
Specific patterns translate to your interests or lifestyle. For instance, according to Mitsu, if you appreciate architecture or are vacationing in an urban area, geometric patterns give a strong city vibe. Colorblocking and bold stripes can offer a more artsy, creative look, while tropical florals are fun and laid back. "Florals give off that holiday resort feeling, no matter where you are," he says.
More conservative types might go for dark solid colors, like navy blue or black shorts. While they offer versatility, one way to switch it up would be to try more muted, dusty colors or tone-on-tone patterns. "Or if you're locked into blue, choose a lighter shade instead of a navy blue pair," he says.
6. Try Something New
We all tend to gravitate to what we know, but just because it's familiar doesn't mean it's automatically the best style for you. Mitsu suggests branching out and trying multiple styles and colors. "I've done a lot of personal shopping for entrepreneurs, celebrities, and agents," he says. "We always try different lengths, patterns, and colors." He finds that sometimes breaking away from the usual with an unexpected color or inseam might surprise you—in a good way.
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