This up-to-date Guide to Men's Swim Suits will help you sort through the brands, styles, designs and fabrics, to choose the best suit for you. Then you'll find useful tips on how to protect and care for your investment. Finally, down at the bottom, click a yes-or-no, up-or-down opinion of this article and its usefulness. This will help us know if we're achieving our goal of a concise, easy-to-follow guide that serves your needs.
Men's Swimwear Styles
Trunks Thongs Board Shorts Racers G-strings Jammers Tan-thru
You'll almost certainly want more than one. Your style at a private pool party, for example, may be quite different from what you'd want on a public beach. Now is the time to expose and express YOU, so forget what the bloggers and fashion police are telling you. It's your bucks, and it's your choice as to what suits you and your situation.
Board Shorts - Call 'em Boardies if you like. Always popular with young surfer dudes, and currently hot with surfer wannabees everywhere. Ideal on the beach, great for casual wear, and appropriate for active sports like volleyball, kayaking, and of course... surfing! We're talking comfort here, plus lots of fashion and style. They're durable, quick-drying and can be worn all day. There's an array of brands, including Animal, Billabong, Quicksilver and Rip Curl, to name just a few. Each brand adds a little something unique to their detailing and style of board short. All are long, most drop to the knees at least, and the latest styles are low riding and baggy. You can find every imaginable color, as well as an infinite variety of mild and wild prints. The longer board shorts look especially good on a tall guy. If you're under 6 feet, try to find one that has a shorter inseam. In any case, broaden your swimsuit wardrobe, because board shorts are too boggy and too baggy for any real swimming related activity.
Water Shorts - More like a boxer style - short, loose and comfortable, usually with an elastic waist and inside mesh liner. Not made with as much detailing as the board shorts, but may have side pockets, one rear pocket and/or a small inside key/condom pocket. Sold almost everywhere, and commonly called "trunks". Not so popular anymore, unless they're fashionably long like the board shorts. Like the board shorts, there's too much drag for comfortable swimming. They still look good on average and husky men, and older guys. In fact, just about any man is going to look OK in this style. Just be sure to get one with a drawstring waist to keep it in place.
Trunks - Ah, the classic men's swimsuit! Short and close to the body. Supremely popular 50 years ago, when less coverage was fashionable, it's still the perfect choice for the athletic guy who wants to show some physique while still providing modest coverage and good genital support. They also look fine on a guy who is a little soft, or maybe just outside of good shape. The big advantage with trunks is versatility; because of the snug fit, they're good for swimming, but also appropriate for many activities out of the water. Some of the hot new styles are extremely form fitting, allowing for a revealing profile of the male anatomy.
Jammers - The increasingly popular alternative for athletes, non-athletes, swimmers and anyone who wants leg compression and/or a suit with more coverage than the racer styles. They offer a smooth, tight fit that most men enjoy. Excellent training suits, and great for running, cycling, triathlons, gymwear and all kinds of active out-of-water sports. They're available in solid team colors, or with flashy side panels and patterns. Nike is probably the most popular brand, but TYR, Dolfin, Hind and Speedo all make excellent jammers. Swimmer or not, jammers are essential equipment in nearly every active man's, and active boy's, wardrobe.
Racers (Briefs & Bikinis) - The best choice for competition, training, practice, and casual swimming and sunning. Sometimes called "speedos" (although Speedo is actually a brand name), they're perfect for any guy in reasonably good shape. This style is highly favored in many countries in Europe and elsewhere. Many American guys are reluctant to wear a brief suit because they think it's too revealing. Most men and women, however, appreciate the sight of an attractive male body anywhere near a body of water. So unless you're out of shape, put some in your wardrobe. Before choosing a suit in this category, however, learn to distinguish between a competition suit and a casual one:
Competition - Suits in this category are made to fit smooth and tight, to facilitate speed in the water. Most of the styles provide 2 to 4 inches of hip coverage, full coverage in the rear, and a front inside liner. A drawstring waist is standard. Speedo is the most popular brand, but Nike, TYR, Dolfin and Hind all have a following among competitors. Casual swimmers might also choose a competition suit, because they're stylish, fit great, and are readily available in a wide range of colors and patterns.
Casual - There's an enormous variety in this category, from full coverage briefs, to Micro-Briefs, to minimal bikinis. Many are made with no drawstring, only an elastic waist,. The European and Asian styles usually fit lower and tighter than the American versions. Many of the fashion brands have suits in this category, but Hand Made versions are also available. Some have no lining and are very revealing. Speedo makes the Solar Bikini, more like a competetion suit, but with only about an inch of coverage on the hips, and a center seam front and rear that makes for a very defining fit on a man's body. Some consider it the perfect men's swimsuit.
Variations in the casual category include the Adjustable and the Micro-Adjustable bikinis. They consist of an elastic waist band, with fabric in both front and rear that can be easily gathered along the waist to create just the amount of exposure you want, from nearly full coverage, all the way down to a thong style. It just might be an ideal suit to carry on a trip where you want options, but don't want to pack your bag with lots of different suits. These suits allow you to bare as much as you dare at any given moment.
Thongs - Many men refuse to wear them, while others enjoy them but would never admit it. They're perfect for genital support, sunning your buns and ...turning heads! Delightfully liberating, so keep some around for use at a semi-secluded beach, private lake or backyard. You'll need to be a nude dude to enjoy any more freedom than this. Even Speedo makes one, though it's hard to locate. To hell with the fashion pundits; if thongs appeal to you, wear 'em! Some of the men's swimwear and underwear specialty stores offer good selections.
G-Strings - Finally, there's the ultimate sunning suit, similar to a thong, but with even more skin exposure. Whereas a thong provides some coverage on the hips and a triangle of fabric in the rear, a G-string features only a pouch front, a fabric string, usually 3/8" wide or less, around the waist, and a matching string descending from the center rear into the buttocks. The less you wear, the more important is line, color, fit and detail, so choose your thongs and G-strings carefully. And to look good in these styles, be sure to stay in shape, and rid yourself of any excess body hair.
NEW....Tan-thru Swim Suits for Men
A hot new development in swimwear is the Tan-Thru suit. It used to be the desire for that all-over bronzed look was reason enough to visit a nude beach or join a nudist club. But now, with the patented fabrics used in these new styles, you can avoid those dodgy tan lines altogether, no matter where you're catching the sun. Don't invest just yet. though. First check out my separate Guide to Tan Through Swimwear right here on eBay. It'll give you the info you need to make an appropriate choice from the ones available.
Colors and Prints
You probably already know what colors complement your skin tone, so go with those. Dark or bright solid colors are nearly always good. With a great tan or dark skin, whites or cream colors are even more striking, but be aware that white may be somewhat transparent and more revealing when wet. If you have an attractive, athletic body, a solid color or subtle retro print is probably your best choice, with or without a contrasting racing stripe or side panel. If you're younger, or if you have a less attractive or flawed physique, you might want to consider something more vibrant. Tribal and Asian style prints are especially hot right now.
Fabrics and Fabric Care
Nylon - An all-nylon suit is the very best. It will wear like iron. There is absolutely nothing that can match the fit, feel and durability of a 100% nylon swimsuit. Unfortunately, not many are manufactured anymore, since the advent of the nylon/lycra spandex blends. Speedo was the last big manufacturer to discontinue them, and they are now quite rare. You might find some vintage suits at a second-hand or thrift store; if so, grab 'em up. Proper fit is critical though, as nylon has limited stretchability. Care for your nylon suit the same as shown below under Nylon/Spandex Blends, especially with regards to avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun. Sun is nylon's number one enemy, and will weaken the fabric over time.
Polyester - Some of the new jammers and racers are now made with a blend of polyester and polyester PBT. These suits last longer than the traditional spandex (Lycra) blends, and have more moisture resistance. They have excellent stretch and durability, but are not as susceptible to degradation as the spandex suits. You'll pay more, but you'll get a longer lasting product requiring less fuss. Some guys don't like the feel and fit, compared to the nylon/lycra suits, while others like them even better. You'll have to try one to decide for yourself.
Polyester and Cotton Blends - Most board shorts and boxer styles 100% polyester, or a blend of cotton and polyester and/or nylon. They require less specific care than the lycra spandex blends, and can be laundered normally. It's a good idea to read and follow the label directions. The blends that include nylon are even more durable and quicker drying.
Nylon/Spandex Blends - Most racing and competition suits, as well as jammers, trunks and thongs are made in this blend. (Lycra is a specific brand of spandex made by DuPont). Here's how to make them hold up longer:
Keep it Cool - Heat is a spandex killer, so keep your suits out of hot water. That includes hot showers, saunas, steam rooms and washing machines. Keep them out of the dryer too, and away from any other source of heat.
Keep it Clean - Chlorine is the next big enemy, not to mention other pool chemicals, oil residues and salt. Avoid heavily chlorinated pools. Thoroughly rinse your suit in cold water immediately after each use. Be gentle, no hard wringing or twisting. Use no detegents or bleach.
Keep it Dry - Hang it out in a well-ventilated area, with lots of fresh air. NEVER wrap your wet suit in a towel or stuff it in a bag, even for a short period. Mildew will cause premature deterioration of any fabric. Moderate exposure to the sun is OK, but don't leave it in direct sunlight for extended periods.
Keep it in Use - That's right, if you leave it sitting in a dry place too long, the elasticity may disappear, and you will need to dispose of it. If you have several suits, rotate them periodically, instead of always gravitating to your favorite.
A Few More Tips
New Suit? - If you buy a new suit, here's a great Tip on how to set the dye in the fabric, so that the color is less likely to fade. Simply mix 1 cup of white vinegar with a gallon of cold water, and let your new suit soak in this solution for about 15 minutes. Then rinse it well with plenty of cool water.
Wash it how? - Toss it in the washing machine? No way! If you feel your suit needs more than a good rinsing in cool water, I suggest you wash it gently by hand with Malibu-C Shampoo. It's what pro swimmers use to clean the chlorine and other grime off their skin, and it will work equally well on your suit, without damaging it.
Soap? - No, no! Never use laundry detergent, dish detergent, Woolite, or any other brand of shampoo or cleaner. Any of these will destroy the elasticity, and you'll be shopping for a replacement sooner than you would like.
Name Brands and Unknowns
You can often find good casual swimwear in the off-brand zone, but for competition suits and jammers the top brand names are a safer bet. That would include Nike, Speedo, Dolfin, Hind, Adidas and TYR. In fashion suits, look for Speedo, Nike, Hollister, Columbia, Nautica, and Tommy Hilfiger. You might even want to look at some high-end designer suits like Gucci or Versace. For more exotic and sexy styles, names like N2N and Joe Snyder stand out. Avoid buying "Speedos" or other famous brands from overseas sellers. They're probably not authentic, and they won't fit like an American style suit. Long waiting periods are a pain too, not to mention returns, exchanges and high shipping charges.
Now that you know what type of swimsuit fits your comfort and activity level, go for it! Ditch those saggy, old worn-out suits, and find the NEW suits that suit YOU today. If you found this Guide helpful, please take a moment to leave your "yes" vote below. Thanks for doing that, and THANKS for reading my Guide!
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