First of all: We should all aspire (I think) to get to a 007-level type of fitness — and of course, to own clothing options like the Orlebar Brown swim trunks pictured above (but more on those later). Even if you don’t have the bank account of everyone’s favorite secret agent (or the physique), upping your swimwear game should be top of mind for the warmer months. Baggy boardshorts are the norm a lot of places where the water hits the sand (or even the sides of your local pool), but streamlining your swim trunks is a nice style move that’s an extension of dressing better everyday. And if you’ve already got that down and are just looking for a new pair of trunks, look no further than the picks assembled by your humble #menswear writer below.
#1. J. Crew Factory 7″ Tab Swim Short in Anchor — $39.50
The first noticeable thing about this pair of swim shorts is that they … don’t really look like typical swim trunks in terms of styling. The lack of a drawstring waistband and the more tailored appearance are both definitely good things, though. The slant pockets and tab front are also touches you would find on a pair of shorts, and doing away with the stylistic trappings of a baggy pair of swim trunks is certainly a great upgrade. The print is fun and nautical, too — the company’s seersucker version is slightly toned down but still warm-weather friendly, on the other hand. Best of all? That price, which helps you keep more cash on-hand for that beer you need to bring to the beach.
#2. H&M Striped Swimshort — $17.50
For those looking for something slightly more basic than the above pair (yet still want some color and pattern), H&M has you covered with these swimshorts. The price is typical of H&M, but hopefully this isn’t the type of swimsuit that’ll go to pieces as soon as you wear it. The touches here are more traditional — the drawstring waistband is back, as is a Velcro back pocket. However, even this pair is better than a baggier set of trunks that hang below your knees. And you could even pick up a back-up set in one of nearly a dozen colors or patterns.
#3. J. Crew 7″ Boardshort with Contrast Pocket — $75
The more traditional counterpart to the JCF trunks listed above (yet still a style upgrade). J. Crew’s swimwear options, like the rest of its apparel offerings, hit things straight down the middle of the fairway as far as style goes — the 7″ length of these J. Crew swim shorts should work with those at a range of different heights, as they eliminate the fabric of the typical baggy boardshort and keeps things slimmer overall. The light blue color and contrasting white waistband and back pocket are old-school, athletic-inspired touches. While not fully the type of swim trunk you could wear straight out to a casual dockside dinner afterward, the styling is ideal and the price is pretty agreeable.
#4. Bonobos Amalfi Boardshort — $150
Option number four on this list comes to us courtesy of Bonobos — the brand is also taking a more tailored approach to its swimwear, much like several of its menswear counterparts. These Amalfi Boardshorts also offer the crisp, classic design touches of the J. Crew Factory boardshorts seen above, but at a much higher price point; the Italian-sourced fabric and Italian-designed prints definitely see to that. They feature the brand’s famous curved waistband, which should offer comfort not normally found in swim trunks. While the print is louder, this is one pair that gives off a very continental vibe.
#5. Orlebar Brown Setter Swim Trunks in Sky — $230
Gulp. That price tag. But still — worthy of an inclusion as the official swim trunk of James Bond himself. These are perhaps the most luxe pair of swim trunks on the market right now; they do feature a substantially shorter inseam than other pairs on this list (roughly 4.3″) but they still wear like a pair of (very) tailored shorts thanks to the side tabs and front metal slide (or “popper”) closure. They’re available in a range of colors, but the Sky version seen here is the one 007 wore to get in his laps in Skyfall. If you’re particularly ambitious and like hunting and waiting for a good sale, a fairly wide selection of Orlebar Brown swim trunks are actually available through Nordstrom. Let me know how the search goes and good luck on your latest mission, 007.
Of course, any online roundup that narrows things down to five picks is bound to slot some pieces into the ‘Honorable Mention’ spot — if you fancy a larger selection of trunks, STAG Provisions offers up an array of potential picks from both classic retailers like Birdwell and more fashion-forward brands like Saturdays Surf NYC. Of course, price, fit and versatility are key to keep in mind when picking up a pair of trunks — hopefully, each of these five will carry you far (or at least to the water) this summer.
What’s your favorite of these selections? Which pair are you planning on picking up — or have you already done so? Shoot me a note or leave it all in the comments!