Smart dressed man Barton Strawn on the new look of Southern menswear

Men’s summer swimwear: Picking the perfect trunks

CorrespondentJune 18, 2014 

M.Nii’s Waxer Indigo trunk ($195) has a lace-up waist with button closure and pockets on the back and right hip.


Don’t let anyone fool you – bathing suits can be a tough purchase for guys, too. You want to look good and feel comfortable, but the functionality of a suit is also important. Here are the most important points to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect pair of trunks.

Let’s start with fit. Too baggy and you will look like you threw on an old pair of shorts without any thought; too tight and you will look and feel uncomfortable, which completely contradicts the point of a relaxing day at the pool or beach. Shoot for the middle ground – a flat-front slim cut that isn’t skin tight (and shorter trunks are in style now).

Next, consider the type of activity your day has in store. If you’re a surfer, you need to be able to move around more than if you are just lounging poolside. Or maybe your shorts need to work as well off the beach as on.

With these thoughts in mind, here are five great options that fit a variety of styles and activities. :

•  Best all-around suit: Birdwell Beach Britches Made in the USA and coming in a variety of styles make Birdwell my suggestion for best all-around bathing suit. They have different widths and lengths and come in every color under the sun. I recommend going with a solid color over a pattern so you can wear it to that company pool party as well as the guys’ weekend getaway. $75.

•  Best for the traditionalist: M.Nii Makaha These classic shorts were born in the 1950s at Makaha, home of big wave surfing in Hawaii. The M.Nii tailor shop made the first pairs specifically for surfers after seeing the repairs needed by waveriders at the local beaches. More than 50 years later, these trunks – also made in the USA – will still have you ready to jump into your beach day. They might also inspire you to learn how to surf. $110-$195.

•  Best for a summer pool party: Onia Swimwear With a bit more of a classic cut and details that make them more shorts than bathing suit, Onia offers something for the guys drinking a beer and grilling out next to the pool, rather than splashing their way to the next margarita. But Onia trunks readily adapt when you feel like taking a dip. $130.

•  Best for staying dockside: Vilebriquin Swimwear These shorts have great designs made from high quality materials, and they’re perfect when you want a little slice of Saint-Tropez when you hit the water. Vilebriquin was founded in 1970, and many of their styles speak to that era. Truly a classic designer swimsuit. $250.

•  Best for the active lifestyle: Sundek Sundek originated as a surfing brand, but has evolved into a bathing suit for the Everyman. These suits are great for active guys who want to surf, ski or play water polo with their buddies. Bright colors and great patterns make them a fun option, so you’ll create a splash wherever you go. $120.

Barton Strawn is the creative director of Lumina Clothing in Raleigh. Email:

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