Stylish Swimwear for Men

Last Monday’s post was all about helping the ladies pick their perfect swimwear, so this week I’m turning my attention to the gents.  These days, it’s not just ladies who want to look and feel their best on the beach, but many men do too, so today I’ll try to help my men readers find their perfect swimwear!

Not everyone can look as great as Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, so before heading out to purchase your new swimwear you first need to determine your body shape.  And it’s quite likely that you’ll fall into more than one category.

  • Over 5ft 9ins with broad shoulders and chest, medium to narrow hips and waist and an upper body bigger than your lower body would put you in the tall and buff camp.
  • Under 5ft 9ins with broad shoulders and chest, medium to narrow hips and waist and an upper body bigger than your lower body would make you short and buff.
  • Over 5ft 9ins with a slight frame and a rangy/skinny look, then you’ll be in the tall and thin camp.
  • Under 5ft 9ins with little muscle definition, you’d be classified as short and thin.
  • Over 5ft 9ins and carrying some extra weight or a large frame?  You need to shop in the tall and big category.
  • Under 5ft 9ins with either a large frame or extra weight for your size, you would be classified as short and big.
  • If you’re carrying weight around your middle, then you’re probably going to fall into the apple shape category.
Selecting your swimwear

Tall and Buff

These men are extremely fortunate and are able to wear any of the different styles of swimwear that are available.

  1. Green boxers, £7.99 from H&M (also available in turquoise, black and orange)
  2. Vilebrequin Moorea multi-coloured mid-length shorts, £194.44 from Mr Porter
  3. White Orlebar Brown Setter swim shorts, £125 from ASOS
Short and Buff  

Whilst short, these men have a good physique so will want to draw attention away from their short stature and focus on their attributes like washboard stomach, strong upper body and defined legs.  The best style will be a bikini or brief bottom, or if not a fan of these styles, a short boxer with a low waistband would be perfect.  Avoid board-shorts as these will just swamp you and make you look even shorter.  Vertical stripes will help give the impression of length.

  1. Hom Coast Micro bikini briefs, £32 from Figleaves
  2. Ralph Lauren classic pink & white stripe swim shorts, £59 from House of Fraser (also available in blue & white stripe and orange & white stripe)
  3. Robinson Les Baines Oxford Court swim shorts, £170 from Selfridges

Tall and Thin  

Baggy board shorts best suit tall and thin men, as they help add volume to your legs.  You’ll want to avoid vertical stripes, since these will make you look much taller.  A good option would be horizontal stripes in light colours or multi-coloured patterns.  If choosing board shorts, make sure they finish above the knees, otherwise they will make you look skinnier.  Feel free to go for vivid patterns and colours.  Avoid dark colours, which have a tendency to make you look skinnier.

  1. Oiler & Boiler pink striped swim shorts, £45 from Selfridges (also available in blue)
  2. FGL floral board shorts in orange, £35 from Figleaves (also available in teal
  3. Vilebrequin lilac Okoa shorts, £135 from Selfridges

Short and Thin  

Short, slim men will want to avoid large, loud patterns, as these will overpower your small frame.  Opt for smaller prints or vertical striped board shorts, but make sure they finish above the knee and are not too baggy.  Avoid plain dark colours.

  1. Hartford Liberty print mid-thigh shorts, £100 from ASOS
  2. Navy patchwork swim shorts, £19.99 from Zara
  3. Paul Smith striped board shorts, £85 from Selfridges

Tall and Big

Big, tall men should choose long board shorts, which are not too baggy (no need to add any extra inches!), in plain dark colours.  If you would like to go for a pattern, choose one that is fairly small, since a big one will give you the appearance of being larger than you are.  Avoid the trunk, brief and bikini style swimwear.  However, boxers are ok as long as the legs are not too tight.

  1. Sundek long board short, £63 from Sundek (also available in khaki, navy, black, blue and white)
  2. Orlebar Brown Dane board shorts, £129 from Orlebar Brown (also available in many other colours and patterns)
  3. Saturdays Surf NYC navy polka-dot board short, £75 from Selfridges

Short and Big  

What you’re looking to do with this body shape is create a taller and thinner appearance.  Consider a pair of high-cut briefs that would give the illusion of longer legs.  Ensure that they’re not tight fitting and avoid elastic waists if possible, as tight elastics can exaggerate your tummy and make it look larger.  A dark colour will also help the slimming effect.  Look for a stylish tailored pair.

  1. Aussiebum swim briefs in black, £50 from Selfridges (also available in blue)
  2. Paul Smith striped shorts, £95 from Mr Porter
  3. Navy tailored swim shorts, £20 from ASOS

Domestic Princess Tips:

  1. Leave the thongs to Peter Stringfellow.  Even if you have a body to rival David Gandy, these are just wrong on every level!
  2. Make sure whatever swimwear you choose fits properly; if you’re not in perfect shape, a well-fitting pair will go a long way in making you look trimmer, thus helping you to feel more confident.
  3. If you like a more expensive brand of swimwear, but don’t want to (or can’t afford to) fork out the full price, sign-up to the websites selling the item(s) you’re after, so you get first dibs on them when they go on sale.
  4. Don’t want to draw attention to yourself?  Then avoid anything flashy and choose plain-coloured mid-thigh boxers.
  5. To extend the life of your swimwear, always remember to rinse it after use to avoid the chlorine or salt rotting the fabric.
  6. If you’re feeling self conscious, then you can always cover up with a t-shirt.
  7. If you’ve got some extra weight around the tummy area, buy the next size up, so it’s not cutting into you.
As I said in my ladies swimwear post last week, if you put a little bit of time and effort into searching for the right swimwear for your shape and follow my guide above, you’ll be able to find the perfect swimwear.  Are there any designs here that catch your eye?
With much love
The Domestic Princess


  1. A very interesting, informative blog that will help me choose the right type of cossie. I would have liked to have seen some choices offered from stores such as John Lewis or Marks & Spencer , maybe too some of the sports stores, because I wouldn’t be shelling out much more than £20. Zara came close.

    • Thanks for reading. Unfortunately neither M&S or John Lewis have styles this season that I felt would work for the different body shapes. And it’s only M&S that have swimwear under £20. The average price of swimwear in John Lewis is around the £30 – 50 price point. Did you not like the £7.99 ones from H&M? They come in a variety of colours.

  2. Domestic Prince says:

    Nice, now I just need a beach holiday to go with my swimwear!


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