Unless you're a regular at Turkish bath houses, porn shoots, or nudist colonies, the closest you've ever strayed to a mass gathering of semi-naked strangers is the beach. And unless it was one of America's best nude beaches, you were probably sporting swim trunks. Therefore, in an ongoing effort to keep you looking your best, we've created a handy guide that'll help you choose the perfect trunks based on your body size & shape.


Three general guidelines

1. Keep 'em short. Think less European man-thong and more fitted trunk that hits two or three inches above the knee. It'll make you feel confident, appear trimmer, and not look like a prepubescent tween who's sporting a body-engulfing suit with illogical neon flames streaming down one side.

Pro-tip: If you feel uncomfortable sporting shorter trunks, try them with vertical stripes. They'll make even the most truncated suits appear longer.

2. Avoid elastic. Since most of us are not models with picturesque frames, look for a suit with a flat front that you can tie and control how much it’ll cinch your glorious gut (regardless of how small or large it is). If you've been working on those abdominal muscles all winter, you can also opt for a suit that buttons. Otherwise, stick with the waist-forgiving drawstring.

3. Know your inseam. Swim trunks generally come in one of four inseam lengths (in inches): 5, 7, 9, and 11. In most cases, all four of these will hit above your knee (unless you're very uniquely shaped). To figure out which inseam is best for you, take into consideration your height, stature, comfort level, and most importantly, the amount of thigh freedom you need to high-kick like Jonathan Brandis in Sidekicks.
 Daniel Warren Johnson

For big dudes

Your fit: A drawstring trunk with an inseam length that hits above your knee. Don't ever, for any reason, resort to a long, baggy suit -- it'll just add size to your frame.

Your style: A relatively solid color or pattern on the more subversive side. You don't want to draw too much attention to problem areas, so something like a burnt orange suit with a black racing stripe will add length and trim you down. Varying shades of green and blue are also fail-proof color options.
Daniel Warren Johnson

For skinny dudes

Your fit: A 5, 7, or 9-inch trunk with a drawstring or button closure (you could probably also get away with an elastic band) and narrow leg openings.

Your style: The only thing you have to worry about is having too much suit and drowning in nylon. So, as long as the fit is right, experiment with a variety of patterns and colors. But keep in mind that horizontal stripes will visually widen that slim frame. For a more general warm weather clothing guide, check out this piece on style for skinny guys.
Daniel Warren Johnson

For fit dudes

Your fit: 5 or 7-inch inseam with a drawstring or button closure.

Your style: You've worked your ass off, so don't be shy about subconsciously asking people to look at you. Pull on some bright trunks in ambitious patterns (i.e. floral).