8 Major Men’s Swimwear Trends For Summer 2023
Want to switch up your poolside style? These are the key swimwear looks you should consider this summer, from short shorts to co-ords to tonal prints.
If you’re a casual follower of menswear, you might not think that swimwear is subject to trends. But like the constantly changing, fast-paced world of clothing, your swim shorts are locked in their own fashion cycle.
From length to fabric, pattern to cut, the way swim shorts look and feel changes every year, and what’s deemed cool one summer might fall foul the next.
Of course, a classic pair of swimmers will always be in style, but if you’re looking to freshen up your vacation wardrobe, here are eight key swimwear trends for 2023 that we feel have staying power.
In and out of the water
Tailored swim shorts have been around for a number of years now, and their popularity shows no sign of waning. The style differs from regular swim shorts in a couple of ways.
First is the waistband, which tends to be fixed rather than elasticated, in a manner not dissimilar to a smart pair of trousers. While you won’t find belt loops, tailored swim shorts often have side adjusters, which allow the wear to cinch them in or let them out (a god send after a large lunch) to achieve the perfect fit.
Then there’s the fit. Drawstring swim shorts are often slightly baggy in the leg, whereas tailored ones have a sleek, slimmer cut which tapers down through the thigh for a more sophisticated look.
Pick a neutral colourway and you can legitimately wear them from day to night, combining them with tees, polos and even collared linen shirts as part of a smart-casual look. The ‘trend’ here is how you use them – consider them like you would a pair of smart shorts, which you just so happen to be able to swim in. They can be dressed up or down to suit the day’s activity, worn to lunch or even an upscale beach bar as the sun sets.
Note: tailored swim shorts suit those with more athletic physiques. For those who are slightly larger, the lack of a drawstring can cut in and feel uncomfortable if you plan on wearing them all day.
Suck it and see
Seersucker swim shorts have really taken off over the past couple of years, with the distinctive striped fabric making for the ideal swim short material.
While not true ‘seersucker’ cotton, which would become saturated when submerged in water and take ages to dry, waterproof polyester versions look just like the real thing, right down to the puckered texture.
The more formal associations of the material – it’s traditionally used for summer tailoring and shirting – give seersucker swim shorts a slightly smarter edge, allowing them to be worn away from the pool with a towelling polo or Cuban collar shirt. (Getting more from your wardrobe is perhaps the biggest trend this season.)
It’s not just classic white-and-blue-striped seersucker that has proved popular this summer either – everything from green and navy through to red and pink is on offer. The latter gives seersucker a brighter, more vibrant feel that works well whether you’re poolside in Biarritz or enjoying a stroll along the beach in Cornwall.
Many brands are cottoning on to the demand for garments that can perform multiple roles. There are sweatpants cut with tailored fits, allowing them to be worn with shirts and jackets, and blazers cut in stretch jersey fabrics that feel more like sweatshirts than tailoring.
Swim shorts are no different. A number of designers have begun producing gym-appropriate swim short hybrids that work just as well on the treadmill as they do in the pool. They typically feature an inner mesh lining that’s supportive in the same way a pair of compression shorts might be, while also being made from a waterproof fabric which is quick drying and lightweight.
These are the kind of shorts that typically work just as well away from the pool or squat rack. They come in slim cuts and short, sporty designs that lend themselves well to being worn with sneakers, polos and T-shirts.
Indeed, if you’re looking for an incredibly versatile pair of shorts you can go walking in, running in, and swimming in, these might be the only option.
Sustainable production has become a major talking point in the world of fashion, with many brands overhauling the way they do business (and some just claiming too).
And the easiest way for a company to do this is by using environmentally-friendly fabrics. Many specialist and independent swimwear brands have been doing just that in recent seasons, with many now using polyester and nylon fabrics that have been derived from recycled plastic bottles, and other ocean plastics.
So, do your research and not only will you own a pair of sustainably-made swim shorts, you’ll also be helping to clean the world’s oceans from human-caused waste.
Even better, you don’t have to make any sacrifice to help Mother Nature, seeing as there is no difference with how they perform, look or feel against the skin. Recycled polyester and nylon feels exactly the same as regular man-made fabrics, and will last just as long, so there really is no excuse not to go eco.
Set the tone
Printed swim shorts are nothing new. Designers have been emblazoning wild prints on swimwear for as long as we can remember, with the summer staple practically begging for colour and pattern.
However, for a more current take, seek out tonal prints. This season you’ll find familiar floral, abstract and geometric patterns rendered in multiple shades of the same colour. The upshot? You still get a visually-arresting pair of swim shorts, but they retain a sense of versatility, again allowing you to get much more use out of them while on vacation.
Essentially, tonal prints give you all the interest of a well designed print, but with none of the showiness. Try a pair of tonal dark green geometric print shorts and combine them with a navy linen shirt, tortoiseshell sunglasses and canvas espadrilles for a cool, beachside look that works for a stroll along the promenade as much as it does lounging by the pool.
It’s black & white
Monochrome tones might not be the first thing you think of when buying a new pair of swim shorts, but there are a wealth of designers looking to change your mind.
Shades of black, grey and white are all the rage this summer, offering men unrivalled versatility. They’re the kind of shorts you can wear to swim in, and then once dry simply throw on any colour shirt and shoes without giving it a thought in the world. There’s no fear of colour clashing or looking out of place. People will likely even think they’re just regular shorts, so you’ll find you’ll be able to wear them to the cafe or even a restaurant for lunch.
The only thing to consider with monochrome shorts though is whether they’ll suit your skin tone. They tend to work better on darker complexions, as if you’re too pale then the contrast can be too severe (or not enough, in the case of white shorts). So keep this in mind if you want to invest in a pair of your own.
Forget baggy board shorts and surfer-inspired designs, short shorts are back in a big way. Designers have been moving hemlines of regular shorts higher and higher over the last few years, and it’s the case with swim shorts too.
This style won’t be for everyone. Similarly to tailored shorts, this is a look that works best on slimmer men and those with athletic physiques. Go for seriously short shorts as a bigger man and they’ll only make you appear larger. Yet for men who are below average in height, short shorts can be extremely flattering, visually lengthening your figure and making you look taller than you are.
They can also work well away from the pool. The trick is to keep the top half fairly slim. Go for a boxy cut T-shirt and it might hang over the shorts, making you look naked underneath. Keep it trim up top with a slim fit T-shirt or polo and you’ve got a stylish, athletic outfit you can wear to a cafe or bar straight after a beach session.
Looking for a simple, easy look you can throw on without thinking about and wear all day in summer? You should consider a matching set, consisting of swim shorts and shirt in the same pattern or colour.
A relatively new phenomenon, and one that takes its cues from classic tailoring – albeit in a far jazzier, seasonally-appropriate way – co-ord sets might just be the thing your warm-weather wardrobe is missing.
The idea of wearing a matching top and bottom half goes back hundreds of years, and is most commonly seen today with the lounge suit, which is made up of trousers and a blazer in the same fabric.
A summer co-ord does a similar thing, albeit with swim shorts and a lightweight, short-sleeve shirt. You can treat them as separates in the same way as tailoring, too – combine them for maximum impact, or break them up and mix them into your existing wardrobe.
Don’t be afraid to step out your comfort zone here. Co-ords often look their best when a bit of pattern and colour is involved, which makes it appear deliberate, so keep an eye out for vibrant geometric prints or eccentric florals if you want to make an impression.
Alternatively, go for slightly brighter shades of blue or green for something just as impactful but even more versatile.
Bold block colours
While pattern and experimenting with fits and shapes has its place, sometimes all you need is a bit of good ol’ fashioned colour.
So, if you’re not a fan of elaborate designs, or don’t fancy going for super short or tailored, consider buying a plain pair of red, yellow or orange shorts. A bright colour flatters nearly every skin tone, and can be combined with neutrals (think white, grey and black) up top if you plan on wearing your shorts away from the water.
A quick note on length: unless you fancy hitting two trend in one with short shorts, the most flattering cut for all body types is one that finishes just below mid thigh and a couple of inches above the knee. Hit that sweet spot and you won’t go wrong, no matter what colour you choose.