Men’s Swimwear Style Guide


History of Men’s Swimwear

With Spring firmly on the horizon, and Summer not far behind, here at Utility Bear Towers our thoughts turn gratefully to holidays, sunshine and swimwear!

Surprising really when you think that for most of human history, bathing in pools or paddling in the sea took place when we were… well, bare. That’s right, naked. In fact, right up until 1906 men were bathing completely naked in Hyde Park, London each morning.

Swimwear demand grew as bathing regulations increased. Aside from the early male “tank suits”, mens swimwear styles were pretty similar to what we wear today. Stars like Fred Perry made the trunk style fashionable in the 1930s, whereas the surfer board short has been a popular favourite since the 1980s.


However, it’s the advancements in material from wool through to modern microfibres that have really improved our poolside options!

Which Swimwear Style Is Right For You?

There are practical considerations when choosing your swimwear of course. Netting and other internal support wear can be important for comfort, if not dignity. Likewise, colour will be a consideration (bearing in mind white becomes sea-through when wet!)

And if you actually plan on swimming rather than just posing or sunbathing, then you’ll be more concerned with aerodynamics than you are with a paisley print versus a pattern.

Not brave enough for “budgie smugglers”? Or just plain don’t understand the lingo? Fear not grizzlies! There will be a style and shape of swimwear to suit you, just look at your own body shape and skin tone and match accordingly:


Jockey Neon Sports Trunk


Small and Muscly

The best shape for shorter, buffer men is a short trunk (like a boxer style) to give the appearance of being taller. This means you definitely avoid the surfer shorts! Vertical stripes and check patterns will also help.



Jockey Printed Swim Shorts



Small and Thin

As above, a boxer style or swim trunk will work, while avoiding harshly bright colours or bold patterns that might overpower your stature. Pastel colours, paisley prints and a short seam will do the trick.



HOM Marina Micro Swim Brief – Blue


Short and Wide

Higher cut swimwear on the legs will give the illusion that you are longer and leaner. Dark solid colours have a slimming effect and khaki/cargo pants will give shape and structure. You can work a 007 trunk style if you feel inclined!




Jockey Red Swim Shorts


Tall and Broad

If you’re over 6 feet tall and broad (across the chest and shoulders) then you can carry off most swimwear styles with ease. This includes vibrant colours and patterns, particularly if you have more swarthy skin tones.




Jockey Grey Surf Swim Shorts


Tall and Thin

If you’re just as tall but not quite as muscular, you’ll want to stick with longer shapes – such as board shorts – baggy in fit but not too wide and avoiding vertical stripes which will make you look even thinner.


Swimwear Maintenance

Gone are the woolly trunk suit days, nowadays our swimwear is mostly manufactured with man made fibres for durability and strength. But chlorine from pools is still damaging, as is salt water from the sea, so always rinse your swimwear after each use to get as long as possible out of your favourite swim shorts!

At we take our swimwear as seriously as we take our underwear (that is, very seriously). We believe in sourcing the best designer brands, the finest shapes, designs and materials, at the best prices across the web. And delivering them straight to your door to enjoy – hopefully in some glorious bear-belly sunshines!

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