Summer swim shorts. Words that shouldn’t hold a very complicated meaning to them, a subject that should be made fair and easy for everyone, but just like everything else in fashion, it doesn’t always tend to translate to its default simplicity.

And contrary to what most guys believe, there’s actually a lot to be taken into consideration before committing to a pair of swim shorts for summer. From fit to fabric, from silhouette to length, from colour to print, every single little detail counts, every small decision is bound to betray your sense of style.

Use this guide to summer swim shorts to learn all about this summer 2015 season’s key styles and to make your time spent by the sea into a sophisticated impression. All info, after the break.

summer swim shorts for men guide

Choosing the fit & fabric.

Whether you plan on using your swim shorts to dive into blue waters, to relax by the pool or hit the bars after a whole day spent sunbathing, you should make sure that their fit and fabric act as a match to your outlined activities. Luckily, there are plenty of styles to choose from, each begging for a different setting:

Tailored swim shorts.

They’re sophisticated but still easy, they’re stylish but also plenty effortless, and their impeccable cut is bound to make for a perfect fit. Typically complete with a button or popper fastening, the tailored swim short silhouette requires a right size to truly complement your figure.

This summer opt for shorts that are neither too loose, nor too tight, going for shorter styles if you have well-built thighs, and longer styles if you’re on the taller side. Keep the length just above the knee at the longest and remember to never go shorter than your mid-thigh.

When it comes to fabrics, seek your tailored shorts in durable, water-repellent cotton-blend materials for a plush, comfortable feel at the beach and beyond.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the style: Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com.

Casual summer swim shorts.

If you love your swim attire on the laid-back, casual side, you can still make the most out of your beach repertoire by using non tailored styles like:

Board shorts.

They are the perfect compromise between stylish and laid back, their designs can easily span in between the classic and the casual, and they will take your from hotel to the beach, into the water and back to lunch by the pool with no trouble.

Usually cut mid-length, this particular style asks for streamlined and simple designs, its adjustable drawstring waist ensuring a comfortable fit.

Seek them in neutral, sandy shades for timeless style, and smooth, cotton blend for increased durability.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the style: Mollusk Pennant Cotton-Blend Boardshorts at Mr Porter.com.

Sporty swim shorts.

If you’re the active type of guy who doesn’t really lounge by the pool during vacation, but loves to rather swim, surf and engage in all sorts of sea side activities, you’ll likely appreciate a pair of swim shorts that bear a sportier feel.

Less formal, these type of swim shorts promote comfort and ease of movement. However, you can always pick a pair that aims for that ultimate considered yet carefree balance. They’re ideal for water sports, but they can be dresses up for lunch just as long as you play up to the sports-luxe theme.

Choose them in mesh-lined nylon or polyester fabrics.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the style: Saturdays Surf NYC Logan Ribbed-Shell Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com.

Choosing a colour.

You know how they say that you can pick whatever colour you like for pretty much everything you wear? Well, that’s not exactly true, is it? Colour is key when committing to a pair of swim short this summer, not only because of the trends you should always consider, but also because not all hues are meant to complement your skin tone. Things to consider before updating your beach wardrobe:

Colours for fair skin.

As expected, the colours set to complement the fair skin are generally the muted tones, much like the neutral hues ranging in between greys with slight azure tinges and black. You can also try navy blue, burgundy, army and olive green for your swim shorts this summer knowing they will look just as great against your pale complexion.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the styles, top to bottom: Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Everest Isles Mayol Short-Length Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Dolce & Gabbana Mid-Length Webbing-Trimmed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Lanvin Mid-Length Shell Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com.

Colours for dark skin.

A darker complexion however, implores for colour, the brighter and bolder, the better. If you’re blessed with a darker skin tone, dare experiment with the most vibrant of reds and oranges, with sky blue and pastel pink, with neon yellow and green, as all of these shades are set to instantly add to your complexion.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the styles, top to bottom: Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Polo Ralph Lauren Mid-Length Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Vilebrequin Moorea Mid-Length Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Everest Isles Jackstar Mid-Length Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com.

Choosing the prints & patterns.

When it comes to choosing the prints and patterns that are most fitted for your summer swim shorts, the rules are mostly set by the yearly trends, with the final commitment being dictated by your personal style preferences:

Subtle prints & patterns.

If you think a solid colour on your swim shorts looks too plain, but you’re not exactly fond of bold prints and patterns either, know that there is always an in-between when it comes to style.

This summer brings about plenty of nautical stripes in faded blue and white tones, alongside dark florals, muted geometric styles and paisley prints, for you to choose from. You can also take full advantage of these subtle prints if your skin is on the lighter side.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the styles, top to bottom: Loro Piana Slim-Fit Seersucker Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Hartford Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Etro Mid-Length Paisley-Print Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com.

Bold prints & patterns.

Giving you want to pack your swim shorts with a punch this summer, opt for bold, kaleidoscopic prints and patterns, the bolder, the better. Floral, tropical, novelty styles are sure to stand out on the beach while signing for an instant summer update.

Don’t be shy of colours either, and go for the full package, after all it’s summer we’re talking about.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the styles, top to bottom: Vilebrequin Moorea Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Polo Ralph Lauren Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Faherty Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; LimoLand Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com.

Photographic print styles.

This season is all about the photographic print style swim shorts, so if you stumble upon a pair that fits and you love, grab it knowing it will make for a contemporary statement during your holiday.

From aerial shots to underwater snaps, to city landscapes and beachy scenes, these styles are bold and and subtle at the same time, making for the kind of swim shorts that every man could easily pull off just because they look so incredibly awesome.

Mens summer swim shorts
Shop the styles, top to bottom: Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com; Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts at Mr Porter.com.

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