How to Choose a Bathing Suit That Actually Looks Good

In this edition of Help Me Dress Myself, an LA-based stylist explains that you don’t have to have a six pack to look nice in a pair of swim trunks.


Are you one of those guys who wants to look stylish but finds it doesn’t come all that naturally? We feel you. Don’t fret: With some advice from LA-based stylist Rayne Parvis, we’re all going to learn how to dress a little better. In this edition, we’re suiting up for a day on the beach.

Step #1: Avoid Elastic Waistbands

Bathing suits with elastic waistbands may be comfortable—especially if you’re on the heavier side—but Parvis warns that they can squeeze you in an unflattering way. “Elastic waistbands tend to leave marks on your skin,” she explains. “So if you’re lounging by the pool, you’re going to have a bunch of divots across your stomach when you go to stand up.” She recommends going for a pair of flat-front swim trunks, instead.

Rayne also says those who are more endowed should wear swim trunks with a zipper front (or something that resembles a zipper front) to avoid “showing off all your goodies.”

Step #2: Get Your Inseam Right

“If you’re a shorter man—that is, under five feet eight inches—I recommend purchasing swim trunks that have a six-inch inseam [the seam that runs from the crotch to the bottom of the shorts],” Parvis says. That way, your suit won’t make you look shorter by sitting past your knees. “If you’re over six feet tall, you probably want an eight or 10-inch inseam,” Pavis suggests. “If you were to wear shorter ones, your legs would look really long, and it might look like you’re wearing little panties.” Which, needless to say, probably isn’t the look you’re going for.

Step #3: Choose a Pattern Accordingly

In last week’s Help Me Dress Myself, in which we discussed everything you should pack when going on spring break, Rayne explained that patterned swim trunks can actually be slimming. “If you’re worried about your weight, patterned swim trunks will actually draw the attention away from your stomach,” she said. “A pair of navy blue patterned trunks, for instance, will help you blend into the pool or the ocean to keep everyone’s eyes off your gut.” If you’re a shorter dude, however, steer clear of crazy bright patterns, as they may overpower you and make you look smaller. Finally, she recommends avoiding dark-colored trunks because they’ll make you look more pale than you really are.

Now that you’re all suited up, take in some cosmic rays, drink a brewski and know that everything will be just fine.

If you have any questions about getting the look you want—fits, cuts, colors or anything else fashion-related—leave it in the comments and we’ll have a stylist answer it in an upcoming post.