Swimwear That Doesn’t Look Like Swimwear
Traditionally, there have been two kinds of swimwear for men. There are swim shorts, which are mid-length trunks with an elasticized waist. These are arguably the most comfortable, as they have the most flexibility. Then there are boardshorts, which comes out of Californian surf culture. These are a bit longer (usually about knee-length) and instead of an elasticized waist, they have a rigid waistband, Velcro fly, and some kind of lace-up tie. This double fail-safe system ensures that your trunks won’t be ripped from you in a wipeout. 
When I go swimming, I like to wear what some might call “all day trunks,” which are trunks designed without any of those traditional details. So, no elastic bands, visible ties, or sporty designs. Instead, I look for trunks that look a regular pair of shorts, but are constructed from a fast drying fabric. 
As a result, I get something I can wear in the water, but also pair with other things once I towel off. For example, I recently wore my swim trunks to go to the beach with friends, but then paired them with a linen button-up shirt and some woven Rivieras when we decided to hang out till night. It’s an incredibly easy and convenient combination when you want to look presentable afterwards — say, if you want to grab tacos in a beach town or hang out at the hotel bar — but don’t want to have to go and change clothes. 
You can find such trunks at any number of places. I have a pair of Orlebar Brown’s Bulldogs, which are a mid-length short with side tabs. The tabs are not only a nice stylistic touch, but they also give a more adjustable fit. I also have a pair of Onia’s 7.5” Calders, which are just as nicely constructed, but have a slightly longer length that I think looks more flattering when I’m out of the water. Additionally, Robsinson Les Bains is good for more interesting prints, while Faherty does the same thing, but in more casual flavors.
As usual, if retail prices are too high for you, you can wait for end-of-season sales or check eBay. Orlebar Brown can be had at the moment at The Mens Market for $72, while Onia is about the same at Wittmore and Barney’s Warehouse. 
(Pictured above: Onia shorts, Orlebar Brown t-shirt, Oliver Spencer linen shirt, and Riviera slip-on shoes)

Swimwear That Doesn’t Look Like Swimwear

Traditionally, there have been two kinds of swimwear for men. There are swim shorts, which are mid-length trunks with an elasticized waist. These are arguably the most comfortable, as they have the most flexibility. Then there are boardshorts, which comes out of Californian surf culture. These are a bit longer (usually about knee-length) and instead of an elasticized waist, they have a rigid waistband, Velcro fly, and some kind of lace-up tie. This double fail-safe system ensures that your trunks won’t be ripped from you in a wipeout. 

When I go swimming, I like to wear what some might call “all day trunks,” which are trunks designed without any of those traditional details. So, no elastic bands, visible ties, or sporty designs. Instead, I look for trunks that look a regular pair of shorts, but are constructed from a fast drying fabric. 

As a result, I get something I can wear in the water, but also pair with other things once I towel off. For example, I recently wore my swim trunks to go to the beach with friends, but then paired them with a linen button-up shirt and some woven Rivieras when we decided to hang out till night. It’s an incredibly easy and convenient combination when you want to look presentable afterwards — say, if you want to grab tacos in a beach town or hang out at the hotel bar — but don’t want to have to go and change clothes. 

You can find such trunks at any number of places. I have a pair of Orlebar Brown’s Bulldogs, which are a mid-length short with side tabs. The tabs are not only a nice stylistic touch, but they also give a more adjustable fit. I also have a pair of Onia’s 7.5” Calders, which are just as nicely constructed, but have a slightly longer length that I think looks more flattering when I’m out of the water. Additionally, Robsinson Les Bains is good for more interesting prints, while Faherty does the same thing, but in more casual flavors.

As usual, if retail prices are too high for you, you can wait for end-of-season sales or check eBay. Orlebar Brown can be had at the moment at The Mens Market for $72, while Onia is about the same at Wittmore and Barney’s Warehouse

(Pictured above: Onia shorts, Orlebar Brown t-shirt, Oliver Spencer linen shirt, and Riviera slip-on shoes)

It’s On Sale: Swim Shorts

My favorite brand for swim shorts - Orlebar Brown - just started their end-of-season sale. Included is a range of sweatshirts, polos, and outerwear, as well as their swim trunks, for which they’re most known. Their trunks are excellently made, and come with nice details such as adjustable side tabs (which eliminate the need for an elasticized waistband), but they’re also very expensive. Full retail is around $250, plus taxes and shipping when applicable. 

At the moment, however, certain colors in their Bulldog model (which is their mid-length short) have been discounted to $70-125. The forest green pair you see above is one of the $70 offerings. There’s also the shorter Setter model, which ranges from $85-115 (perhaps a nicer cut if you have a very athletic build). I bought a pair of the Bulldogs for myself some years ago, and have been very happy with them. 

For something more affordable, J. Crew has a bunch of models on sale, with prices starting as low as $25.

Of course, it’s probably too late in the year to really get much wear out of these, but you know … summer will come again. 

Addendum: Whoops, the old link didn’t seem to bring people to the sale. It’s been since fixed. 

It’s On Sale: Orlebar Brown Swimshorts

My favorite brand of swimwear, Orlebar Brown, is on Gilt today, with swim shorts at about 1/2 off retail (so ~$119-125). Orlebar Brown’s trunks fit trim, and feature darts at the waistband to give shape, engraved side tabs for adjustable fit, and a zippered back pocket to keep belongings. I have a pair of swim shorts in their Bulldog model, which is mid-length, though the Setter might be better for someone with a more athletic build. 

The Transitional Shirt Jacket

The weather’s still pretty chilly where I live, but in a month’s time, it’ll hit those cool temperatures that’ll remind us summer’s not too far away. If you have a very casual American sense of style, a good garment to rely on for such transitional periods is the shirt jacket. The term “shirt jacket” can be pretty nebulous. I’ve seen Italians use it to refer to things many would just consider outerwear. Here in the States, however, it commonly refers to shirts that fit like jackets, and have a certain outdoorsy, workwearish, lumberjack-y feel. They’re not for everyone, to be sure, but if you want something very casual to wear with jeans and boots, these can be fairly useful on casual nights while strolling through the neighborhood.

The most well known in this field is probably Pendleton’s board shirt, which from my experience fits kind of baggy, but you can have a tailor take in the sides a bit. Filson’s Jac-Shirt is somewhat similar, but is made from a more substantial cloth. For something a bit more “fashionable,” you can consider Apolis, Orlebar Brown, Barbour, and United. Engineered Garments and Woolrich Woolen Mills can also usually be relied on for good options, although this season, I’ve only seen ones made from shinier fabrics (which may or may not suit your style). I also like Aspesi’s many takes on classic military designs. They’re slimmer fitting than what you’d typically find in military surplus store, and while they’re inspired by military garments, they won’t leave you looking like Robert De Niro from the film Taxi Driver.

All of these brands are a bit expensive, but they’ll come down 50% or more by the end of the season. If you’d like something more affordable now, there’s Club Monaco and Penfield. The second is particularly good to check in with every once in a while if you’re on a tight budget and in need of some outerwear.

Another option is to just use a moleskin or chamois shirt as a layering piece. LL Bean’s mainline has a very well priced one, and it fits surprisingly well. I’m a size 36 chest and fit nicely into their extra-small. My only complaint is the tonal buttons, but you can easily swap those out to something more agreeable if you’d like. Filson also seems to have a nice moleskins option, though I’ve never tried it. If you’d like something slimmer, you can try LL Bean Signature’s chamois shirt. The cloth isn’t as heavy or thick as their mainline chamois, and the cut is considerably shorter, but it could give a slightly more fashionable look to someone with a slim build. Epaulet also has a really nice looking moleskin jacket, though I admit I think people should at least give the LL Bean’s moleskin shirt a spin before they jump on a pricier option.

Orlebar Brown Swim Shorts and T-shirt Giveaway

A while ago, as part of my Summer series, I wrote about Orlebar Brown swim shorts. I’ve been talking to one of their reps over email and we’ve decided to do a giveaway for one of their navy Bulldog swimming trunks. They’ll also throw in a t-shirt (either v-neck or crew, and you pick the color you want). 

To enter, just email me at mrderekguy@gmail.com by the end of today (Monday, May 30th, midnight PST). I will put your name into R (statisticians represent!), and select a winner in a truly random method. I’ll then put the winner in contact with Orlebar Brown by the end of the week, so that he or she can tell the company what size they need and where to send the prize. Note, however, that if Orlebar Brown is out of your size, they’ll provide the nearest suitable fit/ style. Beggers can be choosers, but sometimes your choice isn’t in the inventory and that’s not OB’s fault. 

As an aside, they’ve also launched a new collection since my swim trunks round up. It includes some new shirt jackets, shirts, and city shorts, and I think it looks pretty nice. Check it out at their website.  

Addendum: Your name will not be added to any email list or sold to any company. It stays in my personal Gmail account, and at the end of the contest, deleted. I don’t play marketing games with people’s personal info, because I hate that myself. 

Oh, and this won’t affect your chances of winning at all, but if you have any feedback for PTO or ideas for new stories, I’d love to read them.

The Five Days of Summer Series, Part IV: Swim Shorts

While Jesse grew up in the Bay Area and later moved to Southern California, I grew up in Southern California and then moved up to the Bay. In fact, my teenage years were spent around Laguna Beach, a beach town sandwiched between Los Angeles and San Diego. Summer there mostly meant wearing swim shorts of some kind, so before I ever became critical of suits, I was noticing how swim shorts fit.

Most men, unfortunately, wear embarrassingly bad swim shorts - brightly patterned, baggy shorts with elasticated waistbands (a feature that makes swimming trunks look like boxers). The only people who can get away with these are 15 year-old kids. If you put in a bit more effort, you can buy much better ones.

My favorites are by Orlebar Brown. They’re made in the UK and Portugal, with fabrics from France and zips from Italy. They come in a variety of lengths, but I really like the Bulldog, which comes to about mid-thigh. They fit trim, feature a zippered back pocket, and come in really nice block colors or tasteful geometric designs (not the garish floral patterns you see from some other companies).

The best thing is that they’re built much like suit trousers. They have darts in the back, engraved side tabs, and a sturdy waistband with double fusing. These are the antithesis to the elasticated swim shorts. If you’ve ever worn a pair of trousers with side tabs, you know how much better of a fit you can get with them. Additionally, all of OB’s metal components have been left in both salt and chlorinated water for seven days in order to test for corrosion, and they’re nickel free for those with allergies.

The only downside to them is that they’re a bit more expensive - hitting around $240. Since you only really need one pair, I think splurging on Orlebar Brown is worth it, but if you really can’t save up the coin, consider O’Connell’s, which also feature side tabs. Some of these say there is an elasticized waistband at the back, but some don’t. Before buying, I would check with them first. Also, you should note that O’Connell’s trunks are often made from cotton or a cotton-blend. As such, they won’t be as quick drying as those made from polyamide. This can be really annoying if you plan on wearing your trunks all day. 

Finally, two other companies I really like are Olasul and Saturdays NYC. Both feature shorts with drawstrings, but Olasul has models with a double snap button enclosure, which I think are even better. They both also feature snap-button rear pockets with grommets for draining purposes. Their designs have a slight retro surf culture feel to them, but they’re still very contemporary looking. I would recommend them if you’re a bit younger in age.