"The Endless Summer," from $10 at Amazon
When Robert August and Mike Hynson set out to chase the sun in Bruce Brown's seminal surf film "The Endless Summer" (at right, with the director), they looked much more dapper than today's beach bums. It wasn't just the sharp suits and slickly-coiffed hair that caught our attention—it was the slim, yet comfortable-looking swimwear. These guys made surfing look totally classy, and inspired us to put together a few recommendations channeling some of that classic cool.
The safest bet, close-fitting swim trunks are available in a variety of solid colors, fun prints, and breathable materials. Plus, they offer more support where it counts than looser board shorts.
Hanging loose is a lifestyle, not a look. The ideal pair of board shorts should sit at your hips and remain above the knee. They'll still do their job of keeping the backs of your thighs away from surf wax without making you look like a slouch.
Old Navy, $15
You've finally got your ideal beach body and want to show it off? Square-leg trunks or boxer-brief-style shorts are ideal. But try to avoid racing stripes and techy fabrics or you'll look like you're still training.
Cheap Monday, $60
Side pockets can add extra bulk and will often balloon up with excess water and air.
Avoid elastic waistbands which pinch soft stomachs. Your drawstring should be tied comfortably at the hips, yet tight enough to stay put with a tug.
Darker colors and vertical stripes along the sides make for a long, leaner appearance.
Don't hide behind long shorts—the leg opening should hit a few inches above your knee.
Aether swim trunks, $135
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