I was sitting poolside in Greece a few months ago and had a minor revelation: My fellow man does not know how to dress for the water. Socks? At the beach? A rumpled T-shirt that was almost surely worn yesterday? Putting on a swimsuit is no easier for a man than a woman, but this is supposed to be fun. Plus, bathing suits are a guy’s moment to wear color and print, and opportunities abound to display a decent amount of panache.
Lately I’m inspired by men who look like secret agents of the ’60s. The look: square-cut trunks; a loose, button-front linen shirt; and soft shoes such as espadrilles or Toms. It adds up to style that says dashing, not trying too hard, and decidedly masculine. There are some easy ways to get the look. Try printed trunks from Vilebrequin and a solid-color linen shirt from Mason’s. There’s something “finished” about pairing a woven shirt with swimwear. (Bonus: You’ll look appropriate at any poolside bar.) If you want to really look deadly good, Orlebar Brown swim trunks are in order—the side-buckle detail is perfect. I’ve seen some guys incorporating fitted polos (keep them solid colored), and metal and leather bracelets (please get them wet.) A pair of simple flip-flops in white, black, or navy is an easy alternative to espadrilles when you know things are going to get wet. And since even super spies need a carryall for the beach, grab a canvas and leather tote that, in a moment of double-agent genius, can work as a non-vacation bag, too.
MATTHEW’S PACKING LIST
1. Will Leather Goods tote, The Man’s Store.
2. Mason’s shirt, The Man’s Store.
5. Orlebar Brown wicker-print swim trunks
7. Miansai bracelet, The Man’s Store.
9. Toms slip-on