Meet the $90 Swim Trunks GQ Editors Can’t Quit
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Ahhhhhhh. You feel that? That, my friends, is the warmth of the sun tickling your shoulders, rousing your freckles from hibernation, and—most urgently—reminding you it’s time to buy a new pair of swim trunks. Because great trunks are the key to unlocking the full potential of your summer wardrobe. Yes, you’ll rock ‘em at the beach and by the pool. But these days, the very best trunks can also pull double duty as on-the-go shorts, with functional pockets and a flattering cut that’ll play nicely with everything from graphic tees and knit polos to crisp linen button-downs.
For a number of years now, our go-to trunks—the ones we trust to hit all those marks, that consistently sit atop our annual Best Swim Trunks list—hail from the Toronto label Bather. Yes, you read that correctly: Toronto. As in Canada, a land better known for its prime ski conditions than its surf culture. All the same, our friends up north have engineered the absolute perfect swim trunks for 2023, beating out dozens of stylish competitors from places like Hawaii and SoCal along the way. How did they do it, you ask? Like this.
A Timeless Silhouette
Bather’s signature model meets all the essential criteria for great trunks: It’s crafted from quick-dry recycled nylon with a comfortable mesh lining, a couple of deep side pockets, a snap-button rear pocket, and a just-right 5.5” inseam. The elastic waistband, meanwhile, looks sharp and feels comfortable on all body types—a traditional lace-up waist, for instance, really only flatters folks with flat abs. The nylon exterior is crisp enough to feel like a decent substitute for a pair of Bermuda shorts on a casual date night. And, most importantly for swimwear, they’re constructed hardily, with several pairs GQ has tested over the years holding up strong after dozens of rounds in the washing machine.
An Endless Stream of Colors and Patterns
Here’s where Bather really starts to win out over some of its more famous competitors (like, say, the deservedly beloved Patagonia Baggies). The young Canuck label isn’t afraid to get freaky with its flagship model. Sure, it comes in a standard array of solid tones—a nice deep black, a classic Baywatch red. But every season, Bather also goes big on all manner of wild prints: techy stripes; retro florals; painterly cloudscapes. It gives you infinite options to choose from and collect, and means you’re far less likely to run into someone in the same pair when you hit the beach.
An Expanded Universe of Products
Bather perfected their swim trunks, yes. But they’ve also concocted a strong selection of gear designed to sync up seamlessly with their shorts. Copped one of the brand’s new hand-embroidered trunks? The matching camp shirt will turn ‘em into a solid-gold fit. Opted for one of the fetching bandana prints? Sprawl out in style on a complementary beach blanket. If you’re the type of guy who likes synchronicity in his purchases, Bather’s made things simple for you.
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