July 18 2014

Suit Yourself: An Extremely Brief History of Men's Bathing Attire

Miami-Stan D'Arde

It's Swim Week in Miami and already I can’t help but notice the shocking variety of men’s swimsuits. Short, long, baggy, bulbous – the styles are all over the place. But how did they get that way? Perhaps, you’ve wondered the same, and so I put together this teeny-weeny history of men’s bathing attire ...

He might look like he just escaped from prison, but his suit is the height of fashion. Swimwear is modeled after the underwear of the day. There’s always a first step, right?

Coco Chanel takes her fashion seaside. Tanning becomes chic, and the suits start shrinking so the sun can reach more parts. Incidentally, the male nip slip makes its début.

The late 1940s ushers in a new facination with the male physique. Men start losing their tops and flashing their abs, which drives the dames crazy.

The expansion of the middle class brings swimwear into the mainstream. A nation of Boomers hit the beach.

The hippie movement makes people lazy. Everyone is too baked to go to Bloomy’s to buy a proper pair of trunks, so they just cut off their jeans.

Big money! Big bangs! Big deficits! Tiny swimsuits? The bikini bather, or banana hammocks, goes mass.

Calvin Klein changes everything. His wildly popular boxer brief gives us the box-cut boy short, my favorite silhouette pour la plage.

Today, it’s a free for all. Speedo, butt floss, board short, or “budgie smuggler,” it’s all about confidence (and chiseled abs.)

Don't forget the Lazy Sunday BBQ this Sunday at The Standard Spa, Miami hosted by the Orlebar Brown. R.S.V.P. here.