Why are men's swimming shorts all long (and unlined) now?
December 13, 2009 3:10 PM   Subscribe

SwimmingInAmerica Filter: how come men's swimming trunks have disappeared? I find only board shorts and bikinis in the shops.

For example, check a selection at a major online outlet labeled "Swim Trunks and Board Shorts". There's only one in all those which resemble what I think of as swimming trunks: short (maybe 12 inches on the outside seam), and with an inner liner, for support. None of the others (do they still call the longest type "jams") have liners. I don't get it -- you guys just flopping around inside there or is everyone wearing jockstraps now?

We had a discussion earlier about this in why do Europeans wear Speedos where the American aversion to the 'package bulge' comes up but I don't understand now why the shorts are all so long. Too 70s?
posted by Rash to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've encountered this. FWIW, assuming you're looking for a pair of old-style shorts (though your question doesn't actually say this) I had more luck at department stores than at sports retailers.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 3:19 PM on December 13, 2009

I live on Maui, so I see a lot of bathing suits. I think it is a fashion thing, my husband can generally only get floppy board shorts too. He avoids Speedos like the plague. He does not like the "big package" look they create and that seems to be the general sentiment among the straight men I know. On a beach frequently by many gay men Speedos are well represented. Also the men on this beach are generally better looking and better behaved than the norm :}

Most board shorts I have seen have a mesh lining that stops flopping of "the gear." We still call the long ones jams. Eventually "normal" suits will make a comeback. You could try LL Bean or Tommy Bahama, they have a more classic trunk.
posted by fifilaru at 3:24 PM on December 13, 2009

14-inch outseam from your link. Is this not lined or something? I think it meets your criteria just fine.

Also, 5-inch inseam, which likely means a 12-14 inch outseam, same link.

Finally, consider that this is the middle of winter. A lot of non-specialized shops won't have their full lines.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:27 PM on December 13, 2009

These are the shorts I wear for swimming in the ocean. Also play volleyball (in a gym) in 'em.

I have had 3 pair, so far and I love them.
posted by Danf at 3:27 PM on December 13, 2009

Another brand.
posted by Danf at 3:29 PM on December 13, 2009

Same reason basketball shorts are long, and most men's clothing in America is oversized and baggy? It's just the fashion, and it accommodates overweight people.

American Apparel has retro-style, shorter swim trunks, so there are definitely alternatives to the prevailing style.
posted by lunalaguna at 3:30 PM on December 13, 2009

haha, my (ex) boss had me track down standard swim trunks for him (this was not my job, hence the ex-ness) over the summer. The closest thing I found was from Speedo, which calls them watershorts, and the particular style is called volley. That may help your search.
posted by phunniemee at 4:01 PM on December 13, 2009

Land's End
posted by djb at 4:09 PM on December 13, 2009

Found and bought a couple pair of swim trunks at the TJ Max, Speedo brand , but shorts as you've seemed to be seeking. They are out there. Off season is best time to find such items.
posted by Agamenticus at 4:13 PM on December 13, 2009

why not try the vermont country store? they cater to those who are old school.
posted by sdn at 4:38 PM on December 13, 2009

North Face sells a swim trunk too, in regular and long sizes. The regular is pretty short.
posted by smackfu at 5:22 PM on December 13, 2009

I'm a lifeguard and am asked all the time about where to buy what types of swimsuits. I have no clue online, though the site that you linked to has a few of them. I'm not sure exactly what you had in mind, but there are a few Speedo, Tyr and Dolphin shorts on that page that I would consider swim shorts. Brick and mortar stores are often a better bet. Try department stores for the usual run of swim shorts. Most places will carry Speedo and/or Tyr brand. Also worth trying is any specialty sports stores in your area. Give them a call and ask if they have what you're looking for.

What to ask for in stores:
Board shorts - Those long liner-less things that young men wear on beaches but are useless on their own for swimming.
Swim shorts/trunks - What you want. Mesh liner, drawstring is ideal, often have pockets. Range from halfway down your thigh to the tops of your knees.
Speedo - Neoprene tighty-whities. Somewhat unfortunately named after a brand.
Jammers - Like a speedo short.
Borat suit - Just don't. It happened once at my pool.
posted by battlebison at 5:30 PM on December 13, 2009

My boyfriend got regular swim trunks at Dillard's department store. I think they were Polo brand, which he wasn't really seeking, but they were the best fit and in a nice, plain navy blue color. He also got some that don't fit quite as well and are a little flimsy from Academy sporting goods.
posted by ishotjr at 6:26 PM on December 13, 2009

(maybe 12 inches on the outside seam)

Actually, I just measured, and I really mean 8 (eight) inches.

Most board shorts I have seen have a mesh lining that stops flopping...

Rare's the pair I've found. Thanks for the other links!

I had found acceptable trunks on the page I linked to; my question is why has the market for short trunks disappeared? In basketball, as well. Just the fashion, possibly the best answer we'll get here.
posted by Rash at 8:17 PM on December 13, 2009

I believe swimshorts disappeared for the same reason short shorts disappeared. Fashion. Which, according to urban legend is because Michael Jordan started wearing baggy shorts so he could wear his lucky North Carolina shorts underneath his Bulls shorts.
posted by jasondigitized at 9:28 AM on December 14, 2009

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