The first time you ever clapped eyes on David Gandy, there’s a good chance he wearing a pair of swimming trunks. This was likely sometime around 2007; the year Britain’s most famous male model first hit the big time — literally (for a time, there was a 50-foot billboard of Dolce & Gabbana’s iconic ‘Light Blue’ campaign sitting pretty in New York City’s Times Square).
And, wherever you looked — whether you were thumbing through a magazine or flicking over TV channels — Gandy would be there; sporting his deep brown tan and a tiny pair of trunks.
But times change. And, although Gandy returned to those sparkling waters a couple more times, he’s come a long way since his ‘Light Blue’ days. In recent years, he’s pulled himself out of the ocean (in slow-motion, naturally), towelled himself off and embarked on any number of entrepreneurial endeavours. He’s turned his hand to directing, designing, even classic car restoring. And, perhaps most notably, to the wider world of swimwear.
In 2015, for example, Gandy launched a range of tailored trunks in collaboration with Marks & Spencer — the retailer’s first collection of men’s swim shorts offered and organised by waist size. And, after founding the snug, stylish David Gandy Wellwear last year, he’s now launched his very own range of swimmers. Across every inch of the designs, Gandy is passionate about the process — considering everything from cut to colour, fabric to fastenings, patterns to prints.
So what can we learn from the king of swims himself? What rules and hunky, trunky tricks can Gandy impart to ensure we never end up out of our depths? Below, we tasked the British beachwear expert to give us his top tips; his bathing costume commandments; his new rules of swimwear…
#1: When it comes to length, show some thigh
“Length does matter guys! I know there’s an assumption that my go-to swimwear is a tiny pair of white speedos, but my personal preference is a short trunk. The ideal length would show most of your thigh — think cheeky without being indecent.
“This shorter length is by far the most flattering on your legs and eliminates awkward tan lines. But I get that this might not be for everyone. So, if you’re comfortable with a bit more cover, I’d go mid-length — but try to make sure they still finish higher than mid-thigh”.
#2: The perfect fit is comfortable — not constrictive
“The perfect pair of swim shirts combines a flattering length and cut with comfort — but you do still need room to move.
“Whether you’re into adventurous water sports or lying on a sun lounger, swim short ‘moments’ should always be relaxing and unwinding. So comfort needs to be front of mind, even while you keep an eye on style. In short, if you can’t move in them, don’t buy them — but also don’t succumb to a baggy board short”.
#3: For fabrics, stick to sustainable, recyclable options
“Sustainability should be one of our first considerations when shopping for any clothing nowadays, particularly as there are so many options out there that don’t cost the earth.
“With swim shorts, I favour fabrics with enhanced biodegradability, which means that many years down the line, when you’re refreshing your swim shorts, the existing ones will biodegrade within a couple of years as opposed to other fabrics that can take tens to hundreds of years.
“It’s also worth thinking about the details and how they might affect the environment. So no metal eyelets and ideally a lining made from recycled materials. It’s possible to find swim shorts with all these credentials for under £60. And, if you can, I’d advise paying just that little bit more to do your bit for the environment”.
#4: A drawstring beats a button or a buckle
“If, like me, you love a long summer lunch with friends — particularly on holiday — I would advise men to go for the classic drawstring, as they are much more forgiving on the waistline after a bottle or two of Gavi and a bowl of spaghetti alle vongole!”
#5: When it comes to colour, try matching your swims to your skin
“Although this is totally down to personal preference and skin tone; what you like and what looks good on you. Personally, I always travel with two pairs of swim shorts; a classic navy and something more fun – either in red or a brighter blue. That way, I feel prepared for everything”.
#6: For the sake of style, steer clear of prints or patterns
“I prefer to keep things plain. Think about versatility and getting the most out of your swim shorts — for example, the moments you throw on a tee, polo or sweatshirt with them. You want this to be a fuss-free experience, and for everything to naturally look stylish together”.
#7: If you’re within reach of the beach, wear your trunks
“I tend to think it’s acceptable to wear swim shorts when you can at least see a beach or pool, or if that’s on your agenda for the day.
“That said, at Wellwear, we’ve embraced this concept head-on — and used a soft, matte, subtly textured fabric that ensures your swim shorts look just as good worn as part of an all-day ensemble as they do for swimming or lounging by the pool. From the back, you could be forgiven for thinking that they’re just shorts”.
#8: Swimwear doesn’t start and end with swim shorts
“Poolside sets are a short and top set, either matching completely, or in the same fabric — but with complementary colourways. As style-conscious men, we want these added extras in our wardrobes as our own answer to resort wear.
“I have a few sets in towelling fabric, either with a sweatshirt option to dress down or a collared polo if I’m wanting something a bit smarter. I get so many questions whenever I wear them and the towelling fabric gives it a modern, fresh look”.
David Gandy Wellwear Swim Shorts
Want more summer tips and tricks? Here are 8 foolproof ways to maintain your summer tan into autumn…
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