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Sure, wearing swimming trunks is as simple as pulling them up over your legs, but really wearing them means thinking about style and functionality as well. This article lists several practical tips for choosing and wearing trunks to the pool, to the beach, or as casual shorts. And it even tackles the contentious underwear or no-underwear debate, so read on before buying your next pair of swimming trunks!

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Save your board shorts for surfing.

  1. Extra long swimming trunks aren’t currently in fashion. Trunks that extend to your knee or below also aren’t particularly functional for hanging at the beach or swimming in the pool. They do, however, offer more protection while you’re surfing, jet skiing, or engaging in other water activities—so save those board shorts for when you really need them![1]
    • You may think that longer shorts will make you look taller, but they tend to have the opposite effect. Longer shorts usually look best on longer legs.[2]
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Wear short trunks strictly for swimming.

  1. Short trunks have some fans but aren’t today’s major fashion trend. Trunks that rest at mid-thigh or above are good for swimming because they reduce drag. But they offer less sun protection on the beach, limited rash protection if you’re surfing to jet-skiing, and fewer shirt-pairing options as casual wear.[3] If you still like to wear them, wear a sarong over them when you are not swimming.[4]
    • Just like long trunks, short swimming trunks go in and out of fashion with the times. If you’re not worried about that kind of thing, focus on the functionality of different lengths of swimming trunks.

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Make mid-length trunks your go-to selection.

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Aim for a tailored but not-too-snug fit.

  1. Modern trunks are styled like casual shorts, but with water-ready fabrics. Your trunks don’t need to be baggy or billowy, and they don’t need to look vacuum-sealed to your body! Instead, your swimming trunks should fit you like a great pair of shorts, and can include shorts-like features such as pockets and a stylish waistband.[7] The pockets can be of contrasting color, like pink pockets on navy blue.[8]
    • Don’t just assume your swimming trunks will fit all right. Take the time to try them on and give them a good look. (But unlike when you’re wearing them at the pool or beach, make sure to try them on while wearing underwear!)

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Pair your trunks with a shirt for casual wear.

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Go bold with patterns that match your style.

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Opt for lighter colors to stay cooler.

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Make sure the trunks aren’t see-through.

  1. Wet the trunks down and stretch them, if possible, before wearing them. Lighter colored trunks in particular can get too revealing when wet. But this can be a problem with mid-range colors as well. Before buying a pair of trunks, pull the fabric taut and hold them up to a light—if they block most of the light coming through, you probably won’t have any see-through problems when they get wet.[13]
    • The best way to test trunks is to splash water on them, but this isn’t practical when buying new trunks. If you want to test a pair of trunks you already own, though, wet them down and then press your hand against the inside. If you can see skin, you’ll also be able to see skin when wearing the trunks!

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Don’t wear underwear with your trunks.

  1. This is actually a big debate, but there are good reasons to go undies-free. Swimming trunks have mesh linings because they’re made to be worn without underwear. Underwear fabrics don’t hold up well to chlorinated pool water or salty ocean water, and they also dry much more slowly than swimming trunk fabrics. Generally speaking, you’ll be more comfortable without wearing underwear.[14]
    • If you’re wearing your trunks as casual shorts and don’t plan to get them wet, then by all means feel free to put on underwear.
    • If you do choose to wear underwear under your trunks at the beach or pool, pick undies that won’t peek out above the waistband or—especially—below the leg of your trunks.
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Wear compression shorts for support or chafing issues.

  1. If the mesh lining is causing problems, opt for these alternatives to traditional undies. The mesh lining in your trunks may not give you the support you need or—even worse—cause some very uncomfortable chafing on some very sensitive skin. In this case, try wearing athletic compression shorts as a liner—they’re more sleek and dry much quicker than traditional underwear fabrics.[15]
    • Alternatively, try wearing the very short, very snug swimsuit favored by competitive swimmers—usually called a Speedo because it’s the best-known brand. Just slip them on under your trunks and no one will be the wiser!
    • Some trunks now use microfiber linings instead of the classic mesh material. Give these a try if chafing is a problem for you.

Community Q&A

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  • Question
    Which color goes well with navy blue?
    Hannah Park
    Professional Stylist
    Hannah Park is a professional stylist and personal shopper with experience in e-comm styling, celebrity styling and personal styling. She runs an LA-based styling company, The Styling Agent, where she focuses on understanding each individual she works with, and crafting wardrobes according to their needs.
    Professional Stylist
    Expert Answer
    Navy blue goes well with something pastel-like pink. But it depends on your preference because all guys do not like to wear pink.
  • Question
    What types of swimsuits are usually suitable for women?
    Hannah Park
    Professional Stylist
    Hannah Park is a professional stylist and personal shopper with experience in e-comm styling, celebrity styling and personal styling. She runs an LA-based styling company, The Styling Agent, where she focuses on understanding each individual she works with, and crafting wardrobes according to their needs.
    Professional Stylist
    Expert Answer
    Swimsuits with a high-waisted bottom suit most women. They make the stomach look slimmer and accentuate the tiniest part of their waist.
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      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      Professional Stylist
      This article was co-authored by Hannah Park and by wikiHow staff writer, Christopher M. Osborne, PhD. Hannah Park is a professional stylist and personal shopper with experience in e-comm styling, celebrity styling and personal styling. She runs an LA-based styling company, The Styling Agent, where she focuses on understanding each individual she works with, and crafting wardrobes according to their needs. This article has been viewed 16,859 times.
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      Co-authors: 6
      Updated: December 29, 2021
      Views: 16,859
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 16,859 times.

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