Beach body”. Quite an awful phrase, really. Isn’t the whole point of going to the beach to relax and have fun, rather than strut about in the hope that people will admire your bulging muscles and golden tan? Of course, it depends who you are, where you’re going and who with. You’re unlikely to want to attract any admirers on a family holiday, but what if you’re going to a seaside festival? For whatever reason, if you’re part of the get-in-shape-for-it set, you might want to check out our last-minute-panic beach-body guide, or even last week’s recommendations on treatments to get you ready for the beach. But if you’re pretty much comfortable with how you are at the moment and merely want to showcase your existing assets in the best possible light, you could do worse than reading the below guide, which collects our recommendations for the most flattering swimwear one can own, arranged by body type. Scroll down, and plan your Baywatch moment now.


First thing’s first: don’t wear long shorts, you’ll look like a child. You might even need to opt for a pair of trunks on the shorter side, such as the below example from surf-inspired New York brand Saturdays NYC. Whatever you choose, the ideal length is to have the hem riding at mid-thigh. The other thing you need to consider here is pattern, which is perfectly fine for your body type, but be aware that large-scale patterns will swamp you, so it’s probably better to go for something relatively plain or in a fine stripe or geometric design, such as these from Everest Isles.


Anton Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts


Grant Short-Length Colour-Block Faille Swim Shorts



Being naturally thin is a blessing and a curse, in that you’ll always look good in Saint Laurent, but you might look a little bit weedy on the beach. This is most likely to happen if you opt for shorts that are too voluminous, which will make you appear even more slight than you are. Instead, opt for slim-fitting (ie, cut close to the thigh) and tailored (ie, slightly tapered at the hem) shorts, with a flat front. Orlebar Brown does a particularly good line in this sort of thing, but you may also want to investigate Tom Ford. Most lengths will look good on you, but if you have very skinny thighs, it’s probably best to go for a mid- or long-length pair of shorts.


Bulldog Mid-Length Swim Shorts


Slim-Fit Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts


As your overall scale is larger, you can get away with large, vibrant patterns, so make the most of them with a pair of shorts like this cactus-embellished example from San Francisco-based brand Mollusk. On the downside, if you’re very tall, even some mid-length shorts might look a little hot-pant-y on you, so you’re probably best to opt for a longer style, such as those offered by Thom Browne.


Long-Length Striped Swim Shorts


Vacation Long-Length Cotton-Blend Swim Shorts


Be aware that, though you may have perfected your gym routine, you may still look a little off-kilter in your swimwear if you don’t choose wisely. In very fitted varieties, for example, you might look like you’re bursting out of them. Instead go for something with medium length and an elasticated waistband to give you a bit more movement around the thigh. Patterns and bright colours will work for you, so indulge in them with a pair from Onia or Moncler. In any case, given you’ve spent all that time doing squats and such things, presumably you want people to look?


Charles Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts


Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts


There are two things to bear in mind here: firstly that large patterns tend to exaggerate the scale of the bodies next to them, so are best avoided if you want to appear more svelte. Secondly, if you’re less-than-flat in the stomach area, a wide waistband will provide more support to your midsection and cut in less. Flat-fronted shorts, such as the below from Mollusk, will be particularly forgiving, but this more roomy cut from Vilebrequin, with a small-scale anchor pattern, will also work (and are that little bit more jaunty).


Moorea Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts