While many of us long for the forthcoming summer months and count down the cold and blustery days until we can finally top up our tan, for a lot of people it can also be a season of fear and dread – sartorially speaking, that is.

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When it comes to summer style and poolside attire, it can be very easy to become stuck in a rut and return to that hidden shelf in your wardrobe, year after year, and opt for the familiar – if not a little tired – fail-safe summer threads. While many of us will invest in key pieces during the winter months, as the days become longer and (hopefully) warmer, it becomes all too easy to just trudge out the same pair of shorts that we’ve been wearing for the last five years. It’s fair to say that it can become a season where comfort can completely overtake style, but it’s important to remember that these two things are not mutually exclusive.

For SS18, it’s all about tapping into the 1970s, but this doesn’t mean loads of dodgy fringing or copious amounts of suede. Think more along the lines of the glory days of Miami Beach, with soft pastel hues accompanied by Cuban-collar shirts for a look that is as fun and playful as it is stylish.

Tailoring

When it comes to nailing poolside attire, no brand does it better than Orlebar Brown. Since its inception in 2007, the brand has become a go-to favourite for its tailored approach to swimwear that functions as well out of water as it does in it. So many men opt for shorts that are unflattering both in terms of length and fit, but Orlebar Brown’s smart and tailored designs emphasise and flatter a physique rather than mask or drown it. The brand’s signature style comes in a variety of colours and prints, and the clever addition of side fasteners at either side of the waistband means that you are truly able to adjust the fit to perfectly suit your body shape.

Granted, some of their styles are more expensive than your average pair of shorts, but you really are getting what you pay for – they function as both swimming shorts and day shorts, and the attention to detail and fit is key to the brand’s enduring popularity.
Essentially, you should buy a pair of shorts using the same checklist that you would use when shopping for a pair of well-fitting trousers – any old pair just won’t do.

Three-quarter-length shorts are basically the summer equivalent of bootcut jeans – a massive no!

Length

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One of the most important things to pay attention to when it comes to your shorts is length. Three-quarter-length shorts are basically the summer equivalent of bootcut jeans – a massive no! Choosing a style that ends just before the knee gives a much more flattering silhouette and serves to elongate the leg, whereas a longer length is relatively dated and frumpy, and can actually make your legs look much shorter. If you are slightly vertically challenged, it’s never a bad idea to roll your shorts up as you would your jeans or trousers at the ankle, or even take them to a tailor to achieve your desired length.

If you’re looking for swimming shorts exclusively, one thing I would say is not to be afraid of print or pattern. From stripes to full-on photographic styles, there’s a huge selection on offer. If you’re not feeling hugely daring, go for a print that plays into that 1970s Miami trend in a subtle, non-abrasive manner.

Styling

Finally, if you are going to pay this much attention to your shorts, it’s also worth considering how you’re styling them. Whether you’re adding to your existing summer wardrobe, or simply looking for key holiday pieces, the main thing to think about is versatility. Enter: the Cuban-collar shirt. Thanks to major fashion houses such as Gucci and Saint Laurent, the Cuban-collar or camp-collar shirt has undergone quite a stylish renaissance. The reason for choosing this style above all else is simple – it’s the perfect day-to-night option. Wear it open over a T-shirt on the beach for an airy, casual look, then remove the T-shirt and button it up for the evening.

When thinking about your poolside style, all that is really needed is a little reimagined perspective on the season so your wardrobe doesn’t fall victim to comfortable familiarity and repetition, but instead is the benefactor of a more considered, contemporary approach. 

Orlebar Brown