The Only 3 Types of Swimsuits That Matter in 2022, According to GQ Editors

Welcome to SHORT WEEK SHORTS WEEK, GQ Recommends’ appropriately abridged ode to the summeriest and calf-baringest of bottoms. Whether you’re a big-and-baggy boy, an above-the-knee fella, or somewhere in between, we’ve got all the thoughts, takes, and, yes, recommendations to make this your greatest, leggiest, most stylish shorts season yet. 

We did it, Joe. Short Week Shorts Week is officially coming to a close, and—not to be shamelessly self-congratulatory about it—we think it’s one for the books. But before we bid the week adieu, there’s one more order of business to attend to, and it’s an important one. So if you’re sick of us rhapsodizing at length (as it were) on the subject, don’t hit the snooze button just yet. You’re going to want to hear this.  

*Lowers voice conspiratorially * In 2022, the most versatile shorts you own—the pair you’ll reach for when your sugar daddy books an impromptu trip to the Bahamas or your buddy decides to host a “~LEO THINGS~” park-hang halfway through August—probably aren’t shorts, at least technically speaking. They’re swim trunks

It’s a lot to take in, we know. But it’s true. And as luck would have it, it’s the focus of the latest episode of the GQ Recommends Show. (Gosh, it’s almost like we planned this.) To help you wrap your head around that exact axis-tilting epiphany, we went deep on the only three swimwear categories you really need to know—and the good news doesn’t end there. Can’t tell a 5″ inseam from its 7″ counterpart? Not sure how to extrapolate your actual measurements from those of a willowy model with a 28-inch waist? Each swimsuit below is modeled by a variety of different people (with a variety of different body types) so you don’t have to squint at a size chart for any longer than absolutely necessary. 

Keep scrolling to see how your rotation stacks up, and then browse a few of our very favorite picks while you’re at it. And remember: If your swimsuits aren’t pulling double-duty as go-to shorts, it’s time to reassess what you’re working with—and maybe go shopping. 

Watch The GQ Recommends Show: The 9 Best Swimsuits for Summer 2022

1. The Classics

Meet the most essential of all swim trunks, the do-everything style ready-made to replace your chinos and look great with everything you’d normally wear ’em with. Patagonia’s Baggies are the affordable standard-setters. Bather offers a modern update that comes in a ton of killer colors and patterns. And Orlebar Brown makes precisely-tailored, movie star-approved options worth every damn cent. If you only plan on spending your hard-earned dollars on one pair this season, start here. 

Patagonia “Baggies” shorts

Orlebar Brown Bulldog trunks

2. The Show-Offs

So you aren’t physically (or, heck, emotionally) ready for the commitment a Speedo-style suit entails. All good: there’s still plenty of ways to flex on the beach. To start, try playing with shorter lengths, daring cuts, and wilder fabrics. CDLP’s sexy, athletic-inspired swim shorts show off a ton of leg. True Tribe makes sleek, shiny trunks befitting the brand’s French origins. And Versace’s wildly decadent options are a not-so-serious designer swerve that’ll keep heads turning on and off the boardwalk.

True Tribe chrome active trunks

Versace “Barocco Goddess” trunks

3. The Board Shorts

If you’re an honest-to-goodness surfer (or just want to cosplay as one), these are the trunks for you. A slightly longer length, tie-front, and pocketless construction will help you shred gnar with the best of ‘em—and with plenty of style to spare. Birdwell is a West Coast OG who’s been making killer boardies for decades. Mollusk is a new-school, affordable update. And Outerknown’s top-of-the-line versions come stamped with the Kelly Slater seal of approval, a can’t-beat cosign from the Michael Jordan of surfing.

Birdwell 311 white tip board shorts

Outerknown “Apex” board shorts

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