Step onto any gay beach – from Miami’s Haulover to Asbury Park’s 5th Ave. to Will Rogers Beach in Los Angeles – and you’ll bear witness to a veritable catwalk of loosey-goosey board shorts, fitted trunks, and skintight Speedo-like swimwear.
While anything goes on the summer’s sandy shores – especially if the area is clothing optional (better pack those dark lenses!) – this year’s styles continue last year’s thighs-the-limit trend with a twist: Button-closure shorts with waist-specific sizing. Here we cultivate some of the more stimulating designs for 2017 with a smattering of tradition tossed in for good measure.
The King of the Jungles
You won’t have to cast a wide net to bring all the bottoms to your beach towel in Original Penguin’s lion photo-print snap-togethers that are anything but cowardly. Mesh briefs on the inside help keep your animal in its cage. $79, originalpenguin.com
Loose lips sink ships but the all-over open-mouth print on Andrew Christian’s Kiss Me bikinis – featuring a snuggle pocket to hug your goodies just right – will have the Navy’s finest bellowing “Land Ho!” But how’d they know your name? $41, andrewchristian.com
Hawaii-based designer Reyn Spooner emphasizes “Mai iloko mai” – which translates to “That which is within matters” – in his island-inspired, above-the-knee board shorts constructed with four-way stretch, a drawstring tie with Velcro closure, and UPF 50 protection, available in colors like ink, smoke, and seafoam. $75-$85, reynspooner.com
The Royal Tenenbums
While England likely doesn’t top your list of must-plan summer getaways, Craghoppers’ Northbeach shorts, photo-printed with a breezy British seascape, are fortified with SolarShield Zinc Oxide UPF 40+ protection and an anti-chlorine finish to prevent fading so you can turn up at the hotel pool on this side of the pond. $60, craghoppers.com
Versatility best describes the multi-purpose, bold-hued floral mid-thighs from Descendant of Thieves – they’re just as legit on the beach as they are in a bar – that you’ll wish your one-way boy toy would take a cue. $89, descendantofthieves.com
The Polly Wanna Partys
Fans of ABC’s Shark Tank will feel fully vested in the Caribbean-influenced parrot-print trunks from Tipsy Elves – shark Robert Herjavec made a deal in 2013 with founders Evan Mendelson and Nick Morton, providing a $100,000 investment for 10 percent of the company – but your pair will only set you back a couple-a Jacksons. $40, tipsyelves.com
Frat-tastic Chubbies continues its foray into snap-shut shorts – it’s ‘sky’s out, thighs out’ elastic waists have dominated its swim collection for the past few years – with a few new additions for summer ’17. Seven designs in all, from mono-colored to wild prints – like this salt-water fish style – feature four-way stretch fabric and a zipper-close back pocket for all the important documents you’ll need to take a dip. Anything can happen these days. $70, chubbiesshorts.com
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.