Some of us have a habit of getting it wrong when it comes to looking our best on the beach. From lobster-red builders' tans to swimming trunks that haven’t been replaced since 1993. So here to help you make your best impression this summer is our foolproof guide to owning it sur la plage.
1. Focus on the Basics
It sounds obvious, but a good pair of swimming trunks is absolutely essential. In our opinion, it’s important to buy a new pair every year, as no matter how little or often you use them (or how expensive they are), the ravages of sun, sea salt, chlorine and machine washing will leave them faded and worn-out in no time at all. Consider this an essential holiday investment, like factor-50 suncream (see below) or travel insurance. If you’re ripped, opt for a pair of Orlebar Brown Bulldogs with side adjusters, or budgie smugglers by Swedish brand CDLP. If, however, your weight tends to fluctuate, opt for something elasticated from Vilebrequin. Dark colours have a slimming effect, yes, but light hues will wash and last better. A pattern will make fading less obvious. Oh, and don’t be afraid to splash a bit of cash. You want to be comfortable in the fact that your trunks won’t fall apart and look reassuringly expensive.
The Best Trunks if You're Stacked
Trunks by CDLP, $98. cdlp.com
The Best Trunks if You’re Toned
Shorts by Orlebar Brown, $216. orlebarbrown.com
The Best Trunks for Everyone Else
Shorts by Vilebrequin, $166. vilebrequin.com
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Accessorise
In order to make any kind of style statement on the beach you need to think carefully about accessories. You’re wearing the fewest clothes you’re ever likely to wear in public, so some styling up is essential if you want to make an impression (you do). A few well-positioned pendants will afford you a devil-may-care, JFK Jr look, while a perfect pair of sunglasses will, if chosen correctly, bring to mind a young Steve McQueen. Throw in a pair of leather sandals (pick the right ones and you’ll be able to wear them with regular clothes when you get home, too) and an elegant beach tote and you’ve got yourself a winning sun holiday look. If in doubt, opt for hues of chestnut, faun and stone to complement your killer tan.
Sandals by Hermès, $618. hermes.com
The Beach Bag
Tote bag by Gucci, $1,644. gucci.com
Necklace by Saint Laurent, $380. ysl.com
Sunglasses by Persol, $196. persol.com
3. How to Avoid Body-image Anxiety
Contrary to what Instagram will tell you for the next three months, the reality is that few people make it to the beach with any kind of "summer body". The key to owning it on the beach this getaway season is not to spend hours slaving away in a gym and starving yourself in the weeks leading up to your holiday, but to make the best of what you have and own it. Walk with your back straight, follow the points below and you’ll be good to go.
4. Get Yourself a Base Tan
If your body hasn’t seen any meaningful sun exposure since this time last year, a good base tan is essential. Avoid the electric beach and instead get a professional spray tan done a day or two before you fly. Having a golden base increases your confidence on the beach, but it will also encourage you to take better precautions in the actual sun, because you won’t be in so much of a rush to get a tan (we see you).
5. Consider Your Body Hair
Just because you can’t see your back hair, doesn't mean no one else can. Some good body hair maintenance before you hit the beach can improve your confidence on the sand. Waxing can be a good temporary fix for unwanted body hair, but sugaring – a process that involves hair being removed with an exfoliating paste of sugar, lemon and water – is far less aggressive (meaning you’re less likely to incur unsightly breakouts afterwards) and much more long lasting.
6. Apply Proper Sun Protection
Again, it sounds obvious, but this is an area that men are prone to getting wrong. Burning yourself to a crisp on the first day of your holiday and waiting for it to turn into a tan does not a good holiday sun protection regime make. Not only will this do dangerous damage to your skin, but it will also result in a tan that fades faster than you can say “melanoma”. The key? Proper, consistent sun protection, applied regularly throughout your holiday. The factor? Fifty. No less. No arguments.
Sun Protection Lotion by Shiseido, $39. shiseido.com
7. Dink More Water
Boring, but following this rule will make you less likely to not pass out on the beach owing to dehydration. All that chlorine and saltwater is not doing your body any favours.. Remember, gents. Hydrate your skin, hydrate yourself.