It’s that time of year again- just how much are you going to bare?

On the first of May at around 5 a.m. hundreds of St Andrews students will hit the beach to take part in the May Dip. Traditionally one must partake this ritual in the nude. Now I love a naked male torso as much as the next girl, but when faced with several hundred of them it can get a little daunting. And so it would be just a little appreciated if there was at least some swimwear present.

For men it’s a pretty broad category – mostly dependent on length, colour and Lycra-consistency. As with all fashion, and especially with swimwear, body shape and confidence play an important part in choosing the correct swimwear.

For the most body confident we have our speedos. Due to their distinct lack of material it is hardly surprising that they’ve gained so many nicknames. Maybe typing ‘Speedo nicknames’ into Google was a bad idea, but there was some interesting feedback including ‘banana-hammocks’ and ‘sausage-smugglers’… Personally, I believe that unless you are taking part in an Olympic sport they should never be seen. Too many memories involving over-weight men and over-hanging beer bellies has spoiled the ‘budgie-smuggler’ for me I’m afraid.

Adding a few inches onto those delightful little numbers can make a big difference. The short-length swim shorts come in skin-tight and looser varieties. The tighter version is preferred by the sportsmen who refuse to wear the speedo, but need to prevent any extra resistance as they speed through the surf. This option also looks good sun-bathing on your private beach. However, unless you have the thighs to fill them perhaps choose something looser or longer.

The favoured option is mid-thigh to just above the knee. For this one, colour is slightly more important. Anything pale is off the cards. It’ll go see-through and resemble boxers. Going for something brighter will make it look like you can actually afford swimwear and don’t have to rely on wearing your briefs every time you take a dip. There are some crazy prints out there from tropical to floral to stripes. Mr Porter  has a fantastic selection of brightly coloured pairs from J Crew tribal print to classic Ralph Lauren plaid.

As for accessories and general beach wear, necklaces are strictly out of the equation, unless you are an Australian surfer ‘dude’ with sun-bleached locks. Not exactly a common occurrence here on the East Fife Coast. Flip-flops should be kept to muted tones and not the neon greens and pinks that have been spotted creeping onto the high street.

The easiest styles to find are the mid-thigh shorts and there is a lot of variety when it comes to colour and print. The shorter styles should probably be reserved for toned thighs and tanned abs.

But under no circumstances wear a Mankini. Just no.


Millicent Wilkinson

Image – Millicent Wilkinson