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When it comes to men's swimwear, the beach can be the backdrop for all sorts of questionable choices. Chief among them isn’t showing off too much thigh---instead, it's the trend in over-the-top coverage from waist to mid-calf, which makes board shorts look more like capri pants.

Enter British label Orlebar Brown, whose designs are an upgrade on standard swim trunks---and look more like stylish shorts that you can swim in. Our favorite---a tailored style that's forgiving to most body types---is the Bulldog ($240;, below. This mid-length design is cut from a traditional 17-piece men's trouser pattern and features sleek, masculine touches like side fasteners and angled front pockets. Importantly, of course, it does all the things a regular swimsuit is meant to, thanks to a mesh lining and quick-drying polyamide fabric.

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If you find the Bulldog's 6-inch inseam just slightly too short for your taste, try menswear brand Bonobos's limited-edition 7-inch Amalfi Collection boardshort ($150;, at top. Like Oberland Brown's designs, these shorts are made of high quality fabric (this time sourced in Italy) and feature a neat zipper fly and snap-button enclosure.

Whichever label you choose, be assured that the shorter cut won't overwhelm legs like midi-length board shorts, but also won't scandalize fellow beachgoers, as a Speedo might. The style is appropriate for lounging seaside, at a pool club---or even, if the opportunity arises, paired with a button-up for sipping margaritas at a resort bar.