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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
How to choose the best sunscreen
Easy as 1-2-3…
There’s no shortage of sunscreen options in the skin care aisle, but which are the best for your body? Bart Zoni, co-founder of Clinical Skincare Company, shares his expertise on what to look for when choosing your skin’s best defense.
1. Pay Attention to Active Ingredients
We’ve been conditioned to look at the SPF on our sunscreen to determine how much protection we want or think we need, but the active ingredients in a formula are just as important, Zoni says. The vast majority of skin health professionals rely on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide — the two mineral actives available in the U.S. — instead of chemical filters. A quick check of the drug facts on the back of your bottle will list what’s inside.
2. Double Down on the Protection
When browsing sunscreen brands to put in your beach bag, two words are critical: Broad Spectrum. “These SPF products are able to block both UVA and UVB radiation, providing you with the best protection possible,” explains Zoni.
After showering, moisturize with Cetaphil Men’s Daily Face Lotion SPF 15 for regular protection, and up the ante with Skin Cancer Foundation-recommended EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 for prolonged exposure.
3. Boost Your Natural Defenses
Everything else we put in and on our body is fortified, so why not sunscreen? SPF plus antioxidants are the perfect combo for ultimate before and after defense.
“The sun puts a lot of stress on the skin and antioxidants help prevent and repair visible sun damage,” Zoni says. “Combining them with your SPF makes total sense. Look for ingredients like Vitamin C, green tea extract, ubiquinone, or Vitamin E.”
info: 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.