Finding swimwear that makes you feel dapper is not easy for most butches and tomboys. This series will feature a different stylish swimsuit and accompanying gear to keep you feeling confident at the beach, lake, or pool.
This edition is inspired by the classic style of James Bond in Thunderball. In keeping with the classic theme, the accessories and gear are geared toward a quiet day of soaking up the sun and simple pleasures. As stated before, I’m not a fan of complete imitation to the point where an outfit feels like cosplay. And, of course, we’re adapting a 1960’s womanizer’s outfit for a modern-day butch (who may also be a womanizer, I suppose, but that’s not really the point!) This is a throwback to a supposedly simpler time when a day at the beach was about pure relaxation. If you’d like to experiment with that idea, this is the gear that you’ll need.
J+S Classic Aviator Sunglasses ($17). I kinda hated the little square dark sunnies that Bond wore in Thunderball. They gave me flashbacks to 1996 and tiny square sunglasses from Claire’s at the mall. I’ll always be a fan first and foremost of classic aviator sunglasses. They look good on everyone, everywhere. End of story.
Outplay Flatsea Swim Tank ($59). I know that price seems a little steep maybe. But let me tell you: as a big butch, this tank has been a lifesaver. I’ve had a blue version of this for maybe 4 years and it is the most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn when I’m barely wearing anything. For me, most of the frustration of finding good butch swimsuits was finding a dang top that didn’t look girly or fit girly. I never have and never will want to “enhance my curves”. As much as a soft and squishy fat girl can, I want to look tough, damnit! This top makes me feel tough. And confident. And masculine. And safe. It’s my go-to. I wish I had all 5 colors. You will not want or need another kind of swim tank after you’ve worn this.
Orient Mako II Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Diving Watch ($141). Y’all know I love my watches. For me, nothing makes sense at the beach except a dive watch. And it’s hard to find a more handsome example than this blue dial beauty with that touch of red. Swoon. I have a crush on this watch. Look at the perfectly angled sword shape of the hands! And that pointy little second hand. And the bold but simple numbers. Mmm. This is a grown-up’s watch. And its classic style will still look good 50 years from now.
Tribit XSound Speaker ($34). Okay, this little guy is not retro looking or studio sound quality or any of that. It’s a solid, simple, waterproof speaker with long battery life. You honestly don’t need more than that. I love music at the beach, but I was raised to be considerate of those around me so I don’t want some concert-on-a-cart speaker that you need a wingman to carry out to your towel. I want something I can toss in my tote bag. I want to set it as an anchor on one end of my towel and I want it to play just loud enough so my girl and I can enjoy it. I want it to create a little bubble around our little square of sand. I don’t want to worry about charging it, or accidentally kicking sand on it, or dripping on it when I come up from the water. This speaker is affordable and has 4.5 stars on Amazon with over 8,200 reviews. That’s incredible.
Lanzom Wide Brim Straw Panama Hat ($22). There are lots of options for covering your head at the beach. I don’t remember our inspiration, 007, wearing a Panama hat. But I kept thinking about how sophisticated Anthony Hopkin’s character looked in that last scene of Silence of the Lambs. You can just tell he is a man of the world, living his best life somewhere in the tropics. I haven’t watched that movie in 20 years, but that hat made an impression, I guess. A wide-brim Panama provides lots of sun coverage. That wide cloth band looks dapper. This one is adjustable for tiny heads like mine. It’s also foldable so you can roll it up and put it in your handsome beach tote once the sun starts to set. You’re not going to find a genuine Panama hat for this price, of course, but for those of us on a budget, this imitation will have to do. (Side note: While doing a little research, I found this video about Panama hats, and because I’m a history nerd I found it fascinating.)
The A&F Resort Short ($55). The first criteria for “classy” swim shorts is a button fly. I love more standard swim trunks with a drawstring band, but I don’t really think they look classy. These shorts, however, do look classy. They look like nice fitting shorts, not swim trunks. That makes them perfect for our purposes. Highlights include built-in compression shorts, and pockets. Don’t we butches love having pockets to stash all our stuff in? These are also a shorter length because no one should be wearing “shorts” that are as long as a dress, especially at the beach. These swim shorts mimic those pale blue ones that Bond wore, but their light swirled dotted pattern takes them up a notch. These are handsome shorts, lads. You are going to look awesome and feel great rocking these at the beach.
Hammer Crown Frescobol Paddle Ball Set ($65). Our whole theme here is for a relaxing, simple day at the beach. This game is timeless. A ball and two paddles. No winner, no loser. Two or more people, bopping the ball back and forth. Just a simple, fun way to spend some time. (similar set here if these remain sold out)
Thing Design Abstract Shapes 36 Sling Chair ($120). Ok, let’s talk about stylish chairs. Camp chairs are not stylish. Those retro woven folding chairs your Pa had are cool, but not stylish. Sitting on your towel all day like a toddler is not stylish. But, these sling chairs. Good lord, are they stylish. There are a ton of different patterns to choose from, they have 3 different seating positions, and that hammock sling seat looks very comfortable. Since I’m a short creature, I love low chairs so I’m not dangling off the edge like a kid. I think low beach chairs are the best anyway since they really encourage kicking back and letting the waves wash your cares away.
CASMAG Espadrilles ($30). I know. Old Navy sells flipflops for like $3. I get it. But, man, we are better than that. Why on earth would you want to ruin a carefully curated and stylish outfit with flip flops? Taking our cue from the ever-stylish Bond, we’re getting some handsome espadrilles to wear to the beach this year. You guys know I’m a huge fan of Primer Magazine (my top go-to menswear blog), and Andrew did a fantastic post on espadrilles a few years back. For some history and great examples of how to rock espadrilles, check that article out here. This pair has a sole of non-skid material (if you’ve ever skidded around on rope soles, you get why that’s good). I also love that visible stitching along the sole.
RAEN x Bespoke Post Harbor Beach Towel ($45 with tote bag). This towel is amazing. I snagged this yellow version as part of the Bespoke Post Playa box a couple of years ago, and have been thrilled with it ever since. First, it is super soft. It’s made from Turkish cotton terry fabric and it’s like wrapping yourself in a sunshine hug when you come up from the water. Second, it’s a great size – large enough to actually lie down on or to wrap about my big butch self. Three, it’s just handsome! I love that it reverses to a negative of itself on the reverse side, so one side has more white and the other has more yellow. I’m a sucker for stripes, and the little wavey strips on this towel add just the right touch of unique to this towel.
RTIC Half Gallon Growler ($35). This jug is small enough to stash in our dapper tote. A half gallon of water (or anything else) obviously isn’t quite enough for a full day at the beach. But as I require my water to be as close to glacially cold as possible, I’d prefer to refill it with a fresh jug anyway. I love that this growler is simple and straightforward.
Maars Insulated Tumbler ($25). What’s the point of bringing a jug to keep your liquid cold if you are just going to pour it into a cheap throwaway plastic cup? It will be warm before you can drink it. I simply can’t do it, guys. I need C-O-L-D water. Especially when I’m dancing the tightrope of suntan vs. sunburn. Insulated cups for the win.
Rutledge & King Beach Tote ($19). This beach tote hits all the right notes for me. It’s large enough to stash all the gear I need, but not so big I can overpack. Those rope handles add the right nautical touch. The denim colored main bag and the basketweave style bottom tie in just right with the espadrilles and the blue band on the hat. Details make the outfit, guys.
I have a little confession: I’m a gear junkie. I always tend to overpack, even for a simple day at the beach. I wanted to put this post together to inspire myself to try a simpler path next time we make for the shore. The whole point of finding a sandy stretch to stretch out on is relaxation and escape. Sometimes it feels like such a production that the time allocated for actually relaxing is barely worth it. So here’s to good tunes, some cold drinks, a little frescobol, and lots of time relaxing. And to being one handsome as hell butch while at the beach.
(If you need more butch swimsuit ideas, check out our round up of 20 butch swimsuits.)