19 Convincing Reasons to Wear a Pair of Boardshorts—Even If You Don’t Surf!

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A Saturday morning in the city, with no beach in sight, on one of the first excruciatingly hot days of early June, I was waiting in line at the Apple store in my neighborhood when I noticed a woman behind me in a pair of boardshorts. Mid-length and printed, these swim shorts looked surprisingly and effortlessly chic with a flowing white blouse and chunky slide sandals. A street-to-beach look I immediately wanted to add to my own summer outfit rotation. 

Despite being an unexpected item for the middle of Brooklyn, it was a sartorial choice that actually made perfect sense. There’s nothing worse than thick fabrics and tight silhouettes on sticky hot days. And with their laidback aura, loose fit, and water-wicking fabrics, a pair of swim shorts for women becomes extremely appealing—whether you’re heading out for a swim or not.

Not to mention, a handful of fashion brands have adopted the surf’s-up style. Paco Rabanne and Prada’s beach and outdoor summer capsule collections delivered literal takes on the boardshort (seen most recently in our very own beach shoot with Mayan Toledano). Meanwhile, Christopher Kane, Dries Van Noten, Versace, and Jil Sander presented drawstring shorts styles. There’s no denying the boxy, mid-length, elastic waist swim short silhouette has become a major trend among designer labels. But of course, there have always been options from classic swimwear labels and surf brands. We like Vilebrequin’s retro prints and Roxy’s striped pairs.

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One of the best parts about adding a boardshort into your summer style is the endless amount of fun prints or shades from which to choose. Take it from someone who doesn’t wear prints or brights often; there’s something to be said for having a colorful zig-zag stripe, tropical print, or retro-inspired abstract pattern peek out from under an oversized white button-up. You can also look to model Paloma Elsesser for extra inspiration on how to style a pair. Or use one to breathe new life into that plain black swimsuit you wear on repeat.

So whether you’re on or off the beach, pick up one of the best swim shorts for women and shop our boardshort edit, below.

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Paco Rabanne geometric print shell shorts

Jil Sander drawstring-waist swim shorts

Versace print beach shorts

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Vilebrequin swim short Mandala

Ansea the reversible long board short

Tombolo Fruits De Mer swim trunks

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Vilebrequin swim short 1975

Frescobol Carioca swim shorts

Dries Van Noten printed shorts

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Zimmermann poppy relaxed silk shorts

Paradised Hanna printed shorts

MC2 Saint Barth patchwork recycled swim shorts

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Christopher Kane mindscape shorts

Ramy Brook Tessa floral shorts in wave

Madewell Second Wave board shorts

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Roxy sea stripe board shorts

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