As the author of this blog, I'm constantly amazed by the amount of junk and freebie offers come into my inbox from pr firms. Many of them get junked right away, like the ones that just outright ask me for a free plug. Others get read, if it seems to be something that might be of interest. A small few get a response and maybe give me something to review. These offers I gladly accept, with no guarantee of endorsement, but mostly I ignore this stuff. Lately, I've been flooded with stuff about swimsuits. When the currently "it" brand Orlebar Brown contacted me recently, I nearly asked for a sample. After all, these do look like nice trunks, and a lot of people are drooling over them.
I was particularly interested in this pair, the classic "bulldog" as they call it. A nice short inseam, pockets, and old school side tabs, available in good looking colors. But ultimately, I decided to leave this one alone. You see, the trunks in the photo above retail for $240, and there is no way I could recommend such a thing in good conscience. No matter how much disposable income you may have, spending such a sum on swim trunks is unforgivable, no matter how nice they may be. Allow me to explain.
A few weeks prior to being contacted by the semi-clueless pr firm hired to shill these outlandish trunks I had purchased these two new from Lands' End. True, I may make a lifestyle out of living in other peoples old stuff, but swim trunks, like underwear, should be new. These were on sale at the time for $24.50 each, available in a flight of classic, bold colors. They feature side pockets and one hip pocket, just like the Orlebar Brown trunks, plus a very comfortable mesh lining constructed without a seam up the middle, which is, you know, comfortable. They're made of space age quick dry material, just like the Orlebar Brown trunks. True, they eschew fancy side tabs and a zippered fly for the standard draw string waist, but who cares?
In fact, with their six inch inseam and vibrant colors, they are every bit as classic and old school as anything. They're comfortable and stylish, and they look well with an old white or navy blue tennis shirt and battered canvas sneakers, my full beach uniform. They dry quickly, and I don't tend to mind wearing them like a pair of shorts most of the day if that's how it turns out. I guess the main difference lies in marketing. Good old Lands' End doesn't seem to be looking to rape the last vestiges of this preppy trend whore market we currently find ourselves in, and as a result, they garner my respect...and they didn't even give me a freebie. From where I stand, Orlebar Brown seems to be making a fast buck on the fashion worlds obsession with Steve McQueen and everything a size too small. Don't fall for it.
To be fair, I've never actually seen an Orlebar Brown bathing suit, but I can't for the life of me figure that it could be ten times better than these ones, given that they cost ten times as much. Maybe I just can't see the point of fancy swimwear. It's not a suit, after all. Maybe, being married with two kids, I'm not so concerned with impressing people at the beach. Maybe I just can't believe anyone would pay $240 for swim trunks. If you frequent the beach in Summer, as I like to do, a good couple of bathing suits ought to be a cheap commodity. Take the money you save and spend it on beer, hot dogs, lemonade, ice cream, and sunscreen.
p.s. fresh items available in the Shop