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The above images from our recent catalogs (yes, by the way, we put out the occasional swimsuit issue… and lingerie catalog, if you’re into that kind of thing)—coupled with the fact that it’s 72 degrees but steadily drizzling here at our Seattle headquarters—have made it quite apparent that, in order to squeeze the most out of the last weeks of summer, an epic vacation may be in order.

As indicated above, your fastidious better half is likely to have her vacation game all buttoned up. Make sure you’re worthy, starting with the nucleus of every man’s tropical travel bag: an up-to-date, well-fitting swimsuit (or three). Also: sunscreen. And: a few travel tricks up your sleeve (what sleeve?).


Tip: Take her somewhere she hasn’t been. Read on for three lesser-traveled destinations, courtesy of Nordstrom PR pro and resident paradise-seeker Brie Cross. (If you missed it, read part 1 of this post for Brie’s favorite spots in Cali, Panama and Mexico). Then, keep scrolling to check out our favorite swimwear.



1. Cartagena, Colombia. “Colombia’s hottest party city on the coast. Stroll the colonial town, stay out late and soak up the vibrant Colombian culture. Panama hats required. Stay at Hotel Casa Pestagua or Alfiz Hotel. For longer stays, try to sneak in a couple days at Tayrona National Park and stay in the Ecohabs—or do a day trip to Islas del Rosario.”

[Photos by Instagram users: @anajumelo | @rafaelgsterling | @gabrielagabrielaa
@xiomilozanog | @lizzienichuipeir | @luivybaldom]

  
  
2. Andalusian Coast, Spain. “A couple hours south of Seville (arguably one of Spain’s prettiest cities), you’ll find the Andalusian Coast—packed with tiny towns, each more charming than the next. Go inland to the white-washed Vejer de la Frontera for a day trip, but be sure to soak up Spanish holiday life in the many beach towns. The rustic El Palmar is a favorite surf spot amongst locals.”

[Photos by Instagram users: @thalia_marin | @silmarse | @rusian_roulete
@davidbujalance | @churumbele | @lidatrujillo93]

  
  
3. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. “Visit this quiet (-ish) surfer town on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica for ultimate, laid-back pura vida. Jump off waterfalls in the next town over, or hit the waves morning and sundown at one of the world’s smoothest surfing spots.”

[Photos by Instagram users: @byemilyb | @lauraquirosortiz | @kimberlynsb
@jonburke | @brookieobx | @courtneyallison]

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Now that you know where you’re going, let’s talk about what to wear. Check our previous post for the pros and cons of swim trunks vs. board shorts, and shop our Editor’s Picks below—ranging from understated solids to prints that’ll ensure your travel partner is not distracted by the “scenery” (by which we mean the European guy in a thong on the next beach blanket over).



Tommy Bahama | Ted Baker | Zanerobe [floral] | Hobie
Zanerobe [spots] | 55DSL | Lightning Bolt | RVCA


Digging prints? Try these trunks by Topman—they fit great, and the price is nice ($22 to $52 each).
From left: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

 

SHOP ALL: MEN’S SWIMWEAR



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Now that we’ve got your attention: There’s plenty of summer left. (In fact, it’s only just begun here at our Seattle HQ.) If you haven’t already, it’s high time you plan an epic, romantic, once-in-a-lifetime getaway for you and your significant other. Forget bringing home flowers and wine once in a while; a tropical trip (especially a *surprise* one—ladies love that stuff) will put you in the safe-zone of her (or his) good graces for an entire month or two—bare minimum.


Once the tickets are booked and you’re firmly ensconced in paradise, you can be sure she’ll bring her A-game to the beach (see above). Make sure you do the same (see also above). Before we dive into what to wear, though, here are a few thoughts on destinations she’ll love—courtesy of Nordstrom PR pro, and resident travel junkie, Brie Cross. To illustrate Brie’s suggestions, we crowd-sourced photos from our favorite all-encompassing, ever-growing treasure trove of excellence: Instagram.

[A note on the photography up top: Gratuitous Kate Upton shots are a dime a dozen these days...and for that, we are thankful. However, we felt our highly refined readership would prefer to draw vacation inspiration from these artful swimwear images of model Monika Jac Jagaciak, shot by Greg Kadel for German Vogue.]



1. Big Sur, California. “If you want to stay domestic, visit one of Cali’s most beautiful beaches. For the ultimate in West-Coast luxury, stay at the Post Ranch Inn. [Note the infinity pool, top right.]”

[Photos by Instagram users: @gaelcl | @deemoran6 | @postranchinn
@heavyyymaiden | @random_slaps | @r1chmiro]



2. Bocas del Toro, Panama. “Central America’s latest it destination. One look at the bungalows on the water, and you’ll be ready to book your tickets. You’ll also be close to the Costa Rican border for a mid-trip getaway to Puerto Viejo.”

[Photos by Instagram users: @amiluk | @misspatacon | @kristinpanke
@lacyjayde | @renatass | @breedle_]

  
 
3. Tulum, Mexico. “A beach oasis on the Yucatán Peninsula, with perfect white sand and turquoise water. Stay at Coqui Coqui or Posada Margherita for posh beachside accommodations, or Coco Tulum for minimalist cabanas on the sand. Tulum Strip is packed with excellent restaurants (Casa Jaguar is a favorite for ambiance, food and the occasional celeb sighting) but head to town for nightlife, too. Make time to visit the local Mayan ruins of Tulum and Coba, and Chichen Itza for a day trip. Swimming in some of the approximately 3,000 nearby cenotes is a MUST.”

[Photos by Instagram users: @raphreponty | @ashleekerford | @d_taylor77
@griselleme | @ashleekerford | @zoranaj]

 
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Unless you really want to get ‘international,’ you’ll likely need something to wear at most of these beaches. Start with our Editor’s Picks for two styles of swimwear essentials: Swim Trunks and Board Shorts:


Swim Trunks: The Classic. They can run a variety of lengths (we highly recommend above the knee, for the best looking proportion)—but the defining characteristic of all swim trunks is their elastic waist. It’s the most flattering on a variety of physiques—and the most forgiving, if you finish of your date’s taco platter at lunch.
L-R: Boss Hugo Boss | Volcom | Marc by Marc Jacobs | Brooks Brothers
Shop All: Swim Trunks 


Board Shorts: Ready for Action. Developed in the 1970s for surfers, board shorts are still a smart choice if your idea of a day at the beach includes action sports more rigorous than snoozing, reading, and applying tanning oil to your partner in crime. (Their lace-up waist keeps them from staying in the water after you get out.)
L-R: Brixton | Patagonia | Sundek | Lightning Bolt
Shop All: Board Shorts 

 

SHOP ALL: MEN’S SWIMWEAR

 
 

[Intro photos by Greg Kadel for German Vogue. Instagram images by the individual users as noted; if you see your photo and would like it removed, please contact us via the 'Email the Editor' link to the right.]






“What he recorded is the surf scene exploding in a riot of Technicolor. California in the 1960s…held a mythical place in our imaginations as the land of endless sun, surf, and possibilities. LeRoy Grannis will go down as one of the men who helped create this mythos.”
—The Selvedge Yard contributing editor, Eli M. Getson

Read the whole story, with many more photos, at The Selvedge Yard; and buy Grannis’ book here.

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Now that you’re inspired to hit the beach, bust out the kiddy pool—or given the recent heat, just stand in front of the fridge wearing swim trunks—shop key swim trends, in long, medium and short inseams.


Stripes: Quiksilver | Insight | Hugo Boss
 


Prints: Toddland | Insight | Orlebar Brown + Nick Wooster
 


Solids: Quiksilver | Sundek | Marc by Marc Jacobs

 

[Surf photos ©LeRoy Grannis, via The Selvedge Yard.]

“Most people look to Hugo Boss for work-wear staples, from perfect business suits to shirts and ties, but what a lot of them don’t know is that the brand is a great resource for sportswear with a great European sensibility. This bathing suit is a great hybrid of a swim trunk and an athletic short, cut a little slimmer and sexier than American versions. The sporty, contrasting side-stripe detail has the same spirit as a racing stripe on a muscle car and the graphic touch flatters every guy by making him look like he has smaller hips.”

—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director

Each month for the next six months, the editors of GQ, in collaboration with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Tommy Fazio and the Men’s Shop, will select key items from the pages of GQ to feature right here on Nordstrom.com.

For our inaugural edition of GQ Selects, we’ve chosen 12 killer items from the July issue. Check back every month for more.

“We’re very big fans of Orlebar here. The short story behind the brand, pun intended, is its founder, Adam Brown, was an art director and photographer who was tired of going to the beach and having to change out of his swimsuit to go to lunch or get something off of the sand. So these have been tailored like a great pair of trousers, including pockets and tonal side tabs, and work when worn with other clothing or simply as a swimsuit. This olive drab color is one of those great neutrals that can be paired back to just about any hue. They’re a bit of an investment—most guys have never spent three figures on swim trunks—but it’s one that’s totally worth it. They’re going to do double duty over any other swimsuit and last twice as long.”

—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director

Each month for the next six months, the editors of GQ, in collaboration with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Tommy Fazio, will select key items from the pages of GQ to feature right here on Nordstrom.com.

For our inaugural edition of GQ Selects, we’ve chosen 12 killer items from the July issue. Check back every month for more.