Swimming shorts inspired by the ease and sophistication with which 19th-century sailing ships cut through the water certainly sound like a stylish affair. And those by young British tailoring firm Hemingsworth are just that, designed to transition seamlessly from prow to promenade. According to brand founder Matt Jones, who launched Hemingsworth online in January 2017, the signature Clipper range consists of “tailored shorts you can swim in, rather than swim shorts you can wear out of water”.
The neat flat-front design was created alongside Savile Row tailors and each pair (£185) is put together in London in 17 hand-finished stages using a 29-piece pattern. There are five block-colour fabric choices, ranging from classic navy to a vibrant yellow, and three seersucker stripes, which I think are particularly smart. The cotton-blend casual tailoring cloths are combined with a Lycra inner, four mesh pockets (including a buttoned coin pocket), mother-of-pearl buttons and made-to-order metal buckles. While the sleek detailing and close fit will do little to hamper one’s stroke, an integral covered back belt resists the dreaded southward movement of sodden attire.
But how do these stylish swimmers stand up to the rigours of submersion? “Our shorts use the latest modern fibres for a feel that is reminiscent of soft cotton,” says Jones, “yet have the hardwearing resistance needed for salt and chlorinated water, as well as a quick-drying performance.” With the latter, crucially, minimising the time between emerging from the waters to being seated for a platter of fruits de mer and a glass of sancerre.