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Q Our pool club is closed this summer and luckily I've been invited to swim in my neighbor's pool. He is always in fashion and all I have to wear are my old spandex trunks. What should I order online to wear?

A Well, one thing not to wear are those old spandex trunks. They are too tight, too short and too out-of-date for wearing anywhere today, even to a neighbor's pool.

And, lucky for you, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of options to choose from without leaving home. When I checked online, I found every color, every pattern and every look imaginable. So many, in fact, that you might have trouble choosing. They even have a few of those old spandex trunks among their offerings. Skip those, and then decide which styles you like. Consider:

LENGTH -- They come in all lengths from short to knee-length. But the best length for swim trunks is a bit shorter than street shorts, and that means several inches above the knee.

STYLE -- Swim trunks should be close-fitting at the thighs, but comfortable. They almost all have an elastic waistband. Some also have a draw-string closure, even though it's often only there for the look, not for any functionality. I don't have any strong preference for one style over the other, but you might.

COLOR/PATTERN -- The possibilities are truly endless. While men are limited as to color choices for most of their regular wardrobes, what they wear to the pool is wide open. Every color is acceptable. The same is almost true in regard to patterns. There is everything from solids and simple stripes to flowers and fishes, and from quiet dots to colorful Burberry plaids. Many have tropical or nautical prints. A few come in father-and-son matching patterns. I would go so far as to say that nothing is off-limits. Be conservative if you like, or go wild. But maybe not too wild, especially if they are your only pair; you never know who else your neighbor might invite along with you. And, when choosing bright colors or patterns, make sure they do not clash with your top/shirt. Avoid two different patterns as well as those old-fashioned matched "sets."

FABRICS -- You have several to choose from. Some that are comfortable in and out of the water are 100% cotton, and many are quick-drying synthetics, such as microfiber, polyester and nylon. Although I tend to be snobbishly opposed to man-made fibers in the rest of a man's wardrobe, I have no such prejudice when it comes to swim attire.

PRICES -- These are all over the map, from $15 to $350, mostly depending on the brand or designer name. You will see such familiar names as Nike, Lands' End, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo and Nautica, as well as high-end imports. Unlike what I might have to say about suits and your other clothing, I cannot honestly say that you get any greater degree of elegance or perfection or even durability in proportion with how much you pay. If you see a pair you like for a price you are comfortable with, buy them. In truth, this year the prices of men's swimwear seem to have been marked down much earlier than the traditional Fourth of July reductions, some by as much as 70% off the retail price. And many, if not most, also come with free shipping.

If you are not certain of your picks, fear not, most online shopping includes a very flexible return policy.

Please send your men's dress and grooming questions to MALE CALL:

Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

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