It's not just about looking cool with white gunk on your nose. The beach-rescue professional projects easy confidence off duty, too. "No matter where he is, he really just wants to be surfside, and that comes through in the clothes," says designer Michael Bastian, who built his current collection around the all-American archetype. Wade into the role with these essentials.
2) Lifeguard on Duty ($45), powerhousebooks.com
3) Watch ($99) by G-Shock, gshock
6) Sunglasses ($290) by Marc Jacobs, solsticestores.com
7) Michael Bastian, spring 2009 runway.
THE UPGRADE: THE NEW BOARD SHORTS
Shorts ($40) by Gap, gap.com
Straight guys call it the Prison Look, gay men the Mantle. The uniquely American physique is all pec, no legthose guys at the gym who look like Schwarzenegger on top and Humpty Dumpty down below. With a little more work on your calves and quads, you won't be compelled to hide those shriveled appendages under the kind of sagging board shorts that reach your ankles when wet. Advance to more modern trunks that come with pockets and hit about three inches above your knees.
Photographs by Matt Albiani; Courtesy of Michael Bastinan. Still Lifes by Brad Bridgers.