Swim trunks are an essential part of any man’s summer wardrobe, whether lounging beachside or diving into the pool. When it comes to high-end swimwear, two brands stand out for their iconic styles: Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown.
But with different design philosophies and price points, which brand offers the best quality and value swim trunks?
A Brief Comparison Table
|$220-$350 per pair
|$195-$295 per pair
|Styles & cuts
|22+ prints each season, mid-length inseam (5-7 inches), higher rise fits, elastic or adjustable drawstring waistband
|Classic tailored block colors, 9 inch inseams, lower rise, side adjusters
|Nylon/elastane or polyamide/elastane blends, quick-drying, some mesh linings
|Custom 4-way stretch nylon/elastane, water-resistant coating
|Sizing & fit
|Tend to run small, order one size up for comfort, tailored silhouette with lower leg openings
|Offer exact sizing charts, adjustable fit with side tab waist fasteners
|Bold prints and bright colors, tailored and fitted look, jetsetter lifestyle
|Clean and classic aesthetics, active beach days and water sports
|Vibrant original prints each season, luxury legacy brand status, excellent tailoring and quality, expansive customization options
|Innovation in fabric technology, great stretch and recovery, signature side fasteners, sizing consistency
|Expensive price point even on sale items, break in period required before optimal comfort, limited style versatility outside resort vacations
|Nylon not as luxe feeling as other premium fibers, simpler styles lack bold visual appeal of higher fashion houses
From the quintessential poolside glamour of St. Tropez to the surf culture waves of Bondi Beach, both Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown encapsulate an effortless chic style perfect for soaking up summer.
But they achieve this through different design focuses.
For shoppers seeking statement prints that never fade out of fashion each season, Vilebrequin delivers iconic motifs and tailored cuts optimized for poolside posing.
Those wanting a pair of quality crafted swim shorts for adventures both in and out of water without the bigger price tag may prefer Orlebar Brown’s value, flexibility, and technical edge.
Keep reading for an in-depth exploration of the distinguishing traits of Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown swim shorts to determine your ideal fit.
Comparison of Vilebrequin And Orlebar Brown Swim Trunks
Now that the histories of each brand are covered, let’s analyze some of the most important variables to consider when choosing between designer swim trunks.
When comparing price between Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown, both sit at a similar tier among premium swimwear brands. Individual trunk costs typically range from:
Vilebrequin: $225 – $350
Orlebar Brown: $195 – $295
So while Vilebrequin does skew slightly higher per pair, Orlebar Brown’s regular online sales help offset the difference. Both represent an investment that pays off through years of wear versus cheap fast fashion options that fall apart after one season.
The materials used contribute enormously towards the look, longevity, and comfort of swim trunks.
Vilebrequin favors quick-dry nylon blend fabrics, typically featuring 10-15% elastane for flexible stretch. Some styles have mesh linings for both support and increased airflow.
Rich dyes allow their signature vibrant artwork prints to pop.
While luxuriously soft with quality tailoring, their fabrics tend to be thinner by nature for drying efficiency.
By contrast, Orlebar Brown created their own custom fabrics.
Their 4-way stretch nylon/elastane weave called OB Classic offers water resistance coating for 30 times faster drying than cotton, UV protection up to 50 SPF, and resin coating to reduce sand and chlorine buildup.
The added spandex allows greater range of motion. Many customers praise the exceptional fit and recovery. However some lament it feels less luxe than natural fibers.
So while matter of preference, those wanting a silkier handfeel may prefer Vilebrequin while Orlebar Brown prioritizes performance and mobility.
- Style Variety
When it comes to patterns and design options, Vilebrequin dominates with constantly refreshing selections each season spanning geometric art deco motifs to tropical foliage. Novelty prints like ice cream cones or poker card symbols means you’ll never show up in the same pair.
Vibrant palettes reflect the smoldering heat of St. Tropez sun. While popular turtle and octopus prints offer a signature look, Vilebrequin always keeps options interesting for the style maven.
Meanwhile, Orlebar Brown sticks closer to a core selection of solids and horizontal stripe patterns in classic color combos like navy and white. Clean lines channel timeless 1960s inspiration that works season over season.
So for the guy who values simplicity, Orlebar Brown provides a perfect basic. Though limited edition drops, custom monogram services, or special collab capsules with brands like Land Rover add intermittent flair.
Vilebrequin is known for a more tailored fit that hugs the lines of the body, sitting higher at the waist with slimmer legs. They size truer to frame with some digestive area compression. Those who prefer a lean straight shape may appreciate the flattering cut.
But the tailored hips and rear means less ease for athletic builds. Signature drawstring or partial elastic waistbands cinch for security.
Comparatively, Orlebar Brown offers a straighter, boxier silhouette with their signature side fasteners allowing a 4 inch range of adjustability.
The roomier cut accommodates muscular bodies while flap tie tabs enhance security, replaced yearly if any issues emerge.
With a lower rise and 9 inch inseams hitting mid-thigh, Orlebar Brown facilitates greater mobility.
But some dislike the looser style as less polished.
So determining priorities between a streamlined versus utilitarian shape proves key. Guys hoping for a flattering contour to show off physique opt for Vilebrequin while those wanting comfort for watersports pick Orlebar Brown.
- Best Use Occasions
Vilebrequin’s tailored shape and ritzy heritage make them perfect for lounging seaside on vacation, paired with luxe accessories like gold watches or aviators while sipping cocktails.
The eye catching designs slot right into European resort lifestyle, equally suited for superyacht sailings as boutique hotel cabana scenes.
But the delicate materials may not endure rugged adventures.
By contrast, Orlebar Brown’s quick dry fabric and athletic cut equip them for active beach days playing volleyball or swimming laps.
The classic styles transition effortlessly from shoreline to downtown bars for afternoon drinks and nightlife.
So convenience travels well across various environments. But the pared back aesthetic lacks showstopping visual impact for strictly fashion appearances.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
As a men’s swimwear brand focused on technical innovation and modern heritage style, key competitors for Orlebar Brown include:
1. Onia: Favored for bold prints and cuts optimized for fit. Comparable tailored silhouette and fashion forward offerings each season.
2. Patagonia: Overlaps with sustainable production methods and durable water ready designs suitable for surfing and watersports. More budget friendly price point.
3. J.Crew: Features a similar aesthetic of timeless American prep styles. Not as specialized in high performance swim fabrics but larger market businesses.
4. James Percy: Contemporary made-to-order custom tailoring with high tech fabrics. Competes in personalized monogram services and glossy editorial marketing.
So while Orlebar Brown occupies its own niche bridging innovation with Savile Row sensibility, adjacent lifestyle brands encroach with overlapping strengths. Continual fabric development and brand collabs help maintain an edge.
Vilebrequin dominates the high-end printed mens swim short category without many direct competitors able to match their artistic originality and luxury legacy. But brands that overlap in style include:
1. MC2 Saint Barth: Caribbean flair with colorful designs yet more resort casual price points and minimal branding.
2. Vela Beach: High quality Italian craftsmanship with on-trend motifs each season at lower cost targets.
3. Louis Vuitton: Iconic luxury house offering limited edition takes on graphic print trunks alongside leather accessories and monogram detailed options.
So while Vilebrequin owns quintessential St. Tropez style, adjacent resort brands emulate their aesthetic from a more mass market reach. Newer labels like Seasons May Vary gain some traction too by reacting quicker to current trends in millennial and Gen Z markets.
With signature swim trunks ranging from $225 to $350, iconic founder story tying to the French Riviera, family owned heritage dating back 50 years, and distribution exclusively through select premium retailers and company owned global boutiques, Vilebrequin occupies rarified air as a luxury brand. Everything from the silk-like feel of their swimsuit fabrics down to unique carry cases transports owners into the lavish Saint-Tropez lifestyle.
Yet compared to leading Italian fashion houses like Versace and Dolce & Gabbana which also release high-end men’s swim collections alongside couture clothing lines, Vilebrequin focuses specifically on swimwear. So pricing sits just below highest tier houses.
Regardless, their exceptional quality, craftsmanship, and enduring seasonal designs cement Vilebrequin as a luxury brand infusing stylish swim shorts with resort refinement at five times the price of mainstream fast fashion labels. Owning a pair telegraphs a refined sensibility.
Several factors contribute to Vilebrequin’s lofty pricing averaging $300 per pair of swim shorts:
Licensing Brand Artists: Vilebrequin splashes out on collaborating with painters, photographers, and graphic designers internationally to create hundreds of original prints annually based on the St. Tropez resort lifestyle. Royalties to these visual artists gets built into the production costs.
Textile Innovation: Blends of high quality quick-dry nylon and elastane with specialized coatings, silk screened graphics, and custom developed dying techniques add expense compared to basic cotton blends.
French Craftsmanship: Maintaining their company workshop in Paris to carefully hand cut and sew each swimsuit rather than outsourcing to cheaper factories abroad enables premium quality control while raising labor costs.
Boutique Overheads: Flagship stores across luxury resort destinations like Saint-Tropez, Mykonos, and Ibiza require prime real estate. High service staffing also factors in.
Brand Legacy: The heritage and storytelling around Vilebrequin’s core styles results in customers happily paying higher premiums for iconic designs like the Moorea turtle that retain equity over decades.
So for shoppers who value one-of-a-kind artwork each season, tailored cuts optimized for lounging seaside, and the recognizable marker owning Vilebrequin conveys, the lavish pricing correctly signals the creativity and craftsmanship invested into elevating humble swim trunks into a luxury designer market.
While Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown both deliver premium tier swim shorts for discerning tastes, they achieve this through divergent strengths.
For shoppers who want comfort and versatility to transition through adventures both in and out of water, Orlebar Brown provides well-crafted basics enhanced by technical innovation.
But seeking high fashion artistry and scene stealing designer flair for making a splash poolside? Vilebrequin’s legendary prints infused with French Riviera joie de vivre ensure eyes only see you.
Ultimately preference depends on lifestyle needs and priorities. The guy chasing the endless summer around the globe’s most glamorous beaches and superyacht deck parties finds a perfect travel companion in Vilebrequin.
Yet for the man who values timelessness and functionality across both city business meetings and weekend lake house escapes, Orlebar Brown checks every box through understated versatility.
But whether contrasting or aligned in philosophies, both Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown secure their positions as premier mens swimwear brands by staying uniquely true to their core values.