Over the past few months, most people, including all of us here at the Strategist, have become heavily invested in the world of all things lounge. As such, we have carefully located everything from the very best sweatpants, to the comfiest (yet still stylish) elastic-waisted shorts for women, to the flowiest, nicest-looking dresses to wear around the house. Below is our latest installment in this series: the best lounge shorts for men, according to guys with particularly excellent style. It includes some classic Baggies, a cozy tie-dye pair that comes with a matching top, and the ones Strategist columnist Chris Black says effectively “let the quads breathe.”
It’s no secret that we’re fans of Patagonia Baggies here at the Strategist — as the Cut recently pointed out, we’ve written about them many, many times — and so we weren’t too surprised to hear from our stylish panel of men that Baggies make an ideal pair of lounge shorts. Nick Sugihara, founder of clothing line ijji, told us that while he’s never been a huge shorts person, when it gets hot, it’s time to get out the Baggies. “They’re the perfect length, very lightweight, and have great pockets to shove my wallet into if I have to run out for a few minutes,” says Sugihara. The shorts are also a favorite of Strategist columnist Chris Black — “They come in wild colors and prints, but I prefer mine in black,” he says — and senior editor Anthony Rotunno, who says he does not own a ton of lounge-specific wear, except his three pairs of Baggies. “On weekends, they’re usually what I pull on for the hours between being asleep and ‘getting dressed’ — which, with warmer weather returning, now just means putting a fresh shirt on top of the Baggies and calling it a day,” says Rotunno.
If you’re up for showing a little leg, consider Mapate Diop, founder of the clothing line DIOP’s, recommendation: “Most are familiar with the legendary Patagonia Baggie and its five-inch inseam,” he says. “But I think everyone (women, men, neither, whatever) should take it to the next level with the Barely Baggie and its 2.5-inch inseam.” If you’re thinking 2.5 inches sounds a little short, Diop has some practical reasoning for the pick. “They’re great for walking and biking, plus they’re water-repellent,” he says. “I’ve been living in mine, especially as it gets warmer and I spend more time (masked and safely distanced) outdoors.” Nikko Lencek-Inagaki, head designer for Freemans Sporting Club, is a fan of the shorter Baggies as well. “You can never go wrong with a pair of short-shorts, and what are more classic than some Patagonia Baggies?” he says.
“Humbly, I feel we all need reminding that Patagonia’s ubiquitous Baggies are not the only short out there,” wrote the Strategist’s Louis Cheslaw recently. Fair point. If you too are starting to have some Baggie fatigue, take Cheslaw’s recommendation for these Banks Shorts from Vuori, a brand he points out that “fitness guys have raved to us about” and that after wearing for a few weeks he felt far outdid the appeal of the ubiquitous Patagonia pair. “For one thing, these are insanely stretchy in the crotch, which makes both working out and stretching out on the couch afterward a joy,” he says. They’re versatile, too: “In a matter of hours, they went from a dip in the ocean at New York City’s Rockaway Beach, to a (masked, socially distanced) appointment at a jewelry store in Manhattan, to a workout that included an amount of lunges I’m still walking weirdly from,” says Cheslaw.
We’d be remiss to leave out Black’s other go-to pair of summer shorts: Nike’s Flex Stride Running Shorts. “As I’ve said before, a five-inch inseam is my preferred length,” he wrote in his column. “You’ve got to let the quads breathe.” The shorts have all the qualities you’d need for a hot summer day: “Well-ventilated, lined, and they even have pockets,” he says.
Speaking of shorts that you could wear to take a dip in the ocean (or pool), Lencek-Inagaki told us about this terry cloth pair. “It wouldn’t be summer without some terry cloth,” he says. “These are my favorite pool/beach shorts — they keep you dry and are extremely comfortable.” Lencek-Inagaki likes the shorts in ivory, and they’re also available in this shade of summery “soft sky blue.”
And if you truly want to go sky blue, consider designer Cameron Tea’s pick: a pair of cloud-printed fleece shorts from Phlemuns. “The cloud print is dope,” says Tea, who also mentioned that they are designed and made in Los Angeles. “They’re supercomfortable and breathable.”
For something more minimalist, try Mollusk’s Summer Shorts, which come recommended by O.N.S. founder Brian Chung. “These Summer Shorts from Mollusk are made from 100% cotton and are a do it all, no-thrill-lightweight-lounger-swimmer-climber-shorts,” he says. The shorts are made of preshrunk cotton, so you won’t have to worry about throwing them in the dryer and with a 6.25-inch inseam have a fairly relaxed fit.
Chung is also a fan of these shorts from Handvaerk, a brand he says “does a fantastic job of selecting luxurious fabrics that work well with classic menswear designs.” The shorts are made of a Peruvian pima cotton and elastane terry blend, which Chung told us has a “plush” feel to it, and the design is both practical and sleek. “The elegant seams make the shorts look minimal, and the trunk area is reinforced to maximize mobility for when you need extra flexibility,” he says.
For a pair of shorts with a longer inseam, look no further than this pair of French terry shorts that we heard about from Cool and Casual Studios founder Alden Jackson, who also told us about the brand when we asked him about the best black T-shirts for men. Oublier, which was founded by Jackson’s friend, offers vintage-inspired pieces that save you the hunt for the elusive perfect vintage tee or pair of shorts.
“I love supporting Black-owned and independent brands like LBF,” says Diop of the line that makes these cozy shorts that come in a range of colors from volt (a lime green) to “Baggio blue.” They have both side and back zipper pockets (“I believe that while working out, you can never have too many pockets,” says Diop.) He recommends sizing up “if you prefer a more relaxed fit.”
If you prefer something with a little more structure, consider these J. Peterman Gurkha shorts, which come recommended by Lencek-Inagaki. “These are the perfect mix of dressy and casual,” he says, adding that the dark khaki is an ideal color for summer. So ideal that the dark khaki is nearly sold out — but a similar style from the brand is available in similar shades of olive and tan, which we think are quite handsome as well.