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What are the Best Women’s Lounge Shorts?

Photo: John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Last month, we dove deep into the world of loungewear, and talked to dozens of stylish men and women about the sweatshirts, T-shirts, and sweatpants (so many sweatpants) they’d been living in lately. Weeks later, loungewear is still top of mind, but as temperatures start to rise, we’ve been thinking about one item in particular: the lounge short. It’s a broad and all-encompassing category — there are gym shorts, pajama shorts, sweatshorts, and even sweatershorts — so to get the lay of the land, we asked women with excellent taste about their personal favorites. The results range from Soffes (“the first cousin of Patagonia Baggies,” per one recommender) to gym-style shorts made out of cotton poplin. And don’t worry: we’ll be back soon with a selection of lounge shorts for men, too.

Patagonia baggies are a favorite of numerous Strategist writers and editors, and several of the women we reached out to for this list. Rilka Noel, e-commerce planner at Kith, said they’re her favorite shorts for both lounging and outdoor activities. “ I just went on a 13 mile hike and camped in these Patagonia shorts,” she says. “But I also have been wearing them everyday around the crib to lounge in.” She says they’re “so comfy” and notes that they’re available in a wide range of colors, from Mellow Melon to Pigeon Blue. “They’re everything,” she says.

$38

For some brighter color options, Sophie Roche Conti, of Conti Communications, recommends (the technically menswear) Patagonia Baggies in bright red. Like the women’s Baggies, they’re made of recycled nylon with a water-repellent finish, making them a particularly sustainable option (and useful if you find yourself near any bodies of water).

From $8

We’d be remiss not to mention the shorts that former Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens dubbed “the first cousin of Patagonia Baggies”: Soffe Authentic Shorts. Kitchens wrote, “Soffe shorts are great for straightening up the house, cooking breakfast (or dinner), lounging on the couch, or weathering steamy summer days when even denim cut-offs are too much fabric.” As a fellow Soffe shorts enthusiast, I can confirm that the pair of shorts you might have worn every day during summer camp are suddenly a very appealing option for wearing around the house (at about a fifth of the price of Baggies).

Racquet magazine co-founder Caitlin Thompson says she lived in these sweatshorts from RWB for the first few weeks of quarantine. “They’re available in all sorts of colors, and they’re super-flattering,” she says.

Lingerie designer Mary Young says that Aritizia’s Ex-Boyfriend Light Sweatshorts “look effortlessly cool with any sneaker or sandal,” and notes that she loves the high rise. Unfortunately, Young’s favorite Ex-Boyfriend shorts are currently sold out, but this pair of high-rise light sweatshorts from Aritzia are made of the same cozy material, and have a similar fit through the waist and hips (we’re pretty sure they’d look just as cool with sneakers and sandals, too).