sweat week

These Breezy Boxers Keep Me Cool in 90-Degree Heat (In and Out of the House)

The writer about to head on a walk with her dog in the aforementioned boxer shorts. Photo: Chloe Anello

A few months ago, during my routine casual scrolls through Instagram, I noticed more and more brands posting about boxer shorts for women. This made some sense: These are still loungewear-obsessed times and house shorts have become a staple for many working from home. It wasn’t long after when I began to see stylish influencers, editors, and people I know post photos of themselves out and about and at home in similar shorts. Because traditional boxers for men are designed to be loose and breathable enough to wear under pants, I assumed these women — or at least the ones without sponsorships — fell for the boxers’ comfortable, breezy cut that doesn’t cling to your thighs if you sweat even just a little bit.

At this point, temperatures had already hit 90 degrees. And as a person who will easily drop $20 on waffle mix but cringe when I see my electric bill increase, I try to use my AC sparingly, which means I sit in uncomfortable heat rather often. Suddenly, even my sweat shorts and bike shorts felt too heavy and sticky. While browsing a sale at J.Crew, I spotted some cotton boxers for women at a particularly good discount. I remembered all those stylish women who made them look actually chic, not like a bad Risky Business costume. I decided to take a chance on a gingham pair — worst case, I reasoned, I could wear them to sleep.

Speaking of sleep, the boxers are technically branded as pajamas. But seeing as I planned to wear them around my apartment, that didn’t really matter. (Not to mention, it was Jenna Lyons, while at J.Crew, who popularized the trend of wearing pajama shirts as everyday tops.) When they arrived, though, I was surprised by how much the boxers didn’t look at all like pajamas. Unlike men’s boxers, these don’t have an opening in the front. Plus, they have pockets. Were it not for the label you find on the front of some boxers’ waistbands, they could easily be mistaken for a pair of thin, lightweight, cotton shorts. I wore them the next day with a plain white T-shirt that was long enough to cover the waistband and I ventured outside to walk my dog, without thinking twice about whether or not I should put on real pants. A neighbor complimented me on the shorts while on that walk. “They’re actually boxers,” I told her. She didn’t believe me until I showed her the waistband.

While they may not look like them, the shorts are exactly what you want from a boxer. They swing out from my hips in a way that my other shorts do not, allowing more airflow that keeps my legs cooler. And they don’t tightly grasp at my waist or cause irritation even if I do sweat a little. Because the fabric is so lightweight, they are a tad see-through. But that didn’t stop me from buying three more pairs in different colors. I’ve since worn the shorts out to dinner; to a doctor’s appointment, supermarkets, and coffee shops; to bring my dog to the vet; to visit my sister at her house; and on many more dog walks. Not only have I received more compliments on them than any other (actual) shorts I own, but they are also easier and breezier to wear in heat than any other shorts I own. And after noticing that J.Crew is having (yet another) sale on them, with plenty of summer left, I may just have to buy two more so I’m covered for (almost) every day of the week.

Some more styles to consider

You can get the boxers in five solid colors: white, a blush shade called Warm Rose, a (very) light purple called Icy Orchid, the light-blue Hydrangea, and navy (shown here). Any one of them would look cute with a miniature monogram that would only cost you ten more bucks.

$30 at J.Crew
with code: SHOPNOW

This subtly striped pair seem excellent for the last weeks of summer. They also come in blue.

Finally, a Gen-Z friendly pattern for those looking to stay on trend.

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These Breezy Boxers Keep Me Cool in 90-Degree Heat