this thing's incredible

I Was Loungewear-aphobic. Then I Found These All-Season, Tailored House Shorts.

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

I’m about to say something fairly controversial: I’m that guy who really doesn’t like sweatpants — or most types of loungewear, for that matter. I do own loungewear; I just don’t care for how most of it fits or looks. Generally, I find it too slouchy and unkempt (yes, I know that’s part of the appeal) to wear anytime other than right before bed. Very, very rarely will I wear loungewear outside the house. This aversion has made me and my boyfriend an odd couple of sorts, because his first move after a long day is to change out of his work clothes, while I choose to stay buttoned up in my button-down (it should come as no surprise that I’m also a fan of dressing for dinner).

But to my surprise, I recently stumbled upon a pair of mesh shorts that converted me to the church of comfy casual. I first discovered the shorts, by by Nice Laundry, via a friend’s tweet, which touted them as more stylish loungewear with a tailored fit — basically something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in if a neighbor caught you on an early-morning milk run at the bodega. That promise lured me in enough to look them up, and when I saw they start at an affordable $28 — and can be embroidered with your initials or little decals like a money bag or American flag for not much more — I figured that giving them a try came with little to lose (aside from a few shreds of dignity if they wound up looking slovenly).

I’ll admit I was a little worried about their mesh fabric. Would they look too much like workout shorts? The last thing I wanted — aside from another garment I would wear only under my comforter — was something that guilted me for not going to the gym. The moment I put the shorts on, though, I realized my fabric fears were unfounded. The material is very soft, almost like a combination of jersey and mesh. And the shorts are made with a double layer of mesh, so the fine holes in the fabric are really imperceptible. Even with the two layers, they’re super-light — perfect for warm weather, but seemingly equally ideal in cooler months for movie nights on the couch beneath a cozy blanket (which can sometimes get too toasty in full sweats). The best part? They fit beautifully. Neither slouchy nor unkempt, my pair has a four-inch inseam and is a size small (I’m about five-foot-seven), and they hit well above the knee at a part of my thigh that makes me look like I did #legday a few more times than in reality.

I only have the one pair, which are navy and customized with a skull-and-crossbones patch (one of many patch styles the brand offers), but I wear it all the time — at least four times a week, and definitely on every weekend day. (I’ve washed them once a week since I bought them a few months ago, and, so far, the color, fit, and elastic waist have really held up.) That said, I’m already eyeing a second pair — mine don’t have pockets, but Nice Laundry sells a six-inch version of the shorts with pockets and a drawstring waist that are calling me. The shorts are stylish enough to wear with a tee and a pair of loafers while picking up coffee and bagels in the morning, and even though I didn’t want them to look like workout shorts, there’s no reason you couldn’t wear them to work out in a pinch. And if you’re wondering, yes, they’re even nice-looking enough to wear to dinner — as long as it’s served at home.

Here’s the standard version of my navy shorts with a four-inch inseam. For the same price as my pair with the patch, you can get them monogrammed with your initials.

For the bold, the brand sells them in this color it calls “cream,” which looks more like a crisp white.

What I should have probably done is buy this 3-pack, which includes the navy, black, and olive-green lounge shorts and breaks down to a slightly cheaper $25 per pair.

The shorts with pockets and a six-inch inseam also come in navy and burgundy, in styles you can customize with a patch or a monogram (for $39 each), and in a 3-pack (for $89).

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I Was Loungewear-aphobic Until I Got These Tailored Shorts