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.