Fashion Face-Off: Mesh Shorts vs. Plaid Shorts

Fashion Face-Off: Mesh Shorts vs. Plaid Shorts

Fashion Face-Off: Mesh Shorts vs. Plaid Shorts
Just to avoid any confusion - yes, that's me in both images

It’s that time of year – well, it’s been that time of year for me since about always – where most folks’ fear of sweating through full-blown pants overcomes their fear of revealing some kneeskin.  Yep, it’s almost shorts season.  And for the truly discriminating ‘Merican male, there are really only two choices in short pants: mesh or plaid.  (Thankfully, the Nadalian capri pants never really caught on – though the Nantucket Reds I bought just in case can easily be converted to plaid with a stencil and some scissors.)

For the last several decades at least, it’s been commonly accepted that plaid shorts and mesh shorts exist on the opposite ends of the shorts’ spectrum.  Casual expression of post-ironic personal style vs. extreme ease of use/elastic?  Looking like your name is probably Douche Magoo vs. causing nervous parents to distribute fliers when you accidentally walk by a playground at recess?  Should choosing comfortable casual attire be such a major fork in the road of life?  Not necessarily, if you possess the intestinal fortitude and balance to survive in completely different environments.

This is a sweet-assed Venn Diagram
One foot in each world


Sure, I can walk the line – but it’s likely that few people have the ample free time and emotional reserve required to commit to both types of shorts.  So to help those who will have to choose a path, I offer the following comparison to help the cause.


Fashion Face-Off: Mesh Shorts vs. Plaid Shorts



Mesh:  Essentially thicker, better ventilated boxer shorts meant for external wear; despite being speciously marketed as athletic apparel, vigorous activity not recommended without additional supporting garments

Plaid:  Only as comfortable as the fabric and fit combination allows; there is much more variance in these categories with plaid shorts than the omnicomfort afforded by mesh shorts

Advantage:  Mesh



Mesh:  Maintain integrity and identity with only infrequent washing, no buttons or zippers to contend with, go well with almost any tee shirt, dark colors can absorb almost any type of spill or stain

Plaid:  Presence of multiple colors also allows for great versatility in tee shirt pairing, patterns can help hide resultant stainage from any errant hot sauce or burrito innards, presence of zippers, buttons and drawstrings (sometimes all in the same pair of shorts) can make for more complicated donning/doffing

Advantage:  Mesh


What You Think Your Shorts Say About You

Mesh:  “I may, or may not, be headed to play some hoops – just need to run a couple of quick errands first, might as well be comfortable”

Plaid:  “These shorts reflect my fondness for outdoor leisure activities, hanging with my bros and drinking a couple of brews…the fact that they look awesome with popped collars and sunglasses is pure bonus”

Advantage:  Plaid


womens mesh shorts
Women's categories would likely be scored differently



What Your Shorts Actually Say About You

Mesh:  “I may, or may not, have recently urinated on myself a little – but you’ll never know”

Plaid:  “I am probably a f*ckhead, talk to me to confirm”

Advantage:  Plaid



Mesh:  Have the potential to remove a lot of the mystery around what an outline of your genitalia looks like; people tend to jump to the conclusion you don’t have a lot going on when they see you sporting mesh shorts in public

Plaid:  In certain seated situations, rigid fabrics can cause the “pants tent” illusion (a la Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Advantage:  Plaid



Mesh:  Like $7

Plaid:  Not as much as you’d think, I got like ten sweet pairs at Old Navy for i think a total of $16 – but that might have been due to the standard “you get 30% off since it’s Monday, and another 43% off if you’ve ever used the internet, and…” discounting policy offered by ON.

Advantage:  Mesh


Suggested Occupation

Mesh:  Serial killer, laid-off video store employee, unsuccessful blogger

Plaid:  Cell phone kiosk employee at the mall, guy who works at the pro shop during the summers just for a little spending money and discount greens fees

Advantage: Plaid
girl in plaid shorts
Maybe not...


Conclusion:  Plaid wins by a nose.  Mesh shorts are strong on value, comfort and convenience – the pillars of the unemployed community – but those benefits are offset by an overwhelming air of failure – they are kind of the sweatpants of summer.  Plaid shorts, on the other hand, will immediately get you off on the wrong foot with strangers, but mostly because they evoke memories of unlikable, similarly-attired people from their past – but they are less frowned-upon in upscale locations such as Red Lobster.  For those that can straddle the two worlds, I suggest trying to limit the mesh experience to your house or trips to a drive-through.  For everywhere else, let it rain plaid.  If you have some white bucks, all the better.




8 thoughts on “Fashion Face-Off: Mesh Shorts vs. Plaid Shorts

  1. Chilly

    Can’t you address the tent pitching risk through the applicationof a simple cod piece? That would push Mesh over the edge in your analyis no?

  2. You clearly read the piece, but didn’t absorb the piece, 1#. Faux tent pants is a result of the zipper/fabric combination inherent in many plaid shorts – the winner of this particular contest, despite that risk. Mesh shorts, on the other hand, pose an inadvertent geniticular outline risk; while this risk could be mitigated slightly by a codpiece, everybody knows that codpieces look foolhardy when wearing mesh shorts. In that case, fashion risk outweighs nutline risk.

  3. Yo, Chilly, what’s up? Lon time, no talk, bro… I’ve been checked out for a while, handling life stuff… you know how it goes. I guess I still owe you a piece from, like, six months ago. Am I forgiven?

    Anyhow, nice post. I’m in the fortunate position of being able to wear whatever I feel like wearing most of the time, and eight days out of nine, it’s shorts. Shorts rock my socks. So do Big Kats.

  4. What’s up, MSB!?!? Good to hear from you – you are of course forgiven, I owe myself about 73 posts from that same time frame. You’ve gotta be enjoying the NBA playoffs, good stuff. Thunder looking strong, calm at the end of games – Harden is the man.

    I have been on a Reese’s Big Cup binge now that Peanut Butter Eggs are unavailable. Might explain why my weight remains 220 despite running 30 miles a week.

  5. Yeah, I’m digging the playoffs. Not only do my Spurs look absolutely unbeatable right now, but the Thunder just killed the Lakers. The only thing in the universe I hate worse than the Lakers is… the Lakers, so this is turning into a GREAT postseason for me.

    The Big Cups are indeed tasty. I’m actually working on some health/nutrition issues, so I’m basically eating ‘right’, which totally sucks, and now you have me craving Big Cups. Oh, hell- I’d eat solidified dog spit if it were covered in chocolate.

    Hey, man- I did some ‘catch-up’ reading and saw the stuff you wrote on the whole ‘Occupy/View’ saga. That mess was NUTS. I the denouement of that story basically what we saw in the pieces you wrote, or is there any more to the story?

  6. Careful what you wish for though – I think the Thunder can handle the Spurs, even though SA is playing out of their fucking minds right now. Should be an awesome series, but I think Durant>>Duncan (now), Westbrook = Parker, and Harden>Manu (that may not be true whatsover if Manu is 100% healthy, but hell I’m no NBA expert)…Popovich is a genius but Brooks is not terrible, I’m thinking this is gonna be like jumping into cold water after the “chess vs. checkers” matchup with Del Negro.

    Yeah, that Occupy stuff was some bullshit – my face was all over the place for a minute, I emailed/tweeted The View a few times to give the real scoop on the balcony but nobody wanted to hear anything other than the imaginary “rich people acting like assholes” narrative. (Drunk people acting like assholes was a more reasonable description)

    Hilariously as I was paying at a Pizza Hut near Nashville the manager saw my drivers license and was like – “how’s that occupy wall street thing going?” and I said “funny you should mention it, my face has been seen a few times on the news” and he was like “wait, were you on the balcony?” He was probably very impressed that a 1%er like myself was staying at the Motel 6 next door.

  7. Oh yeah – on the health stuff, anything serious? If I recall, you said before that you are a pretty big guy. Gotta take care of yourself, hanging around Arkansas I’ve seen too many examples of how quickly your health can go downhill if you ignore stuff.

  8. Thanks for the concern, man. No, nothing urgently serious- just some general health concerns and a desire to make some fitness changes going forward. Yeah, unfortunately, I’m a big guy- when I got out of the service and got into school, my eating and drinking habits unfortunately didn’t change, so eight years of eating and drinking and studying in college and grad school = fat kid-, but I’m not one of those freakishly heavy guys or anything… just your standard American fat guy, I guess. Haha.

    Yeah, OKC looks good. I think the SA-OKC series is going to go the distance, and either team could win. Obviously, I’m all about the Spurs, but in all candor, as long as the Heat get trounced at some point, I can live with whoever wins.

    I’m honestly very surprised that the ‘View shrews’ (haha) didn’t ever hunt you down. It just seems like it would have been perfect fodder for their misguided campaign against all things good.

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