Gen Z Is Turning Sleepwear Into Streetwear This Summer

woman making bed in sleep shorts

This summer, Gen Z is parting ways with their old, chafe-inducing jean shorts and is instead turning to a new shorts trend that combines comfy sleepwear and stylish streetwear: boxer shorts. 

Shorts that are both comfy and chic? Count me in.

The latest TikTok aesthetic brings a new take on your favorite sleep shorts by incorporating bright, pastel colors and fun summery patterns that are easily styled up or down for a variety of looks. 

The boxer short craze has even reached Hollywood with stars like Hailey Bieber, Sydney Sweeney, Olivia Rodrigo, and Bella Hadid all participating in the trend. (1)

Comfort and Versatility in your Sleepwear

From farmer’s markets, beach days, vacations, and running errands, Gen Z women say there’s a boxer short outfit for every casual summertime occasion.

One TikToker, Lauren Maile, praises the trend for its versatility while showing off her own impressive collection of the trendy shorts. 

“I wear them under my jeans. I wear them on their own. I wear them as bathing suit coverups. I wear them as pajamas. They can be worn for almost every single possible occasion you can think of,” said Maile in her recent video.

One of the biggest perks of this sleepwear trend?

Boxer shorts combine the effortless and edgy model-off-duty look with the comfort of sleepwear we know and love. 

It is not uncommon nowadays for many women to choose to sleep in boxer shorts (often stolen from a boyfriend…) or another similar type of sleep short precisely because they are comfortable. Gen Z has simply taken the trend from the sheets to the streets by adding some styled accessories.

Some may say that wearing pajamas in public is a fashion faux pas, but many Gen Zers are ditching tradition in favor of comfort.

“Wait, buying immediately they look so comfy!,” one user commented on another TikToker’s recent video

Like most women, I know the battle of wearing jean shorts all too well. They’re uncomfortable, tight, and not ideal for summer activities that require a lot of movement.

In fact, whenever I wear jean shorts, I find myself anxiously awaiting the moment when I can change back into my comfy pajama shorts. I know I’m not alone.

While jean shorts are a classic summer staple, it’s understandable that the next generation of women are turning to lightweight, comfy alternatives like boxer shorts.

How Gen Z Is Styling the Sleepwear Trend

Not only are they super comfortable, but boxer shorts also come in seemingly every color and pattern under the sun, so there’s a design for everyone who wants to get in on the latest cool-girl trend. 

Most of these shorts are made of a light poplin or linen material, so they are lightweight and breathable to beat the summer heat.

Some of the most viral pairs on TikTok and Instagram feature a red and white gingham pattern reminiscent of summertime picnics and 4th of July celebrations.

Many Gen Zers have paired this pattern with a simple tee and casual sneakers for a festive, yet comfortable look (as a member of Gen Z myself I can confirm that I’ve seen this look all over my feed recently).

Other best-selling pairs include colorful pastels in light pink and blue that TikTok users say are perfect to add a pop of color to your outfit, as seen in Lily Mags’ summer boxer shorts haul video.

“All of these are great summer clothing staples,” commented Mags in her recent post.

These bright colors are perhaps the most viral looks from the trend. If bright patterns aren’t your thing, others have incorporated the trend into neutral looks by choosing boxer shorts that are white, cream, or shades of tan. 

Some users, like TikToker Sherrie Webster, are taking the trend a step further and turning the sleep shorts into a more elevated look by pairing the classic sleep shorts with vests, crewneck sweaters, and leather loafers.

While I wouldn’t be too quick to roll up to the office in sleep shorts, the trend might just be a fun way to spruce up summertime streetwear for more casual outings.

Chic for Every Budget 

Admittedly, the boxer short look may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is surprisingly budget friendly.

While you can find the shorts at most Gen Z retailers like Hollister and Abercrombie, everyday retailers such as Target, Amazon, and Old Navy all offer their own take on the trend at a low price point.

Looking for a low-stakes way to try out the trend yourself? One of TikTok’s most viral gingham pairs can be found on Amazon for under $10 a pair.

One TikToker, Lexx Aguirre, styled the viral Amazon green gingham boxer shorts with a white tee, denim vest, baseball hat, and boots for a summery tomboy look in her latest video

Whether styling these shorts for relaxing around the house, running errands, or an elevated clean girl look, Gen Z has somehow managed to convert these common sleep shorts into the latest streetwear trend.


How to we feeling about the boxer short trend? Me personally any trend that’s comfy + cute you can sign me upppp ? I love that these shorts can add a fun pop of color to whatever casual outfit you want to wear and they’re under $15 — I’ll link them in my stories for you! ?? #boxershorts #springoutfit #summeroutfit #cowboyboots #summeroutfitinspo #amazonfinds2024

♬ original sound – Lexx Aguirre

So next time you see someone out and about this summer in what appears to be sleep shorts, it might just be an intentional (and comfy) fashion statement.

Emma Ernst

Emma Ernst

Emma Ernst is an editorial intern at Sleepopolis. A rising senior at the University of South Carolina, studying public relations and Spanish, Emma is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and loves to talk about anything Midwestern!

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