Sweatpants as Fashion Apparel

At Esquire, two style editors argue over whether it’s ever okay to wear sweatpants out in public. Their debate is within the context of men’s style, but of course, this can apply to pretty much anyone:

MB: …here’s my final say on the matter: They’re here, you can buy a solid pair of slim ones for, like, sixty dollars at J. Crew, and you should try them. But wherever you get them, here’s my suggestion: Buy a pair that has elastic at the cuff, so they’ll keep a slimmer line. Wear them as you would a pair of chinos on the weekend: Pair them with some really simple sneakers, an untucked oxford shirt (that hits about two inches below your waistline) with rolled-up sleeves, and confidence. As in all things style-related, the most important part is making sure the fit is right. They should fit like a slim pair of pants: not too skinny, but definitely not baggy. The trick to pulling them off is to make them feel more formal, not to make the rest of your outfit look sloppy.

AL: And where will you be wearing this outfit? If it could possibly work at all (and it can’t), brunch is the only place. And then what? Are you going to change out of your sweats to go to the museum after brunch? No, you’re not. And being in sweats is going to make the museum less appealing. There’s no intellect in sweatpants. Sweatpants don’t want to go to the Met and look at Boccioni sculptures—they want to go sit at home and fart. They aren’t for men, they’re for man-boys. Grow up and wear man-pants, like some tailored goddamn chinos. Tailored chinos love Boccioni!

I don’t own a pair of sweatpants (when indoors and lazy and in need of elasticity, I’m a pajama-pants-wearing person). But I will say one thing: There’s no way I’m spending $60 on sweatpants. But also: wear whatever makes you happy.

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