Would You Wear The Sweatpant Trend?? (and here’s how to try it)


  Randomendofmay2010008final I haven't been a big fan of the sweatpant-in-public trend, and up until recently have pretty much ignored it.  

However, I started to reconsider when some of the newer iterations of skinny sweatpants came out this Spring (I loved Madewell's version here), and I recently recommended a cool sweatpant look to a reader going on a postpartum road trip.

But the clincher, for me, was when I saw of pic of one of my favorite fashion bloggers, Res Pulchae, in her take on the sweatpant trend (pictured above left).  

Res Pulchae has a minimalist-with-a-twist perspective that I admire, and I love her spin on the sweatpant trend.  In the pic, she's wearing Rick Owens' Lilies pants, a Helmut Lang tank, H&M Cardigan, with Guiseppe Zanotti sandals and a sword pendant necklace from Etsy.com.  LOVE.

I think this is a perfect outfit for end-of-summer mornings – at the park, getting coffee, running errands…or for happy-hour-on-the-porch evenings.  I love the laid back vibe, and the fact that she still manages to look put together and, dare I say it?  Rather elegant.  In sweat pants.  

This look works so well partly because of the details – the uber-cool pendant necklace, the fabulous shoes, etc.  But the other key element I'd like to draw attention to is the drape of the pants.  The Rick Owen's Lilies pants are very thin with amazing drape.  Pants like these are much more flattering than bulky fleece (and much more comfortable on warm summer evenings!) 

It's actually pretty hard to find thin, drapy sweatpants…unless you are willing to try harem pants.  I'm not usually a fan of the super-saggy crotch look, but I came across a few pairs that weren't bad (gray, shown below, or these, to name a few).

So here's how I'd recreate:


But I haven't completely given up on fleece sweatpants…especially ones with the skinnier shape.  I've been particularly inspired by the Kimchi Blue Trouser Sweatpant look at Urban Outfitters, and another that the Nordstroms stylists put together using Splendid's take on the skinny sweatpant trend (both pics below).

Uo_sweats _6167657 

To make these looks more mom-friendly, I'd pair them with cute ballet flats.  I think it's also important to add a top with some sort of feminine detail, and a jacket that is not fleece.  Denim jackets, cord jackets, or even a cotton twill would all work.  The idea is to add in a different texture.

But still. At the end of the day…these are just sweatpants.  And without the superior bum-styling and shaping of denim…the results might be horrifying.  Even a model wearing J.Crew's "un-sweatpant", a wool/cotton blend, has this rear-view:


I think she's bending over slightly.  After an hour or two of wear, I'll bet that we'd be left with a saggy, saggy bum.  At least with Harem pants you know what you're getting into.

What do you think, readers?  Love 'em?  Hate 'em?  Is the sweatpant trend best left to the easy summer months, or are you going to try rocking them into Fall?

As for myself….the new sweatpant trend might be a more stylish version of my usual post-partum wear (once the baby comes in November). 

But I'm still undecided.




  1. I’d try it Shana! And I realize these shots are meant to make the sweatpants more tantalizing, but with stillettos? That is just silly. Are we trying to be comfortable or not?

  2. Blah. I am still anti-the-sweatpant-trend! Possibly because as a child I was forbidden to leave the house in them – “for sleeping only” said my neat & tidy parents! I was also allowed to wear them home from sporting events, that’s it. You’d think I would rebel but against this fashion rule I still have not. They are just way too sloppy for my taste. As a new Mom I’m trying to be comfortably chic & doing my best to not look like I just rolled out of bed (even if I did)!

  3. I’m sooooo tempted by the Splendid skinny in olive, but I’m not 100% sure I’d take it out. These looks are awesome on stiletto heeled, waifish models, but on a woman who is regularly mopping spit-up off her shirt, battling those last few (or 10) baby pounds and hasn’t slept through the night in several months?

  4. here’s a slightly related question for you: can you recommend a good, comfy old-school sweatshirt? And I am mostly talking about for lounging around the house in the fall and winter when it’s a bit chilly. All of my cuter options either have hoods or zippers, but I am looking for something that is not a cardigan style and not a hoodie. Last year, this meant a gray Champion sweatshirt from Target. Functionally it did the job, and I only wore it around the house, but by the end of winter, I think my husband and I were both sick of seeing it. Just wondering if there’s something out there that’s warm, comfy and a little bit more feminine or cute looking. Have I set the bar too high?

  5. The look is comfy – but $78 or $128 for a pair of “comfy looking” sweat pants!?! At the end of the day – they are still sweat pants! And I think my money can be spent a bit better on other items… so I think I’ll be passing on this fashion trend.

  6. Sweatpants I will pass on any day. This reminds me of the “apartment pant” idea that Rachel had on Friends. Dressy sweatpants sound like a great idea but they are still just sweatpants. Plus, nobody that has a body (meaning weighs more than 100 lbs) is going to look good in these. They are meant for the stick model. Not for moms on the go who are busy cleaning, cooking, taking care of a child. I don’t think anyone looks very tidy and put together in this look either. It’s messy.

  7. Great comment, girls! And Lane – funny you should mention the stilettos. Stilettos + sweatpants bug me…and I actually tried cropping them out….but it turns out that footless models look weirder than stiletto-n-sweatpanted ones.
    Kate…Ooooo….I have been working on a post that I think you’ll love. Your bar is NOT too high, and this season is the perfect season for your cute sweatshirt quest. Stay tuned.
    I’m still into the sweatpant trend for summer, but am having a harder time with fall. I might need to try a version (post-baby when my standards are LOW) and see how it goes. Will keep you guys posted. 🙂
    And lastly…if anyone was curious about a Dad’s perspective, my husband got this text from one of his buddies: “Tell Shana I’m very disappointed in the recent sweatpants blog posting. They are never OK outside the house. She can call if we need to discuss.”
    LOL!!! Ben, I love that you read this blog.

  8. This reminds me of a friend from Germany who asked if I flew in *gasp* sweats/yoga pants overseas. “of course” I replied, “I need to be comfy for that long of a flight” Her response “Oh Americans just look so sloppy” OUCH!
    As a recent stay at home mom, I can’t wait to get out of my comfy clothes when I leave the house. And I have a rule about sweats, too. They have to be a little fitted. Otherwise what is to stop me from eating every last cookie in the package.

  9. Nell – nice point. And I also find myself dressing up when it’s just my husband and I…no matter where we’re going. Which is how I found myself at a parent’s 2-hr Montessori workshop in a dress, high heels, and dangle earrings. Sheesh. Needless to say, the rest of the parents were in jeans…

  10. Okay, I tried it. And I am SUPER against wearing sweats outside the house. But I bought that very pair of JCrew un-sweatpants, and they were so comfy and cute in the house that I decided to wear them out one day (styled almost exactly like the first pic, btw). Which transitioned into, “I can wear these to work, right?”
    Charcoal un-sweatpants. Brown tank. Neon peach tissue tee. Mushroom silk ombre scarf. Jean jacket. Beige snakeskin pumps. Big gold earrings. It was a major success–mostly because I felt like I was sitting at home all day!

  11. So basically, they’re like saggy leggings? I dunno. I’m in the “never wear sweatpants out of the house” camp. In fact, I’m a member of the “don’t wear sweatpants at all if you can help it” club. But those pictures are pretty cute. hmm…

  12. PS…This would explain why my teenage niece has been walking around in sweatpants all summer. I kept saying “are you sure you’re ready to leave?” thinking she was still in her PJs. Oh silly old aunt!

  13. Amy – of course you rocked it, you fabulous girl!!
    Meagan – you crack me up. It’s like texting. Which I hate. My sister keeps real minutes on her cell phone just for me. Apparently, I’m the only one who still actually calls. Sigh.

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