• Tue, Mar 22 2011

Sweatpants Should Be Banned

I have never had any major political ambitions. Mostly any slight inclination toward politics stems from my desire to set style-related laws into place. Of course, white socks would be banned – a topic I covered for The Gloss before and was pretty much chastised by many of you, as if I wasn’t entitled to my obnoxious taste and preference. Pfft, I say.

Scrunchies would also be on the list, although we don’t have that problem here in New York City, except when it comes to hipsters who do it ironically… I think. Untailored suits on men should also be collected and either immediately tailored to fit appropriately, or burned. Similarly to white socks, I fear this is primarily an American thing. European men, the French specifically, know what’s up when it comes to style, especially suits… it’s as though they’re channeling Don Draper at all times with their attention to the cut and fit. Yes, I’m picking on American men, and yes, I do it all the time.

However, the one article of clothing that has me twitching awkwardly in horror at its mere existence is sweatpants. I know this has been a topic at The Gloss over the last week, and I already vehemently expressed my disdain for their abhorrent repulsiveness, but a few lines on Twitter didn’t suffice.

As I write this I’m on the Acela to Boston from New York. To the left of me is a girl about my age who is in sweatpants and… wait for it… Uggs (which is an entire article unto itself). In front of me, are two sporto-type fellas who, like the girl to my left, are also wearing sweatpants; and if experience has taught me anything, probably white socks, too. I will not lie and say I’m sitting here in a full-length gown (I wore that on Sunday, because that’s what Sundays are for), but I am, however, dressed appropriately because that’s what one does when they leave their house. Sure, the weather today is beyond shitty and I’ll be on this train for three hours, but it should be noted I am not in sweatpants, or even yoga pants. No, I sit here in a skirt. I’m not saying I’m better than the girl to the left of me (or am I?); I’m just saying, simply, sweatpants should be banned.

Take it from Christian Louboutin. “I hate the whole concept of comfort,” he says. “It’s like when people say, ‘Well, we’re not really in love, but we’re in a comfortable relationship.’ You’re abandoning a lot of ideas when you are too into comfort. ‘Comfy’- that’s one of the worst words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy.”

I have never owned a pair of sweatpants. I have never even tried a pair on for shits and giggles; and to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve never even run my fingers over the fabric of a pair. I don’t even know where I would buy some even if I did crack my head on the sidewalk and woke up tomorrow with an inexplicable urge to wear a pair.

To me they are the epitome of slovenly. They extend far past just mere laziness or a loungy afternoon. I’m not sure who thought it would be good idea to construct a pant out of thick cotton material, bind the bottom with elastic, and share them with the world. What type of person would create such a vile concoction then stand back not only admire it, but decide to sell it? Whoever they are, I want their name, number and address stat because we’ve got some shit to discuss.

On top of being ugly and bizarre with those elastic ankles, they do not flatter anyone. No matter woman or man, shape or height, rabbit or dog, no living creature on this earth looks even remotely attractive in a pair of sweatpants. And once you take an average pair, make them pink and write “Juicy,” across the ass… well, that’s a whole other category of a mess… especially once you add a Dooney and Bourke bag to the mix.

I understand people want to be comfortable after a long week, or when they’re working out at the gym. I get it. So if you’re a lover of sweatpants, then here, I present some options that are in the same vein and you may want to add to your collection of loungewear:

  1. Pajama jeans. Obviously invented by someone who took their love of sweatpants a little too far and went the “classy” route.  Pajama jeans provide the comfort of sweatpants, but the style of jeans. And no one will ever know you’re strutting around town in, essentially, your pajamas. Awesome.
  2. Maternity Pants. Specifically made to withstand an ever increasing waistline, and are comfy to boot. You don’t need to be preggers to rock these… you just need to be confident in explaining to friends and family why your favorite lazy outfit consists of pants that have a 10-inch high jersey band.
  3. Scrubs. Baggy, drawstring pants that come in a variety of colors. Not only do they come in patterns that can consist of hearts and bunnies and ice cream cones, but they also have matching tops, AND you can pretend you’re a member of the medical community. In minutes you can go from Betty Sgetty, to Dr. Betty Sgetty – and without the years of med school.
  4. Balloon/Harem pants. Before MC Hammer made them “too legit to quit,” in the early 1990’s, Eastern women originated this overly baggy pant, with a droopy crotch. And there’s nothing more attractive, ladies, than a droopy crotch.
  5. Fleece pants. Oh so warm! Fleece pants are the warmer sister pants to sweatpants… and it doesn’t get much better than that, does it? I’ll answer that: no.

It’s only when I see any of these winning lounge-wear pieces that I’m overcome with the desire to run for president of not only the country, but the world just so I can have sweatpants and all their related siblings burned and forever banned from the face of humanity. Am I perhaps too emotionally connected to this subject? Yes. Am I being unreasonable and bitchy? No, I don’t think so. I am however stating facts: sweatpants are ugly; and my opinion: they should be banned… not next week, not tomorrow, but now. Like right this second, like before the sun sets and I’m forced to have nightmares about them again.

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  • Lindsey

    Hey, sweat pants for a quick errand beat all day leggings as pants in a heartbeat.

  • Anna

    I might love you, Amanda.

  • Nickie Frye

    I couldn’t agree more. Just this last weekend I saw no less than THREE people wearing printed flannel PAJAMA pants at the MALL. This was in addition to the hoards of other people who were wearing, not just sweatpants, but full-blown sweat SUITS. Head-to-toe sweat gear. Unacceptable.

  • KatG

    Although I own a pair of sweatpants, I would never let them out of my house. Not even to walk to the dogs around the block. I’m pregnant and I feel that if I can get a pair of jeans on my butt to walk out to pull the recycling bin in, so can everyone else. Sweatpants are indoor-only pants.

    Yoga pants, athletic leggings, and gym shorts are also activity-specific items of clothing that make me want to smack people out on the street. You better have just come from the gym and remembered, “Oh shit, I need orange juice but I’m wearing yoga pants and I’m mortified to go into this grocery store in my athletic wear but to go home and get jeans and then go back out is a waste of natural resources so I will suck up my embarrassment and go in like this. Oh, and some vodka. Must remember the vodka.”

    Then we’re cool. Sweatpants don’t have to be banned. Just imprisoned within the home where you are allowed to rock any hideousness you choose. In public, you should be more respectful of others not wishing to see how far you can stretch the word, PINK across your ass.

    • Ellen W.

      That’s pretty much the conversation I had with myself this last Saturday- if I go home and put on real clothes then those clothes will be dirty and I won’t have anything to wear tomorrow and today is Dad’s laundry day not mine.

  • Shae

    Agree. Completely, completely agree. In undergrad, I was the weird girl who actually got dressed for class instead of sclubbing out of bed in sweatpants. (My wardrobe, I’m sure, made it look like I actually cared about the classes I did horribly in.)

  • meg

    I fully agree. Also on the yoga pants. I even find leggings to be a slippery slope towards just giving up entirely.

  • porkchop

    Preach it. Your grandparents did not come to this country/end segregation/send you to a good college so that you could schlep around in sweats like the whole world is your bedroom.

    • hanna

      Best comment ever. And so true.

  • Chickalupe

    Okay, I kinda understand where you are coming from; but I think the answer is about moderation. When you see somebody wearing some really fugly sandals, you don’t say that ALL sandals should be banned, forever-and-ever-amen, do you? Or maybe you do, I don’t know.

    I myself own many pairs of sweatpants, pajama bottoms or general soft elastic-waisted pants; because no matter what Mr. Louboutin may say, I firmly believe in comfort in my life (and that quote made me a little squinty-eyed and prickly, btw). I wear them to sleep in or to lounge about the house. I like them, and that is just that for me.

    However, and this is a big ‘however’, I *NEVER* wear them outside of the house, or if people might be coming over. I was taught that there is an proper time and place for certain things in the wardrobe; and would no more wear them to the workplace, or for a social event, or even out the store, then I would just parade around in public in only my underwear. Moderation, see?

    I think the problem is not sweatpants themselves, but that people have lost sense of perspective and what is appropriate for wear in public. When I leave my house, I will put on jeans or a skirt, just like I was taught by my Mother. What other people do is up to them.

  • Venus in Furs

    Sweatpants are ugly (especially the gray ones with bunchy, elastic ankles), but I’m not going to be the one to stand between a bloated, PMS-ing woman and her “fat pants”. No way.

  • Claire

    Maybe it’s an east coast west coast thing, but… Chill out guys. You think it’s trashy to wear sweatpants, I think it’s trashy to judge strangers over what they’re wearing.

    • KB

      Agreed. Things are different over here. Nobody in Seattle cares if you want to run your errands for the day in a pair of sweats.

    • KB

      Also. What on earth does the author wear to bed?

  • Vera

    I am so hearing you Amanda. But don’t think it isn’t catching on over here in Europe. Not a day goes by when I see someone, male or female, wearing track pants in the street, going about their daily business in Barcelona. I’ve even spied sweat pants paired with flip-flops at the theatre. And no, I don’t mean the movies, I mean the theatre with plays and actors. I almost died that day. I don’t care what anyone says, track pants are the equivalent of giving up. And I’m also with Lindsey on the leggings don’t replace pants, ever, in any situation.

  • Xuxa

    I hate the bulky sweatpants with elastic around the ankles. However, I think yoga pants look nice on most people. They are flattering to your tush and a simple black
    pair looks great with a tee and cardigan.

  • Rose

    I totally agree! I have nothing wrong with wearing sweatpants in the comfort of your own home. However, when I see people wearing sweatpants out in public I think that they have given up on life. If you don’t have the ambition to get dressed, then what do you have ambition for??? BTW-yoga pants are called that for a reason…to be worn at yoga class, not out grocery shopping. And FYI, yoga pants are NOT flattering on most butts!

  • Eileen

    Nope.

    I mean, I still wear white socks with my sneakers when I go to the gym, so we obviously disagree on fashion, but I love my sweatpants and wear them to bed all the time. Or when I have to travel on a bus at the crack of dawn and I know everyone’s going to be sleeping and my jeans would dig into my waist and be uncomfortable. Or when I’m staying up all night at the library. Or when I’m making a midnight tampon run. I don’t wear them as regular clothes (although I do wear leggings as pants: sue me; I like my ass), but I like having them around. Not the ones with elastic ankles, though, because they’re not comfortable.

    • Megan

      I think white socks while going to the gym are different. Those are called athletic socks for a reason–wearing them while working out is acceptable. Wearing them with regular shoes, or (holy Lord) sandals is the twitchery we’re talking about here, I think.

    • Eileen

      Ah, well, that’s okay, then. White socks suck with anything other than sneakers.

  • Megan

    I’m all over cute sweatpants or lounge pants–not velour, not elastic-ankled, and not ass-written–as pajama wear. In fact, I’d go so far to say that you should definitely get some cute lounge pants over those sloppy plaid flannel pajama pants. To me, flannel pajamas say, “I’m sick at home, and am justified in looking like an eight-year-old.” If you’re going to be lounging at home, well, buy some real loungewear, for God’s sake. And if you think it’s silly to buy clothes specifically for hanging out at home, then for the love of everything holy, GET DRESSED.

    I have many friends who are into the whole “but it’s so comfortable!” idea. They also decide that it’s comfortable to not dry or style their hair, to not even know how to use makeup, and to walk around everywhere in those damn pajamas. Am I judging? A bit. Because when they see me dressed like a normal person, with styled hair, and mascara, they judge me–for being vain.

    It’s time to remind pretty much everyone that taking care of yourself–that looking into a mirror for half an hour a day to make sure you look presentable–isn’t vanity. It’s a show of self-esteem, and it’s basic courtesy to those who look at you.

    • Eileen

      Dried and combed hair is expected, but why should anyone have to use makeup? We don’t expect men to wear makeup, but if a woman shows up with a bare face (and she’s not, say, Gisele-level beautiful), she deserves to be judged because she’s not being courteous to those of us who look at her? I don’t buy it. My hair is always neat, but I’ll be damned if anyone expects me to have it done in a particular style every day, and with a face full of makeup.

  • Jules

    You’re on an airplane. I don’t know about anyone else, but I intend to get on the airplane, and pass out. Most skirts, jeans, trousers, etc. are not conducive to this goal. I tend to wear a cotton dress and leggings because I can’t stand wearing sweats, but I get the desire to do so. While I agree that sweatpants are terrible to wear in daily life, the airplane is an exception for me. Nothing makes me grumpier than staying awake through a 6 hour flight, ugh.

    • Angel

      I agree Jules, and that’s why i respect Adriana Lima… She is dressed comfortable all the time…
      http://healthybeauty2.blogspot.com/p/fashion-and-glamour_24.html

    • Astoria

      She’s on a train.

      I don’t know why any woman would wear sweatpants on a plane, though. That’s why Jersey dresses exist. Add a pair of cable knit tights, and you’re cozy and comfortable without looking slovenly.

      I will admit wearing sweatpants to the gym, though. I don’t think they’re any less unflattering than yoga pants.

  • Alanna

    no way am i giving up my leggings/tshirt/north face combo to go to class on the 6am train. sorry, i love stretchy pants and when i want to kick it, i will wear them.

  • Abernacky

    They may be ugly and horribly unflattering but they sure are comfy ;)

    • Ajkl27

      That little winky smily face makes me want to punch you

  • Missy

    It’s about time someone addresses this serious issue. Now, if only the fashion police could take action on this.

  • anonymous

    i don’t think wearing sweatpants is a fashion crime; but wearing sweatpants with JUICY or other similar logos across your ass and thinking that it is fashionable, IS A FASHION CRIME. i want to vomit when i see people wearing a full set of juicy couture track suit, lots of make up, and carrying a LV speedy 35.

  • Chelso

    I LOVE it! I especially hate seeing the sweatpant at the grocery store. They should definitely never be worn in public!

  • erin

    thanks for the hilarious article. after spending a year in shanghai, however, i must admit that i kind of miss how people there went out in public in full on matching pajama outfits. it made for some great people-watching.

  • megc

    My friends used to wear sweatpants/suits everywhere until I convinced them to wear normal clothes in public. I own one pair of sweatpants just to sleep in, even though no one ever sees it I still feel sloopy.

  • Case

    I wear sweat pants pretty much everywhere I go, I feel so free and flexible. By the way you are being a bit unreasonable. How has someone wearing sweatpants ever hurt you? As a boy who loves loose clothing I must say that sweatpants don’t make you look sloppy or like you’ve given up on life…. Seriously I could get jeans on in the same amount of time, I just love my sweats with a t-shirt and sneakers. You sir, just don’t understand and think life is all about appearances. You sir are wrong….

    • R.

      Excuse me, SIR, but did you not notice the author of this post is a woman? Your “sir” is coming off demeaning. Also, if you’re wearing sweatpants everyday, I can’t imagine that you’re having any like in the love category – unless you live in one of the Dakotas or some shit where fashion is irrelevant and you’re all perfect for each other anyway.
      PS. The ellipsis is 3 dots, not 4.

  • Iree

    Amen, everyone in my college wears sweatpants in some horrible colours, and often with uggs. So terrible looking. I don’t own sweatpants, and never come to class in pj bottoms.
    I don’t really dress up that much, but a cardigan and jeans looks so much nicer than sweats and a giant hoodie.

  • Cory

    I completely agree with this post. The only time I ever find sweatpants acceptable is when you are very nearly dying from illness. Or after surgery. Or you have food poisoning. You know, times when people won’t see you. People who leave the house wearing sweats with Juicy and Pink slapped across their ass while simultaneously sporting Chanel sunglasses and a D&G hand bag are idiots– and they look like it. If you’re going to make an attempt at being fashionable, don’t do it half-assed. If you’re going to do it half-assed, then maybe you should be staying at home, half-assing everything else. What you do in your own home is completely up to you. But when you leave your house looking like a dumbass? Expect snarky comments and people looking you up and down with a look of “what the hell are you doing?” on their faces.

  • LasViega

    I found it funny to take a look at some of your arrogant quotes… For laughs.

    “I have never had any major political ambitions. Mostly any slight inclination toward politics stems from my desire to set style-related laws into place.”

    My reply:
    Wonder what would make you an authority on the issue at all..?

    “Of course, white socks would be banned – a topic I covered for The Gloss before and was pretty much chastised by many of you, as if I wasn’t entitled to my obnoxious taste and preference. Pfft, I say.”

    My reply:
    Well, the reason why is that your taste – as a matter of fact might be just that: Obnoxious. I’m willing to bet my rent money you dress like a fruitcake anyway. Your still entitled to your own taste and preference, just as others are to theirs.

    “I will not lie and say I’m sitting here in a full-length gown (I wore that on Sunday, because that’s what Sundays are for)”

    My reply:
    Wow. You even get to decide what Sundays are for. Holy geezers.*

    “(…)I’m not saying I’m better than the girl to the left of me (or am I?);”

    My reply:
    Come on, admit it. Of course you thought you were.

    “I’m just saying, simply, sweatpants should be banned.”

    My reply:
    Because…?? Oh right, because you don’t like them. Furthermore, I don’t mind people wearing sweatpants at all, sweatpants look just fine… On the right person. That might be part of your problem: Women with a fine bodily shape look excellent in sweatpants, as a matter of fact they look excellent in just about anything. I have a feeling you might NOT, hence you have to be more selective about your clothing. And you envy those women.

    Quite a lot of people share your views on this one – well, they’re just as arrogant as you. Must be some comfort to know you’re in good company. Now get together, drink some Coffee Lattè on your local diner, gossip a little bit, then discuss the rest of your brilliant solutions about everything that unquestionably will make the world a better place. Whatever that might be, I’m sure we’re in for a real treat.

    You do not sit well with sweatpants.
    That’s OK.
    Sweatpants don’t sit well on you.

  • LasViega

    I found it funny to take a look at some of your arrogant quotes… For laughs.

    “I have never had any major political ambitions. Mostly any slight inclination toward politics stems from my desire to set style-related laws into place.”

    My reply:
    Wonder what would make you an authority on the issue at all..?

    “Of course, white socks would be banned – a topic I covered for The Gloss before and was pretty much chastised by many of you, as if I wasn’t entitled to my obnoxious taste and preference. Pfft, I say.”

    My reply:
    Well, the reason why is that your taste – as a matter of fact might be just that: Obnoxious. I’m willing to bet my rent money you dress like a fruitcake anyway. You’re still entitled to your own taste and preference, just as others are to theirs.

    “I will not lie and say I’m sitting here in a full-length gown (I wore that on Sunday, because that’s what Sundays are for)”

    My reply:
    Wow. You even get to decide what Sundays are for. Holy geezers.*

    “(…)I’m not saying I’m better than the girl to the left of me (or am I?);”

    My reply:
    Come on, admit it. Of course you thought you were.

    “I’m just saying, simply, sweatpants should be banned.”

    My reply:
    Because…?? Oh right, because you don’t like them. Furthermore, I don’t mind people wearing sweatpants at all, sweatpants look just fine… On the right person. That might be part of your problem: Women with a fine bodily shape look excellent in sweatpants, as a matter of fact they look excellent in just about anything. I have a feeling you might NOT, hence you have to be more selective about your clothing. And you envy those women.

    Quite a lot of people share your views on this one – well, they’re just as arrogant as you. Must be some comfort to know you’re in good company. Now get together, drink some Coffee Lattè at your local diner, gossip a little bit, then discuss the rest of your brilliant solutions about everything that unquestionably will make the world a better place. Whatever that might be, I’m sure we’re in for a real treat.

    You do not sit well with sweatpants.
    That’s OK.
    Sweatpants don’t sit well on you.

  • Nick

    you are all insane hahaha who cares? if i want to wear sweatpants to the damned grocery store or anywhere i will, and if you stare at them ill pull them down so you can kiss my ass.