Sweatpants get bad rap

sweat shirt

Today I went to Wal-Mart for my weekly visit. On a whim I wandered into the clothing section to see if the sweatpants and shirts might be on sale.  Since we’re near the end of the harshest winter in my memory,  my uniform (aka my sweat wardrobe) is permanently tattooed with chili stains and puppy throw up. (Feeding the left over chili to pets is never a good idea.)

Indeed, the sweats were on sale. (I’ve been watching a lot of British television on Netflix and have adopted a slight British accent and say things like “indeed” when agreeing with


something and  “May I have word (pronounced ‘wod’?” when I want someone’s attention. But that’s a story for another day.  Today I’m on a soapbox for that fleecy stretchy comfort wear which is so maligned by the fashion world.

Sweatpants often get a bad rap for being frumpy and best reserved for the comfort of your own home or the gym.   Designer Karl Lagerfeld has been quoted as saying: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lose control of your life so you buy some sweatpants.” Indeed.  He wants to sell his designer jeans and jackets which are so expensive they require mortgage financing  – like a car or a home!;

Now, I concede you probably don’t want to wear sweatpants to a job interview or your best friend’s wedding, but I think there are plenty of occasions outside the home or gym when they are perfectly acceptable.

I’m tired of sweatpants and shirts being the pit-bull of the fashion world, both feared and misunderstood. I think people associate them with laziness and sloth, but that’s just wrong. I, for one, work best when I am comfortable, and I am most comfortable in my sweats.  I secretly pine for my fleecy “go to” wardrobe while stuffing myself into pencil skirts or cumbersome jeans which require that you lie on the bed to zip.

Most people just want to be comfortable in forgiving clothing which can enable them to eat three pieces of lemon icebox pie without busting a zipper. There’s a reassuring quality to a well-worn pair of sweats.  You can sleep in them on a cold winter night and roll out the next morning and dash to the Piggly Wiggly for donuts if you’re being bad, or broccoli if you’re being good.

Sweats offer the  non-judgmental comfort of flannel pajamas while creating the illusion that aerobic activity is on the horizon. While in the Piggly Wiggly, I tell everyone I just dashed in for some bottled water to take to my workout at the gym.  Since I’m already there, I pick up the things I really need and no one’s the wiser .


Another good thing about sweatpants is that they’re cheap. Toward the end of the season you can pick up three pairs for $20.  Or, if designer clothing is your thing, the trendy Juicy Couture brand can set you back as much as $250 for a set of velour hooded sweats. I’m sticking with my Hanes even though they tend to “pill-up”  on you after several hundred washings.  The pants also grow shorter with each washing until you have some baggy shorts just in time for spring.

Did you know that sweats have been around since the 1920s when they were introduced in France?  Yes, sweats are French!   In my opinion they rank right up there with penicillin, the polio vaccine and French fries on the list of society’s most important developments.

Sweats could even be critical to your health. The human body has 2-4 million sweat glands which enable us to cool down and maintain proper body temperature. Shouldn’t sweats be encouraged rather than ostracized from most occasions?

Since the introduction of Casual Fridays they have become a tad more socially acceptable and I’m hoping they might metastasize eventually into a fashion statement for Mousy Mondays, Sloppy Saturdays, and Slumming Sundays. After all – life is too short to “sweat” the small stuff like what we are wearing – especially if it itches, pinches, squeezes or pulls. I’ve never met a pair of sweats guilty of any of those offenses.

2 thoughts on “Sweatpants get bad rap

  1. The farmer gets $.80 to $1.05 per pound for cotton. It takes a lot of gall to charge $80 for 2 pounds of cotton jeans. Walmart does it right.

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