Sweatpants Fashion: The Slow and Comfortable Rise

Sweatpants are an everyday staple fashion item that reaches beyond generations, social-economical statuses, or gender. They have become universal wear that is acceptable, fashionable, comfortable, and stylish. Style them the right away, and you just might be labeled as the next fashion icon.

I was always fascinated with sweatpants. They have become an item of luxury and a staple of sexy wear. Yet to me, sweats must be worn within the confinement of my house. Yes, they are comfy, but they are also baggy and sloppy looking.


Sweatpants were created in 1920 by Le Coq Sportif, founder of Émile Camuset. At that time, the pants’ main goal was to provide athletes with comfortable sportswear. Athletes wore them while training and stretching, enjoying roomy attire that quickly absorbed sweat. The Cultural History of Sweatpants by Brian VanHooker.

Around 1980, there was a slight shift. Sweatpants have started to be associated with health and a healthy lifestyle. Whether you were a seasonal athlete or only an occasional gym visitor, sweatpants were the go-to option.

As television sets and game consoles became more prominent, the need for comfy leisurewear arose. Here too, sweatpants dominated the scene. An increased sedentary lifestyle demanded stretchy waistbands, softer materials, and comfortable designs. Laying around playing video games or watching endless TV required an-all-day comfort that sweatpants were all too happy to provide.

Recent Past

Fast forward to 2013, Lululemon became a platform for active leisurewear that spread like fire. Tight Lululemon pants became a staple wardrobe item of anyone slightly interested in sports. Then a few years later, due to comfort, sexy designs, and a variety of colors and patterns, sweatpants turned into ready-for-anything pants. Whether you are heading to brunch, lunch, picking up children, doing grocery runs, you name it, sweatpants will provide all-day comfort.

A recent GQ article points to a rise in sweatpants’ fashion among wealthy people. The author argues that sweatpants became a symbol of well-deserved rest. If you worked hard and made “it,” you sure deserve an everyday comfort of sweatpants. We Are Living In the Age of Sweatpants and Never Going Back by Rachel Tashjian.

Almost every label or brand offers a variety of sweatpants, starting with decent to astronomical price tags. Dressing them up or down is up to your fashion taste. But famous style icons keep finding new ways to pair sweats with fashionable IT items, creating looks worth adoration.

My Take

Now in times of quarantine, I find myself wear my sweats more often than not. Yes, they are comfy. But I draw the line at my front door. As comfortable or stylish as sweatpants might be, I share Jerry Seinfeld’s sentiment.

Jerry: Again with the sweatpants? George: What? I’m comfortable. Jerry: You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You’re telling the world: “I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.”

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