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Style Advice

The dos and don’ts of sweat suits

The dos and don’ts of sweat suits

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably been wearing your sweatpants and hoodie on repeat this year, and with winter drawing in, your cosy favourites are becoming even harder to resist. We’re spending more time at home, exercising outdoors, and even bracing the cold for socialising – but that’s no excuse to look sloppy. 

We’ve got good news, though. By adhering to a few simple style rules, you can wear your favourite lounge pieces stylishly (yes, even out in public). From considered fits to interesting colour palettes, here’s your guide to picking the perfect sweat suit that you’ll want to be seen in out of the house.

Widen your colour palette

You don’t have to go for a single-tone tracksuit for it to work as a complete look. Pick separate pieces in complementary colours, and you’ll likely get more wear out of them with other pieces as well. 

We typically turn to casual greys and blacks when picking the pieces of a sweat suit. And while dark colours are often more flattering when it comes to sweatpants, dare to go a little bolder on top. Black and navy trousers will work when paired with brighter or lighter jackets, so see this as your chance to add a little interest to your loungewear.

Focus on wearability

Our loungewear and casual wardrobes have merged more than ever  this year, and while the athleisure trend is thriving, you don’t want your sweat suit to be so scruffy that you’re embarrassed to be seen out in it.

Despite the typically laid-back feel of a sweat suit, it’s easy to find pieces you’ll be happy wearing out and about. The best way to make sure yours is outside-appropriate is by focusing on the fit. Each piece should be easy to move in without feeling baggy – unless you’re going for a fully oversized look. 

Similarly, avoid skinny styles that are less flattering and generally less comfortable – they should fall away from your skin and the leg shouldn’t be fitted at the thigh. The length of your sleeves should fall to your wrist and your sweatpants should stop above your shoe.

Look to the finer details

One of the defining features of a sweatpant rather than a track pant is the cuffed ankle. It maintains the naturally sporty feel, but gives a more precise finish. The tapered leg and cuffed ankle makes sweatpants easier to pair with other everyday pieces than the loose-legged track pant.

On top, a zip-up hoodie can feel more wearable and easy to layer than a hoodie. You can still get the same loose fit, but the ability to wear your zipped top open offers a wider range of options when you’re heading out. Just make sure your inner layers are as crisp and clean as your sweats.

Consider your capsule wardrobe

Pairing the elements of your sweatsuit with non-sporty pieces is the easiest way to make the most out of them. While casual bottoms are some way off finding their place in the boardroom, they’re definitely acceptable for brunch and other laid-back weekend events – pair with a rollneck and wool overcoat for an easy take on contemporary smart casual. 

A zip-up hoodie, on the other hand, lends more scope for smarter dressing. As a mid-layer, it can be worn over a smart shirt and trouser pairing as easily as it can with jeans and a tee or sweatpants.

Avoid technical fabrics

Unless you only want to wear your sweatsuit for exercise, go for a versatile fabric that will feel comfy – and not clingy – in any setting. Synthetic fabrics designed for workout purposes are moveable and easy to wear, but often affect your temperature. That means they aren’t ideal for wearing over longer periods at home or out and about during the day. Instead of combining your work out and work-from-home wardrobes, look for sweat suits in cotton and jersey fabrics that feel equally laid-back but will be comfortable for longer, especially if the occasion calls for something a little more considered.


Words: Ella White
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing