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Style Advice

The dos and don’ts of sweatpants

The dos and don’ts of sweatpants

There was a time when sweatpants were so laid back, you’d rarely see them off the sofa. But the athleisure trend brought these sportswear favourites into the mainstream, and now we can’t move for photos of the rich and famous rocking their sweats out shopping, walking the dog, and even at parties – and we’ll admit they’ve become a regular fixture in our wardrobes too.

With their sports-luxe vibe and increasingly slimline fits, sweatpants are a great alternative to jeans and chinos when the occasion calls for something a bit more casual. And in case you’re thinking of wearing your sweats to your next social meet, we’ve put together a few dos and don’ts to help you nail the look. Sure, their just-throw-them-on appeal is a big part of the draw. But let’s face it – the baggy sweats look is one best left for MC Hammer. 

Do: go for a classic shape

Trust us – sweatpants have all the potential to become a wardrobe staple. The key is to go for a classic cut so they’ll look just as good with a casual rugby top as they will with a fitted button-down shirt. Choose a pair that’s not too baggy and not too skinny, but (you guessed it) just right.  

Do: keep it simple

There are ways to dress up your sweats for a smart casual occasion. But that doesn’t mean relying on jazzy detailing. We’d recommend choosing a minimal pair that’s free from flashy logos, zips, and excess panels. As they say, less is more.

Do: tone it down

There are so many colour options when it comes to sweatpants – far more than the black trackies of our school athletics days. But if in doubt, go for a versatile shade. Navy or grey is a classic and will go with most things in your wardrobe. A punchy colour like red or yellow will take far more considered styling.

Don’t: get a pair that are too long for you

If you want your look to be less Slim Shady and more streetwear, the key is to avoid overly long pairs that bunch around your ankles. Your sweatpants should fall on or just above your shoes. It’s also the best way to show off your new kicks at the same time. 

Don’t: spend an arm and a leg

When our favourite lounge pants become the new ‘thing’, they inevitably come with a price tag to match. But you can get great quality sweatpants for under £100. You’ll be hard pressed to find a high street store that doesn’t sell stylish sweats right now, and the luxury versions are often not worth the mark-up in terms of quality.

Don’t: size up

Sweatpants are all about comfort, right? Right. But that doesn’t mean you should buy them two sizes too big. If you want a looser fit, seek out the particular style that works for you. Don’t go for a slim pair in a larger size – they’ll fit all wrong around the waist and the crotch. Baggier doesn’t always mean better.


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Words: Victoria Ferguson
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Millie Rich
Styling assistant: Toby Standing