–by Mark MacDonald–
Look around and you may see a revolution spreading like wildfire. What was once inconceivable is now a reality; sweatpants are being worn outside the house and, get this, it’s more than acceptable, it’s fashionable.
According to industry analysts, new designs of tapered sweatpants, often called ‘jogger pants’ are rising in popularity and becoming one of the hottest new trends in men’s fashion. Research conducted by NPD Group indicates that the active-wear market is worth upwards of $35 billion and with brands such as Gap’s Athleta growing in popularity it’s no wonder designers are jumping on board. Retailers like Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom are also promoting the trend by offering their own take on the look, particularly suited for those wearing high-end sneakers or basketball shoes.
Celebrities like Kayne West have sported the look, embraced by urban culture, and arguably born out of it. New-age sweatpants are often made from high-end fabric, and incorporate contemporary designs-something reflected in the price, which may surprise some.
But the trend could also be a reflection of a much larger cultural metamorphosis. The massive success of brands like Lululemon is, to some analysts, indicative of a general shift towards more relaxed, casual fashion reflecting a change in lifestyle. With more people working from home, or in less formal office environments, the idea that the same pair of paints can be worn to the grocery store, to the gym, and to the café is something many find appealing. Added to this, the clean look and use of quality fabric makes ‘jogger pants’ desirable for a variety of consumers.
Reports also suggest there has been a decline in the sales of denim, possibly in part due to the rise in popularity of athleisure such as ‘jogger pants’. Some designs even mimic the look of jeans, effectively creating the illusion a person is wearing denim.
If you do decide to incorporate ‘jogger pants’ into your attire, it’s better to dress them up by wearing a blazer or sport jacket and certainly nice, clean sneakers. Wearing dress shoes with jogger pants looks pretty odd, so make sure you have a nice pair of kicks on your feet, especially since the pants are usually tapered and draw attention to your footwear. Be prepared to spend more than you expected on ‘sweatpants’, as it reflects the quality of the design and fabric.
White is a popular color for jogger pants, but be careful, if you intend to wear them throughout the day the chances of them becoming noticeably dirty are reasonably high.
Don’t push it too far. There are many circumstances when you should likely refrain from wearing jogger pants like job interviews, formal dinners, and weddings. Some office environments may be conducive to the look, others definitely not. The best solution is to trust your gut, and ere on the side of caution.
Sweatpants have re-emerged in a whole new way and brand name labels are jumping all over it. Whether you’re a part of it or not, the revolution is here.