Introduction

The London Olympics played a huge part in establishing sportswear as a major trend throughout 2012, and these sporting influences have been well chronicled on FashionBeans across the last two seasons. From a breakdown of the key sportswear pieces for SS12 to an AW12 sports luxe update, we’ve been on the ball throughout (so to speak).

However, one previously disregarded item that has roots within the world of sport has made a quiet resurgence in this climate of sporting awe. Despite being tarnished with an awful reputation over the years due to the so-called ‘chav culture’ and other social stigmas, are sweatpants now – gasp – wearable?

Before we start, and you scroll manically to the comments section, we should state that regular readers will already know that here at FashionBeans we encourage you to develop a refined, timeless and classic wardrobe that will transcend fleeting trends and seasons. For the majority of well dressed men, sweatpants will never be a consideration, and may even verge on blasphemy – but every piece has a time and place.

We will not be trying to persuade you to insert sweatpants into outfits where you would traditionally wear chinos or jeans. We will, however, be showcasing a number of ways you can style them in a modern way, for a variety of scenarios. Whether you choose to invest in, or avoid, sweatpants after this article is, of course, totally up to you.

With that out of the way, let’s get started…

How To Wear: Sweatpants
Men’s Sweatpants Lookbook

The Kooples Sport AW12The Kooples Sport AW12The Kooples Sport AW12Richie Culver For MR PORTERThe Kooples Sport SS12Zara Homewear AW12ZARA AW10H&M SS11H&M SS11Uniforms for the Dedicated AW12ZARA AW10Bellerose AW12
Look One

Sweatpants are (and always will be) a casual piece. They are the ultimate in cool comfort, so keep the rest of the outfit suitably dressed down – but most importantly, not sloppy – for a day of errand running or just laid back lounging.

A t-shirt and some stylish knitwear is the way to go here, and a jacket or coat can easily be layered over the top if the temperature isn’t on your side. The key to a successful sweatpant based look is your choice of footwear and the break of the trousers. You do not, under any circumstances, want the sweats to be pooling around the hem and drowning your shoes.

Gone are the days of baggy Nike ‘trackies’, modern fashion versions favour a slimmer cut and tapered leg, which helps eliminate pooling. In terms of length, they should hit just above the shoe. Cuffed sweatpants (those featuring an elasticated hem), unlike their hideous jean counterparts, actually help keep the silhouette fitted and smarter in this instance.

Your footwear should be kept casual, so opt for a grown-up leather trainer or desert boot. A pair from a sporting heritage brand such as New Balance will reinforce the desired aesthetic without looking too much like you’ve just finished your workout.

  • Asos Scoop Neck T-shirtAsos Scoop Neck T-shirt
  • Reiss Next Prev Buffalo Felted Cable Crew Dark GreenReiss Next Prev Buffalo Felted Cable Crew Dark Green
  • Topman Stone Smart Twill Jogging BottomsTopman Stone Smart Twill Jogging Bottoms
  • Clae StrayhornClae Strayhorn
Look Two

Whilst sweatpants needn’t be resigned to strict sporting activities, they remain sportswear in the more literal sense. New relaxed attitudes towards sweatpants mean they are just as appropriate going to and from the gym, as they are workout attire. Pairing your sweats with the aforementioned sneakers and other key sports luxe pieces will help create a super stylish gym outfit.

A polo shirt and well-fitting, luxury hoody creates a solid base, whilst a leather sports bag is a practical addition that finishes the look off perfectly. Depending on preference, you may want to drop the polo when actually engaging in physical activity, but for travelling it will help take the sweatpants up a notch.

  • Allsaints Saints PoloAllsaints Saints Polo
  • Orlebar Brown Carter Hooded SweatshirtOrlebar Brown Carter Hooded Sweatshirt
  • American Apparel Jumper PantAmerican Apparel Jumper Pant
  • New Balance 574 SuedeNew Balance 574 Suede
Look Three

Why not juxtapose your joggers with a knitted blazer for a challenge on strict sweatpants rules?

Prominent fashion writer Mr Derek Blasberg has previously mentioned his penchant for pairing sweatpants with a shirt and tailored jacket. While this look is the ultimate in high/low contrast, it has more than the potential to work. However, it can be made much easier by swapping the tailoring for something a little more unstructured.

A simple, casual white shirt is a great way to smarten up the look whilst keeping it relaxed; a t-shirt could also work here though. Finally, a pair of hi-top trainers is the perfect accompaniment to the plethora of casual elements on show.

  • Allsaints Bukowski Slim Fit ShirtAllsaints Bukowski Slim Fit Shirt
  • Giorgio Armani Striped Sport JacketGiorgio Armani Striped Sport Jacket
  • J.crew Cotton-blend Jersey SweatpantsJ.crew Cotton-blend Jersey Sweatpants
  • Reiss Aster High Top Trainers BitterReiss Aster High Top Trainers Bitter
Look Four

This fourth and final look takes its inspiration from The Kooples Sport AW12 lookbook. By pairing your sweatpants with heavy boot socks (tucked in of course) and boots, you can channel the brand’s sleek silhouette.

Try opting for a roll neck on your top half, which is both on trend and in keeping with The Kooples refined, smart-casual aethetic.

Layer a parka over the top and accessorise with some knitted gloves to really keep the cold at bay through the last of the winter season.

  • Ymc For Oki-ni Mens Roll Neck Cashmere KnitYmc For Oki-ni Mens Roll Neck Cashmere Knit
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Black Padded Arctic ParkaPolo Ralph Lauren Black Padded Arctic Parka
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Two-tone Wool-blend GlovesMarc By Marc Jacobs Two-tone Wool-blend Gloves
  • UNIQLO Sweat PantsUNIQLO Sweat Pants
  • Topman Twisted 3 Pack Boot SocksTopman Twisted 3 Pack Boot Socks
  • Timberland Earthkeeper Rugged 6 BootsTimberland Earthkeeper Rugged 6 Boots
Current Men’s Sweatpants
  • Topman Khaki Marl Jogging BottomsTopman Khaki Marl Jogging Bottoms
  • Topman Brown Marl Jogging BottomsTopman Brown Marl Jogging Bottoms
  • American Apparel Flex JoggersAmerican Apparel Flex Joggers
  • Acne Men’s John SweatpantAcne Men's John Sweatpant
  • UNIQLO Sweat PantsUNIQLO Sweat Pants
  • James Perse Loopback Cotton-blend Jersey SweatpantsJames Perse Loopback Cotton-blend Jersey Sweatpants
  • Easy Cuffed Jogging BottomsEasy Cuffed Jogging Bottoms
  • Naturally From Derek Rose Toby Cotton-blend Lounge TrousersNaturally From Derek Rose Toby Cotton-blend Lounge Trousers
  • D Squared Vintage Wash Jogging BottomsD Squared Vintage Wash Jogging Bottoms
  • Sunspel Loopback Cotton-jersey SweatpantsSunspel Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatpants
  • American Apparel Classic SweatpantAmerican Apparel Classic Sweatpant
  • Hugo Boss Cotton-jersey Jogging BottomsHugo Boss Cotton-jersey Jogging Bottoms
Final Word

Gone are the days of sloppy sweatpants. A shift in attitude towards traditional sports inspired pieces, combined with a new tapered leg and modern cut, has finally made them wearable – for certain situations and occasions.

But now it’s time to have your say:

  • Have we convinced you that sweatpants have more than a lounging role to play in your wardrobe?
  • Or are you still sure they should be bound to the home and the gym?
  • Will you be investing in some slim sweats?
  • If so, how will you be styling them?

Let us know in the comments section below…