As a sweatpant as "real pants" apologist, I must bring to your attention a piece over at Jezebel in which writer Kate Dries test drove a pair of the super hyped-up Nike Tech Fleece sweatpants for a week. Off the media coverage wave of the pants by Business Insider and at the suggestion of a friend, Dries bought a pair and wore them for a week.
The result? A whole lot of disapproval.
See, to the "regular" world, the overarching opinion on sweatpants remains lodged directly in the mid-90s Seinfeld mentality: That, by wearing sweatpants in public, you are conveying a message of "I give up." This mentality shows in Kate's piece. However, not only is this mentality outdated, but it could not be further from the truth.
I'm sure I don't need to tell you, our loyal readers, that the correct pair of sweatpants can look great with a nice pair of sneakers and a simple outfit. I do not own a pair of these particular sweats, but many in the Complex offices do. And many other men around the Internet swear by them. Instead, I own multiple pairs of sweatpants that are—GASP!—even more expensive. Some of the biggest women's retailers are even giving their own sweatpants a go. Madewell and parent company J.Crew, amongst many others, have their own versions cut for women. I don't know Kate personally, but it sounds like she sparingly wore sweatpants in public before this experiment, which creates a pretty big problem when considering she's wearing men's sweatpants in public for an entire week.
Now, we're all for promoting cross-gender fashion here at the Pins, but if there ever was a garment that complicated matters more than they are already, it's pants. It's an extremely difficult undertaking to accurately reflect how these pants should fit and feel for a man vs. a woman. Kate addresses this point, but that doesn't make the experiment any more valid. She admits to owning sweatpants, but I'm gonna go ahead and assume none of those other pairs are men's. Why not try a different, but similar Nike offering meant for women? I feel as though she'd be a bit more satisfied.
Kate's problem of integrating a new item into her wardrobe is one we can all relate to. Friends and co-workers notice when you make a change to your usual habits. They may even call you on it. That's just a part of life. On an even more philosophical note: Just because people rave about how great an item is doesn't mean it's necessarily for you. Especially if it's gender-specific.