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Where and When Is It Acceptable to Wear Sweatpants?

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Is It Okay to Wear Sweatpants Outside the House?

If there's ever been a time to gird yourself against the outside world, it's now. It's understandable, for example, that you'd want to leave the house in a full sweatsuit, bringing the comforts of home with you wherever you go. But does that make it okay? So this week, for our latest roundtable, we gathered to discuss the politics of sweats outside the home. Can this be done with dignity? Is it okay to wear them to a bar? Below, Racked editor-in-chief Britt Aboutaleb, menswear editor Cam Wolf, and shopping editor Cory Baldwin hash it out, moderated by senior editor Meredith Haggerty.

Who do you agree with? Tell us!

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Meredith: Welcome to Racked's discussion of: Are sweatpants acceptable? We're going to start with our pro argument from Cory Baldwin. Cory, would you like to give us an opening statement about why sweatpants are or are not acceptable?

Cory: What we're talking about here is, are sweatpants acceptable outside of the home? I think there's a time and a place. I'm not wearing sweatpants to a job interview. I generally don't wear them to the office. I have before, sorry Britt.

Britt: Inappropriate.

Cam: Objection.

Cory: I wear them to the grocery store, running errands. Wearing them on the subway, I feel worse about that. But I'm generally “live and let live” with your sweatpants. I do think the new trend of fancy sweatpants is a little lame, but It's trickled down to some affordable versions that are pretty decent-looking and I find them acceptable.

Meredith: Cory, I'd like to follow up with two questions for you. The first question is, you listed a number of places that would be unacceptable. How would you feel about wearing them to a bar?

Cory: Is this like an alone time, sad bar visit, where I'm drinking by myself? Or am I on the prowl?

Meredith: This is like a hangout, cool girl, going-to-meet-a-person bar visit.

Cory: Would I wear sweatpants on a first date? Absolutely not.

Cam: But to a bar with your friends?

Cory: Yes, maybe, depending on how I felt during that day.

Meredith: Is there a difference there with fancy and non-fancy sweatpants?

Cory: I'm not wearing my college-branded-down-the-leg XXXL sweatpants that I stole from a boy I hooked up with in college. I'm probably wearing skinny-fit black joggers — is that what they're called?

Cam: Okay, no.

Cory: Maybe with a sweater.

Meredith: Cam, be moderated. Next is our con, Britt. Britt, would you like to give us your opening statement about sweatpants? Sweatpants in public.

Britt: I'd love to. I'm going to preface this by saying wear whatever you want, be happy, be comfortable, but also don't wear sweatpants at the office. It's inappropriate. I think leisure wear, whether we're talking track pants or sweatpants or leggings, should be worn for the activity for which they were manufactured. I didn't even realize that people wore sweatpants out of the home until I went to college and everyone was wearing Juicy Couture sweatpants with "Juicy" bedazzled across the butt. I just think it shows a general sense of laziness.

Meredith: Okay Cameron Wolf, menswear editor, you're undecided.

Britt: Wait, can I say just one other thing really quickly? I wear a lot of big, loose, baggy pants that are arguably more comfortable than sweatpants. You can still have that level of comfort without actually wearing Champion sweatpants! Although those are really cool, just not in the office.

Cam: Really strong point. I'm in the middle on this because I feel like, on the whole, there's this huge thing in menswear right now where tailored sweatpants are supposed to be cool and acceptable. I've written stories about cool tailored sweatpants, and you see all those posts that are like, "Look at how you can style them so you can wear them to the office and to the bar!" But also, I just think I would never wear them, and you look like a schmuck if you do it.

Meredith: Cam, would you like to fall into this trap I just set up for you, in saying that sweatpants are acceptable for men and not for women?

Britt: Oh.

Cory: Don't do it.

Cam: I don't think they're acceptable for either.

Meredith: Good job.

Read the rest of the discussion here >>
Shopping
I Still Care About Three Quarter-Sleeve Shirts
A catalog spread featuring three quarter-sleeve shirts.

When was the last time you saw a three quarter-sleeve shirt? Not a long-sleeved shirt pushed up to the elbows, not a T-shirt that runs a little long — a legit three quarter-sleeve shirt. I’ll tell you when: probably not since 2001.

Which begs two important questions: Where did they go? And why does no one care about what was arguably the most practical shirt style to have ever been invented? (Think about it: When was the last time you wore a long-sleeved shirt that you didn’t push up to at least the mid-forearm?)

I grew up in suburban New Jersey, and there were no shortage of three quarter-sleeve shirts in my mall. We had Delia’s, of course, and a Wet Seal, Contempo Casuals (where I also bought my first thong...), the junior’s department of Macy’s, and G+G. At roughly $15 a pop, I had an entire arsenal of fitted, ribbed (very important) three quarter-sleeve tops, as well as lots of two-sets: the camis with matching shrugs that were also three quarter-sleeve in length. Between 1997 and 2002, I owned no real long-sleeved shirts.

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