Are Sweatpants A Sign Of Defeat?

Written By: Emma Goganovski

Recently a friend sent me an email meme of the infamous Karl Lagerfeld quote: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” As I read it I experienced a number of emotions, a somewhat ‘7 stages of fashion grief’ if you will (except there was more like 4 stages)… First there was guilt: ‘OMG that’s me!’ which transitioned into defensiveness: ‘I wear sweatpants and I haven’t lost control of my life’, followed by hostility: ‘We can’t all afford Chanel okay Karl!’, and finally acceptance: ‘I am neither ashamed nor proud of my extensive sweatpant wearing nor do I find it inappropriate to wear said sweatpants outside of my house as long as they are of a stain free variety.’ And that reminds me to wash this current pair of sweatpants because god knows how long they’ve been in action for.

A daring, yet strangely now familiar look. via

More sporty vibes over at: TREND HOW-TO: OVERALLS

But before you’re quick to judge me Kaiser Karl, in a roundabout way it is you that I blame for my said sweatpant wearing. You see, with the explosion of street wear and the incorporation of sportswear into the mainstream fashion vernacular, somewhere along the line sweatpants became a completely acceptable form of leg wear. And in that same brilliant way that Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly dazzles Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada with a blunt history of how she came to be wearing that cerulean sweater, it is thanks to those sneakers and tracksuits and pyjama pants that continue to be sent down couture runways (courtesy of Karl and his colleagues) that I have come to be quite the sweatpant aficionado.

Karl’s take on sweats Chanel F/W 14… Anyone?

Now if the word sweatpants elicits early 21st century images of Paris Hilton in neon velour Juicy Couture tracksuits (that I really wanted and sadly or maybe not so sadly never got) or pilled gray Big W ‘trackiedacks’ let me replace and the word sweatpants with the word loungewear and see what that does for you. It’s immediately glamorous right!? Right!!!? In the same way one takes a lover instead of a bootie call for example.

Loungewear – a glamourous  ensemble ready for cocktails

Loungewear should not simply mean the clothes one wears inside the confines of their home, but should also mean luxury and comfort and the epitome of casual somewhere on a scale of sexy and refined. Imagine soft jersey and luxe silk in the form of palazzo pants and oversized pyjama style shirts, styles we continue to see both on and off the runway yet typically considered only for inside the home. These styles elevate lowly house sweats to something far more interesting fit for, I like to imagine, an exotic party in Morocco hosted by Yves Saint Laurent or at the very least a boozy ladies lunch.

Or what if I were to replace the word sweatpants with the word sportsluxe? Well, now we’ve just gone from the object of Karl’s affection to a woman after his own heart. Inspired directly, perhaps, from the Chanel F/W 14 collection (pictured above) in which the man himself sent sweatpants and sneakers down a grocery store themed runway – fashion touché anyone? I know you’re not surprised reading this though – trend reports have been banging on about sportsluxe for what feels like years now – meaning that somewhere in the storied history of sweatpants it became completely acceptable to invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars in them (I’m looking at you leather joggers).

Witchery Sweats. Available here.

But if you’re not that way inclined, the good news for the vast majority of us is that reliable Australian retailers like Country Road, Witchery and Cotton On have all delivered different takes on the sweatpant over the past year with the incorporation of drop crotch, soft chambray, silk, printed and leather look styles.  All of which are perfectly acceptable from day to night and home to work when they’re dressed up with heels and a blazer or a long-line cardigan and brushed hair always helps. There are plenty of trend driven palazzo styles available via other retailers such as ASOS. These are great because you can wear them out for one season and downgrade them to bed wear accordingly because, HELLO, they cost $40!

Coated Witchery Joggers. Available here.

Call it loungewear or call it sportsluxe it’s all really just life imitating fashion imitating life. I don’t feel so bad about flying the sweatpants flag anymore; I took my cues from the designs of the man whose meme mocked me only moments ago and that my friends is the proliferation of sweatpants.

Another trend worth trying – TREND HOW-TO: THE BOYFRIEND JEAN

What does everyone think of the sweatpants look? Would you wear sweats and heels for a night out, or is this just too crazy to even contemplate? Let us know in the comments below!

You Might Also Like


  • Luci
    Reply Luci Tuesday 9th September, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    In love with the black & white ones- but they are def a brunch/coffee only wear for me

  • Reply Whatthe Sunday 10th August, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    This article inspired me to get my trackies out!

  • Reply amanda6393 Friday 8th August, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I think it seriously depends on the style of trackies!

  • Reply BellaB Friday 8th August, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I’m not a huge fan of sweatpants, but have recently had to concede they do have their place. Not on a night out, though!

  • Reply yslyenom Thursday 7th August, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    As long as I feel comfortable wearing them and they don’t look ridiculous.

  • Reply stels Thursday 7th August, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    sweatpants are so lazy!

  • Reply jessicawheelock Thursday 7th August, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I’m definitely pro sweatpants!

  • Reply Whatthe Wednesday 6th August, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    They all look so comfy and like they don’t care if anyone notices they’re wearing sweatpants.

  • Reply Sparkles17 Wednesday 6th August, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Love the black ones, classic!

  • Reply lovelyloves Wednesday 6th August, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I like the first look

  • hausoftina
    Reply hausoftina Wednesday 6th August, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Love those leather ones!

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.