Sorry guys, but you can’t actually wear sweatpants to work

Sweatpants on the runway at Milan Fashion Week. Getty/Tullio M. Puglia

For sweatpants, 2014 was a big year.

Not only were they seen on every fashion runway, but most major retailers put out a line of slim, tailored sweatpants, solidifying them in the mind of the fashion-concious as appropriate street wear.

Following that, major fashion media outlets jumped on the hype train and took the rise of sweatpants to the next logical step. Dozens of articles explaining how to wear these new fancy sweatpants in a work environment can be found on the web.

Can that be? Soft and comfortable pants that are also work appropriate?Sounds too good to be true!

And it is.

It doesn’t matter whether your sweatpants are the $US100 Nike Tech Fleece coveted by the masses or the $US6 Fruit of the Loom worn by the masses, sweatpants, by virtue of their aesthetic, construction, and intended use, are not to be worn at the office.

Barron Cuadro, creator of men’s lifestyle blog Effortless Gent agrees, telling us “regardless of how well-fitting they are, they’re still sweatpants.”

“Unless you work at a gym, keep them out of the office,” he says.

Here are three simple reasons why you’ll never be able to get away with wearing sweats to work:

  • Everyone will know. You can’t hide it, no matter how slim the pants are or what shirt or shoes you pair it with. Even the most well-hidden colours still look like sweats. You can’t tuck your collared shirt into an elastic waistband, after all.
  • When they are able to tell, your coworkers will think you didn’t even try to look presentable for work today because simply couldn’t be bothered. Is that the message you want to send to your superiors and coworkers?
  • Everyone will think you look like a slob. Do you really want your boss to think you slept in the pants you came to work in? No. Eliminate the suspicion.

Tech Pants from Nike’s Fall 2014 collection. Nike

Some may compare it to the eventual acceptance of denim in the workplace, but this is a flawed comparison. Denim didn’t start out as athletic wear — it started out as blue collar work wear.

According to Complex, the only sweatpants you “should” wear to work are black and navy — basically, the sweats where it is hardest to tell what material you’re wearing. But you still won’t be fooling anyone and you shouldn’t be buying specific colours of sweatpants just to wear to work.

Betabrand makes a “dress sweatpant” that they claim is work-appropriate. The colours it uses are purposely chosen to make the pants able to blend in with the slack-wearing crowd, but let’s face it: your colleagues will still be able to tell that they’re sweatpants.

Though sweatpants have migrated to street wear, you wouldn’t wear them at a wedding. Apart from the flawed argument that you can wear them to work, no one is making the argument that sweats are acceptable to wear in any environment more formal than the streets or your own home.

Why go through all this effort to try and fit a square peg into a round hole? As Esquire notes, there’s a myriad of other pant styles and fabrics to choose from that fit right in at your workplace. So leave the sweatpant-wearing to those that work from home.

Betabrand dress sweatpants
Betabrand claims that their dress sweatpants are work appropriate. Betabrand

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