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Item of the week: the sweatpant

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: O'Neill, Na-kd, Kuyichi

What it is:

As the epitome of comfort, the sweatpants were an integral part of lockdown life during the pandemic, replacing jeans as a cosy alternative for the long days indoors. However, while restrictions are now alleviated and the world has gone back to a sense of normalcy, it seems the impact of the sweatpants has not died down. In fact, the relaxed pant style was a significant part of the AW23 runways and has continued being broadly favoured by consumers. The sweatpant itself typically refers to a baggy or loose-fit design, often made unisex in a knit material.

Image: Timberland

Why you’ll want it:

As arguably one of the more popular forms of loungewear, the sweatpants do not fall into one demographic of consumer, and are instead an item that individuals of any age or gender can enjoy. For this coming season, the piece has been elevated through modernised iterations of retro styles or in new cuts that can be seen in oversized, flared or straight-legged shapes. While these could all be seen for AW23, sweatpants as a whole, no matter what style has been adopted, tend to not be restricted to one season. Instead, the look remains popular year round, either as a form of fitness gear, an item to lounge in or a piece to sport for casual occasions.

Image: Mexx

Where we’ve seen it:

Sweatpants were seen in all forms on the AW23 runways, from the staple grey styles seen at Victor Virgile to all-over prints such as Ahluwalia’s galactic pants. One way in which sweatpants were styled by designers was through the use of layering, as seen at Heron Preston, where velour-like pants were paired with a fitted cargo skirt. In contrast, Luar layered oversized brown sweats under a heavily embellished midi packed with sequins. Oversized styles could also be seen at Sinéad O’Dwyer, displayed with a lace up bodysuit, and Mowlola, which contrasted the relaxed look with a tailored shirt.

Image: Selected Femme

How to style it:

While sweatpants are typically associated with loungewear, and are therefore often seen paired with other styles from the category, such as sweatshirts and t-shirts, for AW23 the look was elevated by designers, bringing them into a new realm. In terms of tops, the style can be paired with tailored print shirts or lingerie-inspired pieces, such as panelled bodysuits, dressing up the item for eveningwear attire. For outerwear pieces, mix the look up even more with the addition of oversized blazers or structured leather jackets with their own prints. Shoes can also be cause for experimentation, with the option of sneakers for more casual wear or strappy heels to further refine the outfit.
Image: Porsche Design

The sweatpants are a loungewear item that has outgrown the category to become something suitable for almost all occasions. Updates of the staple trouser style have seen it transformed as a garment to take you throughout the year.

Image: Madewell

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Item of the Week