In Defense of Sweatpants

We all know the trope: if a woman is wearing sweatpants, there is something terribly wrong with her life.

In TV and film, it’s usually a breakup that has her completely “give up” on herself, rejecting the duties of modern women to primp and preen themselves for the male gaze their own self-esteem. Then, some savior best friend will come along and call them out on their pity party, and – lo and behold – the sweatpants come off.

Pop culture seems to collectively reinforce the idea that sweatpants are unfeminine, and indicate that you are (at best) lazy or (at worst) damaged. Many a (male) significant other has shuddered in disgust and fear onscreen, “not the SWEATPANTS!” Sweatpants, it seems, has become a dirty word.

I’ve read numerous articles written by men pleading women not to wear sweatpants in public spaces, and I’ve read equally disheartening articles written by women whose significant other got them to stop wearing sweatpants. One article actually argued that if you stop wearing sweatpants in public, one benefit is that tourists will ask you for directions. I’m not making that up. Having tourists approach you in public was a writer’s pro argument to not wearing sweatpants.

I’m sure you’ve deduced by now that I’m going to say all of this is malarkey. Sweatpants are god’s gift to everyone, and anyone who tells you not to wear them is a big fat hater*.

First of all, sweatpants are fucking comfortable. They are nice and loose, they are soft, and they are warm. You don’t have to wear stockings or tights under them, and you don’t have to do squats to fit into them when they come out of the dryer. They have pockets to store useful things. As a man, you might not think this is important, but any female-identifying person can tell you that pockets on pants and skirts for women, if they exist at all, are tiny and useless.

“But Amelia, they’re ugly! They make you look like a slob! No one will be attracted to me if I wear sweatpants all the time!”

You, my friend, are looking for the wrong kind of mate. Sure, when you’re dating, you make more of an effort with your appearance to put your best foot forward. That’s great, but if the relationship is going to last, this person will eventually see you pick wedgies, pop pimples, flick boogers on the floor, and do all other sorts of nasty stuff. It’s human. If someone is going to stick around and be a life partner to you, you’re going to do unsexy stuff around that person (or people! I see you poly babes!), period. And they are going to love you anyway.

Let me put it this way: if you were to meet your next date in sweatpants and they don’t say anything about it and you have a great time, you know you have a keeper. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with women who like to wear full hair and makeup on the daily – to each their own. But we need to stop acting like sweatpants are the boner killer of the universe.

I live in Europe, and people in general are just more put together than Americans. In Texas, it was nbd for me to run some errands in my pajamas on the weekend. Doing that here definitely raises some eyebrows, but you know what? I don’t care. People who give me the stink eye in public have no bearing on how I see myself or how I live my life.

I wear sweatpants as soon as I walk in the door after a long day of work. I wear sweatpants on the weekend like it’s my job. I even wear sweatpants to work once in a blue moon if I need the comfort and security of, well, being comfortable. And guess what? The sky doesn’t fall down. My partner still thinks I’m awesome. My boss still respects the work I do. My friends still want to hang out with me.

Sweatpants are just like any other article of clothing, except they wrap you up in a blanket of warm, fuzzy awesomeness. If you love sweatpants, but you’re afraid to show it, I’m here to tell you it’s okay. I will always support you and admire your ability to live authentically with no fucks given. I salute you.


*Please let me clarify that I’m using big and fat to describe the depth and breadth of their haterade, and never to insult or demean large and in charge people. I happen to be one, after all. Guts are gorgeous.

Image Credit: Flickr

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