How to Look Good in Sweatpants and Show Up in Life

Back in the days, wearing sweatpants in public was just unthinkable. They were reserved for lounging at home or working out at the gym. Jerry Seinfeld in his sitcom even joked that if you are wearing sweatpants in public, it must be that you are so miserable that you have opted to at least be comfortable in your misery. But with many people stepping out in this polarizing piece among fashionistas, we might as well learn how to look good in sweatpants like Bella and Gigi Hadid.

Tips on How to Look Good in Sweatpants

Let’s face it. Some celebrities can get away with wearing sweatpants in public even if the ensemble is not well put together because they are celebrities and their fashion takes can get some cult following even if you are in agreement or not. That is just the nature of how trends are set.

But whether you are influenced by their choices or primarily interested in exploring how to pull off the comfiest bottoms in public, we will show you ways to rock the sweatpants without looking like the defeated person that Karl Lagerfield says of people who show up in these fast-becoming wardrobe staples. Here are some of them:

1.  Choose dressy sweatpants.

If you are planning to wear your sweatpants beyond the premises of your house or the gym, then it will be easier for you to switch from athletic to casual or even semi-formal look by stocking on versatile sweatpants. By that we mean those that come in basic colors—two-toned at most; one solid neutral color is best.

Sweats with big prints like your university sweatpants can also be challenging to transform and are quite frankly best worn for exercising or lounging at home. The smaller the prints or logos on your pants, the easier it is to incorporate them into your OOTD.

Next, mind the cut. While sweatpants are primarily favored for comfort wear, you can find those that perfectly marry Ease and Style. Sweatpants with a loose fit around the crotch and thighs and that taper to the bottom look chic in and out of the gym. You can also go for the opposite—snug on top and relaxed at the bottom like bootleg pants. Make a go as well for fitted sweatpants.

In principle, if you are buying sweatpants for purposes other than going to the gym or a quick stop at the grocers, go beyond the comfort factor. You can never go wrong with black-tapered sweatpants with or without the cuffs. And if you are intent on looking good in your sweats, do steer clear of the gray ones which have long been associated with the traditional baggy prototype.

2.  Pair your sweatpants with your favorite top.

If you have got your sweatpants right, then they can work with a wide range of tops. An edgy cropped top, a semi-tucked loose and thin shirt, an airy tank top, or an over-sized sweater would look good with the right sweats. Basically, you can treat yours just like your regular pair of jeans if you have paid attention to the color and the cut from the start.

3.  Wear ‘em with a coat or jacket.

To add some oomph factor to your shirt and sweatpants ensemble, a coat or a jacket will do the trick. A moto jacket, for example, will instantly add a dash of edginess to your outfit. A blazer will also make your OOTD a little formal, compensating for the homey sweats. A full-length coat can add some flair to your attire as well.

Essentially, use a different fabric or material from your sweatpants and top. You can choose from denim, suede, leather, and faux fur, among others. Same fabric is also okay but do play up with the texture, color, and thickness.

4.  Find the right footwear and other accessories.

To complete your look, slip on the right footwear. Your shoes communicate the kind of style you are going for. With your tapered and cuffed sweatpants, wear flats or heels to look chic or glam. Choose slippers or sneakers to go with your Capri sweatpants for a relaxed or sporty look. Then for a classic or rustic vibe, match fitted sweatpants with boots.

A colorful clutch or a matching bag, a pair of sunnies, a colorful shawl, or a statement necklace also alleviates the homey sweatpants to a different level. A good bag, in particular, can so far make most people overlook the fact that you are in your sweatpants. So, if you dig sweats but don’t like being snubbed, then an arm candy is your best weapon—although that is not guaranteed to work every time.

5.  Don’t go matchy-matchy with the brand of your get-up.

Don’t be dressed head to toe in one brand. If your sweatpants are from a certain brand, do not wear shoes, top, and headwear from the same company. Or, choose those that do not shout out the labels across different parts of your attire.

6.  Break the rules.

If you consider yourself a trendsetter or a fashion risk-taker, then we are pretty sure you can find your way around everything we have advised you not to do. By all means, show us how to rock sweatpants that are baggy, grey, or with big-prints. Your confidence is all you really need to pull off any clothing article—sweatpants or not.


With perceptions changing fast on the “lowly” sweatpants and with more and more design options becoming available, these comfy sweatpants seem bound to lounge for a long time in the fashion arena. Whether you agree with them making their way in malls, restaurants, and nightclubs or not, learning how to look good in sweatpants will prove to be valuable.

Essentially, if you stick with cuts that have some semblance of jeans, then you will be able to style them in a number of ways and get more hits than misses. Karl or Jerry won’t be able to accuse you of having given up on life.

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