Going on three years, we've been faced with an inverted clothing curve, where comfort has been paying a higher interest rate than style.
In fact, we've been wondering: If a person isn't seen all day by a partner, or by colleagues on a Zoom call, did that person actually wear anything at all?
Anyhow, we've taken a deep dive on sweats stylish soft pants — we'll have more on this in an upcoming post — and also organic cotton sweatshirts, mostly from obscure Italian brands found on YOOX. (It probably goes without saying that free-range cotton is significantly softer than cotton grown in cages.)
The winner, by quite a wide margin, is this Classica Cotton Sweatshirt by one of our favorite brands: De Marchi. A few points to note about sizing and taking action:
De Marchi runs ridiculously small for American bodies. Go up two sizes.
As of this writing, it's still 30% off.
Use code XMAS20 for an additional 20€ off.
When you purchase anything from De Marchi you become part of their Ciclo Club, which includes free merch: a water bottle, an embroidered patch "to be stitched or ironed on your favorite jersey," a metal pin, and the official Ciclo Club cap.
If you love soft tops and are even vaguely into cycling, this is a tough purchase to beat.
We've been admiring (and desiring) Rhude since we first laid eyes on their Traxedo Pant, but at price tag exceeding the per-capita income of most of sub-Saharan Africa, haven't been able to pull the trigger.
Rhude's collaboration with Puma made access to a touch of their style available at a fraction of the price, so we tried out the XTG Track Top and can endorse it (especially now that it's marked down to $79).
While the 59-41 fabric composition does challenge our organic materials principle, in the track jacket genre this is in the organic top 1%. And the blend serves a purpose: the poly keeps it from fading to charcoal gray, and the cotton mutes the shine so you don't look like a player at The Villages. Fits true to size.
If you want to shave a few seconds off the time it takes you to get that place where you're looking into your dresser drawers and saying, "What the hell was I thinking?", then by all means purchase these denim joggers, now 50 percent off at Uniqlo.
Even with their negligible cost — just $19.90 — we estimate that they will help you reach a state of bewildered regret approximately a half minute faster than you would had you purchased the far pricier Dsquared2 leather joggers we panned last spring, which at least have the virtue of clearly signalling to the world that you've got money to burn.
Q: Please weigh in heavily on the jogger pants trend that is sweeping shamefully across the country. — Dave
If we ever find ourselves on the tennis courts at the Red Raider Community Fitness Facility in April or October, we like cotton sweatpants for the first 20 minutes or so. We also endorse cashmere sweatpants under the following conditions: Intercontinental plane travel; domestic train travel that spans at least three states; recovery from any surgery that pushes you over your out-of-pocket maximum for the year; and house arrest.
Beyond that, we cast a wary eye toward sweatpants, loungewear, joggers, or whatever you want to call them.
Now, granted, in the era when we initially developed this wariness, sweatpants came in two main varieties: Shiny silk or shapeless polar fleece.
The new generation of sweatpants offers an alternative to such fare. They're cut more closely, they come in cotton, wool, and cashmere, and when designers aren't trying too hard to make them novel or sporty, there are an abundance of good options to choose from if you need a pair for any of the purposes we describe above.
And this current abundance doesn't surprise us — we see it as the inevitable consequence of aging millennials seeking relief from the unforgiving skinny jeans of their higher-metabolism youth. And of course it's yet another manifestation of culture's primary shaping force over the last 40 years or so — business casual.
But despite the significant advances in sweatpants manufacture, we don't find ourselves wanting to wear them more often. While $300 tailored sweatpants are certainly a step up from onesies, they still strike us as somewhat infantile when worn in nightclubs, restaurants, etc. And at work they cross the chasm from business casual to trying too hard (TTH).
Indeed, if your need to gamify your Monday morning meeting is so strong that you leave your colleagues wondering if you're planning to dunk on them or just share your thoughts on the Q3 revenue forecasts, you are spending way too much time at the office and not enough time engaging in actual leisure. Put on a belt, knot up your tie, and pour yourself a drink. Work shouldn't be that strenuous.
A: We love imagining the look on "Style Guy" Glenn O'Brien's face when he learned underlings at GQ were suggesting fleece sweatpants ... with ankle-hugging elastic. He probably died a little bit, too, on the outside.
Despite the likes of prodigy designer Alexander Wang and shrunken-man designer Thom Browne doing fleece sweats — if you're insane you can buy a pair of Browne's sweatshorts for $300 — this is a clothing item best left to Rocky Balboa and George Costanza.
For times when we need the functionality of sweatpants — usually a tennis warm-up session and not training for a fight against Apollo Creed — we wear bottoms than emphasize the pants over the sweat. That is, pockets in both front and rear, unfettered leg openings, zip flys, and above all, no fleece. It's the fleece that gives off the "I give up" look.