Sweatpants as an everyday look

Woman in sweatpants leaning on a stair railing

Also known as track pants, tracksuit bottoms, jogging bottoms or simply just joggers, sweatpants were developed in the 1920s by the Frenchman Émile Camuset so that athletes could exercise during the cold winter months. Nowadays wearing sweatpants is no longer confined to sports — a development which is largely thanks to the rap and hip-hop scene. On 21 January, this versatile garment will be duly celebrated on “International Sweatpants Day”. It seems only fitting to take a look at the success story of our beloved sweatpants with Horst Fetzer, Professor of Fashion Design at HTW Berlin.

"Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants," Karl Lagerfeld once declared. Do you agree?

Personally, I don't think sweatpants work very well in an outfit because they create an extremely casual look. Nevertheless, sweatpants are now part of our everyday clothing. This is because society has increasingly become more sports oriented and there is a general a trend towards becoming more casual. Sweatpants stand par excellence for sporty, comfortable fashion.

Why are sweatpants so popular as streetwear?

Today it’s not only classic sweatpants you see on the street but also much more elaborate versions. The distinctive sweatpant shape is retained, but instead of jersey woven fabrics or high-quality sportswear tech are used. This transforms the casual look into a more fashionable style and can actually look rather good.

Will sweatpants still be wearable on the street in 2019?

For many people, sweatpants are part of their everyday look, and that's not going to change any time soon. However, the hype is certainly over. There was a time about three or four years ago when celebrities were all wearing sweatpants in public. The current fashion trend is clearly moving away from sweatpants towards more flowing silhouettes.