How to dress up a sweatshirt and sweatpants, collectively 'sweats'

Look, we get it. Prior to this year, we had never worn a sweatshirt. But then the pandemic hit and now all we want to do is burrow into soft, thick, breathable, fleece-backed goodness. Sweats are also the only thing that fit us after months of inactivity and overconsumption.

With hope around the corner, and with us having every intention of going out into the world as soon as it's safe again to do so, this leaves us in something of a predicament: what to wear to our favorite brunch places, places that we're certain have not relaxed their unwritten dress codes? The idea of buttons causes us to recoil, as does the idea of stuffing ourselves into something without stretch. But we're vain and want to look presentable, if not well-dressed. How do we bring our new favourite garments out into the world?

Wear it with a collar

Man wearing seafoam green sweatshirt over a white shirt

Collars make anything look slightly more formal. Try an oxford shirt tucked into sweatpants. If you find the idea of a woven collar too constricting, this works just as well with a polo shirt. In fact, it probably works even better with a polo.

A sweatshirt with chinos or jeans

Woman wearing sweatshirt and jeans

A full sweatsuit says "I'm on my way to the gym." A sweatshirt with jeans says "I'm a casually elegant person that enjoys an active lifestyle without slavish devotion to faddy fitness movements."

Good shoes

Woman wearing a green sweatshirt with chinos, leather loafers and a leather bag

We subscribe to the age old dictum of mixing high and low to achieve that unaffected "yeah I didn't even have to try" look. Like "yeah I was wearing a sweatshirt and reading on the couch when you called so I just slipped these loafers on and left the house, I hope we're not going anywhere too fancy." This also works with heels if you have the requisite resilience.

Just lean into it

If you want to go out with unwashed hair wearing a sweatsuit and Uggs, a look that served you well through four years of college in the early 2000s, then you should feel empowered to do so and damn anybody that tries to tell you otherwise. You just lived through a global pandemic. Who knows, maybe someone will mistake you for an off duty footballer and comp your lunch.