Not too long ago, wearing sweatpants on a night out (or even in public generally) would have gotten you roasted by all your boys for being a lazy slob. We're in a new era now, gents, the athleisure era. Maybe you’ve heard the term being thrown around or read about it on the interwebs. It’s definitely become an “official trend”, and has reached all levels of style, both fancy-ass and regular joe. Right about now you’re probably asking yourself, “What the hell is it, and more importantly, how the hell do I pull it off?” Great questions indeed, let’s get to it.
So WTF Is It?
In a literal sense, the term "athleisure" refers to a genre of clothes that includes stuff you’d typically only find at the gym or in workout settings being worn outside of those settings. So sweats, sweatshirts, sneakers, hoodies, and the like, but in more dressed up, non-sweaty settings. Whether you’re calling it something semi-pretentious like “athleisure” or our personal favorite, “comfy boy”, this cozy new status is here to stay and we're all better off for it. So welcome these recently unbanned items back to your closet and break out the wardrobe architecture.
What Not To Do
Be clear though fellas, not all workout attire is suitable for outside of the gym, you don’t just have free reign here. The lifting gloves? Compression tights? Shmedium Under Armour sleeveless shirts? Those are never to see the light of day beyond actually working out. Stick to the very basics at first, then branch out (more on that later). The same goes for those Walmart sweats, they’re fine for posting up on the couch for the NFL playoffs but you can’t just throw on your running shoes and an oxford with ‘em and call it good. The first rule of successful athleisure is discretion.
Start By Keeping It Simple
Your gateway into the cozy boy lifestyle is a pair of well-fitting sweatpants. Start by finding a pair of sweatpants in a solid color that utilizes minimal branding. If you choose to go grey, go with a heathered or marled pattern. Nike Tech Fleece reigns supreme in this category for now, but there are other streetwear companies coming out with different varieties sweatpants at lots of different price points. A word of advice when choosing your sweatpants: always roll with an elastic cuff for the leg opening. Leave the straight legged sweatpants alone.
Get The Right Fit
Once you've selected the pair of pants you like, it's time to consider the fit and sizing. You definitely want them to fit trim but not tight, bagginess is a major no here. So consider the brand’s size chart and possibly sizing down or up. Use caution though, size down too much and it looks like you're wearing long johns, size up too much, and MC Hammer will sue your ass for trademark infringement. A good rule of thumb is the pinch test. While trying the pants on, pinch the sides with your thumb and index finger. You want to be able to get enough material to reach the second knuckle of the index finger at the most, anything more than that is too baggy.
Can You Kick it? Yes You Can.
Obviously incorporating sneakers into an otherwise comfy-free casual wardrobe is a great place to start too. But it’s not just about throwing on your gym kicks with your favorite denim or chinos. If ball is life and you’re rocking basketball sneakers regularly, wear them with the rest of your casual wardrobe with caution, their larger size and bulk factor can create an uncool look. If you’re just dabbling, try running-influenced sneakers as a starting point. Retro runners from Nike, Boosts and NMD’s from Adidas, Nike Roshes, and old-school court shoes with a clean design are all excellent options. If you’re really focusing on your kick game, we’ve got a few additional style tips right here.
Now that the pants and kicks are settled, it’s time to move onto the rest of the outfit. Just getting into the athleisure vibe? Start off by mixing and matching clothing. Throwing a button up in the sweatpants mix will class things up a bit, just make sure it fits as well as your pants do. Shirts that billow out when wearing with slim fit sweatpants or vice versa will make your body shape look distorted, and that's not the look you should be attempting. Matching an athleisure top with casual bottoms like chinos can be a little trickier. Chinos or jeans can work with a raglan or French terry shirt so long as the layers complement the bottoms. While athleisure pants can be dressed up, cozy boy tops have a harder time doing so. If you end up going the chinos route, throw a bomber jacket on top to refine the look a little, rather than a hoodie. Lastly, make sure your outfit matches the mood of the occasion at all times. While full on cozy boy has it's merits, it's not always appropriate. Yeah, the idea of wearing sweats to a casual workplace can seem preposterously enticing, but ease into it, don’t just drop into full-on comfy without testing the waters and considering the situation. The last thing you want is a side eye from your boss or Janet in HR as you roll in wearing sweats and Yeezys.