Just Say No to Sweatpants (Unless You're Working Out)

Yesterday, I had a meeting in town with a friend. We were meeting at a fun little cafe to share lunch and talk writing. My friend is a newspaper reporter, and it's fun to "talk shop" with another writer, especially when you're like me and work from a home office all day.

After lunch out, I ran errands. That's when I noticed something odd; not one single woman shopping at any of the stores I visited wore what I would consider "real" clothing. I'm not talking about anything fancy, mind you; I'm talking about lace up shoes, clothing with zippers and buttons. Instead, all I saw everywhere was sweat pants, pajama pants (at 2 in the afternoon?), ratty, faded t-shirts, and flip flops.

Contrast that with how people have dressed historically. One wore comfortable "day" dresses or leisure clothing inside the home, but people changed to go outside of the home.

Whenever I bring up the subject of people wearing sweatpants as day attire, I get a lot of arguments. "They're comfortable!" is the biggest argument of all, as if one can't be comfortable in jeans, nice slacks, a skirt of a dress.

Throughout history, comfort was actually the LAST thing people thought of when they dressed themselves in the morning. Suitability, refinement, taste and social class were all considered, sometimes to the point of lunacy. Corsets, stays, sky high heels for men and women, wigs and knee breeches were never very comfortable for anyone, and both men and women dressed in some astonishing outfits throughout history.

But we as a society have sunk to an all time low with this wearing of fleece pajama bottoms outside of the bedroom; wearing sweatpants and worn t-shirts in public; and wearing flip flops and shorts in November.

Here's my challenge to those seeking a Return to Elegance; just for the rest of November, whenever you leave the house, dress up a little bit. If you are a woman, wear a skirt instead of slacks, or wear nice slacks instead of sweatpants. For the gentlemen, wear a collared shirt - a cotton polo shirt, a nice clean button down flannel shirts - with clean, neat jeans or chinos. Wear real shoes, even sneakers, instead of flip flops.

How you dress tells the world quite a lot about you. Unless you're headed to the gym to work out, just say NO to sweatpants, please!


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