TORONTO — Sweatpants are ruining the world. Or so some might have you think.
This week, American author and cultural critic Fran Lebowitz, went on a tirade about certain fashion choices that she despises. Among them? Yoga clothes.
“Even men wear them!” she exclaimed to Elle.com. “It’s just another way of being in pajamas. You need more natural beauty to get away with things like that.”
For the record, the 64-year-old — who was interviewed in rolled up jeans, cowboy boots and a men’s shirt and blazer — also hates men in shorts. She called the attire”repulsive,” said they look “ridiculous, like children,” and that she’d rather see someone coming at her with a hand grenade.
But anyway, back to sweatpants. Lebowitz’s reasoning seems to be that casual wear is only for the .01% of “naturally beautiful” people. “Most people just aren’t good looking enough to wear what they have on. They should change. They should get some slacks and a nice overcoat,” she said.
Lebowitz is not alone in her pants stance. Eva Mendes came under fire last week for slamming sweats during an interview with Extra. When asked about her style, she described it as feminine and dismissed the sheer thought of wearing sweatpants — even at home.
“You can’t do sweatpants, no. Ladies, number one cause of divorce in America: sweatpants. No, you can’t do that!”
Her boyfriend, Ryan Gosling, later came to her defense.
The actress took to Instagram to apologize and joked that orange crocs are really the culprit behind divorce.
This debate is admittedly nothing new. Even Jerry Seinfeld once criticized George Costanza for his sweatpant-wearing ways, saying the message it sends is: “I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.”
But has what’s “acceptable” actually changed? It would appear so, as it seems sweatpants have infiltrated the fashion world.
Take, for instance, Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week. On Thursday evening, models are set to strut their stuff in Montreal-based activewear company Lolë‘s “fashion-forward collections that look as chic on the street as they do in the studio.”
Earlier in the day, Lolë competitor Lululemon reported a 16 per cent surge in profit for the latest quarter, compared to the previous year.
Holt Renfrew fashion director Barbara Atkin has called ‘athleisure’ “one of the biggest trends to hit the streets in years” — one that she doesn’t see going away during the next decade.
“Casual and ‘athleisure’ have taken on a life of their own,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group, Inc. last month.
According to NPD, activewear in the U.S. “was the clear driver” when it came to apparel, “especially among women.”
Designers don’t seem to mind that one bit. There’s no shortage of pricey sweatpants on the market for the fashionistas among us — from faux leather sweats at Bloomingdales to $1,163.95 men’s jogging pants at Givenchy.
Some department stores even pair them with heels. Perhaps that makes them seem less like pyjamas. Or helps prevent your husband from divorcing you. The jury is still out on that.
SOUND OFF: What are your thoughts on sweatpants and yoga pants?
With files from The Canadian Press