Now, darlings, we’re not talking straight-out sweatpants here, okay? No terrycloth, no velvet with ribbed cotton waistband and cuffs, like those Juicy Couture tracksuits. Pants like that simply aren’t possible to wear without looking like you just came from the gym, no matter how you style them. It just won’t do. What you’re looking for are very simple pants, preferably in black, or dark grey or navy, with no visible logos. Any details that shout “let’s kick a ball around!” are bad, anything that resembles more dressy pants is good.
I was lucky enough to stumble over a fantastic pair in H&M’s plus size department (on sale, even). They’re super soft, smooth and comfortable, with side pockets, drawstring legs and a drawstring waist. The top part is so roomy that the waistband can sit in my waist, which is important for figures like mine (otherwise I’m very much in danger of looking like a sack of potatoes). I had to edit the picture from H&M’s website, as their picture didn’t reflect how the pants look on me.
Of course, your perfect comfy pants don’t need to look like mine; the important thing is that they’re comfortable to wear, and also suit your figure. The most crucial things to consider are how the waist is placed on your body, and how wide/slim the legs are.
Now, what we want to do is to counteract how pants like these can look sloppy, like you didn’t make an effort. A good rule of thumb is therefore to add elements that will make you look more polished. The importance of decent hair cannot be stressed enough (we’ve pretty much eliminated bad hair days now, right?). You don’t need to do pin curls or create a complicated updo; anything that says “I did something to look nice” will do. Decent nails are good, too, as healthy cuticles and perhaps a layer of polish can make such a big difference.
As for the top you choose, think carefully about its fabric. To combat the impression of lazy sweatpants, what better to add than something automatically considered a bit more dressy? Chiffon, silk or modal that hangs beautifully are great for just that. Another alternative to consider is tops that instantly make one think of something elegant or sensual. A breton top, for instance, whispers of Coco Chanel, of classy French ladies, of pinup girls with perfect hair, whereas something lacy peeking out can be a very seductive touch.
When it comes to accessories, it’s helpful to think the exact opposite of what one would at a gym. Anything that would be impractical when working out, such as jewelry, watches and sunglasses, will make us look less sporty. A beautiful bag will make a big difference, too, so try to avoid canvas messenger bags or anything that looks like a gym bag. As for makeup, a little lipstick or some liquid liner will instantly lift your look, because people usually tend to think this is hard to do, and therefore that you’ve made an impressive effort.
As you can see in the look above, it’s all about balancing casual and dressy elements. On one hand, we’ve got the comfy pants, the everyday t-shirt, the messenger bag (though not in canvas) and natural-looking lips. If this was paired with sneakers, a low ponytail and no accessories, it wouldn’t look quite as stylish as combined with chandelier earrings, messy curls, 50′s sunglasses and high heels. Still, adding other casual elements is important, as otherwise you risk the pants standing out as the only relaxed item, thus looking very out of place.
Really, the best way to style pants like these are with a dash of courage and rebelliousness. It will allow you to feel comfortable and look like you’re having fun with what you’re wearing – which is the way it should always be, in my opinion.