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Can you wear sweatpants to work? It’s not as preposterous of a question as you may think.

Can You Wear Sweatpants to Work? Yes, It’s Complicated

Can you wear sweatpants to work? It’s not as preposterous of a question as you may think. The pandemic changed workplace attire norms, with more employers embracing flexible and casual dress codes. 

But the short answer is no. 

And let’s be clear. I’m not talking about your dad’s sweatpants–the baggy ones with a drawstring and frayed hems that drag on the floor. Nope. Strictly forbidden. Don’t even wear those privately; if you do, please don’t tell anyone. 

Wearing sweatpants to work depends on what you do for a living.

Sweats under scrubs in a hospital setting? Yes, sure. 
Work at Footlocker? Maybe. 
Lawyer? Probably not. 

So that’s the million-dollar question—are sweatpants office-appropriate? Could you stroll into a client meeting wearing sweatpants and not get fired? 

The long, drawn-out answer is yes. But in this context, I’m talking about joggers.

Joggers retain the comfort and softness of classic sweatpants but typically come in more professional-looking fabrics like twill or jersey. They have a tapered or elastic ankle that creates a neater, tailored fit. While they may seem too casual for client meetings or court appearances, joggers can be elevated into office-ready outfits with complementary pieces.

Here are three of my favorite joggers from two of my favorite athleisure brands: Public Rec and Cuts Clothing. I wear these everywhere, including the office.

All Day Every Day Jogger by Public Rec

These joggers are $108 and feature a relaxed but tapered fit with additional room in the glute and thigh areas to allow freedom of movement. This is perfect for juggling back-to-back meetings. They are made of 88% nylon and 12% spandex, aimed at providing softness, durability, and shape retention over time. They don’t wrinkle, either.

Key features:

  • Elastic waistband with internal drawstring for adjustable fit
  • Front and back zipper pockets to hold small items
  • Faux fly front
  • Cuffed hems

These joggers work for business pros with an active lifestyle that values comfort and wants to look good at the same time. You can take a more casual approach and pair them with a quarter zip and white sneakers or a collared shirt and jacket for a more dressier vibe. 

Public Rec’s All Day Every Day Pant is even better. 

All Day Every Day Pant

Similar to the joggers, these pants have a roomy fit with additional thigh and seat space, tapering slightly at the ankles. They are also made with 88% nylon and 12% spandex. 

Key features:

  • Elastic waist with internal drawstring for adjustability
  • Two front zipper pockets
  • Faux fly front
  • Two back pockets

The All Day Every Day Pant has a dressier vibe, so pair it with a cardigan, jacket, or a pullover quarter zip sweater. The Rhone Commuter Blazer (Slim Fit) is a dope option.

Cuts Clothing AO Jogger

The “AO Jogger” by Cuts Clothing retails for $118. It is made from 100% polyester 4-way stretch Versaknit fabric, which provides durability, range of motion, and comfort.

Design details include:

  • Front and back elasticized cuffs for a secure fit
  • Elastic waistband with side panels for flexibility
  • Snap closure with hook/eye and zip fly
  • Gusseted crotch to allow ease of movement
  • One hidden zippered pocket
  • Calf embroidery with brand name
  • Two back welt pockets, two on-seam hand pockets, one coin/key pocket
  • Belt loops

Final Thoughts

Athleisure apparel like joggers are a comfortable option for casual work settings or remote jobs. Unlike sloppy traditional sweatpants, joggers can elevate a business casual outfit with features like tapered ankles and wrinkle-resistant stretch fabrics.

Pairing joggers with layers like knit pullovers or blazers offsets the relaxed work-from-home vibe. Functional details like front and back pockets and an adjustable waist maintain easy movement for busy days.

Context and personal styling are key when building your workplace brand or persona. Options featuring stretchable fabrics and slim-fit styles complement one’s brand and fill a practical spot in a work-appropriate wardrobe. 

FAQ

How do I get away with wearing sweatpants to work?

Easy. You can get away with wearing sweatpants to work by choosing joggers from Public Rec, Cuts Clothing, and other athleisure brands. Just ensure they have tapered ankles and pair them with dressier pieces like a quarter zip, blazer, or collared shirt. This elevates the outfit beyond sloppy, traditional sweatpants.

Can sweats be business casual?

Yes, 100%. It is possible and encouraged to make sweats business casual by following the same principles: pick joggers over loose sweatpants and pair them with polished pieces on top. Choosing joggers in solid, versatile colors also helps pull off a more business casual vibe.

How do you dress sweatpants up for work?

The key to dressing up in sweatpants for work is simple. Don’t wear them. Instead, get a few pairs of joggers and layer them with cardigans, blazers, or quarter-zip pullovers. This offsets the relaxed vibe. Tapered joggers also look more clean than loose traditional sweats. Complete the outfit with your choice of shoes. I prefer white sneakers, but my fit preference is always more casual.

Is it okay to wear a sweatshirt to the office?

Wearing a sweatshirt in the office can work if it looks structured and tailored. Choose crew neck or quarter zip styles, solids, or simple patterns over graphics. Tuck it into trousers or joggers and add layers like a sports coat. This outfit slightly nods to athletic apparel but ultimately reads business casual.

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