Are Sweatpants the New Muumuu?

I’ve got no idea what to write today.  So, after looking through the news, I’ve resolved to do what I always do when I have no idea what to write – start writing.  I have a couple of ideas.  I’ve thought about writing something funny about how the sweatpants have become the new muumuu.  Okay, let’s chuck the other ideas and go with that.  Even the term “sweatpants” – it sounds very American and almost too casual.  For example, the British call their sweatpants, “joggy bottoms.”  Leave it to the British to have an ability to class up even skank-wear.  But, here it’s sweatpants – a very sad sack of a word.  I’m very conflicted about the sweatpants “issue.”  You see, I think everyone needs their own type of muumuu.  Maybe for guys it’s a favorite pair of shorts and beat up, old, t-shirt they never threw out and now fits like a second skin.  For a lot of women, it’s sweatpants.  Now, I have one pair of sweatpants that I just love.  I wear them a lot.    However, I have a rule about these sweatpants.  Rule number one is, I almost never leave the house in them.


Sweatpants or a muumuu say to the world, “I’m staying in today.”  They do not say, “I’m running errands.”  They do not say, “I’m going out with friends.”  And they should never say, “I’m getting on a plane.”


I don’t know why sweatpants on a plane bothers me so much, but it does.  I have a friend from the Boston area who will ONLY wear sweatpants when she travels and she travels a lot.  She wears them because she wants to be comfortable.  I feel that when you travel, you should dress up a bit.  I think I feel this way because you could die.  If the plane crashes do you want to be the lady in sweatpants carted out on the local news?  Or do you want to be the fierce looking lady in the power suit?  Okay, maybe that’s not all that logical.  I don’t know what my thought process is behind my love-hate sweatpants relationship, but I do know there’s a part of me that thinks we all dress like sh*t now.  When you dress like sh*t, you feel like sh*t, and when everyone’s doing it, you have a nation of sh*t.


And men in sweatpants.  Forget it.  Men should never wear sweatpants in public – ever.  In a boxing ring, yes, okay.  But, out in the world?  Or out at – god forbid – brunch?!  No, this should never happen.  Why?  Because, I’m sorry, but all we women see when we see a man in sweatpants is a penis that’s way too un-contained.  It has too much room to sway about and god forbid you should get a boner.  It’s like the best material for tent city.  Lest you think I am sexist, let me say, I feel the same way about any woman above a b-cup doing anything without a bra.  I’m sorry ladies.  I know it’s a curse, but put one on.  It’s for the good of mankind.


One day, I remember my grandmother saying to me as she looked at my footwear, “My mother would’ve loved those shoes.”


I have this great pair of comfortable pumps that are a deep green with these little green bows on them.  They are swank and cool-looking without being overly girly.  (And this is a hard balance to strike, especially when it involves bows!)  I understood why my grandmother said it.  As I remember back on my great grandmother, I remember her as a woman who DRESSED WELL.  I mean she wore those cute women’s blouses with the ties, before anyone did.  The outfit was always put together in a wonderful way and it was always classy.  If great grandma even owned a pair of sneaks they would’ve been those keds-ish kind, which aren’t really sneaks, but more boat shoes or something a cheerleader would run around in.  The sneakers of today would’ve made her cringe.


Now, I don’t want to go back to olden times.  I like my smartphone and my rights.  But, can’t we bring back the way we used to dress?  Even just a little.


I mean people used to dress like this just to go out to dinner:




Now we all dress like this:




Of course, every now and again I’m caught running around, doing some errands in some kind of workout gear.  But, I do try to never leave the house in my muumuu-sweats.  At the same time, everyone should have something so comfortable that it says, “Person at rest.”  I know this all makes me a living contradiction, but I just don’t think this “person at rest-look” should be on a train or a plane.  Every now and again I have mounted my car in my “person at rest” gear.  Usually to drive Wifesy to work.  But, it always slightly horrifies me.  I’m always half thinking to myself, “What if I get into an accident right now?  Everyone will think this chubby girl must’ve been on her way to a workout.”  Then the medical professionals will realize I’m not wearing a bra and they’ll gasp to themselves, “No, she actually went out like this…”  God forbid one of the male paramedics are wearing sweatpants…then the whole thing could turn into a real scene.


I’m not saying I want to go back to corsets.  But, there is a part of me that thinks if we all started to say a little more please and thank you, a little more sir and ma’am, and if we all started to dress a little better, it would help things just like the broken windows theory.


The broken windows theory was an idea that – perhaps – helped to stop crime in New York in the 80’s and early 90’s.  The idea was – if an area looks like crap, the people in and around it are going to look and act like crap.  If all you see are broken windows everywhere – you care less about your environment and yourself.  So, the city fixed the broken windows.  Due to the broken windows theory and other factors – crime went down.


So, my thought is maybe if we all dressed a little better, we’d stop treating each other like this:




It’s just a thought.



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Photo creds:  feature, catfight, sweatpants, fashionable-couple

73 thoughts on “Are Sweatpants the New Muumuu?

  1. I SO feel the same. Hubby and I went to a swank dining spot in a touristy city once and it was supposed to be THE place to go and it was our anniversary. String quartet, dim lighting, waiters scurrying over to attend to you every 5 minutes. He wore a suit jacket, tie, slacks, etc. Me — decked out in a white long white halter (with shawl) and a ‘just right’ slit on the side. We felt very elegant. So many people were dressed in shorts, flip-flops and tee-shirts. It kind of put a damper on the whole ambiance. I agree with you 100 percent. Ban the sweatpants. While we’re at it, ban those tight spandex shorts that men wear (I guess except if they’re one of those serious biker types), but please don’t walk around in public in them. Cover it. My eyes can’t help but keep going down there.

    1. Feel you! In Portland, people wear jeans to the symphony. I remember my mom made us dress up to go on planes. Miss that. I don’t own any sweats but I do love me some pajama pants not in public but still.

      1. jeans to the symphony! no. NOOOO. everyone needs theirs muumuu-sweats, i just don’t think we need to wear them f’en everywhere! lol. xo, sm

    2. ban the spandex! ban the spandex unless you’re lance armstrong! i couldn’t agree more. um, we just saw a man accept an award induction into the rock n’ roll hall of fame wearing nothing, but sweatpants. i’m not kidding. it was awesome. awesome and bad, all at once. xo, sm

  2. In Australia we call it a Track Suit, often worn to and from gym. At home they are called Trackie Dacks and have knees that sag, bums that have blown out and sometimes the back inch has been eaten away by walking on them. BLISS! Got them on right now. Jealous?
    Portia xx

    1. Curses! You beat me to it! :) I’m wearing my trackies right now, but they never get out of the house.

      I have also noticed that the only way for people to save the back of the trackies from being walked on is to wear Ugg boots. ;)

      I’m sure australianperfumejunkies has noticed that often women wearing their trackies are dressed up above the waist? Nice tops, perfect make-up and hair but looking like they are still wearing half of their pyjamas. It is a bit like they ran out of energy and couldn’t be bothered finishing the rest of their ensemble! :)

    2. ohhhhh, the track suit. the track suit. i’m seeing aussie thugs from that aussie thug movie that i kinda liked, what was it…i think it was called animal kingdom! better than the pope of greenwich village! lol. xo, sm

      1. and i sooooo wear my sweat-muumuus to write. everyday. i try to get out of them by the time wifesy comes home, so i don’t feel like a mental patient!

  3. I just saw off a few friends that are staying in my house / home office. They were very impressed that, just to work from home, I get up, head straight into the shower, get dressed (no sweats, nice *clean* jeans, with shoes!), make breakfast & coffee, and THEN start working.

    I dress up to work…at home!

  4. Can we make all the over weight men put their shirts on, too? Oh, my god, I swear I saw Santa jogging shirtless the other day. I wouldn’t wear sweat pants out of the house, either. I have pajamas for lounging around. Maybe the world needs more pajamas. All of this sleeping in a T-shirt is making us forget that there are going out in public clothes and staying home clothes.

  5. There is a balance that one is able to achieve with some effort (that is my very Southern very ladylike Grandma speaking).

    It took me years (not many but some) to realize that it wasn’t a real law that women couldn’t leave the house without lipstick and high heels or that God would not really strike you with a lightening bolt if your head was uncovered in Church, a couple more to realize that ladies did in fact wear pants! Thank you kindly for the 60’s, my poor Grandma nearly fainted in her Ice Tea (Whiskey) when I told her I would only Come Out (Debutante Ball) if I could do so in Jeans!

    So to the subject at hand – I have what I call my travel uniform which consists of these really wonderful sweat-like pants I buy in bulk from Target. They are inexpensive, loose fitting, wide-legged and have a wide waist band. I wear a semi nice top with them (depends on season) and a sweater (always). I travel a lot so I have found this to be the best for travel. They are comfortable, look fairly nice and stand up to even long overseas flights without looking like a complete mess at the other end.

    I can also wear these pants out and about in town with a nice tee or even dress them up. They are amazing. I buy them in bulk because they are cheap and simple to pack. They aren’t sweatpants. They aren’t gym clothes. They are simply the next best thing.

    1. omg, where are those pants??!! they sound like a yoga pant. i demand a yoga link to witness them myself, as they sound amazing! and one must be comfortable, yet not a mess. it is a very fine balance, indeed. xo, sm

  6. I don’t do sweatpants at all. But I totally understand flying in them. No metal bits. Easy to deal with in tiny airplane bathrooms. Comfort for those 2 hour layovers when you have to take your carry-on into the stall with you. No firm waist band to dig into your ribs as you sit in your tiny plane seat. They make traveling such a hassel now that comfort is more important with all you have to go through. Now if you are hoping for an upgrade, then totally dress up. All the evidence seems to point out that doing so increases the odds you get offered an upgrade.

    1. it is true. traveling is such a hassle these days, everyone should do it in a bikini or whatever the hell makes them comfortable. lord knows if you wear too much they’ll make you check all of yourself anyway, that is if you don’t fit in the overhead bin. what has happened to the world? lol. xo, sm

  7. Hi there Sweet Mother ^_^ I’m with you on this one! I think I ran outside in sweatpants twice…once because little bro broke his leg, so couldn’t dress up as I had to rush away and second time…ehm…can’t recall as it probably wasn’t as severe as little bro’s situation, but still pretty serious to make me run outside in them. Maybe I ran out of food?

    I work at home and I do have days I wear sweatpants, especially when my schedule is super hectic, but very often I just wear normal clothes. Otherwise I feel like I’m in a constant sleep mode.

    As for traveling, I do like to travel comfortable, but you will not see me in a sweatpants. Jeans work perfectly fine with ballet flats/converse and an off-shoulder shirt/sweater…well it kinda depends on where I’m flying too haha. Do you know what I hate now though is that they ask you to take your shows off…such annoyance. I am curious at the “next best thing” that Valentine is talking about, but unfortunately no Target in Holland. Such.Rudeness -_-‘

    Have a lovely day!

    1. i know, i so want a link to val’s pants!!! i’m with you – jeans and converse. that’s typically what i fly in and hopefully a semin-nice comfy top. it’s still all comfortable. get jeans with stretch if you need it! and it doesn’t look so sloppy. xo, sm

  8. I agree.. though it is hard to know what to wear these days… you always get judged by what you wear!

    anyway, I will NOT stop wearing my joggy bottoms on plane rides, if I’m going to die, I’m going to die while being extremely comfy!
    why would you torture yourself, being uncomfortable during a ~6hr plane ride? it’s preposterous! ;)

    thank you, sweet ma’am, for this enlightening post! ♥

    1. listen, you had me at joggy bottoms. i love that term. and i can guarantee that you’re wearing your joggy bottoms better than half of america or at the very least, ‘leaner’. it’s a mess over here. looollll. much love, momma

  9. This is pretty much the entire point of my admittedly bitchy blog. The whole thing was started because a girl who sat in front of me in class wore ENORMOUS sweats with boxers underneath…and Coach shoes. She spent a lot of money to look crappy. It’s everywhere, once you start looking. I can’t keep track of the number of women (of all ages, not just deluded high schoolers) who have gone out top-to-toe in PINK brand track suits. I’m being forced this weekend to go get my hair done while wearing a zippy hoodie with my initials on it (BECAUSE OMG, BRIDAL PARTY UNITY!!!!111!1!). But that whole look screams, “I don’t care about myself, you, or anything,” and it’s disrespectful to be somewhere in public looking like crap.

    And I agree regarding saying “please” and “thank you.” A little respect for others would go a long way in solving the problems of this world. I realize the irony of that statement given that my blog is devoted to mocking people’s poor sartorial decisions.


    1. just followed your blog, fads. i couldn’t resist after you mentioned….TRACK PANTS WITH BOXERS AND COACH SHOES??!!!! NO, NO, NO. ay yay yay. is everyone brain damaged? loool. and don’t even get me started on bridal parties. i have looked like human cotton candy more than once and it was one time too many. xo, sm

      1. Yeah. I was complaining about her on twitter and was encouraged to blog about bad fashion statements by my enabling friends. :-p
        This is the post in question. She wore her Uggs (approx. $170) that day.

        Being a bridesmaid is a horrible, thankless task. The bride sent out a mass text the other day instructing us on how to wash our hair. I should do a post on terrible bridesmaid dresses. Black out faces and have a bunch of people send in their worst photos.

      2. Argh, wordpress somehow ate my reply. Here is the post where she featured, although I got better pictures of her later in the semester. I think she wore real pants ONCE before she just stopped coming to class altogether.

        Gotta love how absurd bridesmaid dresses are. The wedding colors are blue, hot pink, and orange, and because there is some beauty in the universe, our dresses are blue. But bridesmaid dresses are almost universally unflattering and weird. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of amusing pictures from this weekend.

  10. It was only recently that I noticed my favorite pair of sweatpants had a series of little holes in the rear area. Still hasn’t stopped me from wearing them. Yet I will say I feel immense shame when I leave the house and realize that I’m wearing them. This must be progress?

    1. total progress. plus, it means you have your own walking air conditioning unit. on you, i love it. on anyone else, an utter crime. he, he, ha, ha. oy, i’m tired.

  11. I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I definitely agree that as a country, we’ve swung too far over on the comfy-dress pendulum. On the other hand, I really like being comfy. But reading your post makes me want to put on a tuxedo.

    But you’re right about people dressing abysmally for too many things–theater, nice restaurants, etc. And the last time I went to Mass—which was literally my last time at Mass because I’m never going again—people were wearing shorts and flip-flops.

    And don’t get me started on how people dress for work. There are way too many little chippies wearing dresses that are cut up to hear or down to there. I don’t want to see your junk, girlie. And neither do your co-workers.

    A return to manners and social niceties would be nice too.

    1. people dress up like ho-bags to go to work in an office sometimes these days. it’s a disaster. i am ALL for comfy. believe me. i spend a lot of time writing and all of that writing time is in comfy bottoms of some sort. however, i sincerely try not to leave the lodge in them!!! and saying ‘your post makes me want to wear a tuxedo’ sincerely made my day. loooolll. much love, sm

  12. Ha! We would be good friends, I think. If I am going out in the world, I dress for it. I wear dresses and a little hat and cute shoes just to bring my kid across the street to the playground. But that’s because I save up and only buy clothes that I love, that fit comfortably, and that fit me perfectly, and then I wear the hell out of them. It’s my philosophy :)

    1. nic, i get my clothes custom tailored. i swear to you. wifesy and i fight about this. i’m like you have to get it hemmed and if the shirt doesn’t fit right and you love it, you have the tailor practically re-goderm make it. i swear to you. maybe it’s a new yorker thing. there’s a tailor every half a block and the tailoring was cheap, so we did it with everything… :0 much love, sm

  13. Yessssssss! And I would add to the list of things that should never be worn in public: Crocs. Scrubs (unless you’re a doctor). Flip-flops. And my ultimate fashion pet-peeve — leggings. LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. THEY ARE TIGHTS WHICH DO NOT HAVE FEET. I shouldn’t have to see your camel toe. Put on a skirt or a really long shirt over those suckers, but don’t try to pass them off as pants, because I can see your underwear through them. Or not, if you’re not wearing any, which grosses me out even more.

    I think that when running errands, it’s okay to wear jeans and sneakers with a non-paint-splattered non-holey tee shirt. But come on people, when you’re going out to dinner? To the theater? To anything other than the grocery store? At least wear your ‘dressy’ jeans.

    1. Crocs are ok on kids only. If you are a grown man you should be ashamed of yourself. I said once that my kids leave so many shoes lying around our house it looks like we had our own private rapture, but then you notice that most of them are crocs and I’m pretty sure people wearing crocs won’t go in the rapture.

    2. NOOOOO NO NOOOOOOO TO THE CAMEL TOE. I blame vera wang and her goddamn leggings. i am so with you. i never wear them as i look like an ice cream cone in anything that has a tight ankle. it’s a crime. a total crime.

  14. The other day I was in a Target and saw a mom and her two kids all wearing pajama pants and shoes. I live below the Mason Dixon line so I am rarely rattled by some good ole redneck style but good grief. In business I think that once the baby boomers became the CEOs and presidents of companies they decided to introduce the business casual movement. I am a fan but I will watch Mad Men and feel like I missed out on all of the fancy.

    1. i’m so with you. i can maybe allow a croc on a chef, but that is fecken’ it and he or she should never leave the kitchen in them because they are hideous, not to mention plastic. ay yay yay. i like the comfy, but i like a bit of style too. ’tis the truth. always good to see you here, simon. it’s always good. xo, sm

  15. I think the more sophisticated women among us now use the term “yoga pants.” I still say sweat pants, but like you, I don’t go out in them (unless I’m going for a walk outside). That being said, as I was driving my son to school today, I saw a woman out on the corner, waiting for the bus with her child, and talking to the other parents. All while dressed in her long red nightgown. Hey, she’s got more self-confidence than I ever will. I should have snapped a photo, but I’m not one of those people. Well, actually, I just didn’t think to…

    1. Wow… that is impressive. I thought only very old ladies with memory issues went out in their nighties. To be honest it was one thing about getting old that I was looking forward to but now I realise it’s going to be so passe…

      1. As passe as fanny packs (that analogy was for you Sweet Mother, oh she of the fanny pack fame). Yes, this woman was maybe in her thirties, attractive, nothing frumpy about her. Except for the nightgown…

    2. a broad in her nightie to me says, “day drinking.” this is the only thing that could lead to wearing a nightie and having a conversation out during the daytime. and you are right, yoga pants sounds so much more sophistacado! completely. ;) momma

  16. Ungh…these days just getting out of pajamas qualifies as ‘dressed’ for me. The classy lady in 3″ heels and power suit has turned into a writing bum who will race down to the local shops in trackie daks [Australian version of sweatpants] a check shirt and ugg boots. Well, that’s what I wear in /winter/ anyway coz those sheepskin uggs are soooo warm and comfy…

    Oh god… too much information. Where’s the delete key? Oops…

    1. i feckin’ love the term trackie daks. i just do. it’s goddermn adorable. as are you, meeks. i just don’t know about those uggs tho. they make me insane. they have like one version of them that i like. and the craziest thing is that some people actually wear the damn things here in california!!!! there is no need. no need here. it is flip flops forever in the land of the sun. wait, a second, isn’t the wonderful australia the land of the sun as well? i usually think it is… xo, sm

      1. You know what I love about Ugg boots? To me they scream panel vans and drive-ins, Australia in the 70’s. Now some other company bought them and are trying to tell us we can’t call furry boots Uggs unless it is ok with them. Sacrilege I tell you!!

        Thank god for moccies is all I can say. (We are all secretly bogans on the inside) ;)

      2. -grin- sun, surf and sand! But it does get a bit nippy in winter down in the southern states. No snow though just cold winds and rain. -hugs- Meeks

  17. Being a guy, I can confirm that your assessment of sweatpants for men is incredibly accurate. It is far and away best material for erecting tent city (pun fully intended).

    1. as was my pun…fully intended. thank you for getting it. ;) and for commenting on it, it was one of my favorite parts of the post — taking about the man-muumuu. very great to have you here, timmer. many hugs, sm

  18. SM,

    Where did you find that picture of me at a mom-party-disco-night-thingy where I had one too many organic Mojitos and got into a fight with my BFF over the fact that she didn’t vote for me for Volunteer of the Decade at the kids’ elementary school? I thought I destroyed all the evidence, but apparently not.

    I am totally with you on the no sweat pants/look a little nice on the plane thing. TOTALLY.

    I miss visiting you every day and am STILL amazed at how you put such great content into the blogworld on a daily basis. You’re the best.


  19. Oh, but Momma, men in sweats with swinging penises feeds my straight-girl crotch watching fetish. They are a must have *grins* Jeans are so baggy now I can’t see a damn thing!

    1. bwwwaaaahhhaa, you like a good, ‘moose knuckle’ do ya? oh, gurl, i understand. tho, now they just make me hide under the table in horror. you know, like luke skywalker swinging his saber around…loool. so good to see you here, girlie. xoxo, sm

  20. Hilarious, but now you’re making me feel guilty as all get out. When I was thinner than I am now, but not nearly thin enough, I tried the sweatpants as casual errand-running day wear. You know why? Because Jennifer Friggin’ Aniston does it. The woman owns two outfits: a little black dress and a pair of cargo pants and a tank top. Do you know what I look like when I wear cargo pants and a tank top? Cargo.

    My husband, who, wisely, rarely weighs in on things like my attire, even shook his head and went way out on a limb, recently, when I wore plaid pajama pants and a baggy t-shirt two days in a row. He said I was dressing like a…slob. Yes, he did. And he was right. But I didn’t leave the house in said pajama pants and tee like every friggin’ college student I see at a coffee house at 11 a.m. in the morning. And this is where the difference emerges. If you’re 19 and a size 2 with beautiful long hair and a tan that your parents pay for every 5 days, you can rock the tank top and sweatpants. Even without a bra. Hell, most guys would probably prefer that you swing free (even though we’d prefer that they wear jeans – I’m totally in agreement with you, Sweet Mother, on that one).

    If you’re a chubby 43 year old woman with no neck and a muffin top…not so much. I’ve got to show up in high heels, full makeup, an uber girlie dress, a bra with a sports bra over it, Spanx, full body paint, enormous blingie jewelry, a designer handbag and a faux, full-length, mink coat to avoid looking like a complete schmutz next to that 19 year old in the sweatpants. And regardless, I still end up looking like her mother. This could have something to do with the fact that I’m old enough to be her mother. So…what exactly are my options, Sweet Mother? Help me. I don’t have time to dress up like I’m going to prom seven days a week – not to mention that anything that doesn’t fit like a muumuu, makes me look like a sausage roll the second I sit down. And don’t you dare suggest Chicos.

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