Courtney Glass, employee at Plato’s Closet in Lawrence, is no stranger to the trend of sweatpants. She says she owns about 10 pairs.
“They are wonderful no matter how hot it is outside,” says Glass, a Kansas University senior from Overland Park.
Part of her job at the secondhand store, 3514 Clinton Parkway Suite I-6, is buying and selling clothes, and she’s seen her fair share of sweatpants, which she describes as leggings, just baggier.
She says that for women, Victoria’s Secret sweatpants — known for their bright colors and pink lettering — are the most popular at Plato’s Closet. Skulls, flowers and rhinestones are some of the most common designs she says she sees for women. Sweatpants sell for $14 to $16 at Plato’s Closet.
Glass suggests wearing sweatpants while shopping, running errands or attending class. As for wearing them “out” to the bars? It’s something she said some women do, although she wouldn’t.
But for Kristen Cowan, 2009 graduate of KU, sweatpants have never been the go-to option for casual wear like they are for Glass.
“I thought they were for people who didn’t have enough spunk to put on jeans in the morning,” she says.
But right before graduating and after hearing of how comfortable they were from a friend, she bought her first pair.
“I actually bought them in conjunction with my cap and gown,” she says.
Although Cowan loves her pair of red sweatpants, which sport a Jayhawk and the name of her alma mater, she says she doesn’t think sweatpants are appropriate everyday clothing. She says she just wears them around the house, and advises wearing them out only when sick.
Cowan’s friend, Drew Deck, Lawrence senior at KU, says his sweatpants days began in middle and high school.
“I was an athlete. We wore them out of practicality,” he says.
Deck says that he likes KU colors on sweatpants, but he usually sticks with gray, navy or black sweatpants. Ben Almquist, 2008 graduate of KU, agrees.
“I would say the most popular (for men) is just a simple gray,” Almquist says.
As for style, he adds, sweatpants should have elastic or rope.
Deck has taken weight training and athletic classes, which he says provide perfect opportunities to wear sweatpants. There are times when sweatpants aren’t appropriate, though.
“I wouldn’t wear them on a day I’m presenting something in class,” he adds.
Almquist says he wears sweatpants as pajamas, when going to the gym in the winter, in the evenings at home and — after cutting them into shorts — when working in the yard.
But where did the trend of wearing sweatpants — from just around the house to at the gym — originate?
“They’ve been really popular since I went to college and since the advent of Uggs,” Cowan says, referring to a trend to tuck sweatpants into boots.
Deck thinks that sweatpants aren’t necessarily trendy, but that there may just be a defining selling point for them in KU and Lawrence culture.
“KU basketball players wear them, but mostly for practicality,” he says. “Maybe KU students have picked up on that.”