Alternatives to Sweatpants

by Jennifer Blair

When it comes to comfort, it's hard to top sweatpants. They're usually made from soft materials that feature an elastic waistband and have a generous fit, so they're easy to move in and lie around in, too. Wearing them to the gym or around the house is fine, but they can look a little sloppy if you wear them for other occasions. Just because you want to look a little more put together doesn't mean you have to sacrifice comfort. There are plenty of sweatpants alternatives that offer all the comfort of sweats with a lot more style.

Yoga Pants

Sweatpants can look sloppy because they're loose fitting -- which is why yoga pants are an ideal alternative. Yoga pants are usually made from the same soft materials that traditional sweatpants are made from, but they are form-fitting because they're meant to allow for freedom of movement during the practice of yoga. However, yoga pants still have a highly casual look, so they're best worn when you're just running errands. You can pair yoga pants with a tee shirt or tank in the spring and summer and add a hoodie or denim jacket when the temperature starts to drop. When it comes to shoes, comfortable tennis shoes or flip flops work best with yoga pants.

Leggings

Like sweatpants, leggings have an elastic waistband and are pretty comfortable. However, they're even more form-fitting than yoga pants and are easier to dress up, so they're an ideal alternative to sweats when you want to maximize comfort and look a bit more stylish. Because they're so tight though, it's best to pair leggings with a longer shirt like a tunic style top or an oversized sweater. You can even wear a shirt dress over them. Add a pair of ballet flats or knee-high boots and you'll look put together without sacrificing comfort.

Drawstring/Fold Over Skirt

When you need to look a little more polished for the office or school, ditch your sweatpants for a skirt. Choose a style in soft, stretchy material like jersey or cotton material that features a drawstring or fold-over waistband. The skirt will be as comfortable as your sweats, but you'll look much more stylish. You can pair your skirt with a tee or tank and wedges for a casual lunch with friends or slip on a blazer and heels for a more formal setting.

Maxi Dress

If you love your sweatpants for being soft, loose fitting and comfortable, you can get all of that -- and more -- from the right maxi dress. It's also a quick, easy outfit since you can wear it all on its own or pair it with a jacket or cardigan to dress it up. A traditional maxi dress typically reaches the ankles and features a more fitted top with a looser skirt. The dresses are available in a variety of styles including tank, short-sleeve or even long sleeve tops. Like sweats, they're usually made of cotton or other soft materials, so the comfort factor is high. Wear it alone with flip- flops for a super casual look or add a blazer, wedges and statement necklace to dress it up.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Clinton/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.