Sure, sweatpants got many us through most of last year. Maybe you're in a pair right now still — toiling away on the Internet or endlessly (doom)scrolling on a smartphone —wondering how to style them or who makes the most durable ones for men. But, breaking news: most sweatpants suck (and they aren't going anywhere.) The ones that cinch around the ankle, balloon at the knees and slouch off the hips don't exude an aura of put-togetherness. Perhaps your pair's pilling in the inner thigh or a hole has formed in your pocket. These aren't flattering nor are they office (albeit errand) appropriate, and, honestly, prove best saved for sleeping in or shuffling to the kitchen for coffee in the wee hours of the morning.
Simply put, if you can't pry yourself from the comfortability of sweatpants, opt for these sweatpant-adjacent styles instead. Each boasts something extra that ushers the garment past living room loungewear or lifting gear and closer to formal attire. They're to be worn similarly to a smarter pair of pants, but you'll feel far more comfortable in these.
Richer Poorer Tailored Terry Trousers
The loungewear experts at Richer Poorer produced a pair of Terry Trousers designed to look plucked from the tailor shop. Pin tucking and a faux J-stitch elevate the bottoms beyond traditional sweatpants, while slanted pockets, a hidden drawstring waist and cuffed hems add further elegance. They come in four colors (Stretch Limo, Olive Army, Blue Nights and Charcoal Heather Grey) and five sizes (Small-XXL).
Massimo Alba Yamato Tapered Cashmere Sweatpants
Milanese luxury label Massimo Alba (by the designer of the same name) makes an excellent Navy cashmere sweatpant that cuts closely at the hip and tapers down the leg. An elasticated waistband gives while retaining its shape and slant pockets offer space for storing your KWP (keys, wallet, phone).
Buck Mason Pima Lounge Pants
Buck Mason reimagined their best-selling Pima Cotton T-shirt into a pair of ultra-soft Pima Cotton Lounge Pants. They feature a stretch poplin waistband and a pair of stash pockets and are roomier around the legs. (Yes, the brand advises you wear them around the house, but, in the summer, they're the ideal casual pants — especially in white.)
Topman Houndstooth Classic Fit Joggers
Topman's classic joggers lay like dressier pants, while still flexing and fitting like comfier sweatpants. They boast a bit of thickness that prevents unsavory see through moments, and a Houndstooth pattern proves more stylish than a simple garment dye. They're available in five sizes — XS through XL — but come equipped with a drawstring waist, too.
Orvis Ultra-Ragg Fleece Sweatpants
Orvis' retro-tinged Ultra-Ragg Sweatpants are cut from hefty 12 oz. fleece fabric, rendering them appropriate for trips outside your own own. A faux fly adds a detail while a drawstring waist ensures they stay up. Opt for the "Natural" hue, which is a nice blend of basic grey and washed beige.
James Perse Black Loopback Supima Cotton Sweatpants
Sized 1 through 5 (1 meaning small and 5 XXL), James Perse's super-simple straight-leg Supima Cotton Sweatpants pass for softer trousers with the proper top, all without sacrificing the comfortability you're accustomed to.
Norse Projects Falun Classic Sweatpant
Norse Projects' Classic Falun Sweatpant evokes athletic silhouettes of yesteryear without succumbing to kitsch or costume. Their tapered fit affords modernity and a 100 percent made-in-Portugal cotton construction promises durability.
Maharishi Classic MilType Jogger
These are something like a convertible—and not in the detachable bottom halves kind of way. Adjustable drawstring cords at the waist and hem let cinch your cuff if you must, and knee panelling on both legs signal these are ideal for adventurous activities. (But, in the same way some of us wear workwear without reason, adventure isn't required.)
End. Folk Pine Green Track Pant
Like the Richer Poorer trousers pictured above, End. and Folk's collaborative Track Pant (in Pine Green) boasts both pintuck detailing and a faux J stitch. They're cropped slightly shorter than most sweatpants but that adds to their allure (and versatility). Yellow accents on the waist and back pocket add a pop of color, and the pant's hybrid fabric formula — 72% viscose, 24% polyamide, 4% elastane — offer stretch and softness.
Schiesser Matthias Tapered Combed Cotton Sweatpants
From afar, these Schiesser Matthias Sweatpants drape and stack like Cotton Twill Chinos. For the wearer, they feel like combed cotton-jersey sweatpants (hint: because they are). They're midweight, mildly stretchy and at the top of my shopping list.