Can you please do a post about joggers? They seem to be everywhere, but I’m not sure of the best way to style them.
– Jason B.
The proliferation of “joggers” is one of the farthest reaching, yet most confounding, men’s style trends in recent memory. A lot of us just don’t get it. At all. Joggers were originally used by sneaker heads to show off their shoes. And that makes sense. If you were in a classic car club, you wouldn’t show up to a show n’ shine with a car bra on your ride. But it’s the expanse of joggers, beyond the sneaker fanatic’s culture and into the mainstream, that’s bewildering.
What are Joggers? Can we get a definition?
First of all, they’re sweat pants. The fact that a bit of jargon has been invented to try and distance themselves from their true origin should tell you something. A retailer can choose to call their newest accessory a “waist bag“, but you known it’s a fanny pack.
Some brands are making them out of chino or even wool now, but that seems reactionary. The traditional terry/fleece version is still quite prevalent, and no matter the fabric, they all possess two defining characteristics:
- A drawstring and/or elastic waist
- Tapered legs with elastic cuffs
Right. Old school sweatpants.
The defining characteristics of the jogger.
Why wear joggers?
Why do some in the mainstream choose to wear them? The shape and details don’t make a guy look stronger, healthier, or more masculine. They certainly don’t make the wearer look more elegant. Perhaps they appeal to some in the mainstream by reinforcing the “leisure” culture which many of us are lucky enough to live in. Joggers are a full lower body embrace of comfort over formality. An implied: “look at how little of a shit I can give, while I still look cool!” message. Maybe that’s a bit of a reach, but it wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened.
Both the tieless look and perpetual stubble rose out of the rejection of traditional, starched-stiff men’s fashion. But unlike those other style-choices, joggers have an awfully low ceiling for sophistication. Wearing a suit without a tie in our forever-business-casual environment still looks sharp. As does sporting a bit of scruff on an otherwise well put-together individual. The intentional sloppiness of joggers is potent, and tough to manipulate.
Tieless. Scruff. The distant cousins of joggers?
Comfortable? Functional? Or just plain nasty?
Even if some find a source of pride in the ultimate-comfort that joggers represent, to other, joggers look anything but comfortable.
Some people will gladly spend an entire Saturday in their pajamas. But there are also those that around midday (if not earlier), need to put on real clothes. Why? Because they start to feel disgusting. Sickly even. Like you’re laid up with the flu. Joggers, to this latter group, don’t even look comfortable. They look swampy, with a waist and cuffs seemingly engineered to keep in every ounce of moisture. Every exhale of flatulence. Every microbe of ringworm.
Meanwhile, joggers aren’t even good for jogging. Anyone who’s ever broken a sweat while out for a run will tell you that heavy cotton is the worst damn thing to run in. Smushy cotton sucks up moisture, then attaches its itchy self to your skin like a remora. A remora with burlap lips.
Far superior to joggers.
So joggers can’t look good… ever?
Back to Jason’s original question. How does one style joggers? How does someone look good in a pair of joggers? Look, anything fashion related is highly relative, but… guys, I got nothin’ here. Sorry Jason, I don’t know either.
This is not an attack on those who wear joggers. Like most of you, if I saw someone wearing joggers walking down the street, I’d either not notice (they’re visually pretty benign), think they’re hungover, or guess that they’re young and experimenting with trends. This is over-thinking it, but joggers just don’t seem to project the idea that the wearer is going somewhere… relevant?
“Oh, lighten up Joe, you’re taking yourself too seriously.”
How serious can I take myself? I run a website that just spilled 700+ words writing about sweatpants. Sorry, I mean, Joggers.
And you just read them.
Are you pro-joggers? If you can make the case for joggers as a worthwhile style pursuit, send an email in to firstname.lastname@example.org and make your pitch for writing a pro-joggers post on this site.