It’s suddenly become socially acceptable to wear your favourite lounge pants out and about (#YAY) but with that power comes great responsibility: joggers vs. sweatpants, which ones should you be wearing?

It’s a tough decision that we all need to face in the morning when we’re getting dressed, or late at night when we’re lying on the couch, bingeing our favourite Netflix show and sifting through our favourite apps and picking out our dream wardrobe. And it’s not always an easy decision to make.

But luckily, I’m here to lend my usually fashion-foward helping hand. We’re going to compare two of our favourite lounge pants: the sweatpant and the jogger, and decide which one should really be in your wardrobe. Here’s a little preview of what we’ll be getting into.

Joggers vs. sweatpants: what’s the difference?

Let’s dig right in, what’s the actual difference between a pair of sweatpants and a pair of joggers? Honestly, in 2021, there isn’t much. I’ve been scouring websites and I’ve come to the realization that because of search engine optimization (something that I’m all too familiar with) pretty much every pair of lounge pants has both “joggers” and “sweatpants” in the title and description.

So, let’s go back a bit to dig into the actual difference that’s supposed to be there. The main difference when it comes to joggers vs. sweatpants is the material used to create the pants. Joggers tend to have a more lightweight, thinner, and more breathable make, and sweatpants tend to be cozier, thicker, and altogether warmer.

Joggers fall more into the athleisure clothing section. While they’re built for lounging around, you can also dress them up and take them out, or head to the gym and get a workout in there. Sweatpants can also be used for the gym, but the material is less breathable. It’s also a little harder to dress a pair of sweatpants up, but that doesn’t meant that you can’t take them out on the town—it just has to be the right situation for your pants.

One thing that I’ve also noticed about pants that different brands label as “joggers” is that they feature straight legs or the cigarette cuff. As opposed to sweats, which can come in any leg shape from wide to skinny, joggers tend to be more form-fitting. In fact, I often come across pairs of “joggers” that should probably actually be classified as sweatpants because while they have the skinnier leg, they tend to be of a thicker, more sweat-pant material.

Reasons to wear joggers

When it comes down to it, I tend to be more pro-jogger than sweatpants. In fact, I have a pair of the GapFit tech brushed ankle joggers that I wear on pretty much every occasion—seriously, work, store, bed, you name it, they work for it.

From a more objective point of view, joggers tend to be better for warmer climates because of their breathable make. I also find that they have better moisture-wicking abilities, which means if you’re looking for something that you can wear at your desk at home and out for your lunch-time walk, these are them.

I also think that when you look at joggers vs. sweatpants from a fashionable point of view, joggers are a lot more versatile. You tend to be able to more easily dress them up, so if you’re looking to dress them up, joggers are your pants.

Jogger styling tips

When it comes to styling joggers, you need to stop for a moment and think about what you need to do while you’re wearing them. If you’re headed to the grocery store and the gym, pairing them with a cozy sweatshirt or athletic jacket and some walking shoes works perfectly.

But if you want to head out with friends to a movie or a drink (probably not somewhere super fancy), you’ll want to throw something nicer on your feet like a dressier pair of sandals, and a top that’s a little dressier. Basically, the right pair of joggers you can treat like a pair of leggings.

If you have a pair of joggers like the Cooper Moon, chances are you can pair them with a nicer top and strappy sandals and head out for a coffee or to the mall. I also love a non-descript pair of joggers in my movie-going attire because while it’s not super obvious they’re loungewear, they’re still super comfortable.

Joggers also make great airport or travel pants as well, because they’re comfortable but not obviously for hanging out at home. I tend to wear these on the plane, but I’ve also been known to pack an extra pair in my carry-on just in case my checked luggage gets lost.

Reasons to wear sweatpants

In my books, sweatpants are for lounging around the house. That’s not to say that you can’t wear them out and about (you absolutely can) but I use them way more for a home-bound piece of clothing. That said, I tend to pick sweatpants that are more wild colours, like the Nemidor, which aren’t as easy to pair with other items.

Thicker sweatpants are also a great cozy pant for cooler climates (like Canada) or outdoor activities (like camping). I definitely recommend at least a pair in your bag when you’re travelling to cooler climates or are planning on hanging outdoors for a bit.

Sweatpants styling tips

When trying to style a pair of sweatpants it, again, depends a lot on what you’re planning on doing. If you’re lounging around the house, throw on a comfy t-shirt or sweater and a pair of slippers. But if you’re headed out and about, a pair of sneakers is always a good bet.

You can absolutely pair your favourite sweatpants with an athletic jacket to keep it casual but give your outfit a little extra professionalism. Basically, it helps make sure that it doesn’t look like you’re running around in your pyjamas.

To be completely honest, I often have a pair of sweatpants that can double as pjs. That way, I can have a bath, get dressed and start to wind down, and crawl into bed when I’m ready, without having to make a big to-do about it. To me, there’s nothing worse than being ready to crawl into bed and remembering that you have to get ready for bed.

But, whichever side you sit on when it comes to the joggers vs. sweatpants debate, make sure to dress in an outfit that you’re comfortable in. Because, at the end of the day, there’s nothing more important in fashion than your comfort and confidence.

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