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For all the angst we’re feeling right now, it's all about a comfy pair of sweatpants.
Really, what’s the point of buying seasonal-specific clothing right now when there’s only one season? That is, the never-ending equinox of Netflix-binging, endless Zoom work meetings and outdoor activities that range from walks-around-the-block to dog-walks-around-the-block? And even if you did feel like buying some fancy outfit you likely won’t wear until at least 2022, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on fashion’s supply chains so there’s no guarantee you’re going to get it anytime soon anyways. The answer lies in a good pair of sweatpants just in time for International Sweats Day on January 21st.
Contrary to George Constanza’s age-old advice, sweatpants aren’t an indication that you’ve given up. You can absolutely compete in normal society, which, these days, consists of just you and the other members of your household. All of which makes these comfy pants the perfect TV attire, below-the-belt workwear and all-around versatile outdoor attire—one of the true heroes of Covid, if you will.
And in the athleisure capital of the world, Vancouver designers are stepping up to deliver pandemic relief in the form of some excellent elastic-waistband options.
At the intersection of eco and athleisure, Vancouver’s wheelhouse, sits OCIN and Reigning Champ’s new Human Friend Ocean Lover sweatsuit program. OCIN, a local lifestyle and eco-swim brand, and Reigning Champ, that boxing-inspired athleisure apparel company, have debuted an on-point core collection consisting of hoodie, sweatshort (it’s a thing) and sweatpant. The trifecta of relaxation is designed to express the idea that although we’re rooted in individuality, we’re also connected as humans, friends and (particularly for OCIN), ocean lovers.
The sweatpants are made right here in Canada by Reigning Champ in the brand’s signature durable 100% soft cotton; in a comfy men’s fit, they feature a drawstring waist, jersey-lined pockets and inspiration quote “Human Friend Ocean Lover” screenprinted by local GoodPrint Co. $150, Ocin.co
Think of the S+T x Brunette the Label Girlfriend Romper as pure business on top, party on the bottom. Perfect for those Zoom work calls, the upper half works well under a blazer while the bottom embodies the coziest sweatpants.
Brunette the Label’s signature comfort meets Smash + Tess’s noted styling in a cinched waist, cuffed jogger leg and zippered mock neck in both Midnight Black and Snow Leopard. Dare we say they’re perfect for today, tonight (they make for great pj’s too) and tomorrow—and every day thereafter until we get the vaccine. On sale starting January 12. $145, Smashtess.ca.
While Roots isn’t Vancouver-based, it’s homegrown and this is the year of supporting Canadian-made brands. Plus, the brand’s very first set of sweats were introduced in 1979 so we like to think of them as one the founders of Canadian loungewear.
All of Roots’ sweats are made from soft, high-quality yarns in a blended cotton knit that’s engineered to be soft with a comfy interior (once the fabric is made, it’s then washed and brushed for added softness). All of which means that when you’re on season 15 of Grey’s Anatomy, you can continue to lounge comfortably for at least a few more hours dreaming of McDreamy.
In celebration of International Sweatpants Day this year, Roots launches a line that drop this month all in appropriately soothing colourways like Agave Green, Azure Blue and Flaxseed Mix. And the future looks brighter with the men’s Original Park slim sweatpant in Saffron Pepper, which adds upbeat cheer to the forecast. $74, Roots.com
We never really know how Lululemon does it—from inventing the world’s most flattering leggings (the perennially sold-out Align pant) to reimagining the most basic workout gear (say hello to your new running bra), but they’ve knocked it out of the park again with the new Scuba Jogger Sherpa Stripe in Heathered Core Light Grey.
Tuck the drawcord in on these cool cotton-fleece pants for a flat waistband then climb emotional highs and lows with the Sherpa stripe by your side. $138, Lululemon.com
There’s something so swish and elevated about the term “jogger.” It moves sweatpants up into the hallowed halls of fashion where Rihanna can style hers with Chanel and Holt Renfrew can offer 88 pairs like the Technical Jersey set for a mere $1,500. While we’re not averse to Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele’s deft touch (especially when it’s worn by Harry Styles), we’re of the mind that the technical gods over at Arc’teryx probably know better than anyone how to get the concept of cozy down to a science.
The new Momenta DryTech Jogger is made with natural cotton fibres, which allow moisture to escape to help regulate temperature and maintain comfort whether you’re on the move—or on the couch. $120, Arcteryx.com
In a small local family-run factory, Vancouver brand Priory aims to minimize their footprint by creating gorgeous pieces in Vancouver made with responsible decisions around the fabrics and factories they partner with.
The Ultra Sweatpant—featuring a drawstring custom woven with their name—delivers upscale comfort in a black French terry fabric that’s made from 100% Japanese cotton. But hurry, only sizes small and medium are left. $128, Priorypriory.com
If you can’t go to Vancouver Island, bring Vancouver Island to you with these 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton men’s sweatpants made in Victoria. The fleece is milled, dyed and finished in Canada for a super-soft brushed finish that not only looks good, but feels good when you buy it.
At 400 grams per square meter, the pants are perfectly warm for year around outdoor activities, but are especially cozy for lounging at home. And we don’t need to wait until Groundhog day to tell us we’re in for a long, leisurely winter, spring and summer. $145, Ecologyst.com