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How to Wear Joggers: The Elevated Men’s Sweatpants

The number-one rule of men’s fashion, or all fashion, for that matter, is: “Don’t wear sweatpants in public.” Sweatpants are the clothing choice of men who have given up on their appearance and reputation, of men who don’t care if they are perceived as apathetic or sloppy. Wearing sweatpants outside the house is like hoisting a flag that says, “Don’t hire me. Don’t date me. Don’t expect anything from me.”

But that’s not true of joggers. Joggers are sweatpants with style and purpose; not only is it possible to wear joggers outside the house, but you can look especially good doing it — if you know how. When you crave comfort in your clothing choices but still desire positive attention and respect, you need to learn how to buy and wear joggers for style.

Types of Joggers

First, you need to know the differences between the types of joggers. Just as not all jeans are alike, there are styles of joggers designed for different outfits and different occasions. The classification of joggers might change as this fashion evolves, but currently there are four primary categories of joggers:


Perhaps the easiest style of joggers to identify, sporty joggers are those designed for wear during athletic endeavors, like jogging or lifting weights. Rather than being baggy and billowing, like sweatpants of yore, sporty joggers are a bit slimmer while still offering a complete range of motion in the hips and legs. Typically, sporty joggers are made from sweat-wicking material that stretches and breathes, providing optimal comfort during exercise.


A revolution in the athleisure trend, smart joggers are tailored, tapered, high-quality bottoms meant to replace uncomfortable dress trousers in casual and semi-casual events. These joggers look tidy and chic, and they pair well with a fitted T-shirt as well as a simple button-up and coat. The introduction of smart joggers is wholly responsible for the attitude shift with regards to these bottoms, so having a pair of smart joggers in your wardrobe is a good idea.


When you don’t need to impress anyone but you do need to leave the house, you can turn to everyday joggers. These joggers are comfortable and non-restrictive, making them more advantageous than jeans during activities like grocery shopping or air travel. While everyday joggers can be stylish, they aren’t as elegant or fashionable as smart joggers, so they should only be reserved for the most casual of outings.


The final category of joggers is hardly better than sweatpants. Lounge joggers are for nothing more or less than sinking deep into the sofa and relaxing. Typically loose-cut, made of soft and stretchy fabrics and lacking the embellishments that make joggers appropriate for outside wear, lounge joggers should not be worn in the company of others.

Joggers Aesthetics

Once you have a pair of joggers suitable for wear outside the home, you should start considering how you are going to style your joggers. While the options are endless, determined by your tastes and eye, you can use the following established aesthetics to guide your outfit selections:

Streetwear. Joggers (or their predecessor, sweatpants) aren’t new to streetwear fashions, so building a streetwear look using joggers isn’t difficult. Simple, sport- or workwear-inspired pieces go well for this aesthetic — think denim jackets, classic sneakers and a T-shirt.

Smart-casual. Incorporating joggers into a look for work or socializing is acceptable, but only if the finished outfit looks polished and chic. The top should be quite semi-casual, like a fitted button-up or a crew-neck sweater, capped with an unstructured blazer and leather sneakers. The key here is balancing casual pieces with style and grace.

Tailored. A refined jogger, a pair that might be mistaken for trousers, is the mandatory foundation for a tailored, professional look. You can replicate a two-piece suit by pairing a wool jogger with a matching wool blazer, ideally in darker shades of gray or black. Tops should not have structure, but should be soft and comfortable.

Relaxed. You don’t have to devote your whole day to napping to enjoy a relaxed joggers look. The outfit of a cashmere sweater or a logo-free hoodie on top of fitted joggers makes for a simple and refined look that feels incredibly comfy. When you need to go out, you can just add any sneakers and a bomber jacket for a finished look.

Joggers and sweatpants might feel similar, but they are worlds apart in terms of fashion and function. When you need a day away from constrictive and uncomfortable bottoms like jeans and trousers, you should try your hand at styling a pair of joggers.