Is it okay to wear tracksuit pants outside the home?

We must discuss. Now.

This is how I remember it. It’s Sunday and my boyfriend and I are 20 minutes away from eating the best hollandaise eggs known to man when I’m struck with an ultimatum. “Lose the soft pants, or go to brunch without me,” he said.

And just like that, I knew my dependence on tracksuit pants had become a big problem.

We used to joke about my ability to collect masses of them­­ especially the kind that are pretending to be something else (shouts out to Pajama jeans), but there is no laughter here.

I groan. This relationship (like most, I assume) is no stranger to a fashion faux pas. Both of us are known to revel in the glee of a bedazzler and have doubled denimed so often we could be mistaken for 90’s Irish pop sensation, B*Witched.

90s Irish pop sensation, B*Witched.

And yet, there I was just moments later: throwing away my “Old Faithful” Cotton On Body clearance rack classics in favour of some pleather number that I know leaves deep red gashes of regret on my hips (I’m lookin’ at you, Zara winter collection). I still believe there is no greater pain than having to digest a parma while wearing pleather.

I knew this was coming. Last May, Eva Mendes exclaimed that soft pants are the number one cause of divorce, and simultaneously drove a knife through my heart.

Soft pants, trackies, sweatpants, jogging bottoms (or daks, if you will) are undeniably awesome.

Watch this quick video on how to easily dress-up tracksuit pants. (Post continues after video.)

Video via Refinery29

They’re uplifting clouds for your hip flexors. Snuggles for your ankles. And yet they’re repeatedly slammed by the likes of E­Mends and the comfort hating glamorati. Even Business Insider has weighed in on the hating with some subtle ‘not in the office’ commentary. The etiquette of when, where and how to wear my favourite apparel is now more controversial than ever.

To be clear, we’re not talking about the fancy silk couture kind (Google: Beyonce). The world needs clarity on the appropriateness of the Best n’ Less variety, the trackies with drawstrings and the occasional bold print. Like Miley, I’m confused.

wearing trackpants
Miley and her jeans/tracksuit pants combo. Image via Getty.

The public soft pant movement hit its stride in the mid­ 2000s when our revolutionary leader, Miss Britney Jean Spears, rocked up to everything (EVERYTHING) in baggy, elastic waisted, happiness­-causing, soft pants. Sure, MC Hammer had previously carved out a design niche, but Britney took soft pants to the next level, and the people rejoiced.

But as Britney moved onto her Vegas crash pad, the soft pant saw a social decline. The jeggings craze of 2010 did something to blur the line between soft and … well hard trousers, only to be overshadowed by a furor none of us were ready for: leggings as pants. So what does this mean for right now? In 2015, is it so unbecoming to hit the streets (or go to brunch) in some sweatpant swag?

As suspected, my romantic situation is not the only one governed by the appropriateness of terry towelling and a well placed drawstring on a Sunday morning.

When I posed the question on Facebook, my page saw more passionate hashtags than an episode of QANDA. Team “nay” (and their high horse) exclaiming that this unique mix of cotton, polyester and lycra is for in­-home use only, while sympathisers agreed that trackies are pants too, damn it! Ones that come in a vibrant array of colours, and are not weighed down by a seasonal expectations. Soft pants are forgiving of your top deck/party pie/fantail obsession. I mean guys, they’re pants that expand when you do.


Check out some of these fashionable tracksuit pants outfits. (Post continues after gallery.)

While a conclusion to the debate seems a long way off, I have come up with a temporary stop gap; a list of places where I believe the soft pant should be allowed to reign supreme.

High fashion boutiques: ​(I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP). A recent Harvard University study suggests that dressing down might actually signal to sales assistants that you have more purchasing power and intent than someone wearing, say, a fur coat and a designer dress. In other words, sweatpants = better service.

Britney’s wedding:​ It looked like so much fun back in ‘05.

Grocery shopping:​ Because I once spent 45 minutes (aka the whole duration of a spin class) in Coles trying to find the aisle with garbage bags. That’s legit exercise, people.

Halloween:​ Because who doesn’t want to dress up as Regina George?

After medical procedures​: I won’t take my chances with the post op skinny jean, thank you very much.

Sporting events​: You’re being athletic in spirit, and that counts.

Otherwise, I guess it’s time to let it go (cue Frozen).

See you ‘round, Soft Pants. It’s been fun.

Do you say yay or nay to wearing trackpants?

Dulcie is a celebrity wrangler by day and passionate sleep enthusiast by night. She’s written for Good Morning America and The Malala Fund, produced several Off-­Broadway plays and spoken at the United Nations. She once played ping pong with Justin Bieber and now lives with her boyfriend, his parents and a robotic cat named Ke$ha (it’s just as fun as it sounds). She’s amped to be back in Australia at last and am ready for new adventures.