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Ask Avery: Sweatpants made stylish

Photo courtesy of Flickr / lululemon athletica

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

How can I make sweatpants look more presentable? I know I shouldn’t, but I wear them out sometimes when I’m just running errands and I don’t want to look like such a slob.

Although I’ll probably be hunted down by the Fashion Police for saying this, there are ways to make your sweatpants more fashionable. While I still don’t condone sweatpants as an acceptable substitute for regular pants, sometimes you just have those days when putting on jeans seems like an impossible task. That does not mean, however, that you can go galavanting around in public in your boyfriend’s size 2X UB sweatpants. Have some dignity, for heaven’s sake.

Your first order of business is finding a pair of sweats that actually fits you, isn’t covered with stains and doesn’t bear the logo of an area sports team. You should keep in mind, however, that the whole point of sweatpants is comfort. Don’t wear yoga pants unless you’re asking to be checked out all day long and don’t wear leggings as pants, period — skin-tight pants are not the answer here. Instead, look for a pair of sweats that are slim-fitting yet relaxed and have a drawstring waist in case you need a little room to breathe.

Top pick:
Summerlight Terry Sweatpant, J.Crew $59.50

I know this may be a hard concept to understand, but sweatpants and sweatshirts aren’t meant to be worn together. A full sweats-on-sweats ensemble is never acceptable, at least not from a style standpoint. So don’t think you can just throw on your favorite hoodie and get away with it. Opt for something a little more stylish on top: a well-worn v-neck t-shirt or tank paired with a super-soft cardigan is chic yet incredibly comfortable.


Top picks:
You Me Us T, Gap + Threadless $29.95
Lightweight Boyfriend Cardigan, American Eagle Outfitters $29.50

You might be thinking, “OK, I’m dressed now. Thanks Avery!” but you’d be wrong. As usual, accessories are key in making the outfit a success. How does one accessorize sweatpants, you ask? That’s easy: a long string of pearls, a pair of comfortable ballet flats and a roomy tote bag top this outfit off perfectly.


Top picks:
Pearlescent Ribbon Necklace, Forever 21 $8.80
Bow city flats, Gap $39.95
Perforated leather tote, Banana Republic $120

Dear Avery,
I need help dressing for my body type. I’m average height, but I’m thin with absolutely no curves to speak of. I know you’re supposed to accentuate your attributes, but I don’t have any! What types of clothes will look best on me and hide the fact that I’m built like a teenage boy?

Even if you’re not a bombshell with curves like Christina Hendricks, you can still accentuate the features you do have. So many girls would kill for waif-like physiques and so many labels design their clothes for chicks no curvier than yard sticks. Don’t spend time stressing over your lack of cleavage or defined waist or hips like Shakira’s: embrace the straight and narrow.

You already know that clothes meant to accentuate hourglass figures won’t work on you, so stop pouring over Guess ads and avoid looking at fashion from the ‘40s and ‘50s altogether. If you need inspiration, check out the late 60s (think Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick), 70s hippie style or the roaring 20s. All of those decades celebrated the waif in totally different ways, but the clothes inspired by those eras will look fantastic on you.

If you’re drawing inspiration from the ‘20s, think dresses with drop waists, accordion pleats, tiers or fringe, and tops with deep v-necks. Wide-leg pants will also work on you since you have narrow hips. The 60s were all about super-short shift dresses and mini-skirts — picture Edie in her striped shifts and black tights or Twiggy in a trapeze dress and metallic loafers. Since you’re thin, you don’t have to worry about loose silhouettes adding bulk to your figure, so you can pull off a trapeze dress better than anyone.

The ‘70s are by far my favorite era, style-wise, and they should be yours, too. Again, high-waisted wide-leg pants will look fantastic on you, especially with a midriff-baring cropped top. A short boho-inspired tunic with suede thigh-high boots would play up your legs without looking trashy, as would a pair of high-waisted shorts with a peasant top tucked in.

What’s great about being, to put it bluntly, really flat-chested, is that thin, gauzy tank tops will look great on you without seeming to expose too much. Low-cut tank tops or tanks that are cut low on the sides to show your bra are often way too revealing on well-endowed girls. But on you, a thin low-cut top and a pair of bell-bottom jeans will make you look like a flower child, not a street-walker. Embrace your inner hippie chick and flaunt what you’ve got. Curves? Who needs ‘em.

Photo courtesy of Flickr / lululemon athletica.

TAGGED: body type, casual wear, loungewear, sweatpants, sweatshirts, waif

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