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Wanna look fashionable? No sweat.

December 05, 2012

If you live long enough, eventually your own preferred form of clothing will come into fashion. It took 50 years, but for me the wait is finally over: Sweat pants are now chic.

And no, not just for jogging, snacking or early Sunday-morning jaunts to the supermarket for bacon. I’m talking right out there in public, any place, any event. And I know this because no less a fashion authority than the New York Times is running a spread called “The Statement Sweatpant.”

Says the Times, “Sweat pants, previously relegated to the gym or, conversely, the couch, are becoming a worthy alternative to jeans and chinos in the limited industry of men’s bottoms.”

There you go. With the spin of a printing press, now 80 percent of Hagerstown is right in style.

Sweat pants. Be still our beating hearts (beating with great difficulty as they labor to shoot blood through cheeseburger-coated arteries, but beating nonetheless).

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Yes, sweat pants. The one piece of apparel that can tell our stomachs that everything’s going to be OK.

Athlete or slob, there is no blue state, red state where sweat pants are concerned. Whether it’s a schoolboy working out for the track team in grays, or an octogenarian couple in matching lavender jogging suits, it’s something we can all agree on.

In fact, the only problem up until now is that slight tickle of guilt we feel when we wear them out on public. It’s that delicate balancing act between comfort and dignity that generally has prevented us from going whole hog, so to speak, and giving up on appearances for the sake of a totally relaxed fit.

Because, I don’t care how many mud puddles Brett Favre dives into, blue jeans do not achieve total comfort until three days before they are fit for the rag bin.

But rejoice, for it is now possible for us to be hip AND comfortable on those days when Spandex is just too formal.

The Times even posted a slide show with a male model embracing sweat pants chic, with this notation: “The Club Monoco pair on Hedi Slimane’s muse du jour Gryphon O’Shea are as suitable with an Outlier anorak as they are with a deconstructed blazer.”

No, I don’t know what that means, either, but I think it’s good.

In the first photo, “Gryphon,” the model, is wearing a pair of blue tapered sweatpants, although what really draws your attention is his hairdo, which makes it look as if he is wearing a full-grown wolverine on his head.

The disappointment is that these aren’t really the sweat pants you can snag on sale at the local big box store for a sawbuck. No, our friend Gryphon’s ensemble includes a $90 pair of navy blue (gravy stains don’t show!) sweat pants, along with a $289 jacket, $500 shirt, $315 T-shirt and $700 shoes.

But hey, focus on how much money you’re saving on a belt.

And when you think about it, $2,000 is a small price to pay for being able to get out of a car seat without your waistband trying to push you back in. As for wearing sweatpants with untied black dress shoes as Gryph is doing here? Meh. If he gets caught in the escalator, at least he checked out delivering a worthy message.

The only minor irritant in this whole glorious story is that here comes big old New York City glomming on to something we hayseeds have known about for years. We didn’t need no stinkin’ deconstructed blazer to make the look, neither.

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