5 Things I Tried to Wear With Sweatpants That Just Don't Go

We kicked off 2020 with sweatpants being a quickly on-the-rise trend. And then we all started staying home a whole lot more than we thought we would, and sweatpants subsequently began selling out everywhere. At this point, they're pretty much the number one wardrobe staple of 2020, so can you blame me for wanting to get creative with them? 

I've been experimenting with my sweatpant looks lately, and although I've concluded some of the items I've tried don't go with sweatpants, I've certainly seen them pulled off successfully on Instagram as of late. So feel free to disagree with me and wear whatever you please, but in my experience, the five items below don't mesh well with sweatpants. On the flip side, there are several trends out there that do, so shop them all below, as well as some of my favorite sweatpants on the market at the end.

SKIP: Heels

WEAR: Slides, Sneakers, Ballet Flats

While I've seen some cool sweatpants-and-heels outfits on Instagram, in general, it's a tough look to pull off, and these days, it's safe to say that most of us want to avoid wearing heels. Your best bets are definitely low-key shoes that are in keeping with the chill aesthetic of sweatpants.


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)

SKIP: Fancy Tops

WEAR: Bodysuits, Button-Downs, Sweatshirts

With the busy Zoom and FaceTime schedule we all suddenly have, it's tempting to wear fancy tops with sweatpants, but it's a clashing look that doesn't work particularly well. If you want to add some polish to your sweats, wear a bodysuit or button-down shirt instead. If you just want to look cool and be comfortable, play it safe and wear a sweatshirt.


(Image credit: @rosiehw)

SKIP: Sparkly Statement Jewelry

WEAR: Chunky Gold Jewelry, Crew Socks, Baseball Caps

I highly recommend wearing jewelry with your sweats to dress them up a bit, but some jewelry is a bit much. Your best bets when it comes to accessories right now are chunky gold pieces, cozy crew socks, and very on-trend baseball caps.


(Image credit: @nycbambi)

SKIP: Long, Baggy Shirts

WEAR: Cardigans, Cropped T-Shirts, Matching Sweatshirt

I'm on a constant mission to keep my sweatpants from looking sloppy, and I've found that the first step is to not wear anything too oversize on top. Every time I put on a long, baggy shirt with sweatpants, I end up taking it off and replacing it with something more cropped and/or fitted. The exception? If it's a matching sweatpants-and-sweatshirt set, you can get away with it being a little baggy on top.


(Image credit: @champagnemani)

SKIP: Satin and Silk

WEAR: Tie-Dye Knits

Some contrasting pieces do work well with sweatpants, but in the case of fabrics, I've found that it's best to skip the silky, satiny fabrics. On the other hand, you've probably noticed that the tie-dye trend is back with a vengeance for spring and summer, and it happens to look especially cool with sweatpants.


(Image credit: @allypayer)

Shop Stylish Sweatpants

Next up, 14 ways to wear sweatpants that won't fail you.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.