The Cadillac of sweatpants?
November 11, 2013 9:11 AM   Subscribe

What are the highest-quality, most comfortable sweatpants I can buy?

My old faithful give-up-on-life pants are about to give up on life. I could buy a new pair just about anywhere and I'm sure I'd like them fine, but I'm wondering if there are some magical perfect sweatpants that I will never ever want to take off.

Here's what I'm looking for in my ideal pants:
  • Must be cotton or cotton-blend.
  • Reasonably thick and warm, but not stiff or heavy.
  • Durable enough to wear and wash regularly without pilling or losing their shape.
  • Mid-rise with about a 30" inseam.
  • I prefer non-banded legs but I'll consider any style.
  • Small, discreet logos are okay. Large graphics or text that can be read from across the room are not.
  • Pockets are nice but not essential.
  • Loose enough to wear over running shorts (I sometimes wear them to and from the gym). No leggings.
  • Decent-looking enough to wear on errands. Yes, I will be leaving the house in them. I don't expect to look well-dressed in any sweatpants, but I'd like to minimize dishevelment.
  • And of course they should be ridiculously comfortable.
I wear a women's US medium or large. I'm fine with online and in-store options. I'd like to spend under $50, but will spend more for better quality.

I've seen this previous question, but it's quite old and didn't have many answers. Also, I'd rather not buy from American Apparel.

I'm also open to suggestions for not-strictly-sweatpant lounge-type pants, as long as they fit all of the above criteria. (Most yoga pants are too lightweight and/or slim-fitting for what I want, plus they're often synthetic. I have pull-on fleece pants, but I'm not crazy about them. And as much as I love pajama pants, I won't leave the house in them.)
posted by Metroid Baby to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: On weekends, I basically live in my Roots sweatpants. They have different styles. I have the original sweatpant with no pockets. The only logo on those is the small roots logo on the front. They're thick and soft and really amazing.
posted by ohmy at 9:18 AM on November 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Seconding Roots. I have these sweatpants and I just described them to someone the other day as the Cadillac of sweatpants.

(They do have a beaver on the front, but that kinda cracks me up.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:23 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Dreamy cotton pant from J.Crew ticks most of your boxes. I have three pairs that have held up well.

These loungers from Anthropologie might work, although they look a bit on the thin side. Also on sale are these loungers. Anthro has quite a few lounge pants in their casual pants section. There are a couple pairs I am hoping will go on sale soon.

I think your key search term is lounge pants rather than sweatpants for the look you are going for.
posted by ephemerista at 9:26 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm a huge fan of Lululemon. I have several pairs of sweatpants from there - both the tighter and looser variety. These are the current loose pants available. Yes, they are over your budget, BUT they are super comfortable, they make your butt look awesome, they'll hem them if you want them shorter, and after 3-6 years of washing (machine wash and dry), mine are not even beginning to show signs of wear. I have several kinds of lounge-y pants from Jcrew and they've all fallen apart over the same or shorter period of time.

If you have a store near you, they do have products on sale from time to time (like this "trouser" pant on sale now). If you know any fitness instructors, they can get 15% off at Lululemon, so maybe they'll let you share in their discount.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:37 AM on November 11, 2013

I'm a big fan of the Lands' End Starfish collection.
posted by evoque at 9:41 AM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Alternative Apparel makes my very favorite sweats and I would highly highly recommend the eco heather sweatpants
posted by rmless at 10:14 AM on November 11, 2013

Thirding Roots. I have four pairs. They are currently selling a varsity style without banded legs and no branding on the rear. They are awesome and insanely comfortable. Worth every penny.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 10:23 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am currently wearing my Roots pants, and while I love them, the quality at Roots is really hit and miss. These pants got a tiny hole in them within a week of wearing them (I have no idea how) and Roots has no interest in taking them back. I also have a winter coat from Roots which fell apart after a year and a chambray shirt which got armpit holes after a month. So, while the sweatpants ARE really comfy and delightful (my pockets are lined with thin fleece! it's so great!) they may not last you as long as you'd like.
posted by AmandaA at 10:30 AM on November 11, 2013

The material that the Life Is Good people use for their products is almost supernaturally soft and comfortable. I've only ever had shirts and hoodies by them, but I would imagine their sweatpants are amazing.
posted by jbickers at 10:43 AM on November 11, 2013

I basically live in the lululemon studio pants w/liner because they are super comfy and I can't tolerate any kind of pants pressure against my hip anymore.
posted by elizardbits at 10:44 AM on November 11, 2013

There is also a lady on etsy (gaiaconceptions) who has really warm awesome high-waisted sweatpants that are made to order for your size. I've ordered a bunch of things from her and aside from one item that was slightly too small in the shoulders, everything fits really well and has washed/lasted very well.
posted by elizardbits at 10:47 AM on November 11, 2013

Best answer: Do you have a TJ Maxx near you? That's my go-to for such things (well, TK Maxx here in the UK). The last pair I bought was Calvin Klein for like £8 and they meet all your criteria - they're kind of shaped like yoga pants but are 80% cotton and super comfy.
posted by goo at 10:52 AM on November 11, 2013

I have sweatpants from Target that are their C9 brand that I love. They are thick but not bulky, have a soft wide waistband and a straight leg. They are very comfortable and flattering.
posted by radioamy at 10:58 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I too have some Target sweatpants that are amazing. I think they are C9 but I'd have to look. They are definitely mostly cotton. They have pockets that lie really flat.
posted by peep at 11:02 AM on November 11, 2013

I'll nth the Starfish pants from Lands' End. I ran in a race a few weeks ago and when the race started, it was about 40 degrees out, so I pulled those over my shorts. They were great.
posted by kat518 at 11:39 AM on November 11, 2013

I'm back: I just remembered I bought these Zella pants from Nordstrom a couple of weeks ago and they are really nice. I haven't had time to see how they'll wear yet, but a friend swears by/recommends them.

There are a couple of things about them that you may not like:
- Not a cotton blend. However, I really do not like poly/lycra and while that's what the description says these are I can hardly believe it - they totally do not feel like slippery weird stuff.
- More than $50 (~$65)
- The style I got is a little long - I think they run 32" inseam. Other styles may be different.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 11:54 AM on November 11, 2013

Response by poster: I do have a couple pairs of Lululemon pants and some Zella shorts - the material they're made of is good, but not really my first choice for just hanging out in. (I'm also hesitant to buy anything from Lululemon these days since the quality seems to have gone down dramatically over the past year or two.)

The Roots pants seem closest to what I'm looking for, but hopefully I'll find something from C9 that fits the bill. I'll take a look next time I'm at Target.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:58 PM on November 11, 2013

Uniqlo makes some good ones.
posted by benbenson at 2:53 PM on November 11, 2013

I was going to suggest C9. I am currently luxuriating in a very comfy pair of their yoga pants (thick cotton, not really like traditional yoga pants). My last pair lasted over 7 years, no joke.
posted by lunasol at 11:13 PM on November 11, 2013

Best answer: Oh yeah. Here are the Target pants. Inspired by this post & the cooling weather, I went out last night & bought 2 more pairs. I think they are a smidge longer than you want; however, I bought a gray pair and a black pair, and the gray pair is a much better length on me (i.e. shorter). They should theoretically be the same length, but you know how mass produced stuff is.
posted by peep at 9:39 AM on November 12, 2013

I found these Calvin Klein Performance pants that are similar to the ones I have (but not the same, mine are a bit more bootleg shape). They are $40 on sale at Amazon and ridiculously comfortable.
posted by goo at 3:27 PM on November 12, 2013

Response by poster: I went to Target yesterday and they had those C9 sweatpants, but not in my size (, you lie) and only in the lightest color, which I didn't really like. I ended up getting some C9 men's sweats, which are super comfy but also comically unflattering. It's not stopping me from wearing them around the house, though! Also they were pretty cheap, around $16.

I think my next step is to look around TJ Maxx/Marshall's for a Calvin Klein pair that might be more suited to leaving the house. I've definitely seen the brand in the activewear department. Or maybe I'll suck it up and order a pair from Roots - those pants are super cute.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:15 AM on November 17, 2013

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