Taking casual chic to its extreme, a number of established designers including Michael Kors, Thakoon and Jean Paul Gaultier are touting versions of the slouchy pant usually associated with stay-at-home sick days. Gussied up with expensive materials, some tailoring details and price tags as high as $1,000, this new breed of sweatpant is intended to be worn proudly in public with blazers, dressy tops and high heels.
Designers say their customers are looking for fashion that’s less flashy, more practical. Plus, in shaky economic times, swanky sweatpants are viewed as a safe bet. “Look, whenever you can combine fashion, style and comfort in one item, it’s going to work at retail,” says Mr. Kors, whose cashmere versions will sell for $995. Sally Lohan, a trend expert at fashion-consulting service WGSN, also says the sweatpant trend will have legs. “We really balked at wearing leggings but eventually we all did—they were a good comfortable item to wear,” she says.
Katine Holmes, on her way to Sam’s Club for some bulk chicken wings.