American Giant

Among the great unwashed masses, sweatpants are an emblem of slovenly conformity disguised as laissez faire individualism–lowest common denominator clothes that you put on when, sartorially speaking, you’ve given up.

As Americans, we place a premium on personal space. But when we navigate the public commons, we enter a place of shared responsibility to one another. How we choose to attire ourselves is an essential expression of that responsibility.

So it’s more than a little strange that we’re featuring a pair of sweatpants on this blog, considering our tendency to inveigh against all they represent in today’s world.

Once upon a time, however, sweatpants were an essential part of a classic wardrobe, within the narrow range of their original function. In short, they were pant of choice for athletic endeavor in cold weather. You wore them as you bounded the track, imagining besting Roger Bannister’ mark. You wore them over your basketball uniform before the gym had a chance to heat up on cold northern mornings. And you wore them when you didn’t have to put on full pads for football practice.

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Roger Bannister. Sweatpants. Classic.

Frannie is the goalie for her school’s junior varsity soccer team and needed a pair of sweatpants for practice as the mercury sank into the mouth of the dying day. So to American Giant we turned.

Like many folks, I learned of American Giant when Farhad Manjoo proclaimed the company’s American made sweatshirt the “greatest hoodie ever made.” His approbation ignited a firestorm of demand, and the company had to work feverishly to ramp up production. After a few months, an equilibrium between demand and manufacturing capacity emerged, and American Giant began adding other offerings to its product line, including sweatpants.

Frannie, like so many in her generation, embraces sweatpants as de facto loungewear. Fortunately, she has enough sense of decorum to avoid subjecting the outside world to the sight of her wearing them.

Unlike most sweatpants, they have a nice, tapered look. They have deep pockets. And the medium weight fabric–super soft, in Frannie’s assessment–offers a nice compromise between comfort and warmth.

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