this thing's incredible

The $8 Sweatpants People Always Stop Stephanie LaCava on the Street to Ask About

​The writer in Ann Demeulemeester shoe​s, Sacai sock​s, a Dries​ Van Noten​ shirt​, and Jerzees sweatpants.​ Photo: Courtesy Stephanie LaCava

I have never been asked, “Where did you get those?” about anything I’ve worn more often than these old-school jogging pants. On any given day, someone will tap me on the shoulder on the street and ask me where they can find a pair. They look as good with indoor soccer shoes as knee-high boots; I’ve worn them with both. I’ll say that I got them from a weird souvenir T-shirt shop in Cape Cod when I was visiting my parents. It’s the kind of store where they have flip-through catalogs of iron-on appliqués. The sweatpants looked like ’70s dead stock; I asked if I could buy them without transfers.

Not any sweatpant, however, can be substituted. This is about the Jerzees model in 50 percent cotton, 50 percent polyester, with elastic bottoms, standard-issue white loop of string at the waist. No pockets, no brand name emblazoned on one leg, only the purest sweatpants around, preferably in navy blue. The gathered ankle allows you to push them up and change length. With higher shoes, you can wear them pirate-style. If you wonder where you’ve seen them before, look no further than your elderly neighbor out for a jog, terrycloth towel around his neck. Most fun is wearing them to your mother’s cocktail party with a lace-up heel — take them out of their expected context and be discomfited by the glares.

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The $8 Sweatpants People Stop Stephanie LaCava to Ask About