While the sweatsuit was admittedly not something we predicted would be the It item of 2020, it’s undeniable that was the case. If you had the ability to work from home where Zoom meetings only required you to look presentable from the waist up, jeans and skirts were immediately swapped for sweatpants.
Athleisure has been a trend for years now, but it wasn’t leggings we were drawn to during lockdowns, particularly in the winter months. As Anne Donahue wrote in a 2006 essay defending sweatpants, yoga pants may be comfortable, but they offer neither coziness nor warmth – things we were all in desperate need of in 2020.
“I don’t see sloppiness or the abandonment of one’s stylistic brand – instead, I see liberation,” wrote Donahue of choosing to wear sweatsuits. “Liberation of fitted pieces that we all need a break from, and liberation from the self-imposed fashion police who condemn simultaneously looking and feeling comfortable.”
Looking to 2021, we’re not done with the desire for comfort just yet. Designers like Thakoon, Prada, Tibi and Balenciaga showed sweatshirts and sweatpants on the spring runways.