There are times where only lounge pants will do. A catch-all term for what is essentially comfortable legwear, it encapsulates everything from joggers to drawstring pants to pyjama bottoms. This type of legwear represents the ultimate in laid-back dressing and is often made from some of the softest fabrics around including cotton jersey, modal or tencel blends, and even cashmere.
How and when you wear them is largely up to you, but there are of course some places where lounge pants work better than others. Wearing them at home is the most obvious choice, and there is nothing more reassuring than pulling on a pair of loopback cotton sweatpants within the confines of your four walls.
But modern-day lounge pants are blurring the lines between stylish and slovenly, meaning they work just as well for trips to the shops, long-haul flights and running weekend errands when comfort is key.
What are lounge pants?
Quite simply, lounge pants are a style of trouser designed for comfort. They usually come with some form of drawstring waist, are cut slightly looser for a relaxed, slouchy fit, and are cut from soft, lightweight fabrics like cotton jersey, fleece, tencel or wool blends.
Style isn’t so important when it comes to lounge pants. You don’t necessarily buy them to look good; rather, they serve a purpose, helping you to relax and ‘lounge’ around.
That said, today you can buy slightly smarter designs which come in slimmer fits and are made from more formal materials. These are easier to dress up yet are no less comfortable, allowing them to be combined with other casualwear to create stylish off-duty looks that can be worn all day without having you itching to get home and take them straight off.
When and how to wear lounge pants
There’s no real trick to wearing lounge pants, especially if you intend to wear them solely at home. Indeed, if you want a comfortable pair of trousers you can WFH in, or binge-watch TV in at the weekend, you should pull the trigger right now. There’s nothing cosier than combining a pair of lounge pants with a relaxed-fitting T-shirt and hoodie at home in the colder months.
If you’re intending to leave the house, though, you want to maintain some form of style standards. Lounge pants are an easy option for popping to the shops in, and smarter pairs can easily take you further – a pub lunch perhaps, or even a casual dinner spot. For these occasions, the best advice is to keep things simple and minimal.
For example, try pairing some dark navy or black slim-cut sweatpants with a black T-shirt, a neutral colour chore coat or suede jacket and white sneakers. An easy, comfortable look, your choice of jacket help dress things up ever so slightly, giving your lounge pants a high-end, athleisure feel that is still on trend.
4 Key Types Of Lounge Pants For Men
The definitive lounge pant, sweatpants come with drawstring waists, relaxed fits and are usually made from cotton jersey or loopback cotton.
While originally designed for exercising in, joggers are an easy, incredibly comfortable option for wearing around the house. Some designs come with straight hems, but we recommend going for the traditional elastic hem variety, which creates a sleeker silhouette that tapers to the ankle.
Halfway between a traditional pair of trousers and jogging bottoms, drawstring pants are slightly smarter. They’re usually made from a wool or cotton blend – the kind of fabrics you’d typically associate with chinos and tailored pants.
But crucially they come with a drawstring waistband for a flexible, comfortable fit that moves with you rather than against you. In most instances this drawstring waist is easily concealed, meaning they are easier to dress up and can often pass for regular pants. So you never have to sacrifice comfort again.
For ultimate relaxation, pyjama bottoms are the way to go. Designed primarily for sleeping in, pyjama bottoms typically feature elasticated waists and are made from soft, lightweight cottons.
They will have very little structure and a wide, loose cut. Given they’re made for evenings in bed, they’re only really appropriate inside the home.
A broad style that can encompass anything from wool sweatpants through to pleated designs, tailored sweatpants are typically made from ‘smarter’ fabrics and have a trimmer cut than classic joggers.
You’ll find them in textured cotton jersey, wool blends or, for the ultimate in luxury, cashmere, and like other pairs of drawstring pants, they’re much easier to dress up and combine with the rest of your wardrobe.
While still perfect for relaxing at home, try team them smart-casual polos, jackets and knitwear at the weekend.
The Best Men’s Lounge Pants Brands
An obvious destination for any menswear basics, Uniqlo’s range of loungewear is expansive. Expect everything from classic grey joggers through to soft check pyjama bottoms.
Look out for seasonal styles, which will be cut from fabrics ranging from jersey through to modal.
M&S is continuing to improve and expand on its clothing range, and its loungewear is no different. The British high-street retailer does a fine line in minimal sweatpants, which can be worn both at home and out and about.
Ralph Lauren is one of those brands you could fill your entire wardrobe with. For its loungewear, the US brand turns to the finest cotton fabrics, and combines them with tailored fits that will look as good now as they will in years to come.
Arket’s menswear collection is incredibly underrated. Combining well thought out, functional design with accessible prices, it’s difficult to go wrong with its entire lineup.
The brand’s sweatpants are among the finest on this list, given they’re made from durable, soft loopback cotton jersey.
A.P.C.’s denim is some of the best you’ll find anywhere. But the brand’s loungewear is no slouch either, with more tailored designs featuring regularly in its seasonal collections.
Look out for sleek, minimal styles you can wear with virtually anything.
Reiss is a brand well regarded for its sharper designs. As such, you can expect its loungewear to have a smarter, more tailored look.
If you’re in the market for drawstring pants or tailored sweatpants, head here first.
American outfitter Gap is a criminally underrated option for loungewear. Its sweatpants range is expansive, running the gamut from classic grey marl pairs through to super-soft washed vintage options to advanced GapFlex designs that come with added stretch for extra flexibility and comfort.
Colorful Standard made its name off the back of high-quality, beautifully-cut loungewear. The brand’s traditional cotton jersey joggers are one of the key reasons why, cut from soft 100% organic cotton and available in every shade under the sun.
Want something a little more put together for weekend occasions? Try its Organic Twill Pants, which are crafted from a mix of organic cotton and elastane and feature a drawstring waist for all-day comfort.
Pangaia is another brand that specialises in quality loungewear with a conscience. Expect high-end, sustainable fabrics, minimal designs and comfortable fits, with each piece incorporating the label’s subtle branding.
Pangaia’s sweatpants come in a variety of weights, from light to heavy, allowing you to adapt your loungewear to the season. Not only that, each pair is made using organic or recycled cotton, so you can relax knowing that Mother Nature would approve of your choice.
Combining a workwear slant with its trademark, pared-back aesthetic, Folk is somewhere to head if you’re after well-made loungewear that’s built to last.
The brand’s acclaimed Assembly Pant is now available in a drawcord version, giving you the same relaxed, cropped shape and a wealth of stylish colourways but with added comfort. Dress them up or down as you see fit.