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Jeans vs. Sweatpants: What’s The Difference?

Sweatpants and jeans are the most popular choice of bottoms for a reason. They are both great options, as they offer comfort and are essential clothing pieces for any streetwear casual look. However, some may argue jeans aren’t as comfortable as sweatpants, or that sweatpants aren’t as viable as jeans are.

Key Takeaways

  • Jeans are traditionally made out of denim, but lately, it is common practice to make them out of mixtures of more comfortable materials. Sweatpants, on the other hand, are always made out of stretchy, baggy fabrics.
  • Both jeans and sweatpants have around the same durability. A good pair of each can last you up to 2-3 years, and their quality is proportional to their price. 
  • When it comes to comfort, sweatpants easily win the title of more comfortable. Despite recent efforts to make jeans more comfortable, they don’t even come close to the loose and cozy nature of sweatpants.

Jeans vs Sweatpants: How Do They Differ?

Jeans and sweatpants both have their good and bad qualities. They both have their charm and appropriate occasions.

It is believed sweatpants are warmer than jeans because they are made out of cotton and polyester blends, but jeans tend to be a lot better in extremely cold or bad weather, as they are made out of denim. Both of these bottoms vary a lot when it comes to everything from design to warmth and comfort. So, is there a clear winner between jeans and sweatpants?

Jeans

Design

The type of pants made out of denim or dungaree cloth is called jeans. When we say jeans we usually mean a long straight-cut pair of blue jeans. They are distinguishable by their key features; being made out of denim, having front and back pockets, their durability, and having a zipper.

Today, there are a lot of different types and styles of jeans with recognizable characteristics. The most popular brand of jeans is Levi Strauss and Co. or Wrangler. Both of these brands have their very distinct look, from the patch on their back to the shape and design of the back pockets; for example, Wrangler has a sewn-in “W” on them.

Back in the 1800s, jeans were designed for miners and laborers to wear when they were on the job. However, nowadays, they are one, if not the most popular clothing item of casual wear.

Durability

I’ve heard once that a good pair of jeans can last you a lifetime. Yet, realistically, an average pair of jeans should last you for about 2-3 years. Of course, if you buy high-quality jeans such as Levi’s, Rag & Bone, and APC; they should be a lot more durable and long-lasting than fast-fashion off-brand jeans.

Comfort

When it comes to comfort, I’d say jeans aren’t made to be that comfortable. They are made to sustain any type of weather and keep you warm and protected. So, jeans can feel restricting and thick, as they are specifically made to not stretch easily. However, nowadays there are jeans that aren’t made solely out of denim or thick cloth. Moreover, it is surprising to say that most jeans sold nowadays are made of 100% cotton. The types of jeans that are made out of thin stretchy materials such as mixtures of cotton, polyester, and lycra are a lot more stretchy and soft. This makes them pretty comfortable, but I wouldn’t say they are as cozy as sweatpants.

Sweatpants

Design

The type of pants made out of soft fabric intended for athletic purposes or comfort is called sweatpants. These soft trousers are also known as a tracksuit or joggers. Their design is quite simple and loose. They may or may not have pockets, whereas with jeans we know that there are front and back pockets. The most common brands of tracksuits or sweatpants are Adidas and Nike. Despite all that, the first pair of sweatpants was originally made by Emile Camuset, the founder of Le Coq Sportif.

The design of sweatpants most often consists of stretchy, jersey fabrics with an elastic band that makes them very easy to put on. On the elastic band, there is usually a drawstring closure that helps you tighten them. The most common type of color for sweatpants is ash grey, but they are also very often found in black. Nowadays, there are sweatpants in any type of color. Traditionally, they are quite loose-fitting and baggy, but there are also tighter fits. No matter their fit, they always offer a lot of flexibility and elasticity, they have premium comfort, and are perfect for any lazy or active day.

Durability

Sweatpants offer a great amount of durability. The quality of sweatpants is immediately proportional to their durability, meaning the high quality of sweatpants makes them long-lasting and respectively the low quality of sweatpants makes them less durable. As I mentioned before about jeans, a good pair lasts as long as 2 to 3 years and the same thing can be said about sweatpants.

Comfort

When it comes to comfort, I will with utmost confidence pick sweatpants over jeans any day. Jeans are no match for sweatpants simply, because of how highly breathable, flexible, and comfortable they are. They are mostly made out of cotton or elastic materials which allow you to move freely while wearing them. In addition to this, sweatpants are usually warmer than jeans, making them a particularly great option to wear in winter. Their elasticity is also a reason why they are used as active sportswear.

Which Is Best and Why?

Although both jeans and sweatpants have their distinct quirks and qualities, they both offer something different. In the past, jeans were thought of as more formal than sweatpants and sweatpants were amazing for athleisure and activewear. In the early 2000s people were even harshly criticized for wearing sweatpants and declared lazy slobs.

However, I would say that with their increase in popularity, sweatpants have secured their way into the fashion world. They can nowadays be seen worn with heels achieving a modern, stylish look. Jeans are a classic option and are the go-to for any occasion. So, I prefer wearing jeans in winter a lot more than sweatpants. Jeans make for a great casual event and are a better option when it comes to looking smart.

So, even though sweatpants are becoming more and more used as fashion statements themselves, I would say that jeans are better for formal wear. They are classier and there are a lot more types to pick from. When it comes to durability they are pretty even all around the board. And lastly, comfort-wise sweatpants take the win. Overall, I declare sweatpants the winner for their apparent adaptability and comfort.

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