Start typing the question, “is it okay to wear sweatpants in public” into the Google search bar and you don’t even need to get halfway through the query before it preloads. It’s a contentious subject. For men, the question brings up the same contentious debate as whether leggings are pants in the world of women’s fashion.
Cheap grey, oversized pants come with a certain loss of dignity. Then, there’s the rise in fancy sweatpants—tailored, higher-end pairs, but they seem to work best on younger, more athletic men. Public Rec has created a pair of sweatpants that elevate the slovenly sweat—at least to a certain extent.
The Public Rec Story
The company was founded by a former investment banker, Zack Goldstein who quit his job to solve a long-standing problem. See, Goldstein didn’t feel comfortable wearing loungewear outside of the house (not a problem for a lot of guys in 2018).
What’s unique about the signature sweats is, they’re sized like jeans—by the waist, so you’ll get a more customized fit than the small, medium, or large sweatpants you’d buy at the local Costco.
This brand came from a 2015 Kickstarter project—which kicked off with the pitch— indoor comfort, outdoor style. And people love the offerings—for one, the project raised $140,000 on the promise that these were sweatpants you could wear anywhere. But the thing is—they’re kind of not.
Men’s athleisure is at its peak. From the flashy to the 80s gym class, our attitude toward gym wear in public has shifted considerably. Still, the classic, heathered sweatpant is still a little, well, associated with Netflix binges and sick days.
Enter the All Day Every Day pants—a sweatpant that only kind of looks like a sweatpant. In looking at their construction, the brand has added a fly and some back pockets, as well as front zipper pockets, side panels that span the legs and a tapered fit.
The cut is slimmer than what you’d find with the standard sweat, and they are a bit more tailored than your average track pant.
The sweats are flattering; an elevated version of those cinched ankle pairs you wore in grade school before switching to jeans indefinitely.
Honestly, we kind of liked the ADED shorts better than the pants. The shorter length added more versatility to the mix. Meaning, they're better for the gym, because who wants to wear to the gym? And more appropriate as a stand-in for jean or chino fabric.
The long length makes the pants seem like those yoga pants that are supposed to look like real pants—they’re fine for social outings, errands, and physical activity, but they lack the polish of a real trouser.
Anything Besides Sweats?
While the sweats seemingly get all of the attention, Public Rec makes some other pieces that are a hell of a lot more versatile. Polos and tees are made from a blend of silk, Pima cotton, and Tencel—making for a soft feel that mimics a vintage tee but looks new.
Our favorite pieces include the Crosstown bomber, a stylish looking jacket perfect for transitional seasons. This jacket is made from the ADED fabric and has the feel of a hoodie, but with the structure of a casual jacket.
Honestly, all these articles about sweatpants you can wear to work seem dumb. They’re not formal.
In the end, it seems that the brand offers a robust selection of comfortable basics. We’d recommend shopping here if you want some versatile workout clothes that don’t come in the ridiculous colors typically associated with wearing athletic apparel.
While we’re not sure we can shake the “pajama jean” association, Public Rec brings some nice basics to the table. That said, it’s not the place to find anything particularly unique—everything kind of falls within the grayscale range.
Quality and Price
Pants are comparable to the Lululemon ABC pants and slightly cheaper—Lulu’s are $128, Public Rec’s are $95. That said, the Lulus look a little more like “pants,” as they have functional back pockets in the style of jeans or chinos. The ADEDs have slit-style pockets and look more in line with the athletic sensibility of the pants.
Additionally, the ABCs come in a few different styles—joggers, with the cuff on the bottom, slim, and relaxed. Plus, hemming is complimentary, so if you’re shorter, it may be worthwhile to pay the extra $30-ish. The ADED does come in a range of hems— 30, 32, 34, 36— a more extensive selection than you’ll find from most retailers.
Well, Should You Buy these $100 Sweats?
It depends. Public Rec was designed for the man who already likes the concept of athleisure, but doesn’t necessarily want to give up fashion or looking like a grown up. We really like that the brand focuses on high-quality fabrics and more flattering cuts than the sweats of yesteryear. But, there are a lot of brands that are doing this now—many that bring a little more panache to the table. Still, if you want something comfortable, reliable and better than the as-seen-on-TV pajama jeans, Public Rec is a good bet.