You Should Never, Ever Wear Your Street Clothes In Your House
Earlier this month, I was at a little uptown fashion saloon called Barney’s, looking through the latest men’s from The Row. (It’s indomitable. Even if you can’t afford it, you can at least afford to go touch some of it. Go do that.) There was a pair of sweatpants that were so soft I thought might actually die, and they had a price tag—$2,450—to suggest they had the ability to mete out that level of godlike intervention. But they didn’t really look like anything special. Many times, you’ve probably asked yourself why someone would spend $2,450 on things like sweatpants or sweatshirts or sneakers, and my answer to that has always been, “Because they rule.” But now I found myself asking, “Why would you spend $2,450 on sweatpants that don’t look like $2,450?”
This question haunted me until a gorgeous new feud emerged on Twitter this week. Basically: a lot of people are freaking out about what you should be wearing in your very own home. You would think that advice about fashion and clothing would be all about not looking like a total freak (or how to look like a cool total freak) in front of your friends, family, and colleagues. Instead, bacterial concerns—like this study that suggests Ubers are cesspools for germs that are having all the sex millennials aren’t—are leading people to rage-tweet about how you should never, ever wear your “street clothes” on your bed. And then a second group of people to rage-reply about how of course you should.
Immediately, my $2,450 sweatpants became totally logical. These sweatpants are for the man who, at the end of the day, knows to remove his “street clothes,” no matter how beautiful they are or how few subway or taxi seats they touched. So he pulls on these sweatpants, and maybe The Row’s $750 zip-up hoodie or maybe a weird old Hootie & the Blowfish tee, and relaxes. Maybe he orders delivery from a fancy sushi joint and pours himself a glass of sauterne, or maybe he heats up an Amy’s burrito in the microwave oven and eats it off a paper towel while watching reruns of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! We don’t need to know! These sweatpants are for the man who was at his wit’s end with the effing legal department today, or the man whose favorite artist just left him for another gallerist. They may not look like the world’s most expensive sweatpants, but they will make your legs feel like two wind chimes blowing through a breeze made of unsalted butter. They are a weighted blanket for the 1%.
We may not all be such a man, but his lifestyle does provide an important template. So I will say it here, definitively:
When you arrive home, you should immediately—immediately!!!—remove all your clothing.
You should then dress yourself from a selection of indoor-exclusive loungewear. You can wear sweatpants or silk pajamas or even a caftan, but the clothes should feel and look nice. Ideally, you look great enough to go outside, but you will not. You must change, even if you plan to go out in another hour or two. Even if you have guests coming over. (GQ’s own Megan Tatem even tells me she provides loungewear for her guests.) I would say here that “I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules”—but in fact I’m not sorry, because I do make the rules.
Look, I’m not rubbing two tweets together and telling you I invented fire, nor am I showing you a wheel and saying, “Okay, but this is a whole new wheel.” These are facts that have existed since the beginning of time, but only recently have we abandoned them. Take Mr. Rogers, for example, who swapped his jacket for a cardigan and his brogues for sneakers upon arriving home for decades. Practically speaking, your clothing isn’t meant to be worn all day and all night, and this will make it last longer and look better. But it’s also about, as Joan Didion once said, “self-respect.” You deserve to relax, and you deserve to do that in clothing that just makes you feel great. Trust Joan: she also invented sunglasses.