The "Seinfeld" character often wore sweatpants, despite Jerry telling him: "You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world: 'I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.' "
But wearing sweatpants, it seems, is the latest designer darling. They've made their way from Nike at the gym to Juicy Couture for weekend wear to fancy high-end runways including Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, Bottega Veneta, Rag & Bone and Jean Paul Gaultier. Only, style-setters are eschewing the sneakers and hoodies for stilettos and cropped jackets. Oh, and some of these sweatpants range in price from $150 to $1,000.
Comfy? Sure. But should you buy into it?
Danielle Fishel, host of "The Dish" on The Style Network, calls the trend "completely ridiculous."
"Before purchasing these, one might ask themselves these questions: Am I 16? Am I a college student? Do I hate myself? Have I just given up altogether? Would I flush $1,000 down the toilet? If you answered no to any of these questions, then the answer to whether you should buy 'runway' sweatpants is also, no," she tells StyleList.
But JunHo Noh, president of fashion label Democracy of Nevermind, says the dressy sweatpants trend is about reinterpreting lounge wear and breaking conventions.
"With street trends taking dominance and infiltrating high fashion, the idea of formal wear has slowly been changing," he says. "Fashion has generally gotten more laid back and casual."
And, when worn the right way, sweats actually can be a fashion statement, says Josh Christopher, designer for clothing line daftbird.
"I believe they are becoming more popular as women like to be more comfortable," he tells StyleList.
Here's some answers on making the look cool -- and not Costanza:
How do I make it chic, not sloppy?
- Noh says to look for harem styles in a slightly thicker fabric (not thin cotton) so they don't look so casual, and "styles which are slightly tighter at the calf so they have some form of shape in them and can be worn with heels."
- Christopher also says to look for something with shape. "Women should look for a fit that is more tailored than old school gym sweats," he says.
- And while Fishel concedes there are some styles, including some tailored versions from Victoria's Secret Pink, she remains doubtful. "Unless you are 16 or an exhausted college student, you probably shouldn't wear them anywhere you would feel out of place in pajamas," she says.
- "With the many ways you can style this look, any woman can wear it," Noh says. "Just have the confidence."
- Noh suggests gladiator heels, "or even flat ballets, pumps or brogues. On top, there are many options -- a structured fitted top, a fluid cropped blouse or a crop top. You can wear baggier tees and pumps, but watch out for the 'just got out of bed' look."
- Christopher recommends a pair of cool old lace-up boots and a styled T-shirt, but Fishel would go a different route. "My dog, a blanket, a box of Girl Scout cookies and an episode of Oprah," are what she'd pair her sweats with.
Looking for more style advice? Here's tips on how to not look fat in a bathing suit.