Differences Between Women's & Men's Sweat Pants

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Some women's sweat pants are fitted.
Some women's sweat pants are fitted. (Image: black woman in gym image by Susan Rae Tannenbaum from Fotolia.com)

Sweat pants serve different purposes for different people. For some, sweat pants are an after-work treat they put on to relax in comfort. For others, such as personal trainers, sweat pants are work clothes they wear all day long. In a culture with a well-defined code of style for the sexes in which men wear suits and women wear dresses, sweat pants are some of the few dress items that transcend the norms of gender and fashion. However, there are some differences between women’s and men’s sweat pants.

Length

Full-grown adult males are typically taller than their female counterparts. According to Disabled World: Disability and Health News, as of 2008, the average adult male in the U.S. was approximately five feet 10 inches tall, while the average adult female in the U.S. was approximately five feet five inches tall. For this reason, men’s sweat pants are typically longer than women’s varieties and have longer inseams, or seams that run from the crotch of a pair of pants down to the bottoms of the legs.

Waistline Width

In addition to being taller than females, adult males tend to have wider waists. For example, according to England’s National Health Service, while physicians would likely classify an adult female with a waistline of 33 inches as obese, this is a normal, healthy waistline measurement for an adult male. For this reason, men’s sweatpants typically have wider waistlines than women’s sweatpants.

Waistband Styles

The majority of men’s sweat pants have a basic elastic waistband that is usually around an inch or two in height. In many cases, there is also a shoelace-style drawstring that wraps around the waistline of the pants inside of the waistband. The ends of this string come out two holes in the front so you can tighten the pants and tie them in place. While women’s sweatpants often utilize this same traditional style, designers will sometimes make variations. These including incorporating over-sized waistbands, such as those that are four or five inches tall, and creating a scrunched or ruffled effect in regular-sized waistbands.

Colors and Patterns

Sweat pants come in a wide variety of different colors and patterns. While designers tend to stick with more masculine themes for men’s sweat pants, such as incorporating dark, solid colors like blue, black and gray, and using linear patterns, with women’s sweat pants they try to create more feminine styles. Women’s sweat pants commonly come in pastel colors, such as light shades of pink and purple, and will sometimes features floral designs. However, there are also more “masculine” colors and styles available for women as well.

Fitting

Some women’s sweat pants are fitted, meaning that they hug the contours of a woman’s legs when she is wearing them. Designers accomplish this by using stretchy fabrics. The style, however, is not as common when it comes to men’s sweatpants.

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