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Trend spot: Dressed up sweatpants

These crepe sweatpants boast a vibrant jolt of

These crepe sweatpants boast a vibrant jolt of color and a slimmer, yet still comfy silo, $158 at J.Crew stores and jcrew.com Credit: jcrew.com

After years of the skinny jean reigning supreme, there's a new pant in town, and it's easy to wear, comfortable, sexy and -- eyes looking toward heaven and thinking thank you -- not skintight.

Slouchy track and sweatpants have busted out of the gym and are getting a serious fashion workout, some in luxurious fabrics and bold prints. Many have racing stripes down the side and drawstring waists, along with cuffed, elasticized ankles. And even though they're modeled on exercise clothes, well, forget about the sneakers. Pair them with booties or sexy stilettos for an of-the-moment look.

"It's very modern," says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom's fashion director. "It's about taking familiar items and reinventing them so they look new and fresh. We're seeing things once considered to be very casual and reimagining them."

Afshin Haghani, co-owner and creative director of women's stores Loop, Gallery Couture and The Gibson in Manhasset, says the trend began last season. "All the cool French girls in Paris started wearing them." Haghani calls it "the anti-skinny jean movement," noting that there has been a lot of athletic wear on the runway.

At fashion brand Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, several styles in silk feature graphic, unexpected prints. The designer sees the new look as "nostalgic, yet modern. It is the perfect style between a jean and a tailored trouser and has a casual but still put-together feel," says Vincent.

"The beauty of the athletic pant is that it's available at every price point," says Nordstrom's Andrews, adding that the trend has, er, legs for fall and winter in heavier fabrics. "There's a litmus test for fashion items . . . can they work for customers of different body types and ages? Are they versatile? These pants pass all the tests."


ON THE RIGHT TRACKS

Wearing a track or sweatpant to work or out at night may seem contradictory. Working out how to wear the fashionable athletic pant may take a little finesse. As Elle magazine's creative director, Joe Zee, says, "I really love the look, but it has to be done perfectly right, or it can fail miserably. Some tips:

If you're wearing a bold, statement-making pant, pair it with something really simple on top, says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director.

"Be concerned about how much volume you're putting on," says Andrews. "You want to make sure that the pants are not too full across the hip for your body," he says. Keep tops slim, too.

The right shoe is imperative, says Afshin Haghani, a Manhasset shop owner. "Wear a bootie or, the sexiest way to wear it is a strappy, open, spiky heel."

Top it off with a sequin tank or tux jacket for evening, says Andrews, and for day, says Haghani, a tank top or turtleneck with a fitted blazer.

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