Cute Sweats to Chill Out (And Workout!)

Photo: Sarah Kunst

Rolling into graduation and reunion season makes me nostalgic for my college days. I’ve had experiences I’ve had experiences and a career that have way exceeded my childhood fantasies and even my grown-up expectations. But my college days were the first time I felt like myself and found my tribe. My college friends remain my best friends.

I grew up in a college-obsessed household, so I’ve always had a thing for university paraphernalia. I loved wearing my father’s lived-in Michigan State sweatshirt paired with pink sweatpants. When I got older and became more status conscious, I co-opted his Penn and Wharton gear. As a high school senior, I had more Tracy Flick tendencies than I care to remember. I wore college sweatshirts as a subconscious goal-setting exercise. It causes me slight pain and deep embarrassment to recall how getting into college really was my childhood hobby.

Brainy, Successful, Sexy

I’m about to date myself, but when I conjure up my first cultural sweatshirt influence, I think of the ‘80s show Thirtysomething. I was probably 10 when that show first aired. Yet it cemented a brainy, successful, sexy archetype forever in my mind. Long legs and a university sweatshirt to bed. I recently went back to look at Thirtysomething to refresh my memory. To my great surprise, I discovered that my sweatshirt icon, a Type A overachieving character named Hope whom I oddly connected with at age 10, was a graduate of Princeton, my alma mater.

Maybe it was fate all along.

I can only guess that my 10-year-old self had a girl crush on Hope and her sweatshirts because they represented what adulthood looked like. I was so eager to grow up. Now my instincts are just the opposite. I’m nostalgic for the days when I didn’t have a clue.

Old School – New School

I don’t wear sweatshirts to bed–they’re too thick. However, I have discovered a line of adorable sweats, Nuyu, that are cut way cuter than the usual University Store standard issue. Soft and fitted, with a racing stripe here and a mesh inlay there, I can channel a version of the fresh-faced co-ed I once was. They feel youthful without looking junior.

I can only guess that my 10-year-old-self had a girl crush on Hope and her sweatshirts because they represented what adulthood looked like. I was so eager to grow up. Now my instincts are just the opposite. I’m nostalgic for the days when I didn’t have a clue.

When I slip into these sweats and crack open a bottle of wine, pour a bowl of popcorn, and tune into Ugly Delicious, they ease me into the mindset of a simpler time when time spent hanging out doing nothing was the best time of all. When I wear them working at home in front of my laptop, they fuel me with a spirit of paper writing marathons past. And when I wear them on a crisp morning for a jog around the Reservoir, listening to my own thoughts in my head—business, bills, social engagements, scheduling, ideas, dreams—I’m keenly aware that I’m a grown up, and in fact, living my 10-year-old dream.

PS—Fellow Tigers, shop up! You’ll want them for P-rade this year!

 

A few spirited selects…