With more and more Americans being fully vaccinated, they are ready to return to work and leisure activities. Here are guidelines for when it’s safe to keep wearing your lounge pants, and when it’s best to suck it up and put on a pair of real pants.


- The gym, track, yoga studio, or other exercise-related destination where lounge pants, including yoga pants, running tights, or other spandex-based clothing is traditionally worn

- You can reasonably pretend like you are going to any of the establishments listed above. Safest if you have a bag with a yoga mat or other items for proof of destination

- At home on the couch, while eating ice cream directly from the carton

- A small, outdoor gathering with other members of your household who are also wearing lounge pants and/or flip-flops and novelty T-shirts

Less safe

- Grocery store runs during off-peak hours, excluding Friday and Saturday nights, when your nosy neighbors are less likely to be lurking in the frozen foods aisle, where you are deciding which four pints of Ben & Jerry’s you will buy

- When dropping the kids off at school on a day with a high probability that nobody will ask you to get out of the car to purchase something from the PTA bake sale

- At home, on the couch, eating ice cream directly from the carton when your judgmental grandmother visits you for the first time since you’ve both been vaccinated

- Dining indoors at a sparsely populated casual restaurant with low lighting

Least safe

- In-person meetings with your boss and other colleagues who rank higher than you. (Note: Wearing lounge pants in meetings falls into the “less safe” category if you make the rules in your workplace.)

- Attending a large outdoor gathering of 6-foot-tall, size 2 models. They are actually all wearing lounge pants, but somehow when they wear Old Navy’s fleece cargo jogger, they look like haute couture

- Attending a full capacity worship service with an indoor chorus and your grandmother sitting next to you in the pew, counting the number of people who are still wearing lounge pants and judging them

- Dining indoors on a date (you remember dating, right?) at a Michelin-starred restaurant you made reservations for last year but had to cancel because of the lockdown. They’ve changed their dress code from “coat and tie required” to “anything without an elastic waistline, for God’s sake, Julia Child dined here once.”