Crocs and Sweatpants You Could Wear in a Business Office? Maybe

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When we spoke to Crocs (CROX) CEO John McCarvel back in January, we couldn't help but notice his choice of footwear: He wasn't wearing Crocs.

But we couldn't really hold it against him. McCarvel was in town to accept an innovator award from the National Retail Federation, and Crocs didn't really make anything appropriate for the occasion. You can't wear Crocs with a suit, right?

Well, that's not entirely true. As it turns out, Crocs now offers a number of shoes that are a bit more on the dressy side. They've got loafers, for instance, which could work at the country club. And for the office they've got the "Tummler" shoe, which combines the molded rubber clogs with a black leather slip-on dress shoe. As the website explains, it's meant to be a "work shoe you can live with."

Around the same time we came across the Crocs dress shoe, we also became aware of another product that tries to combine stay-at-home comfort with office-appropriate wear: Dress pants-style sweatpants. These have all the comfort and warmth of a pair of sweatpants, but are designed like a pair of dress slacks, complete with back pockets, belt loops and pinstripes.

Together, the Crocs dress shoes and sweatpants dress pants suggest a new paradigm for office wear: Dressy enough to pass muster with your boss, but comfortable enough that you can feel like you're having a pajama day working from home. But could you really pull this off in an office environment?

To find out, I got a pair of each, then put them on and headed down to the offices of StyleList, Aol's fashion experts. I modeled my office wear for a panel of three StyleList editors: Ellen Thomas, Logan Sowa and Abby Silverman.

Their first reaction was telling -- two of them didn't realize that I'd actually changed into the sweatpants. That, I thought, meant that I could get away with wearing sweatpants without anyone noticing. But on closer inspection, doubts started to emerge.

"I don't think I'll ever be inclined to think this is acceptable in the workplace," said Sowa. "They looked like real pants, but there were a few telltale signs that something was off: They were a bit baggy, and definitely didn't look tailored."

I couldn't help but agree. I was a little disappointed with the fit, expecting it to have a more modern, slim cut. And I wasn't about to pay to have a pair of sweatpants tailored.

Still, I could see there being a small market for this sort of thing. Let's say you work at a tech startup and love the pajamas-and-sweatshirt lifestyle, but want to be prepared in case you need to suddenly meet with investors. Could these make for a nice middle ground?

Silverman was skeptical of this notion.

"Whether you are on Wall Street or at a start-up, it's important to be as professional as possible -- you never know when you'll be in an elevator pitch," she said. And Thomas wondered what was so difficult about wearing dress pants, many of which can be quite comfortable. While the idea of pinstriped sweatpants was certainly amusing, and they seem like they'd be very warm in the winter, we ultimately agreed that they weren't office-appropriate (unless you work in a very casual office).

The Crocs were a different story.

"These actually aren't terrible for what they are -- a comfortable pair of shoes disguised as dress shoes," said Thomas. "I still would not want to see my boyfriend in them, but if you're going to invest in something like this, this particular style is pretty believable."

I was more or less in agreement. I didn't find them all that attractive, as they're a little too blocky for my taste. But if the goal here is to wear something that's comfortable, but still qualifies as a dress shoe, this definitely passes muster. I can imagine a doctor wearing these -- healthcare professionals like to wear Crocs because they're on their feet all day, and these could pair up with a shirt and tie to maintain a professional appearance when meeting with patients and families.

"If you're someone who is always on their feet for work, these Crocs are perfect for getting your feet through the day," agrees Silverman. Even Sowa, who admits she "inherently [has] a thing against Crocs," says they aren't half bad.

So there you have it. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, but still work in an environment that requires you to wear dress shoes, these Crocs could be a good compromise. But please don't try to get away with wearing sweatpants.

Pinstripe Dress Pant Sweatpants: $128 at BetaBrand.com. Also available in grey or black, $108.
Verdict: Too baggy to pass as real dress pants, and likely inappropriate at all but the most casual office environments.

Men's Tummler Shoe: $79.99 at Crocs.com.
Verdict: Not the most stylish shoes around, but a great option for professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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michael_vici

中国隐秘共产党从我身上做了二十年人性精神虐待试验,中国可以发生这样虐待人的事情,中国没有希望了,我是真心希望中国亡国啊。既然中国有纳米分子的事情,那其他的国家也有。我希望能有替我伸张正义的人,因为我实在是受不了了,生活一点希望都没有。现在每天就是被虐待。到底还有没有公道正义,还有没有王法。到底谁能帮帮我啊,因为我的身上只有纳米分子,所以我没有任何办法去反抗,只能硬抗。我的感觉就是被软不垃圾的刀子使劲的插,隐秘共产党不一下子伤害我,就是慢慢的一点点的力度很大的去虐待我。事情太多了,我就不一一列举了,就举一个现在的例子吧。隐秘共产党用纳米分子技术对我的身体制造出极度痒慎的难受,他不一下子伤害我,而是一点点的难受。这种难受还有些说不出来,不好形容,就是肋骨处被用纳米分子扭曲住了脉络,造成这一片身体极度的难受,也不疼,就是难受。身体其他部位主要是头部还有激越式的难受,坐也不是躺也不是,晚上不光睡不着觉而且怎么躺着都极度难受,只能站起来走一走,可我不能只是走啊。在这里我寻求帮助。因为我实在顶不住了。手机号码13853788002

August 14 2013 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dexrmerritt

where did you hear that , on the internet, they can't say anything on the internet that isn't true...

August 14 2013 at 9:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
moparmanjac

I am retired & think this is a swell idea. The price of the pants would be more interesting if it were more like $30.00 & the shoes to match, were closer to $20.00. This being said..... Put my order in, please!

August 14 2013 at 9:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pmjohnson1717

Any man in crocs deserves a random beating.

August 14 2013 at 4:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
literatechick60

If you want to be taken seriously at work, then invest in some decent clothing! Even if your employer has a "business casual" dress code, clothes should fit well, be clean and pressed, and look as though you took the time to coordinate an outfit rather than just throwing on random items from your closet.

August 13 2013 at 8:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
betty_brock

Dressing down has gone too far.

August 13 2013 at 4:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Sue

Yuck.

August 13 2013 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gumby

What ? you never knew ? obviously many never visit www.crocs.com to check out the goods as if it is a porno site or what? C;mon! My fav is Bistro , great for gardening! Easy to wash off mud and whatnots and it is a clog without holes. Unique! Also it got non skid soles which is my main concern ! Most Crocs styles are easy to skid on smooth concrete or other surfaces which is dangerous like the escalator happenings. i think Crocs ought to include non skid soles on all styles, no exception!~

August 13 2013 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply