Sweatpants that cost $1,000—has fashion gone completely insane?

Whether we like to admit it or not, sweatpants-the loose-fitting, draw-stringed apparel synonymous with depression, overeating, and dangerous attachment to one's couch-have their place. Hungover and glued to "Tom Cruise Day" on TNT? Sweatpants it is! Hanging out with your cats in the wee hours while blubbering over an ex? Need. My. Sweatpants. Flu so bad you're a prisoner of the duvet? Surely sweatpants and re-runs of "Price is Right" become your best friends.

But sweatpants strutting the runway, accompanied by high heels, elaborate makeup, and a fur stole? Well, folks, welcome to fashion in 2010.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, sweatpants are the season's must-have fashion trend. Designed to be a bit shapelier than your basic gym-class styles, and dressed up in fancy fabrics like cashmere, the updated athletic wear is meant to be worn formally with elegant shoes, blazers, and blouses, to occasions that'd usually require a favorite cocktail dress. Fashionistas everywhere are already scooping them up and designers are confident the rest of us will follow: "Whenever you can combine fashion, style and comfort in one item, it's going to work at retail," designer and "Project Runway" judge Michael Kors told the paper. However, this retail choice doesn't come cheap-the new sweatpants, from big names like Alexander Wang, Thakoon, and Bottega Veneta, start at around $250 and run upwards of $1,000. The Kors' version (pictured, above left) are being sold for $995.

This t-shirt costs more than a month's rent. Photo by: Net-a-porterThis t-shirt costs more than a month's rent. Photo by: Net-a-porterThis isn't the first time this year that a seemingly low-end fashion item has carried a high-end, luxury-goods price tag. Consider Balmain's spring "army" t-shirt, an artfully-shredded, 100-percent-cotton top that is often paired with cargo pants (giving it a military-chic appearance?), comes in just one color, olive green, and costs...$1,625.

Or how about Louis Vuitton's latest, the "Raindrop Besace" tote? The waterproof purse is shaped and crinkled just like a trash bag and it can be yours for a mere $1,960. Earlier this year, designer Marc Jacobs explained the phenomenon thusly: "There's this huge cult following of almost crazy people at Vuitton who just want whatever they buy to be exclusive." Hmmm.
















We ask you: Are you interested in these low-as high looks? Or do you think designers have completely missed the mark?