Is there a message sent by those that wear sweatpants at public spaces that are not sports or recreation places?
Since clothing belongs not only to physical domain (protecting us from cold and shielding from heat) but much more to memetic domain (symbolic protection from being seen, profession designation, fashion, status, etc.) The answer is clear yes. And what could be that message?
To be clear. I do not claim that all those wearing sweatpants communicate their garment consciously. Such situations are unlike celebrity gala events, where there is so much planning behind every dress. Sweatpants are used as any other language unconsciously to dominate, to manipulate, to manage the environment of people wearing them. We are all doing this all the time even more then when we “just dress”. It is a necessary tool of any human (memetic) creature fighting against entropy. Entropy!?!
One needs black to see white
Yes, entropy. As already noted, garment is not so much a protection against physical environment, but symbolic and with that also memetic protection. It is as any other memetic tool a weapon that organize and reorganize reality around us. With more commonly used words: it makes sense with mere co-existence. Each new item that enters certain space, certain environment, reorganizes that environment. It is like if we enter a room and join a conversation. In that very moment even if we did not have any intention to change anything, everything changes. It changes not only for someone that would observe situation from outside, but it changes as much for each so far involved participant.
Sweatpants as antifragility agents
Taking this first step in understanding what is the role of any new particle, we should also take the next one. As much as cleaning (reorganizing) a room is a fight against entropy, so reorganization that sweatpants induce is a fight against entropy.
Sweatpants are thus organizing our reality. They are conveying a clear message of leisure, recreation, triviality. If placed in urban environment, they conflict with jackets, ties, shirts and skirts. They shout: “Why on earth should we, children of democratic society, freedom of choice, relieved from all kinds of religious and other big brothers and gods, obey any rule at all.” Sweatpants should not be mixed up with torn jeans or casual Friday dress in business environment. Later belong to a shout: “I tend to differentiate from within the standard, the norm”. Sweatpants on markets are like ties on swimming pools. Both help us understand the order of situation by being out of order.
They are thus helping us, not wearing sweatpants, to be more resilient by a shock, providing us a stress, that is so much necessary to stay resilient, as Nicholas Taleb explained in Antifragility.
But as always memes do not play one dimensional (linear) role. As a part of complex (non linear) environment sweatpants also play much more important negative role. Sweatpants in urban environment are one of malign symptoms generated by permissive western culture.
Note: western culture is a large meme-complex that is run by its own memes and runs its own memes.
Here we are talking about misplaced legacy of post renaissance individual freedoms. We should never mistake individual freedoms with disregard of borders and rules. And sweatpants (on wrong places) are exemplary case of such mistake. Tragedy of such misplacement lies in the fact, that such (sweatpants) anything-goes in fact supports entropy. It does not matter, meaning everything is equal, meaning nothing makes a change, meaning enhancing entropy, meaning: death. Permission to transgress any borders makes silent coalition with entropy. It is a regression from any cultural tradition, since culture is by definition insertion of order, rules and traditions.
Permissiveness as pervasive value for all modern, post renaissance, scientific anti-liberal movements is nothing but a path towards thermodynamic equilibrium, death.
Thermodynamic equilibrium can be observed when a man or a woman in sweatpants enters public place of an urban market; it can be seen as disrespect of all those that carefully organize and reorganize borders between sellers and buyers. It is a disregard of anything that is structured as different. It is a message of disrespect of any authority, including judicial, political or moral.