No longer is pyjama-style clothing restricted to home only, pushing the popularity of loungewear in the age of casual and comfort dressing, which is donning the runways and stores. Though this trend has been around for a long time, starting with a few retailers offering varied styles, but of late there has been an indefinite surge in retailers adding loungewear to their offering. Nonetheless, the eventual push was celebrity-led, as superstars such as Rita Ora, Rihanna, Millie Mackintosh, Kate Moss, Fearne Cotton, Russell Brand, Colin Farrell, etc. took this relaxed approach to the streets.
Supporting the movement seen in loungewear are the recent figures from the sale of John Lewis’ own brand ‘loungewear’, which saw a 29 per cent increase in the week before Christmas to last year, authenticating that the trend is here to stay. Also, plus-size retailer Simply Be reported sales of pyjamas rocketing by 63 per cent recently. Going by these figures, it is obvious that people are no longer shy to take their relaxing silhouettes to the street and it is no longer about just looking gorgeous but also being comfortable. Progressively people are wearing stay-out home clothes to their offices as well. As rightly said by Soozie Jenkinson, Head, Lingerie Design at Marks & Spencer, the boundaries between formal and casualwear is increasingly getting blurred; while modern loungewear, both for wearing at home and outside, has become a popular category that has seen a surge over the past decade. Jenkinson defines the concept as “super-soft fabrics layered in contemporary yet easy silhouettes”. In response to the “surge in popularity of the loungewear trend”, the store has increased the cashmere offering in its premium Rosie for Autograph collection. John Lewis claims its sales reflect the trend for people to look for “relaxation time” at home.
Apart from lines blurring between casual and formalwear, similarly age does not seem to be a barrier for loungewear clothing, as anyone in their teens to sixty-something are donning this trend with equal passion. In short, the lines of demarcation that earlier were a clear-cut divide between various spheres of life such as bedroom, office, streets, shops, office, are clearly disintegrating with age. Where once people had worn only pyjamas in bedroom and changed into ties, shirts, heels, dresses, etc. for work, are now wearing crossover items such as leggings, sweat pants and delux nightwear.
What puts this trend on the map is the increased amount of time that people are spending at home and according to the Office for National Statistics, there were a record 4.2 million home workers in the period from January to March last year, up 1.3 million from 1998 when comparable records began. This has been partly due to the more flexible working hours, enabled by the rise of the internet; so at home, working is increasingly becoming the norm and with it the relaxed workwear clothing. Also, social media has a positive impact on this trend with celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne, and more posting their selfies round the clock on Instagram, Facebook, etc. which has helped loungewear to clock in huge boost in sales. Even heads of states and political leaders are no longer averse to being seen and photographed in loungewear.
Amongst the 10 biggest trends from New York Fashion Week Spring 2016, loungewear stood out, amongst which silk pyjamas and piping were popular choices.
Not just restricted to high street retailers and luxury brands such as M&S, NEXT, H&M, ZARA, Derek Rose, Aeropostale, Under Armour, Chanel, Victoria’s Secret, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, JCPenney, GAP, Macy’s, Target, CK, etc., loungewear is also being seen on the runway. While Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander Wang have presented silky pyjamas as a relaxed yet elegant take on eveningwear, pyjamas were a hit on the Spring 2016 menswear catwalk as Versace, Dries van Noten and Louis Vuitton also displayed various versions. Meanwhile brands offer stop-at-home essentials, from zip-up hoodies by Hugo Boss to Henley ‘grandad’ T-shirts by Ralph Lauren, pure cotton dressing gowns by Paul Smith, ‘Night & Day’ pyjama sets by Hanro and navy-checkered flannel trousers by British heritage label Derek Rose. “There has been a clear trend for loungewear over the past five years, especially at a premium quality level. Sales prove that the demand for high-quality, stylish loungewear has grown. The younger generation wants to be comfy to enjoy downtime and is drawn to a more relaxed look,” shares Sacha Rose, Chief Executive of Derek Rose.
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Online sales of loungewear also seems to be increasing, amongst which is Farfetch, a designer luxury fashion for men and women offering luxurious basics such as cotton T-shirts from Kolor, Neil Barrett and Sunspel. “When a man likes a product he will buy into it heavily; so once he has found a style of T-shirt that suits him, he is likely to buy five of that same style,” reveals Alannah Sparks, Fashion Editor, Farfetch. ASOS, one of the UK’s largest online stores selling over 850 brands also hosts a collection of men’s loungewear on its website ranging from slouchy jersey tops and bottoms to tanks and sleepwear.
However, part of the success and acceptance of loungewear comes from the fact that consumers love wearing these products for long-haul flights, at the gym, tennis court, etc. where comfort is of primary importance. Today, people are unwilling to compromise on comfort and style, and why should they when they are getting the best of both world’s combined – Fashion and Comfort – and this is giving the loungewear a much needed push from retailers, designers and online portals.