Before lockdown, my concept of ‘loungewear’ was alien, waltzing around London in grand ballgowns, emblazoned with flowers. After all, when it came to wardrobe staples, dresses were my safety blanket. But then the world shut down, and life as we knew it came to an abrupt halt. Gone were the days socializing with friends in person, chaotic video calls over Zoom. Friday dinner nights became virtual hangout sessions, wine sloshed on rugged carpets, and formal business meetings in suits turned into pyjamas, stained with coffee. Our fashion became more casual, craving comfort in our darkest times. Before we knew it, we were living in loungewear, a rainbow of joggers, atheleisure, and jumpers, the heels on our feet replaced with faux fur sliders, sandals, and chunky trainers. To me, I was heading towards new fashion territory, precaciously toeing the line between ‘comfort’ and ‘style’, as I refined my ‘loungewear aesthetic’. In a time where our future was uncertain, loungewear seemed like the obvious fashion choice. It was comforting, secure, and helped us come to terms with ‘staying at home’. But what is the history of loungewear as we know it?
From dressing gowns, to contemporary pyjamas and hoodies, loungewear has been a constant in our fashion repoitoire. While there might have been a distinction between ‘loungewear’ and going out ‘outside clothes’ in the past, lockdown showed us that comfort clothing is just as wonderful at home, as it is in the ‘real world’. Whether it is dressing up pyjamas at London Fashion Week, reinventing the athleisure trend, or styling your comfiest joggers for a night out on the town, the pandemic might have eased but our desire for comfort certainly hasn’t. Before, we would get caught up in FOMO (fear of missing out), dragging ourselves out to attend events, parties, and pack our social calendar with as many meet cutes as possible. But COVID-19 taught us to chase after JOMO instead (the joy of missing out), choosing to ‘Netflix & Chill in our comfies. While the 20th and 21st century has made us gravitate torwards ‘casual wear’, loungewear has been around for thousands of years.
If we look at Pyjamas for example, for centuries Indian Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus wore pyjamas, which were originally loose, lightweight trousers, fitted with drawstring waistbands. Regardless of gender, the pyjamas were worn to maintain comfort, modesty, and practical style. Much like the West’s adoption of kimonos, harem pants, and saree’s, pyjamas came into the UK, through British colonists in the 18th and 19th century. Introduced as ‘lounging attire’, it was in 1870, that pyjamas as ‘sleeping attire’ came into fashion, with Coco Chanel revolutionizing ‘outdoor beach pyjamas’ in 1918. The epitome of haute couture fashion, Gabrielle Coco Chanel paired baggy pyjama style trousers with a loose-fitting shirt, or sleeveless top, to embody elegance meets comfort. Today pyjamas are at home in the bedroom as they are outside. Whether you wear a faux silk floral pyjama set, a kimono, and matching trousers, or dress up a negligee, there are no limits to how you can style loungewear in contemporary times.
While pyjamas, and dressing gowns were adopted from the East, Post-War fashion saw a renaissance where loungewear diversified in a major way. Unlike pyjamas, and dressing gowns (which for a short time were smoking jackets) loungewear was popularized by women, who were fighting for equal rights. Women like Coco Chanel were throwing away the rule book, and embracing casual clothing, athletic wear and loungewear looks in public, instead of grand dresses, suits, and formal wear. Although loungewear as we know it today can be traced back thousands of years, in the modern era loungewear is popular at home, in the office, and even on nights out. Gender-neutral, diverse, and available in a range of colours, loungewear is a lot ‘freer’ than other fashion trends. It might eb and flow in popularity, but one thing is for certain; retailers like Glamify Fashion are showing that we should be wearing loungewear even after lockdown. Why? Because comfort never goes out of style.
But who are Glamify Fashion, and why do they embody the epitome of ‘comfort clothing’? Founded in 2019, Glamify Fashion is the go-to fashion retailer for savvy fashion obsessed females. With collections inspired by bloggers, celebrities and fashionistas from around the world, they offer everything from dresses, to co-ords, trousers, and of course luxe loungewear, on a lemonade budget! With bright pink hoodie sets, slouchy oversized loungewear co-ords and mix and match lounge-sets, who said that loungewear was boring? Want comfortable leggings that you can go running in, practice yoga, and show off your best Pilates moves? Candy coloured waffle leggings to accentuate your curves, pastel breathable gym gear, and contrast lounge sets, can help you live a healthier, more active lifestyle. After all the clothing you wear, helps you achieve the mindset that you want in life. Looking for comfort, and coziness after a long hard day at work? The Zariah Pink Loungewear set and Kelsey Mint High Neck Fitted Lounge Set (pictured below) will do the trick.
Adding colour to a grey day, colour-obsessed fashion mavens will adore how Glamify’s loungewear is bright, bold and textured. Whether you choose Kelsey, a co-ord that can be styled beautifully for winter, with white croc effect ankle boots, a matching white belt, and a white headband, or go bold with a pink loungewear set complete with zips, loungewear can be styled in a number of ways. For me, I am what you would call a ‘extra-dressy’ person, and whether I am wearing a stunning haute couture ballgown, with a bouquet of flowers perched on my head, or a simple loungewear co-ord, the accessories are what makes my outfit. Although traditional loungewear is slouchy, as opposed to fitted, and follows the ethos that less is more, to me, maximalism is at the forefront of what I do. While the loungewear I choose is semi-slouchy, for comfort and ease, when I am wearing it at home, my ‘outside loungwear’ looks are vibrant, accessorized to the max, and trend-led.
Take the knitted flamingo pink zip-up loungewear set, a luxe, yet casual co-ord with a ribbed design. With or without accessories it is a beaut, with matching bottoms and a zip detail long-sleeved slightly cropped top. To style casually, for a walk in the park, pair the pink co-ord with chunky trainers, matching turban headband, and a fanny pack to keep all your essentials on the go. If you are a colour queen pair with contrasting primary colours like cobalt blue, pillarbox red, and burnt orange, for added interest, while monochromatic style Queens can add black, white, beige or taupe, to add an element of sophistication. If like me, you live, and breathe accessories, why not pair your fuschia co-ord with a red pearl beret, a red slimsline belt, deep scarlet crossbody bag, and pleather red boots, for a new take on loungewear. After all, loungewear is all about being the most authentic version of you, and i’m all about being as fancy as possible. I am not the only one, elevated knit loungewear sets were all the rage at Prozena Shouler and Nanushka for their respective Spring 2021 ‘ready to wear’ collections, with mint oversized slouchy loungewear cardigans and wide leg bottoms, paired with forest green and gold ‘puffer’ bags, and statement earrings.
As for the mint co-ord, this will be sublime in winter, when the temperatures drop, with endless possibilities. Stuck in the snow? Pair with white snowboots, a white pom pom beanie hat, a matching pair of ski googles, for a too cool for snow look, that will ensure you aren’t freezing your tits off. If you want a autumn transitional look, make like me, and add white ankle boots, a mint ruched chain bag, a white and silver textured belt, and a simple white turban headband, for days where the nights are getting longer, and the days are getting colder. Paired with over the top novelty white sunglasses, this look has the fun factor that all loungewear sets should have. Want to go running? Add a mint sports headband, a ‘swatch style’ matching watch, and stylish but comfortable running trainers, ideal for running during the colder, icier months.You can even mix and match both loungewear sets, pairing the pink ribbed knitted bottoms with a red slogan top, a red baker boy cap, and red converses, or the green high neck jumper, with a matching knitted skirt, complete with knee high boots, and a fedora hat.
Both loungewear sets, are added to a growing collection of ‘casual clothing’ that is teaching me to be a ‘comfier dresser’. It is helping me retain my colourful, whimsiscal sense of style that I still have when I am ‘Frida, Mermaid or Unicorn Ana’, but with an element of comfort that my ‘personal style’ has never had before. Before lockdown, seeing me in a tracksuit would have been as alien, as having a pig for president (oh wait…). The epitome of ballgown realness, even a simple trip to Tesco’s would involve me getting dressed up, because I loved the way that it made me feel. I was never enthused by ‘loungewear’ and felt like casual clothing didn’t represent who I was as a person, least of all as a fashion diva. But here’s the T, no matter what you wear, its the way you style your clothes that shows how you want to be represented to the world. Even if I am in a tracksuit, hoodie, knitwear, or athleisure, that dosen’t make me any less fabulous, or colourful than I would normally be.
By the end of lockdown, I had officially became a ‘loungewear convert’, with not one, not two, but 8 loungewear sets, in a sea of blues, reds, greens, purples, and pinks that helped me feel magical. From a pink Minnie Mouse Velour Tracksuit, to a track-inspired sage green slogan sweatshirt and tapered trousers combo, my loungewear collection helped me ‘chill out’. Though I love ballgowns as much as the next person, having the opportunity to spend more time at home, allowed me to evaluate my wardrobe, and add more comfortable, yet stylish loungewear sets, which I could dress up and down. After all, I had a plethora of crazy cool accessories that would allow me to be extra ASF, even in the simplest of trackies. One thing was for certain, my style might have evolved, but my love for ‘maximalism’ would never go away, this was just a new phase of Ana. One where I wanted to try something new, something different, something that was so unique to me. Even in a tracksuit I would still be rocking my signature berets and flower crowns without a care in the world.
So what attracted me to loungewear? Well, the beauty of loungewear is that it is genderless, diverse, casual, yet has unlimited styling possibilities, making it one of the most exciting fashion trends. After all, quarantine taught us the joy of staying inside, spending more time at home, and investing in our self-care, so naturally ‘comfortable clothing, would become popular. It is easy to style, comfortable to put on, and no matter the occasion, serves us faithfully. Going out for a night on the town? Pair a loungewear shorts and t-shirt set (preferably in an ice cream hue, like pastel pink, yellow, or blue) a’la Dolce & Gabbana, with knee high pastel vinyl stiletto boots, a mini matching bag and a floppy 70’s style hat, for a play on athleisure. In the same vein, you can style the same sporty loungewear set in boho, goth, mixed prints, psychotropicalism, and adrogynous styles, to add interest to the loungewear movement.
Want to be authentic? The way that we style casual clothing, is influenced by the history of loungewear. If we look at the coveted ‘tracksuit’ for example, it should come as no surprise that it was popular among track and field athletes, used for warm ups. While the tracksuit emerged in the 1960’s, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that ‘fashion trend led’ tracksuits became mainstream. Known as ‘shell suits’, they moved away from the cotton, polyester and terry cloth materials, in favour of ‘nylon layers’ to keep the wearer cool. Often bright, bold, and to some critics ‘garish’, the 80’s version of the loungewear trend, made a brief appearence in 2019. Gucci’s eyewatering ‘shell suit’ in green, blue, purple, red and orange was a sight for sore eyes, but the tracksuits transition into high-fashion is not to be laughed at. From brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma who have popularized ‘sportswear/ loungewear’ in mainstream fashion, to inclusion in popular culture, including films, fashion week, music videos, and streetwear, how you style your tracksuit, can easily be influenced by your favourite artists, sports stars, and fashion bloggers.
In the 2000’s socialites and influencers like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, showed how ‘loungewear’ could be luxe. Embodying the leisurely LA lifestyle in plush velour Juicy Couture tracksuits, colours like fuschia pink, beige brown, and chocolate brown were used. Velour was the ‘material of the decade’, and Kim, and Paris weren’t afraid to incorporate it in their day-to day jet-setting wardrobe. In fact, in 2020, Kim brought ‘velour’ back into her loungewear collection for Skims, citing it was the ‘perfect blend of 2000s nostalgia and present-day loungewear’, with classic velour silhouettes. From hoodies, wide legged trousers, and trackies, to bandeau tops and crew neck tanks, it just goes to show that no matter what decade you live in, loungewear is timeless. Even world leaders have adopted loungewear as their ‘off duty look’ moving away from pressed stiff suits, in favour of casual loungewear looks. Take 2009 Barack Obama, whose black Adidas tracksuit lives rent free in the nations mind. The subject of countless memes, and the proud owner of ‘anti-swag’ essence, Obama’s tracksuit might not have been the one, but it certainly inspired others to step up their ‘loungewear game.
The history of loungewear wouldn’t be complete without looking back at Hip Hop and Grime’s impact on ‘casual clothing’. Artists like Skepta wear black tracksuits better than models down the runway, but he isn’t the first to popularize loungewear as the ‘uniform of music’. In the 1980’s when Hip Hop exploded into the music charts, the tracksuit emerged as the must have fashion trend for breakdancers, MC’s and rap artists. Nas, Snoop Dogg, and Run-D.M.C, are all considered early pioneers of the ‘tracksuit’ as fashion movement. In particular Run-D.M.C, seen as ‘raps first supergroup’ had a professed love for tracksuits especially ones made by Addidas. They even released ‘My Adidas’ expressing how much they loved ‘shelltoes’. Outside of rap, British rock groups like Oasis and Blur wore a tracksuit to ‘symbolize’ their working class background. A political, symbolic choice, loungewear was more than just an aesthetic, but a way of life. Even now, as we move beyond the pandemic, we choose loungewear fits to help us make sense of a world that has lost its map.
After all, every world crisis generates innovation, whether that is in fashion, popular culture, food and drink, or cultural attitudes. COVID-19 had a huge impact on the way that we dressed, and being at home made us seek ‘comfort over pain’. Gone were the stiletto heels, and the tight bodycon dresses, and its place were relaxed, slouchy loungwear fits, with faux fur sliders, or slippers, a dressing gown nochantly strewn across the sofa. Suits for meetings were replaced with a ‘half look’, a smart top, paired with trackies on the bottom half, where comfort came to play even in a work Zoom meeting. Even before the pandemic loungewear was popular, but our extended time at home, as well as invigorated interest in working out, yoga and wellness, prompted us to buy clothing that we could ‘look and feel good in’. Though our time in lockdown is done, one thing for certain is that we aren’t finished with loungewear just yet…
What Are Your Thoughts On Loungewear, Are You A Fan?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation. I would love to know in the comments below whether you know much about the
history of loungewear, and if you have loungewear trends that you are obsessed with!
PIN ME ( History Of Loungewear Trends)