Quarantine fashion: Buyers ditch PJs for elevated loungewear

Kelli Kennedy

MIAMI (AP) — When Los Angeles-based fashion blogger Jacey Duprie finally emerged from days in sweats, changing into black jeans, an ankle-length camel sweater and Gucci loafers, she counted it as one of those “very big victories that used to be small victories”.

Since people have spent weeks stuck in isolation, their bodies moulded into beds and couches with little to delineate weekends from weekdays, a fashion trend is emerging. Loungewear is comfy, everyday clothing with just a bit of refinement. Unfussy and minimal, but pulled together enough for a video conference call with your boss.

The trend has tapped into something deeper, revealing that even the slightest effort at putting together “an outfit” during quarantine can provide a mental boost and a sense of normalcy.

Loungewear had been quietly seeping into mainstream fashion even before the coronavirus outbreak’s stay-at-home orders.

It is similar to athleisurewear, but takes casual comfort up a notch beyond platform sneakers, athletic Ts and oversize hoodies. It’s less about sporty separates and yoga pants. Think relaxed tailoring, slouchy trousers, soft, silky fabrics, cropped sweatshirts with something special like a puffed sleeve or floral embroidery, or drawstring tassels on baggy linen pants.

Goop Fashion Director Ali Pew poses in Los Angeles on April 5. PHOTO: AP

“People are getting a little more creative with how they’re interpreting loungewear,” said Goop fashion director Ali Pew. “They want to feel pulled together.”

The Goop wellness empire, run by Gwyneth Paltrow, recently advertised a “stay home” sale that was heavy on flowy, maxi dresses in fun prints by Ulla Johnson and Natalie Martin, cozy jumpsuits with a bit of flair, and lots of wide-leg culottes. The company’s own brand, G Label, offers clothes for off hours like weekends and vacations.

“It’s something you would traditionally wear on vacation at the beach, but now it translates to something that’s easy to wear around the house or on an afternoon walk,” said Pew.

Trendy online retailer ASOS said sales of its not-so basic tracksuits in premium fabrics, special washes and with elevated sleeve details are up 200 per cent compared to the same time last year.

The brand’s USD35 oversize joggers have sold out in five colours. Cardigans — in bright colours and neutrals — are also having a moment, according to a company spokesman.

At the luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter, lingerie and loungewear had the largest sales increase worldwide of any category besides beauty products. Track pants were again a key driver, up more than 1,300 per cent compared to last year, the company said.

Edited, a retail data company, said tracksuits and matching sweatsuit sell outs were up 70 per cent in April compared to February. And sweatpants were up almost 80 per cent in April, the company said. Sell outs are when a product is out of stock and unavailable for purchase for at least five consecutive days.

“Retailers are really pushing it in communications on Instagram and on emails,″ said Krista Corrigan, an analyst at Edited. “We are just seeing massive, massive spikes from brands in athleisure and loungewear right now.”