The Rise of Loungewear

Loungewear… something that we all own, but arguably not clothing items that we’d call staple pieces of fashion. However, as this past year has seen us go from wearing smart suits in meetings, to just a blazer over our pyjamas, to finding the need for comfortable and cosy clothing, the question of to love or to hate loungewear has gone. To sum it up, casual wear has become a firm favourite in nearly everyone’s wardrobe.

I must admit, when I found myself spending weeks wearing a similar outfit of tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie, I felt like a bit of a slob. Gone were the days of myself and those around me wearing smart shirts or dresses and heels. Instead, the parts of our wardrobes that could be classed as the fancier side remained untouched, gathering dust.

As someone who would never previously even dream of stepping foot outside wearing a hoodie or tracksuit bottoms, I’ve been reflecting on how much this has now changed. This last year (for rather obvious reasons) has seen the sales in loungewear go through the roof, and as many of us now find ourselves moving our jeans to the side to instead reach for a pair of tracksuit bottoms, it appears that we’ve become accustomed to a life of comfortable wear and elasticated waists. Which let’s be honest, means that we no longer feel the need to discreetly undo a button on our jeans after a big meal, which is always a bonus!

Perhaps rather curiously, loungewear and the tracksuit is a recent design. According to some research, the tracksuit was invented in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it began to be seen as a fashion item. Moreover, it was during the 1970s when the public began to see tracksuits as more than just athletic wear. Jogging bottoms and hoodies were then seen to become more mainstream in the 1980s. This trend of casual wear then fluctuated in terms of popularity, flipping between the must have item to our least favourite clothing.

However, what I think is rather magical about loungewear isn’t its history, but the way that we’ve made it work for us, so that we’re still dressing uniquely and to our own style. Never a sentence I thought that I’d say, but we’ve made loungewear chic and let’s be proud of that.

Arguably, maybe the one issue with the rise in loungewear is the occasional need to buy more casual clothes and spend more money. As students, sometimes we just want to save and be careful how we spend. Nonetheless, we really can have the best of both worlds for many online shops have sale sections with some great clothes available. An example is Asos, or even our very own Fulton Outfitters. Lots of places where you can buy loungewear also offer student discounts. Asos is again an example of this, as well as Adidas and Reebok.

Or, if you’re looking to be more sustainable, an idea is to ask any friends or family members if they have any hooded sweatshirts or tracksuits bottoms that they no longer wear and could pass onto you. If you’re thinking about this option, then don’t worry about sizes. Unpicking a seam on an item and sewing it back together to fit your size, is an easy step and there are plenty of online tutorials to help you if need be.

To reflect on loungewear is to see how much it has changed in regard to popularity. Once items worn just for sport, they’re now a must have in everyone’s wardrobe. It’ll be curious to see whether this trend of changing popularity in casual wear will continue over the next ten years. As for now, let’s enjoy dressing down and feeling comfortable.