It’s more relevant than ever right now, but loungewear has been having a moment for a while: John Lewis & Partners‘ 2019 annual retail report showed that sales in the category were at an all-time high, and names from M&S to Selfridges all reported major growth when it came to buys that were both chic and comfortable.
So why have we started spending more on clothes that we’ll only wear indoors? ‘The time of year and the wider mood does have an impact, but I think women always want to feel relaxed and comfortable – and, of course, look good – whether they’re staying in or going out,’ says Mandy Watkins, founder of hush, a brand built on a foundation of loungewear, which has also grown in 2019. ‘We’re not sitting in front of the telly in our old tracky bottoms and holey T-shirts anymore!’
Plus, the new generation of loungewear is so stylish it can translate to outerwear too. ‘You can literally wear it everywhere,’ says Asceno‘s Poppy Sexton-Wainwright. ‘It can be dressed up, or pared back. It might have started as a moment, but when something looks chic and is so comfortable it is a look that is here to stay.’
Desmond & Dempsey
Best for: classic pyjamas
Prices: £95 for a nightshirt, £120 for signature sets, £150 for long pyjama sets
Desmond & Dempsey is the brainchild of couple Molly and Joel. She kept ‘borrowing’ his shirts, and so together they took the shape, ‘reimagined it for the bedroom and tailored it for her’ – and perfect pyjamas were born.
‘Over the last two years we’ve seen triple digit growth in wholesale online,’ says Desmond & Dempsey co-founder and CEO Joel Jeffrey. ‘In a macro context people are spending a lot more time at home, around the house. But fashion has also become a lot more casual, which loungewear has benefitted from in terms of transcending out of the bedroom.’
Every quirky print in the range (think fun concepts like pineapples and jaguars) is exclusive, and transferred onto high-quality cotton. One of its bestsellers is the Sansindo Tiger print; cool enough to wear outside without anyone batting an eye.
Best for: serious luxury
Prices: £115 for a cami, from £205 for trousers, from £220 for a shirt
Okay, prices like these are likely to only be for the serious loungewear connoisseur: but if your budget stretches, they’re a worthy investment, to be worn outside as well as in.
‘Our most popular style is our classic London Pyjama set,’ reveals co-founder Poppy Sexton-Wainwright. ‘They can be worn in many different ways. The silk shirts are perfect paired with jeans or a suit trouser, the bottoms with trainers and a chunky knit. Or try the full sets out with a pair of heels for dinner.’
‘We love when we see people wearing our designs in a way that speaks to them and gives them confidence.’
Best for: a gorgeous gift
Prices: Around £73 for a sleep shirt, from £80 for a set
Eberjey was founded in 1996 with ‘a belief that the layer worn next to the heart should express happiness, love and confidence all the things that make a woman truly beautiful’, with a principle focus on lingerie.
13 years later, its remit spans reasonably-priced resortwear, lingerie and loungewear, but the latter might just be our favourite – and we’re not alone.
According to the blog Meghan’s Mirror, Meghan Markle wore a set of the line’s ‘Gisele’ pyjamas as her Suits character Rachel before she joined the royal family. Well, if they’re good enough for a duchess…
Best for: luxe on a budget
Prices: £12.99 for a top, shorts and trousers from £15.99
Oysho’s collections are playful and purse-friendly; and as part of the Inditex family (which also owns Zara, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius and Uterque), we’d expect nothing less.
But far from disposable fast fashion, it also has a major focus on sustainability under its Join Life campaign, using materials like recycled polyamide and organic cotton ‘with the aim of minimising the social and environmental impact of all processes.’
Athletically inclined? They also do a great, affordable range of sportswear.
Olivia Van Halle
Best for: ultimate stay-at-home glamour
Prices: from £240 for a set
When initially building her brand, Olivia Van Halle was inspired by the lounging pyjamas worn by Coco Chanel and her contemporaries in the 1920s – background which gives you more than a subtle nod towards the elegance and opulence of her pieces.
Growing the collection from one ‘meticulously considered’ pyjama style (The Lila), the collection is now comprised of a range of cotton and silk designs, as well as lavish cashmere tracksuits, each of which carries a price tag that extends into almost four figures.
To really push your pair over the top, opt for bespoke monogramming, from £18 per letter.
Best for: laidback cool
Prices: from £35 for trousers, around £55 for a set
Australian Mandy started hush back in 2003, ‘so traumatised by her first experience of a Northern Hemisphere winter that she started her own label to provide her with a wardrobe for those long cosy nights at home’. It’s a forward-thinking notion that’s served her – and her ever-growing fanbase – well ever since.
‘In many ways the market has being catching up with demand as old distinctions between what we wear at home, or to work or on a night out become increasingly irrelevant,’ she says.
hush now sells everything from statement boots to midi dresses, but customers keep coming back for the loungewear too. ‘We also sell a lot of sweatshirts and joggers, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify all of them as loungewear,’ Mandy adds. ‘We have an amazing pair of leather joggers, for instance, that I wear on an evening out, at work and at home…’
Best for: playful prints
Prices: from £140 for a set, £165 for a silk slip dress
You may already be aware of Yolke, thanks to its squad of ‘Yolke Girls’ – influencers such as Lindsey Holland, Pandora Sykes, Katherine Ormerod, and Laura Jackson, all of whom have partnered with the brand in the past.
Social media credentials aside, Yolke mixes fun, contemporary prints and super-comfortable fabric (stretch silk) to create pyjamas and slips you’ll have on rotation for years to come.
Unsurprisingly, it’s another label that advocates for loungewear as everyday wear: ‘pyjamas make the case for effortless wear regardless worn as a full set or as separates, mixed or matched,’ they declare.
Violet & Wren
Best for: boho vibes
Prices: trousers from £125, shirts from £130
Think rich jewel tones, sumptuous silks and more hand-painted botanical prints than you can shake the proverbial stick at, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’ll find at Violet & Wren.
Friends and founders Louise and Helen spent a decade in the world of womenswear before creating their own label, and their experience shines through in everything from the feminine silhouettes to the unique fabrics they use for their designs.
With design studios located in the gardens of England, the duo take inspiration from nature in everything they do. If you’re looking for true zen and relaxation as you lounge, this is the brand for you.
Best for: minimalists
Prices: from £42 for a cami, £46 for a short, £66 for trousers
Want loungewear that’s no muss, no fuss, but still great quality? You’ll love Skin, which is based on principles of refined lines, natural fabrics and simplicity.
‘“We lead such hectic and busy lives. I want to offer the world a soothing palette of clothing to comfort and cocoon in 24/7 no matter what the endeavour,’ says founder Susan Beischel. ‘Our skin is the largest organ of the body. We should address it with luxurious fabrics every day giving us a platform to feel comfortable to live our best lives.’
The White Company
Best for: comfort and style
Prices: from £35 for tops and bottoms, £45 for a night shirt
A classic for a reason: the White Company’s been keeping the nation in cosy home wear for decades, and it’s still one of its strongest verticals now.
The brand is all about life’s simple pleasures: JOMO rather than FOMO, and making the most of every moment, including staying in. In its signature neutral colour palette (the clue is in the name), it offers everything from snug bedrocks up to cashmere robes.
Light one of its famous candles and settle in: a night at home never looked so good.