Millenials have been hailed as the first generation to be more boring than their predecessors, which means much less partying and much more Netflix and (optional) chilling. According to market research company Mintel, a staggering 28% of young millennials (aged 24-31) can’t be bothered to even leave the house to go for drinks: they’d rather do it at home.
If you’re wondering what the hell that has to do with your wardrobe, it means a lot. More time indoors means that what you’re wearing during your downtime is more important than ever. “The growth in luxury loungewear as a category coincides with the increasing value people are putting into their homes, says Molly Goddard, one half of the brains behind luxury British loungewear brand Desmond & Dempsey. “As we are investing more time and money in our homes, we want quality loungewear to enjoy our space in.”
In a world of smart TVs and speakers that can crack (crap) jokes, lacklustre loungewear no longer cuts the mustard. So, gone are bobbly nylon-mix tracksuits and T-shirts you don’t remember coming in your possession. In their place sits loungewear 2.0. It’s not just comfortable, it’s covetable. Call it the chill-luxe trend: your sweatpants got sumptuous. Hoodies are designer gear. Pyjamas are now so opulent there are some who wear them instead of shirts.
How Designer Loungewear Became A Thing
In line with the general trend in menswear away from the strictures of formal dressing, the rise of luxury loungewear taps into a desire for comfort above all else. “Everyone needs their down-time and there’s nothing better than relaxing in a pair of supersoft lounge shorts after a long day in suit trousers or stiff jeans,” says Sacha Rose, CEO of high-end British loungewear brand Derek Rose.
It’s not only a collective consensus on the importance of comfort that’s driven this trend though, there’s been a step change in the way loungewear itself is designed. “For men, pyjamas have become the part of the getting home routine that signifies relax time,” says Goddard. “Pyjamas need to match their wearer’s needs; styles should be smart enough to wear in front of the family, with deep button close pockets that can hold a phone.”
And, if anything good has come of the painful realisation that we’re all addicted to our screens, it’s that loungewear is now seen as an integral part of the switching-off process. Good loungewear is good for the soul. “As a society, we are beginning to understand and value the importance of sleep on health, comprehension and creativity: proper pyjamas make you feel like you really have your shit together,” says Goddard.
Modern loungewear is so wearable and easy on the eye now that it refuses to stay in the house. Just as we’ve seen with high-end sportswear, savvy owners of luxury loungewear have realised that their heather grey cashmere hoodie sets are too pretty to stay trapped behind drawn curtains. For a generation of men who want healthy cost-per-wear calculations and don’t want to spend the lion’s share of their week strapped up in a suit, investing in loungewear is a stupidly sensible move.
4 Modern Ways To Wear Luxury Loungewear
In a shock to approximately nobody, the natural bedfellow for loungewear is the bedroom. Not only will being sheathed head-to-toe in a cashmere lounge set or matching supima cotton pyjamas feel far superior to an old T-shirt and moth-bitten joggers, going high-end in your home comes with the added benefit of absolving internal guilt about binging on boxsets.
David Gandy For M&S Autograph
On The Weekend
Wearing anything deemed loungewear in public was once frankly unthinkable, but now as a by-product of the reappraisal of strict dress codes, loungewear’s been let out of the house. And, who was to know that a grey hoodie and tailored sweatpants would make such a rock-solid match for luxe white sneakers and a charcoal overcoat? The game has been changed for the better.
At The Gym
Whereas once the mere act of heading down to the gym to move some metal was deemed admirable, what you wear to get all red-faced now speaks volumes too. Take for example the combination of a slim unbranded pair of black joggers and a well-cut white T-shirt and compare it to the far inferior a mish mash of colours, shapes and brand affiliations which formerly constituted gym ‘style’.
Leaving the house in your pyjamas sounds like the kind of thing that no self-respecting man should do, but under certain circumstances, it’s pretty sound advice. For a visual reference think Ryan Gosling, who’s been known to team a piped navy pyjama shirt with classic sand chinos. A printed pyjama shirt can also work wonders when worn with an otherwise staid suit by adding a louche feel into the mix.
6 Key Loungewear Pieces That Every Man Should Own
Boasting about sleeping naked these days is boring bro-talk. For our forebears, it simply wasn’t the done thing. Pyjamas (not birthday suits) were what the thinking man wore in the bedroom, and the softer the material the more sound the sleep. Riffing on retro styles, luxury pyjamas now are all about piping, print and fabrics which regulate your temperature in a variety of different conditions – no indecent exposure necessary.
Imagining a time without the sweatshirt is painful, but pre-1925 nobody felt the benefits because it simply didn’t exist. But as if to make up for lost time, the sweatshirt was rapidly adopted by mid-century menswear icons such as Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, which completely legitimised the sportswear style’s preppy cool quotient. Designers who still champion loopback design and a soft cotton hand feel have done their bit to ensure that this stone cold classic is at the beating heart of the luxury leisurewear movement. Don’t binge-watch another HBO season without one.
The very first pair of sweatpants burst onto the scene in the 1920s and were the brainchild of Frenchman Émile Camuset, founder of Le Coq Sportif. Needless to say the men of the 1920s weren’t about to ditch their high-waisted trousers for soft jersey numbers, so the style remained almost exclusively for sports until the latter part of the century. After a bit of a wobble as the choice of legwear for angry adolescents on the weekend, tailored cuts and cashmere weaves finally brought sweatpants into the warm embrace of the luxury world.
Before it became fashionable to flash your designer waistband in the 1980s (thank you, Calvin Klein) for the most part underwear did what is said on the tin. But, after that wave of conspicuous branding came technological prowess with the major players offering all host of scientific-sounding features. At its heart though, whether it be boxers, Y-fronts or briefs you’re in the market for, the best examples of designer underwear still combine a non-restrictive fit with the softest materials your nether regions could imagine.
Though now a key stakeholder in the business of athleisure and streetwear, the hoodie has been on a rollercoaster journey to get to destination premium. After Champion first dreamt up the design way back in 1934, there have been high highs (it was an icon of 80s hip-hop culture) and low lows (it became sartorial shorthand for troublesome teens) but now we’re back on even ground thanks to the lounge luxe hoodie’s ability to quietly fuse together utility and quality.
Nowadays, T-shirt sightings far outstrip almost every other clothing category, but way back when in the 19th century when it held humble undergarment status it was designed to be worn but not seen. Its foray into luxury loungewear marks the full circle in the design’s transition from supporting cast member to the ultimate hero piece that high-end designers are desperate to perfect.
The Brands Leading The Luxury Loungewear Charge
Desmond & Dempsey
Being built on sleepwear, it’s unsurprising that Desmond & Dempsey’s loungewear isn’t the kind of after-thought diffusion line that so many brands are happy to put their name to. These are proper pyjamas: think classic piped collars and drawstring cotton trousers, but with a nod to seasonal inspiration via eye-catching yet tasteful print.
Velvet By Graham & Spencer
A relative newcomer to the world of loungewear, California-based designer Velvet By Graham & Spencer has dipped its toe into comfortable clothing with its small (but mighty) line of loungewear. A core offering of unfussy T-shirts, tracksuits and hoodies come crafted from soft hand feel cotton which make it a solid go-to brand season after season.
Oliver Spencer is one of Britain’s best-loved designers thanks to a knack for nailing that idiosyncratic laid-back but dressed-up thing that serves so many men well. But, those focused on the brand’s admittedly impressive tailoring and outerwear may not be so well acquainted with the loungewear on offer here which is all simple fits and supreme quality.
British lifestyle brand Derek Rose sprung to life in 1926 and for almost a century it has been building a solid reputation as the place to head for loungewear backed by craftsmanship and expertise. Now a leader in its field, Derek Rose is the first port of call for those who are looking for traditional silk and cotton pyjamas or more contemporary fare such as cashmere hoodies, classic cotton tees and laid-back sweatpants.
While modern brands are currently playing luxury loungewear catch-up, Switzerland-based Hanro have a long and storied history of nailing downtime duds. Since 1890, the brand has been supplying loungewear which goes easy on complicated design and heavy on quality construction, fine materials and unrivalled comfort.