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The Loungewear Boom Isn’t Over Yet, New Report Says

One year since the start of the pandemic, has consumers’ lust for loungewear waned?

There is certainly plenty of it flooding the market. New loungewear collections from millennial-centric brands like lingerie label ThirdLove and sustainable footwear brand Allbirds have injected fresh oxygen into the category. The roster of denim brands navigating at-home fashion continues to grow, including Levi’s, Lucky Brand and, most recently, Citizens of Humanity. And brands synonymous with the feeling of comfort and the act of lounging, like Ugg and Juicy Couture, have enjoyed a bump in relevance as of late.

While the unprecedented time initially drove homebound consumers to shun their everyday fashion—primarily anything with a tailored waistband—for relaxed basics and stretchy bottoms, a new report by retail analytics firm Edited reveals how retailers and brands are preparing the loungewear category for a seamless transition into a post-pandemic world.

The loungewear market may be a crowded space, but sell outs and increased product investments, Edited stated, are signals that the category is “alive and well.”

New arrivals of women’s loungewear decreased 3 percent year-over-year, though Edited said this dip was driven solely by T-shirts. Every other category experienced growth, particularly sweatpants, which notched the most significant jump in investment at 72 percent. Edited credited this spike to the fast-fashion retailers’ quick read on the market, especially U.K. retailers Boohoo and PrettyLittleThing.

Men’s loungewear arrivals, meanwhile rose 34 percent over last year. Graphic tees and hoodies remain the dominant, overarching trends arriving, Edited stated.

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And the category’s strong sell-out rates confirm that demand remains high. Sell outs for both genders grew year-over-year, 9 percent for women and 68 percent for men. Women’s leggings—be it ribbed knits, seamless or styles with split hems—are seeing movement, while hoodies and sweatpants continue to resonate in the men’s category.

“Design details like oversized fits, tie-dye and color-blocking all proved to be top moving trends so far this year,” Edited stated.

What’s next

Though the Fall/Winter 21-22 catwalk was bursting with partywear, there was also a plethora of coordinating sets, elevated knits and cozy layering that serves as the category’s blueprint for the future.

The next path for loungewear is more grown-up and luxe—two themes that are already being expressed in retailers’ consumer-facing email marketing.

Edited noted that campaigns focused on soft fabrics are “best catered” toward women’s wear ranges, while several recent arrivals for men have utilized French Terry for a similar effect. Soothing monochromatic color stories deliver a premium message as well.

The men’s category, in particular, is due for an upgrade. Edited named cashmere, teddy and suede fabrications as trends to watch in men’s loungewear. Taking cues from women’s, knit sets are moving into men’s assortments as well. Neutral colors convey the cozy story even over screens.

For contrast, look for neon yellow to inject a youthful jolt of energy into loungewear. The color comes to life on core pieces like hoodies and sweat shorts embellished with text prints and slogans, Edited stated.

While women’s ready-to-wear is deep into a ’90s cycle, the decade is bound to filter into loungewear. Expect to see matching branded sets, paired back with ultra-modern footwear—a look that Edited described as a “balanced blend of past and future.”

Though loungewear silhouettes tend toward basic, retailers can create visually compelling stories by layering pieces. “Coupling different silhouettes together like a mock neck top with a tee will bring freshness to basics in your assortment,” Edited stated. For a bolder impact, try mixing prints.

And prep may be one of the easiest F/W 21-22 runway trends to translate to loungewear. Edited said brands can “harness prep school themes” by styling sweaters and polo shirts with matching sweatpants.