With sights set on a return to normality, will consumers throw away the comfort dressing embraced throughout 2020?
It’s been a whole year since the start of the pandemic (give or take more for others), with positive signs that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. While consumers prepare for lives outside of their four walls, we examine whether loungewear will still be lucrative during the post-pandemic world.
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The market’s expectations
Anticipated to supply an incremental $19.5bn in growth from 2020-2024 and a CAGR of 9%, the global sleepwear & loungewear markets are predicted to flourish. Hoodies, tees and co-ord sets were ever-present in designer’s collections on the Fall 2021 runway, and men’s loungewear was recently added to the UK’s inflation basket, which attaches a weight to items based on consumer spending behavior. These recent events, alongside several other factors like increased product investment and sell outs, indicate the lounge category is alive and well.
Specialty brands’ POV
New retailers are still identifying white space in the leisurewear market and are throwing their hats in the ring. ThirdLove, who previously focused on lingerie, launched its first Lounge collection just last month. The brand joins the likes of Allbirds, who made its first foray into comfort apparel last October, and Hawes & Curtis, who debuted their first loungewear range at the end of January 2021. Combat over saturation by finding a fresh angle and speaking authentically to your consumer.
Arrivals & sell outs
Arrivals continue to trickle in
- Though womenswear noted a slight 3% decrease in loungewear newness YoY, this was completely driven by T-shirts. Every other category experienced a YoY increase.
- Women’s sweatpants noted the most significant jump in investment at 72%, thanks to quick responses by fast-fashion retailers like boohoo and PrettyLittleThing.
- Men’s arrivals rose 34% over last year, observing an increase in all categories analyzed. Graphic tees and hoodies remain the dominant, overarching trends arriving.
Meanwhile, sell outs surge
- Sell outs for both genders grew YoY, +9% for women and +68% for men, indicating the category is still in high demand. Sell outs at boohooMAN and Abercrombie & Fitch drove the success in menswear.
- A large increase was noted in leggings for womenswear with ribbed knits, split hems and seamless styles seeing high SKU movement.
- Hoodies and sweatpants resonated most for men. Design details like oversized fits, tie-dye and color-blocking all proved to be top moving trends so far this year.
When looking back just a year ago, lounge and comfort stories were not necessarily the focal point. However, the conversation has quickly shifted to push newly invested stock and make the look work all year round. In fact, retailers are talking about loungewear +213% more in 2021 compared to the year prior.
To lengthen the life of loungewear, several retailers have swapped out sweatpants for shorts. The combo is perfect for relaxing at home while combating the high-summer temperatures.
Trending themes around fabric-focused assortments have led to a priority around premium. Characterized by its soft touch and chic aesthetic, this strategy is best catered toward womenswear ranges. For men, several recent arrivals have utilized French Terry for a similar effect.
Color stories around calmness and serenity persist, ranging from muted browns to purple dusk in monochrome pairings. Catch up here on the popular shades from the men’s and women’s Fall 2021 runway.
Another fresh angle is to identify wellness focuses like self-care or Sleep Awareness Week to give your customer a new reason to buy. While some may not need loungewear during the working week, Sundays always provide an opportunity for relaxation.
- Make it spring-friendly
- Lean into luxe leisure
- Soft colors in focus
- Sunday is for self-care
- Sleep awareness & French terry
Womenswear Fall 2021 updates
Matching branded sets reminiscent of 90s fashion should pair with ultra-modern footwear or accessories for a balanced blend of past and future.
Harness prep school themes, styling knitted jumpers or polo shirts with matching sweatpants. Emphasis on convenience will persist via sliders and clog footwear.
Coupling different silhouettes together like a mock neck top with a tee will bring freshness to basics in your assortment. For an update, merchandise two or three patterns together.
Furthering the Dark Academia theme, add feminine details to oversized sweatshirts. Ideal for lounge or top-half dressing, it will hold longevity no matter what post-lockdown brings.
Menswear Fall 2021 updates
While luxe loungewear is already proving strong this season, update the story with fall-favored fabrics like suede, teddy and cashmere.
In contrast with the calming shades of spring, bolder yellows and greens will begin focus for fall. Add streetwear-inspired details like text print and slogans.
Taking cues from women’s, knit sets are moving into men’s assortments with a heavy focus on cozy fabrications. Neutrals will serve a risk-averse consumer.
Splice things up
The cut & sew look is here to stay from sweatpants to hoodies, providing a more deconstructed update to the color-blocking trend.
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