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Trend Mar 10, 2020 8 min read

Generation ‘Netflix & Chill’ and the rise of loungewear

An offshoot from athleisure, loungewear is the cozier sister-category that manages to straddle nightwear and luxury.

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An offshoot from athleisure, loungewear is the cozier sister-category that manages to straddle nightwear and luxury.

We breakdown the reasons as to why loungewear is having a moment and shine a spotlight on the key trends in products and promotions.

Looking to incorporate loungewear into your assortment? The EDITED Retail Decision Platform can help businesses demystify this category by taking the guesswork out of planning, pricing and phasing assortments. Get in touch here to see EDITED in action.

Why’s the market growing?

• High fashion adoption as we see the likes of Gigi Hadid featured in i-D’s January ‘Rihannazine’ and British Vogue’s Editor Sarah Harris spotted at London Fashion Week sporting a tracksuit. The Kardashian and Jenner clan are poster girls for the off-duty look, where Kim Kardashian-West worked loungewear into her SKIMs brand.

• The ‘Netflix & Chill’ generation are less about FOMO and more about JOMO – the joy of missing out. Meme-focused Instagram accounts frequently feature posts poking fun at never wanting to go out and avoiding socializing. This goes hand-in-hand with mental health-focused conversations as people are happy to label themselves introverts and simply stay in versus going out.

• The Scandi Hygge movement has resonated over the past few years and remains an influence as well-being takes center stage.

• With relaxed shapes, loungewear lends well to the idea of genderless products. This aligns with the gender-neutrality movement – a subject that Calvin Klein resurrected in its CK1 Everyone campaign. Matching sets also appeal to those in relationships who are prone to sharing ‘couple goals’ or ‘twinning’ posts.

• Nostalgia plays a role, ranging from the laid-back tomboy side of ‘90s sitcom characters such as Rachel Green or pop-icon Aaliyah. There is an overlay with sportswear and logos, where branding is important.

• John Lewis saw a spike in loungewear sales in 2019 and cited working from home as a factor. Growing flexibility in the workplace will continue to drive this further.

How’s the category being communicated?

Analyzing communications and stories with the Visual Merchandising feature of the EDITED Retail Decision Platform identifies growth in the mentions of ‘lounge’/’loungewear’ in emails across the US and UK.

loungewear

Other related terms:

  • ‘Relax’ was mentioned at 72 retailers
  • ‘Chill’ was mentioned at 60 retailers
  • ‘Lounge/loungewear’ was mentioned at 55 retailers
  • ‘Comfy’ was mentioned at 52 retailers
  • ‘Cozy’ was mentioned at 45 retailers

The biggest loungewear trends

Two piece co-ords/tracksuits: Rising 10% YoY across the US and UK combined, Missguided and Anthropologie are the biggest investors. The trend has encouraged consumers to buy sets rather than separates. Tracksuits are an easy starting point and are likely to already be in your offerings.

2019 Top Movers:

Cashmere: A fiber that transcends categories, retailers increased their investments in cashmere during Fall 2019. With the emphasis on self-care across loungewear, luxurious fabrics are essential to the ‘treat yourself’ motto. Cashmere was key for joggers and sweaters with Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw and J.Crew as the top stockists.

2019 Top Movers:

Slippers: Furry slippers have been trending on social media since the lead up to Christmas. Arrivals remained consistent YoY for fall, with Dillards and Marisota as the key investors in each region. Slider and mule shapes were the top performing styles, but also consider bed socks as an entry-level buy-in to this category.

2019 Top Movers:

Cardigans: Spurred on by Katie Holmes’ viral moment wearing a Khaite cashmere bra and cardigan set, this item is a must-have within loungewear assortments. Zara’s version of the cardigan saw its first sell out within three days of launching and has inspired mass retailers to invest in the trend. Look to soft colors such as oatmeals and pastel shades.

2019 Top Movers:

Joggers: The classic cosy style rose 18% YoY last season, heavily backed by mass market retailers in both drawstring and elasticated styles. Emulating Kanye West’s Yeezy collection, muted tones of beiges and greys are favored. For a more directional story, popper details add ’90s cred while bike shorts are emerging as an alternative.

2019 Top Movers:

Teddy: Borg and teddy textures continued to be strong in outerwear and are trickling into loungewear. The KKW Skims Cozy Collection, which included robes, shorts, tanks and sweatpants in four colorways, has inspired retailers such as Fashion Nova to incorporate fuzzy fabrics into their lounge assortments.

2019 Top Movers:

Robes: Seeing particular investment in the US market, the dressing gown is a staple within loungewear. To elevate the item, look to luxe fabrications such as silk and cashmere to offer products at a more premium pricing interval.

2019 Top Movers:

Silk: In the lead up to Christmas, silk pajamas and robes flooded the market as it was promoted as an essential gift. Advertising luxury with ease, Everlane launched a machine washable set in two colorways. To add this material at a lower price point, consider it for trims or eye masks.

2019 Top Movers:

Micro trends: While the adult onesie trend from the ’00s is yet to stage a comeback, bodysuits and unitards are noted in this space. Missguided frequently styles its bodysuits with joggers, emulating the look to wear loungewear clothes to go out. Last year, Emily Ratajowski added ribbed cotton bodysuits to her Inamorata collection, which bordered both loungewear. Oversized tees and shirts are another avenue to promote ‘sheets to streets’ dressing. Look to the ethical brand, The Sleep Shirt as its hero product is designed to be worn both day and night.

The velour verdict

Although retailers such as Missguided and Free People backed this fabrication last fall, velour tracksuits and loungewear didn’t return to their former glory. Velour loungewear only experienced majority sell through after seeing a reduction where the US and UK market closed the year with 63% and 44% of its fall/winter styles reduced at an average of 40-45% respectively.

However, as nostalgia continues to lend itself to fashion trends, velour tracksuits have been promoted in Nike and Fashion Nova’s communications. As mentioned earlier, new jackets and sweaters have arrived at Topshop and & Other Stories. Watch this space.

Sustainable efforts

In the mass market, loungewear that promotes environmental and ethical practices are minimal. Brands that have sustainability woven into their ethos, such as Everlane which tap into this category through pajamas and sweats, stand out as the leaders here. Last year, Nasy Gal launched a range of recycled loungewear.

Cult brands to note include Australian brand Boody, which sell everyday essentials from organically-grown bamboo for the whole family, as well as Pact, a certified B Corp that offers 100% organic cotton products and works to promote transparency across its entire supply chain.

Opportunity for airport dressing

An aspirational styling aesthetic for consumers, many celebrities often share images of their airport outfits and in-flight style on Instagram. The likes of MissPap, boohoo, Free People and Banana Republic all sent airport-themed edits in their 2019 vacation communications offering a prime chance to promote loungewear. Missguided and Topshop even included this as a category in menu drop-downs last summer.

Utilize this messaging to promote loungewear pieces not usually aligned with summer months and vacation edits – think jersey basics, joggers and tracksuits. Other products also featured chunky sneakers, sliders and sunglasses.

Fall 2020 runway inspiration

The Fall 2020 collections offered plenty of loungewear inspiration. Duvet dressing was a prominent story to emerge with voluminous silhouettes and quilted, padded fabrics central to the theme. Layering has been a key styling aesthetic, alongside tonal dressing which can work well for two-piece lounge suits.

Also suited to lounge and nightwear, there’s been a renewed interest in capes and ponchos from designers including Sies Marjan, Rag & Bone and Burberry.

Contributions by Katharine Carter, Kayla Marci and Rebecca Milne.