The fashion forces have been slowly and steadily ameliorating loungewear for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has worked wonders for welcoming loungewear into men’s everyday wardrobe. Because so few have been expected to leave their homes for long stretches, many people have greatly increased their stash of cozy clothing, like sweatpants and joggers, unstructured jackets and sweaters and even pajama sets.
Though it remains to be seen how fashion will function after quarantine is but a memory, many style experts — and many men, for that matter — predict that loungewear will make more appearances out in the world. Yet, most men lack the skill to put together an attractive loungewear look. If you want to extend your cozy collection of clothing after COVID, here are some top tips for styling loungewear.
What Loungewear Can You Wear Outside?
First, there are some important distinctions to make between loungewear and other forms of comfortable clothing, namely sleepwear and undergarments. Neither sleepwear nor undergarments are appropriate to wear around other people — at least those you wouldn’t want to see you naked. Though some pieces of loungewear might look like sleepwear or undergarments, they tend to have higher quality fabrication and materials, which make the clothing more attractive, more flattering and more modest than sleepwear and underwear.
You can usually distinguish loungewear from sleepwear and underclothing by the number of decorative elements, the number of fabric layers and the material used. A pajama pant intended as sleepwear might be one layer of flannel with an elastic waistband, but a jogger pant intended as loungewear would be two layers of cotton jersey with drawstrings, pockets and perhaps an athletic stripe down the leg.
When Is It Appropriate to Wear Loungewear?
The first key to looking good in loungewear is wearing lounging outfits in the right settings. As cool as your matching sweat set might seem, it won’t ever look good at a formal board meeting. You will not make a good impression on a first date wearing a T-shirt and joggers. Loungewear only makes sense as a fashion statement when those around you aren’t surprised and disappointed by your casual attire.
In addition to lounging around at home and running basic errands, loungewear is best when meeting close friends in casual environments. For example, if you are going to a friend’s house — hopefully after everyone has received a full dose of vaccine — you should feel comfortable wearing a loungewear-based outfit. You might also opt for loungewear when meeting friends in casual spaces like coffee shops or brunch spots.
Anything more formal than these occasions warrant more formal attire. Almost all public gatherings in the evening are inappropriate for loungewear, as are meet-ups with strangers, acquaintances or co-workers. For these occasions, it is more acceptable to dress up in a casual or smart casual style, as long as there is not a more formal dress code expected.
How Do You Put Together a Loungewear Look?
The second key to successful loungewear looks is the quality of the loungewear in your wardrobe. If you plan to wear your loungewear in public, you need to invest in quality loungewear for men. This might mean expanding your loungewear budget to ensure that you have durable, well-fitting pieces that suit more sophisticated styling.
Once you have loungewear worthy of public display, you can start putting together outfits. Here are some of the best tips for feeling stylish and confident — even refined — in loungewear:
Buy a matching set. You absolutely can mix and match sweatshirts, T-shirts and sweatpants or -shorts, but matching tops and bottoms are very much in style right now. Most loungewear brands offer their own matching sets, or you can spend the time to put together a matching set of your own making.
Put a blazer on top. Oversized and unstructured blazers and sportscoats are the easiest way to dress up any look. Even if you are wearing a T-shirt and sweatpants, a blazer instantly gives you a polished look that you might find in a magazine.
Accessorize. The smaller details of your outfit say more than you might expect. With an expensive watch, a gold neck chain and exclusive, crease-free sneakers, you can elevate your loungewear look to the level of streetwear.
A year’s worth of living indoors has committed many to the loungewear lifestyle, but if you want to transition your cozy clothing into public spaces, you need to practice putting together more polished looks. Fortunately, there is plenty of loungewear available these days to make your dreams of a comfortable wardrobe come true.