If, by loungewear, you mean stuff you can wear to bed AND the coffee shop/park, sign me up. Especially now, during the first week of January, when jeans no longer fit and blouses feel tight across the old boobs. There’s only one thing for it: dig out the soft knits and joggers, for there’s plenty of time to deal with tight waistbands in February. Believe me, like giving up alcohol, the first week of January requires a gentle easing-in period. Skinny jeans can wait. Everything can wait.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, wearing loungewear was akin to giving up on life or, as Karl Lagerfeld famously once said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat.” Snort. Thankfully, we can finally blame our love for slovenliness on fashion. Loungewear is big business – loungewear has become an actual fashion trend (sorry, Karl). Given that we probably shouldn’t wear that shearling onesie or the knitted mermaid tail we’ve been wearing in front of the TV all Christmas when the office reopens on Jan 2, a pair of soft jogging bottoms (not designed for jogging – God forbid), a cosy knit or sweatshirt, our winter coat and bobble hat are all fine to wear until at least Jan 8 – at least.
Can’t bear the thought of taking your sweatshirt off? Stick a tailored jacket over the top. Note to self, elf: if you decide to wear pyjama-style bottoms along with a chunky jumper, please, please, please remember to wear tights underneath
For style inspiration on “how to wear comfy trousers without looking like you’ve lost the plot”, go to hush.com and search “joggers and harem pants”. That right there is the woman I want to be when days are cold and the Christmas bloat is in full effect.
Planning never to leave the house again? All you need is a pair of aforementioned joggers, a super-soft hoodie in – wait for it – velvet (so posh for a hoodie, I know, but this one from Weekday's men's section is divine) and a pair of mega-chunky socks. Light a candle, pop the heating on and crack open the After Eights. When leaving the house, brrr, to meet someone IRL, pop a silky blouse or soft shirt under a fine-gauge jumper, or wear a printed pyjama-style top over a thin roll-neck jumper (I’m currently into bright red and green) with your boyfriend jeans. Can’t bear the thought of taking your sweatshirt off? Stick a tailored jacket over the top. Note to self, elf: if you decide to wear pyjama-style bottoms along with a chunky jumper, please, please, please remember to wear tights underneath. As for shoes, forget about shoes – all you need are shearling boots or, even better, faux fur-lined trainers.
If I had to choose a loungewear style icon, it would have to be Sarah Jessica Parker walking her kids through Greenwich Village in the freezing cold. Chunky scarf folded many, many times over a plaid coat, long hair jutting from a beanie, aforementioned joggers, UGG-type boots – all so gloriously dishevelled and yet bloody cool. Mind-blowing. How does she do that? How can YOU do that? Simples. Take a chunky, possibly cable-knit jumper and wear with a pair of loose-fit trousers. I always buy a men’s style overcoat in winter for this very reason – layering.
Do you look like SJP or do you just look a wee bit bonkers? I can tell you how to fix that – colour. To pull off this whole loungewear “thing”, I reckon you need to be mindful of the colours you wear together. Layer the same colour on colour, as in dark greens, greys, blush lilacs, pinks or navy. Personally, I’ve been wearing too much grey for the past few years, so my new knitwear colour of choice is navy blue. Softer than black, I’ve managed to amass a navy scarf, hat, gloves and coat, and also a navy men’s jumper from M&S that goes with a pair of soft, navy-blue cashmere jogging bottoms. Sounds a bit “stylised”, well, I suppose it is, but that’s why it works. Even when it comes to loungewear, don’t believe anyone who says they’re just “thrown” their outfit together. Spent four days on Pinterest, more like!
The bottom line is if you’re staying at home, it’s not ALL about looking stylish – it’s about feeling cosy. It’s the softness of PJs that has me climbing early into bed on winter evenings and the smoothness of a pair of drawstring woollen trousers worn with a knitted hoodie feels an awful lot like wearing PJs during the day. Throw a blanket scarf over knees on the sofas, pour that final Baileys (is it the same colour as your jumper?) and vow to stay indoors for at least one more day. If I didn’t have a dog or kids, I reckon I’d only be opening the front door to accept a curry this evening. I love my joggers, but let’s face it, jogging can wait – answering the door is quite enough exercise this early on in January.