It’s all about loungewear right now, eh? At least in this house it is. I’ve had vague plans in the back of my head for a new hoodie and some joggers for ages now – way before the current global situation made them de rigeur – but it seems like a good time to put those plans into action. My recent experience with putting together a capsule wardrobe also made me realise that it makes sense to approach it with a small sense of structure. I know already that I would have whipped up the aforementioned garment in whichever random fabrics I fancied and, while there’s nothing wrong with that approach at all, perhaps the idea of a loungewear set might be a more practical idea. Note: this is a picture-heavy post!
What is loungewear anyway?
I have to be honest and tell you that until very recently I had no idea what the term “loungewear” really meant – apart from assuming it meant some sort of casual outfit you, well… lounged around in, preferably while watching TV with a bowl of crisps and a cold beer (just me?). It’s more of an American term I think – I similarly had no idea “sportswear” meant anything other than a pair of trainers and running shorts until I watched copious amounts of Project Runway. Thus when I started browsing around the internet to get some ideas, I realised there was a bit more to the loungewear concept than I ever realised.
Not a lot more in all fairness, but a bit more. There’s also, inevitably, some disagreement as to which clothing items actually fall under the loungewear area, but here are the generally accepted rules:
- Loungewear is not sleepwear – they are two distinct sections. I may well on occasion lounge around in my PJs until 2pm, but they are garments designed primarily for sleeping in.
- The same goes for lingerie – this is a separate category, designed to be worn under your clothes, not as an outer layer.
- Following on from this, the idea is that loungewear items are items you would be okay with wearing outside the house. I think this is the most distinctive point, since we have so many hybrid sleepwear-lingerie-outerwear garments these days. Even if you plan to wear them mostly at home, you would be happy to go out grocery shopping in them. Obviously your mileage may vary as to what fits into this category.
Why is it so difficult?
You know, I really thought this would be a cinch to plan. I figured I’d throw in a couple of design ideas, the fabrics would jump at me out of the stash as obvious contenders and I’d sew it up in a matter of weeks. NOT SO. There are a couple of reasons – the first being that I am me. And while I have managed to train myself (somewhat) to add solids to the mix in order to have some sort of wearable wardrobe, planning an entire capsule in solids leaves me cold. Obviously I don’t have to do that, but almost every single loungewear inspiration picture I found was a solid.
Indeed, I got excited when I found a number of articles explaining how to plan your perfect loungewear capsule wardrobe. The “ideal” capsule wardrobe looks something like these, according to the oracle that is The Internet:
That is, a palette of grey (definitely) white and black; or grey, nude and white; or grey, peach and white… you get the idea. This is just not me, although I get the eminently sensible idea behind it. So not just solids, but neutral solids. Having said that, there were lots of good ideas to be taken out of these collections in terms of silhouettes and even to be able to cross things off my list that I don’t care for.
The second issue is that I really am still trying to shop my stash and although I have a few solids, I definitely do not have too many neutral (ish) solids.
My third issue is that the loungewear wardrobes I kept finding were pretty much: jogging bottoms/sweatpants, plus three tanks, plus two slouch tees. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with this approach, but to me this is almost gym-wear and I just felt that at 44 years old, this didn’t necessarily represent what I was after. So I started looking for inspiration more widely and started to come across outfits I did like – mostly variations on these items, but with a twist, as well as garments like jumpsuits and casual dresses (see above and below for examples I found).
I then started looking for actual patterns for some of these items as well as checking the fabrics I actually had and in what quantities (this would be a decisive factor for many garments) and put something together. This is a much more fluid capsule wardrobe than my last one, which crystallised itself quite easily. Last time I made exactly what I planned; I’d be very surprised if that happens this time. But here’s what I have anyway in order of most likely to make:
I’ve tried so very, very hard to stick to a cohesive set of colours (note: not because I have to, but because I want to). It just makes sense – but it’s not easy. I have a lot of fun colourful prints that I’m dying to cut into, but I’m telling myself I can totally do that – right after I make these. My palette is based around white, grey and green. The greens vary – from olive to leaf to forest, but I think (hope) they all look good together. There are, of course, some optional little print variations I couldn’t resist, but let’s see how it goes.
There are some garments I’ve been planning for a while and these are definitely being made:
Joggers – Seamwork Mel: I really like the shape of these on every version I’ve seen so far. They have a nice slim leg and good proportions. I’m planning on these being ivory and I hope I have enough of an extremely lovely soy French terry I got from The Confident Stitch last year.
Wide-legged knit trousers: I was planning to hack these from something else and then realised I had a perfect pair in one of the most recent Ottobre Women magazines (below). In fact the whole magazine has great loungewear contenders and I wish I’d spotted it at the beginning of the process! I’m still undecided on which fabric to make these from. Ottobre uses a modal which would be lovely and swishy, but I am really quite in love with the inspiration Anthro pair I pinned (2nd below) and that will require a more rigid fabric and a bit of adjustment…
Tank (s): Seamwork has a nice-looking tank – the Julia – and I have an olive jersey knit that will be perfect. However, I will probably make more than one: white?
Tees: Seamwork has quite an impressive array of patterns that work well for loungewear – simple shapes, easy to hack and sewn up quickly. I rather like the Rory as a boatneck tee with a cute waist tie to add a little twist. I may well make up a Deer & Doe Plantain or Givre too – favourite tee patterns of mine.
Topper: the above are my top and bottom separates – and to tie a lot of outfits together I think I’ll sew up the Elmira wrap from Seamwork – a pattern I’ve been eyeing up for ages. I have this dreamy lacy green Japanese wool knit and I think it would be perfect. I hope I have enough yardage, but I think I should be okay – it’ll go with everything and make a nice warm-weather topper.
Knit jumpsuit: The above comprise the tops, bottoms and topper of the classic capsule wardrobe, but I wanted to add a few “one-garment” outfits. I’ve been enjoying my jumpsuit projects the last couple of years and I really liked this inspiration jumpsuit pic below. Again, I thought I was going to have to hack something, but then I remembered the Closet Case Patterns Sallie jumpsuit, and I think I can get very close with that pattern (2nd below).
Long knit dress: I really wear comfy dresses a lot. They are almost my perfect loungewear item – one garment, so no need to match; super comfy, but throw on a necklace and some lippy and you can go out and meet a friend for a drink, no bother. I haven’t quite decided on this one, but I know I want it to have sporty kind of vibe and I definitely want to use this funky French terry I got from Drygoods Design. It has the design on the looped side – isn’t that cool? I love it. I also only have 1.5yds (60″), so that’s going to narrow my choices somewhat.
Flared knit dress: So many patterns I could use for this, but my hot favourite is the new Belgravia dress from Liesl + Co. I like the V-neck and ties, but I think I will add some volume to the skirt to give it even more lounge appeal. I’m sure it will be a fast sew. I’m thinking about this Lillestoff modal, which just about squeezes into the colour palette.
Naturally, there are a few outliers that may or may not make an appearance at some point!
Hoodie: I had fully intended to make a hoodie from the beginning and I LOVE my Halifax Hoodie. But I couldn’t really find a fabric that would fit in well to the capsule. Then I spotted this lovely pattern in the same Ottobre magazine as the wide-legged trousers above and it was LOVE. I’m not sure this will exactly fit in here, but I’m going to make this at some point in this gorgeous HamburgerLiebe French terry I have. All the hearts.
Woven wide-legged trousers: As you may have noticed I’ve exclusively stuck to knit garments for my main selection, but I think that a very comfy, elasticated-waisted wide-legged pair of woven trousers could have a place here. The jury is still out.
Woven tank: Similarly, I’ve been considering a woven tank to augment the knit ones. The bias-cut Clarke top by Seamwork strikes me as a potentially loungewear-worthy project and I have a baby soft cream double gauze that could work… my recent Victory tanks made that pattern a hot TNT in my wardrobe so it’s also a possibility.. but let’s see how the rest goes first.
And there we have it! My loungewear capsule wardrobe. I’m excited to get onto it and the bonus is that most patterns are going to be fast to sew up. Therefore I’m hoping I’ll balance that out with some more complicated sewing in between. I’ve actually just started my first ever vintage dress project, just to give you an idea, and I’m rather excited about it! Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you all about it soon – I’m sure I will post some progress pics on Instagram if you hang out there at all – I’m @belle_citadel if you do.
Have you sewn any loungewear pieces or have any thoughts about it? Have you identified a lack of loungey clothes in recent weeks? I’d love to hear what you think, if so. Bye for now!