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Comfort is in: how a year in loungewear is shaping trouser trends

By Robyn Turk


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People are not ready to ditch the sweatpants - at least not entirely. As ordinances on social distancing and facial coverings begin to lift and people return to their pre-pandemic routines, clothing trends indicate that consumers prefer the comfort of the loungewear they had been wearing during lockdown.

“Comfort became a key priority for people over the past year, and it’s not going to go away anytime soon,” Alison Stiefel, GM of ShopStyle, confirmed to FashionUnited.

“There was no longer a need to style a full look [during the pandemic],” she continued. “With the prevalence of video calls, we saw consumers opt for products that could be worn from the waist up like hair accessories and blouses, leaving them to dress in loungewear from the waist down.”

According to data from Edited, loungewear styles such as sweatpants and leggings have seen an uptick in arrivals by 34 percent and increase of 64 percent in products selling out.

Now as life starts to return to normal, consumers are interested in keeping the comfort of their sweatpants - though they still want to look fashionable at the same time. According to ShopStyle’s insights, everyday styles with comfortable fits are the way forward right now.

Stiefel explained, “People will continue searching for fashion-forward pants while keeping comfort top-of-mind. We are already seeing an increase in shoppers searching for cargo pants, patterned pants, dad pants, track pants, and new takes on legging and jogger silhouettes, and we anticipate these styles to continue to grow in popularity into the fall season.”


Fall 2021 trends take inspiration from loungewear

“Matching sets, cut out silhouettes, and plush textures are going to be the biggest trends this fall,” Stiefel said.

We have already started to see the impact of sweatpants on everyday pants styles. More consumers are shopping for styles featuring drawstring waists and more moveable fabrics, while in denim low-rise waists and wide legs are taking over in popularity compared to high waists and skinny fits.

For example, Everlane currently offers a line of what it calls “Easy Bottoms”. Each style, whether denim, chino or cotton, features an elasticated waistline to emphasize comfort. This is in addition the the brand’s new line of pants featuring paperbag waists, which offer a sophisticated look while keeping to elasticated fits.

“Sweatpants and leggings will continue to influence pant styles,” Stiefel described. “Pieces that are comfortable and multifunctional will take center stage – like split-hem leggings that can be dressed down or up. These pants can be easily worn from day to night by pairing with a sneaker for a casual day look, or wearing a high heel and jewelry in the evening. With some offices announcing plans to reopen fall 2021, people will be looking for outfits that are professional while also comfortable.”