Following nearly a year of Covid restrictions, the holidays and months of working from home, I think we all have a new-found love and respect for loungewear. It has gotten us through some long and tough times. Being in the middle of a freezing winter and at the beginning of our third national lockdown in the UK, cosying up in comfort, nestled on the sofa under a blanket is still definitely on the agenda.
Loungewear was the dress code of 2020, yet it is just as relevant in 2021. But perhaps an update is in order. New year, new loungewear? Which is why we bring you 16 independent UK-based brands (in the spirit of supporting local businesses) with some of the softest, most comfortable and easy-to-wear ranges of loungewear to treat yourself to in the new year. It is also sale time for many brands so you might be able to bag some of these for a bargain price. Without further ado, 91 contributor Sara Hesikova shares what to wear while lounging around in 2021.
Piglet is always in pursuit of sincere comfort. What started as a small selection of linen bedding in 2017, is now a widely-known and popular brand providing its customers with ranges of linen homewares like tablecloths and cushions, linen pyjama sets and loungewear.
The Sussex-based company is known for its linen products, in fact its linen is OEKO-TEX certified – for products free from harmful and toxic substances – ensuring environmentally friendly and socially responsible production practices. Recently, Piglet ventured out of its linen niche when it partnered with WoolOvers – a fellow brand from Sussex – specialising in knitwear, which resulted in a loungewear collection with the softest sets of relaxed joggers and hoodies and dressing gowns/long cardigans made from a blend of merino wool and cashmere, as well as a selection of fluffy sheepskin slippers. The merino/cashmere pieces also look great paired with the classic linen pyjamas, mixing and breaking up the sets.
Stalf dubs itself an easy wear brand and they combine style with comfort effortlessly. Handmade from GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) 100% organic cotton, Stalf’s sweatshirts and sweatpants come in an array of colourways from bubblegum pink to soft lavender and neutral grey. The fit is intentionally loose and non-restrictive, keeping in mind pregnant women and growing or shrinking baby bumps so the sweatpants come with a soft and super stretchy waistband, while sweatshirts are easy enough for breastfeeding.
All their garments are all made to order, avoiding unnecessary waste and founder and designer Paris Hodson thinks of everything when it comes to how her customers live in her designs. She wants her pieces to be long-lasting and adaptable as you move through various stages of life. We chatted to Paris and toured her pink studio in Lincolnshire previously on the blog which you can read in full here.
Classic pyjama sets don’t have to be just for bed. Many designers and brands have made day-time variations on pyjamas over the years. They are super comfortable yet elegant. Hence there is no reason why they shouldn’t be worn for lounging around. That is where London-based Yolke comes in. First launching with luxury silk sets in 2013, they later came out with more affordable yet just as lovely cotton pyjamas and more recently, linen.
Yolke loves playful prints and they have become something of a trademark for the brand. Hence, all of Yolke’s pyjama sets, slip dresses and dressing gowns come covered in prints of lemons, cornflowers, Alice in Wonderland-inspired hearts or leopards. And better yet, most of Yolke’s designs offer a matching mini version for the little ones.
Another great option for staying warm and comfy is knitwear. Soft and cosy – it’s perfect for lounging around. Navygrey started after its founder Rachel Carvell-Spedding had spent years looking for a navy jumper like the one her mother had for the past 20 years. Rachel didn’t succeed in her search so she decided to make it. That’s how the journey to make the perfect jumper began.
Today, Navygrey boasts a whole selection of ‘perfect jumpers’. Keeping with Rachel’s initial aim, they are all elevated spins on classics, often borrowed from menswear and reimagined for a woman’s wardrobe – from a ribbed fisherman sweater to a grandfather’s cardigan which is again inspired by the founder’s grandfather and the cardigan he wore daily. All made in small batches from handpicked super soft lamb’s wool from South Africa and Woolmark-certified merino wool from Australia and New Zealand; they are hand-knitted in a small factory in Portugal, traceability and sustainability at the core of the brand.
We mustn’t forget about the comfort of our feet of course, and Sheepers and their handmade sheepskin slippers have this covered, quite literally. The brand’s classic moccasin slippers envelope feet in a soft woollen interior with a fluffy sheepskin cuff around the ankles and they come in sizes fit for the whole family, which can be purchased as a matching family set on the Sheepers website. The classic shape comes in a mule version as well and the Sheepers range also includes furry spa slippers entirely covered in soft sheep’s wool.
Every slipper is made by hand in Poland by Polish artisans following a traditional design. This is where founder Nicola Skowronek first encountered ‘the sheepers’ – the traditional moccasin slippers – and where her brand gets its name from, and thankfully for us, she decided to bring them to the UK.
Beaumont Organic’s offering focuses on casual pieces which are classic but with a contemporary and sustainable twist. The primary way of doing so is through its fabrics which the owner Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia sees as the heroes of her collections. GOTS-certified organic cotton is central to these collections and is most commonly used, especially when it comes to the brand’s relaxed loungewear that includes sweatshirts and hoodies with matching sweatpants or loose dresses in natural hues of brown, beige, rust or peach.
Other featured materials include bamboo, used to make Beaumont Organic’s leggings, wool mostly made from recycled yarns, and lyocell – a man-made fibre made from wood pulp.
Launched in 1988 after founder Mark Bloom’s backpacking trip through Asia, Komodo is inspired by the fusion of the spiritual cultures of the East, namely Bali and Kathmandu in Nepal, with the urban style of London. The brand calls itself ‘the original ethical fashion brand’ as it has been environmentally and socially conscious since its very beginning and still is today. All garments are produced in Kathmandu or Java in safe working conditions, supporting local communities. The brand also donates to the Sumatran Orangutan Society which buys and restores natural rainforests on former palm oil plantations.
Komodo’s entire loungewear range of joggers with matching hoodies and sweatshirts in basic colours like navy or olive is vegan and made entirely from 100% organic cotton which carries the GOTS certification.
Ninety Percent’s business model is quite different from any form of tradition. It is in the name – the brand gives 90% of its profits to charity. Each customer is given a unique code with every purchase through which they can pick charities for the profits to go to.
Founders Para Hamilton and Shafiq Hassan met over 30 years ago and bonded over their interest in the environment. This shared interest resulted in Ninety Percent launching in 2018 with sustainability at the forefront of the brand. All their beautiful basics are dyed using only OEKO-TEX-certified non-toxic dyes, free from harmful chemicals plus their materials have been chosen for their low environmental impact. These include hemp, EcoVero – which is a sustainable alternative to viscose derived from wood pulp, natural linen, and of course, organic or recycled cotton which is used for all of Ninety Percent’s cool sweats. These versatile staples come in captivating designs, be it a two-tone black and white style or pink and red tie-dye.
Milly Greenslade launched her nightwear and loungewear brand Noctu in 2009 but it was 2020 when it really took off, becoming busier than ever. Milly attributes this to more people looking for comfy clothes to wear while working from home and consumers becoming more attuned to sustainability and the impact fast fashion has on the environment.
It all started with Milly’s father wanting a long length T-shirt to sleep in, something of a men’s nightgown. Milly designed one that both looked and felt good and its success compelled her to make a women’s version as well and then launch Noctu. The range has grown since then and now includes harem-style bottoms, cosy tops, jumpsuits and different variations on the original nightie.
The entire collection is made from GOTS- and OEKO-TEX-certified organic cotton and is influenced by the Scandinavian design aesthetic of minimalism where less is more and comfort is key. The colour palette is very neutral comprising of soft pinks, greys, navy and rust.
After working for Rag & Bone in New York as a knitwear designer, Alice Ashby came back to London and set up her own knitwear brand. Her jumpers are fashionable yet timeless, made from Woolmark-certified wool and Australian merino and are part of SustainaWOOL scheme which ensures sustainability standards are met within the wool production system. Also all of the merino wool they use is non-mulesing. Mulesing is a very painful process of removing loose pieces of a sheep’s skin to prevent fly infestation.
In addition to Blake LDN’s core range of soft and cosy sweaters in a versatile colour palette of baby blue, cream, beige and a more daring orange, this winter also brought a new collaboration with French artist Laetitia Rouget. The result is a joyful and whimsical collection of jumpers handknitted in Peru using alpaca wool. They are full of colour, pattern and fun slogans such as ‘When life gives you lemons’, ‘La vie en rose’ or ‘Let me dream’.
Founded in 1998 in North London by sisters Esther and Verena Roth, Plümo has been curating, carefully handpicking and bringing us clothes of the best quality, working with artisans and designers across the UK and Europe since its beginning. Recently, the sister duo added Plümo Studio to their repertoire, an in-house brand that creates minimal pieces which transcend seasons.
We love Plümo mainly for their thick and warm cable knit socks in various patterns which will keep the feet nice and snug, cloud-like wool slippers and chunky knits inspired by traditional craftsmanship, namely the Irish Aran jumper like the one worn by John Lennon in the 60s or the angora Fairisle cardigans.
Emma Hill founded her sustainable and comfort-lead brand Damson Madder in April of last year, just on the brink of the pandemic. The launch was inspired by seeing a gap in the market for cooler and more fun – as well as more affordable – sustainable clothing, since we all know eco-friendly clothes can be very expensive.
Damson Madder’s clothes are made mostly from recycled yarns, specifically recycled polyester produced from plastic bottles collected from coastlines and recycled cotton from textile waste. Alternatively, 100% organic cotton is used as in the case of the brand’s oversized T-shirts, sweatshirts and joggers. These are then dyed using natural sustainable dyes, which require less water than the common artificial dyeing process. The brand’s name was inspired by these natural dyes, more specifically Emma’s favourite shades of damson derived from plums and madder also known as rubia tinctorum which produces a red pigment.
THE SIMPLE FOLK
The Simple Folk began with organic, minimal and comfortable play clothes for children and babies. But recently, founders and long-time friends Abigail Brown and Jamie Morea added a women’s loungewear line that is pretty much matching the kid’s line so it is just as comfortable, organic and perfect for work or play.
The company’s cotton pieces are produced using natural GOTS-certified organic fibres dyed using non-toxic dyes which is ensured by the OEKO-TEX certification which also goes for its children’s range. The feel and the colours of the garments are natural and calming (and so is their beautifully curated Instagram page), evoking the outdoors thanks to shades such as brown, caramel and oatmeal and materials like cotton and wool.
Founded in London in 2015 by best friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, Rixo is a hugely popular fashion brand and a cult favourite amongst celebrities and influencers alike, for its cute yet feminine vintage-inspired dresses. But at the end of 2020, Rixo launched its first loungewear collection gracing us with silk and cotton pyjama sets – classics with a twist – be it a flamboyant pattern, frilled hems or scalloped edging. The best part is that most of these pieces are so stylish that they are easy to wear out too – pyjama shirts will go great with a pair of jeans and nighties double as summer dresses.
ORWELL + AUSTEN
Jessica Schuhle-Lewis started Orwell + Austen in 2012 after she started working in the city and her wardrobe was lacking in colour and fun. In response, Jessica creates playful and super soft cashmere designs filled with colour, lighting bolt motifs and slogans of ‘love’. While the brand’s designs are very indulging, the philosophy behind it is very eco-conscious and responsible. Each piece is handwoven in a small, ethical family-run factory in Nepal, using either 100% recycled yarns or a blend of cashmere and fine wool, both of which have lower environmental impact than pure cashmere.
The loungewear collection features cashmere hoodies and joggers with elastic rainbow cuffs for an injection of colour to otherwise neutral pieces in greys and black. They are the perfect home buddies for this time of the year.
Honna London grew out of style editor Barbara McMillan’s desire for classic and chic striped pyjamas. She sought designs that weren’t crazy expensive or impractical as some luxury silk sets can be. Barbara launched Honna with striped cotton pyjama sets in seven different colourways which are timeless and easy to wear but very pretty, whether it be the best-selling powder pink or dark green stripes, with all of the stripy designs being set against white. In 2020, the collection expanded and now also includes roomy nightshirts designed for comfort in the same colours as the pyjama sets.