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Back in the day, the notion of loungewear didn’t really exist. People were often too busy out at work to even consider having clothes specially designed for, well, being lazy!

We are now living in a world that’s all about working smarter, not harder. With this in mind, more and more people are staying at home. And, with the past year being spent in a pandemic, loungewear sales continue to rise.

With the above in mind, let’s take a look at what people used to wear at home before luxury loungewear came into the picture.

What Did People Wear Before Loungewear?

1. Nightdresses

Today, loungewear tries to bridge the gap before fashion and comfort, but it was initially all about comfort. So, before stylish sweats and luxury slippers, there was the humble nightdress. In the middle ages, nightwear was indistinguishable between men and women, so they basically wore the same thing to bed every night.

Over the years, these nightdresses actually evolved into more distinct fashion pieces. So, picture what Ebenezer Scrooge wore in A Christmas Carol and you have the full picture of what was probably the earliest form of loungewear.

2. Dressing Gowns

Dressing gowns are still quite relevant in this day and age, but they aren't part of a new trend. This garment was originally called a Banyan and dates back as far as the 1700s. Of course, these jacket-like garments were only worn by men in the upper class.

It wasn't until a century later that women also started donning these comfortable garments. These articles of clothing were always worn at home and at some point, were draped on top of nightgowns while the wearers went about their business.

Women's dressing gowns further evolved from the long garments that they were to short little numbers. Even more, these dressing gowns branched out to become what we now know as bathrobes.

3. Body Wrappers

Back in the day, people really knew how to ‘lounge.’ In the early 1900s, women used to wear something called a yoke wrapper that puts the dressing gown to shame.

Think of it as a bourgeois dressing gown and then some. The fabrics used to make these yoke wrappers were mainly Swiss cotton (or Swiss dot) and silk and the entire get-up comprised at least 8 yards of fabric.

It is impossible to pinpoint how comfortable these garments were, but the truth is that they were quite the fashion statement, and somehow, managed to embody the essence of luxury loungewear way before it became a trend.

4. Pyjamas

Did you know that pyjamas were not always worn to sleep? Their origins started in colonial India where both men and women wore them as uniforms. It was not until the 1870s that they were properly incorporated into Western fashion.

As you can imagine, they were solely worn by men since they incorporated trousers into the entire design. Nevertheless, with the rise of feminism in the 20th century, women started wearing pyjamas too.

Fashion icons, such as Coco Chanel, popularized pyjama use among women and now it's a major cornerstone in the development of actual loungewear. Sure, pyjamas have totally evolved and have even become the centrepiece of loungewear, but they had quite the journey and loaded history before they became the popular garments you find everywhere today. Seeing as the future of fashion has to cater more to indoor clothing nowadays, it's safe to say that they may evolve further.

5. Oversized T-shirts

The humble oversized T-shirt can probably be considered a DIY extension of loose nightgowns. Before loungewear became an actual trend, t-shirts were all the rage for lounging about the home.

Not only are they incredibly comfortable, but they offer ample flexibility for the user. The thing with these casual t-shirts is that they were solely meant to be worn within the house, but in most cases, they were not limited to being used as sleepwear.

For the most part, baggy t-shirts are still breaking into the mainstream loungewear market. As such, you'll still find a few oversized t-shirts in the mix when you go shopping for some modern loungewear.


Life Before Luxury Loungewear: What People Used To Wear At Home
Digital Mag

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