Returning to work in the new year is never easy. As if getting out of bed after a season of late nights and celebrations wasn’t difficult enough, many people across the UK will continue to face a now familiar but no less unusual working situation: working from home.
While people have been working from home on and off since the first lockdown in March 2020, opinions suggest that this new lifestyle is favourable to many workers, with two-thirds of people hoping for continual flexibility when the pandemic is over.
The benefits of working from home are numerous; avoiding traffic, dodging patchy office heating, and getting to hit that snooze button an extra time. But if there’s one aspect of remote working that should be enjoyed above any other, it’s the ability to be comfortable.
In your home office, there are no rules against working in a hoodie or comfy sweatshirt. And when your Zoom call only covers your body’s top half, who’s to know what you’ve got on under the desk – a pair of soft joggers perhaps?
Of course, while feeling comfortable in our home offices has become a priority, there’s still a need to look fresh and professional. The pandemic has certainly given rise to stylish loungewear and cosy garments. So much so, it appears that they’re here to stay.
Let’s rewind a couple of years
Searches for ‘loungewear’ and other items of comfy clothing have experienced spikes in popularity during the pandemic. Google searches reveal that some of the highest points in their popularity coincided with restrictions where ‘work from home’ instructions were given.
In fact, searches for ‘loungewear’ in 2020 were 169 per cent higher than they were in 2019. Meanwhile, searches in 2021 were 73 per cent high than before the pandemic. The trend is similar to searches such as ‘hoodies’, where searches were up 38 per cent and 24 per cent in 2020 and 2021 against the 2019 average score.
One fashion brand, GAP, reports that interest in cosy and comfortable clothing has risen sharply in recent years. In 2021, sales of sweatshirts and joggers increased by 35 per cent compared to 2019. This increase was driven by adult clothing, where sales of comfortable clothing increased by 76 per cent.
The data reveals that our wardrobes may be becoming more comfort orientated, as GAP sales for comfortable clothing increased from 12 per cent to 17 per cent between 2019 and 2021. Could this suggest that nearly one-fifth of our wardrobes are made for comfort?
With wardrobes filled with new cosy clothing, comfort has become king. It’s not just at work when our best jerseys and joggers make an appearance. It’s now also when we’re shopping, visiting friends, and enjoying our free time however we choose.
Staying in trend
Cosy clothing is no longer just about its practicality – it’s now stylish in its own right. Pinterest is often used by fashionistas to build outfits and access fashion inspiration. Searches for pins on the site reveal the growing popularity of comfortable garments as fashionable assets.
Searches for ‘Graphic hoodies aesthetic’ peaked mid-December, 195 per cent higher than 2021’s average score. For ‘hoodies’ searches at the start of 2022 were 124 per cent higher than the average year previous.
It’s clear that the trend for comfortable fashion that matured during the pandemic is here to stay. Who knows; perhaps it will make its way into actual offices?
While the cosy basics trend encouraged us to relax, refresh, and rewind, we should expect these garments to utilise upcoming colour trends that are fit for the runway. Colours for Spring 2022 will drive ambitions to uplift and energise, all the while maintaining a grounded and balanced charm that stems from the public recovery.
This coming spring, we should expect to see more pastel colours entering our wardrobes. Using these on-trend colours with comfortable clothing means that these wardrobe basics are elevated to essentials that can be worn in partnership with capsule garments. Hoodies and joggers could be layered with long wool coats and jackets; a chic combination for any errand you run.
While working from home has elevated the standing of comfortable casual wear, these garments are now reaching into settings where we wouldn’t expect them. Forget grey sweatpants; runway colours have made it into our wardrobes in the least expected form. While cosy loungewear and comfy basics have become essential with working from home, in 2022, we can expect to see them in more social settings with people putting their comfort first.