stuff we buy ourselves

The Loungewear Our Editors and Writers Are Wearing at Home

Photo-Illustration: Retailers

If you follow our monthly Strategist Haul, you’re familiar with the idiosyncrasies of our editors’ and writers’ shopping habits. While we think of those as the highlights, there are plenty of other, less glamorous things we buy — and love — on the regular too. So whether you’ve wondered about the work bags we tote around or the underwear we’re most loyal to, this is the Stuff We Buy Ourselves. In this edition, the loungewear our editors and writers are living in while sheltering in place.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

I have been alternating between two pairs of pants. Most days I wear these Lou & Grey joggers that I mused about in a recent Deal of the Day. The satiny joggers made from cupro (which appears to be a cousin of tencel), are airier than your standard sweatpants, and just so soft. As I noted: “These days, I wear them pretty much every workday as a way to feel ever so slightly presentable were a Zoom call to ever to catch me below the waist, and so I can feel a little more ‘together’ as I click away on the couch. They machine wash and dry like a charm, and hit at the ankle in a pleasing way so as to look pretty great with these ‘grass green’ Crocs I just bought.”

Also, while perusing Old Navy for some toddler-sized pants with feet (that’s a story for another day), I stumbled upon these leggings, which, at the time, were on sale for $17, and I thought, “Hey, why not,” because I have been in the market for some leggings with pockets for my semi-regular runs. Turns out they are so dang comfortable I’ve been wearing them around the house too — plus, I like the inky shade of teal.

Karen Iorio Adelson, senior writer

Stretchy and soft yet not too schleppy-looking, these are my ideal sweatpants and I’ve been wearing them nearly every day during quarantine. Since they’re made from “athletic” materials, they’re also somewhat odor-resistant so I can go … a while without washing them.

When I’m not wearing the Vuori joggers, I’ve been getting a lot of use out of these Core 10 leggings from Amazon (I wrote about them here). Interestingly, they weren’t my go-to weekend leggings before we started social distancing, because I thought they were a bit stiff for lounging. But I’ve recently discovered that some of my stretchier leggings lose their shape after a few days of wear, and do that weird bagging-out-around-the-knees thing, while these stay snug and supportive.

Katy Schneider, senior editor

A couple of years ago, my sister and I purchased my dad a set of Sleepy Jones pajamas. He never wore them! A couple of days (weeks? months?) ago, I stumbled upon them while looking for a sweater in my mother’s closet, and have not taken the top off — it’s an XL, but, with the sleeves rolled up, looks vaguely … professional (?) on Zoom calls, and is silky and comfortable.

I didn’t realize how long I’d be leaving the city for when I packed, so I only packed about three shirts and two pairs of pants. Fortunately I had the forethought to bring two tops from my friend Lili’s company Leset — a boxy, white long-sleeve one and a boxy, black short-sleeve one. I’ve been basically circling between them for weeks, and when they’re both in the wash, I wear old Bat Mitzvah sweatshirts, which there is no shortage of in this home.

Chloe Anello, junior writer

Champion makes the greatest sweatshirts. Not only are they thick and warm, but also they fit well without being too oversized and bulky. I originally thought that $70 was a bit crazy to spend on a sweatshirt, but after my boyfriend got me one for my birthday last year, I realized that they really are worth every penny. I’m particularly attached to this dusty-rose color — now that I’m thinking about it, a lot of my loungewear is this color — but they come in a plethora of different shades and designs.

If you went to Syracuse University and joined Greek life, chances are you also marched down to Manny’s on Marshall Street and bought this T-shirt. I got it oversized to wear for tailgates (and as a minidress, because, college), but now I wear it with Nike Spandex when I’m watching movies in bed all day because it keeps me from overheating (I keep two blankets — a down comforter and a weighted blanket — on my bed, plus an old laptop that often overheats). It also matches my other dozen or so Syracuse sweatshirts, if I need to throw on an extra layer — which, incidentally, makes for an excellent washed-up-alumni look.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

I’m a sucker for a matching set. In my regular rotation are a cashmere-wool-blend set from La Ligne (that I bought at a sample sale a while ago and can’t find online) and a waffle-knit option from Terez (which, full disclosure, was gifted to me). But my favorite loungewear has to be the Cloud Knit line from Outdoor Voices. I wear their much-lauded sweatpants for any activity, indoors or out, and switch tops — short sleeve, long sleeve, or hoodie — depending on the weather.

Now that the weather is warming up, I also find myself gravitating toward OV’s Exercise Dress. I was skeptical when I first got it, because never have I ever thought, Wow, I’d love to workout in a dress. (And I haven’t, except for a couple rounds of tennis.) But it is surprisingly excellent loungewear that’s very hard to stain with coffee or wine, and remains supportive and comfortable, not constricting, all day long.

Lauren Ro, writer

I’ve had these pants for a while and they’ve held up beautifully through constant wear. The sweats are supersoft, warm, and have deep pockets that are the perfect size for carrying my phone around the house. The joggers look nice enough to wear outside and make me feel polished. Both pairs are also great as pajamas. During the week, I’ll also pull on the occasional pair of workout tights (including my maternity Lululemons, which are getting a bit pilly), but the Uniqlo sweatpants and joggers are my go-tos when I want to look like I’ve tried.

Jessica Silvester, contributing editor

Before quarantine, my husband Dan’s “loungewear” consisted of Nike Dri-FIT and Amazon Essentials. But then the current circumstances inspired him to invest in a pair of Vuori shorts, after being tipped off by a friend who discovered them on sale at a hotel gym in L.A. (the company is based in Southern California). Addiction ensued — sweatpantstees, pullovers; he couldn’t get enough of the peach-skin-soft fabrics and salt-air-tinged colors. And now when he “gets dressed” in the morning — to go nowhere but the couch and see nothing but his laptop — I half-expect him to say he’s headed out for yoga on the beach followed by brunch in Malibu (all the more surprising considering he is neither a yoga nor a brunch guy). It’s actual escapism just to watch the clothes being worn. I’ve also started to wear them myself, since, like an evangelist, Dan has been moved to share. We wash them multiple times a week and the ecofriendly, synthetic materials remain like new. Dan also runs and bikes and sweats in them and swears, “I will never work out in another pair of shorts.” And if we ever get out of the house again, he’s excited that they have a tailored enough fit to pull off in public — maybe even at brunch.

Casey Lewis, senior editor

Although I’m loyal to my Madewell leggings when it’s cool outside, the second it warms up, I’ll be in a Skargorn #60 Tee Dress, a style I’ve been wearing since 2013. I bought my first one at a long-gone store in Williamsburg called Life:Curated, and then bought three more. Most T-shirt dresses are either too flimsy or too frumpy, but this one’s perfectly constructed and really drapes beautifully, which is how I’ve justified repeatedly spending upwards of $80 on what’s basically an oversized T-shirt. It’s not at all sheer, and also somehow doesn’t shrink or fade or pill. The slouchy scoop neck looks nicer on Zoom than your average T-shirt, and best of all: I don’t have to worry about putting on pants.

Anthony Rotunno, senior editor

The God’s honest truth is that I don’t really own clothes meant primarily for lounging about. Quarantined or not, I will put on jeans almost every day, along with a top — whether button-down shirtT-shirtlong-sleeve tee, or some layered combination of these — that you could call business casual. And I stay in this stuff until I go to sleep. It’s not that I don’t own easy, comfy clothes; I do, but my sweatshirts and sweatpants almost exclusively consist of things I’ve received (whether branded apparel from jobs past or the warm-up pants from my days playing high-school soccer), and I really only put them on right before bed. My three pairs of elastic-waisted Baggies shorts, I guess, are the one exception: On weekends, they’re usually what I pull on for the hours between being asleep and “getting dressed” — which, with warmer weather returning, now just means putting a fresh shirt on top of the Baggies and calling it a day.

Rio Viera-Newton, writer

During quarantine, I’ve developed a kind of style hack. I dress “normally” from the waist up — button-down blouses, earrings, etc. — so that I look put-together for Zoom meetings. But from the waist down, I wear stretchy, elastic sweatpants, fuzzy socks, and slippers. These “Burnout” pants from Leset have become an everyday staple — they’re cozy and soft enough to wear to bed, but flattering and sleek enough to pair with boots or loafers and wear into the office (whenever that may be). I own pairs in black, gray, and tan, and cannot recommend them enough.

There’s been a couple of superhot days when putting on pants is simply not an option (and we have many more of these on the horizon). So when it’s uncomfortably humid out, I’ve been wearing thin, silky, cooling night gowns around the house. I have a couple negligees in my rotation, but my favorite are from Shop Suki, an online vintage store, and my sister’s brand HVN.

Jordan Bowman, writer

I’ve recently been obsessed with vintage short-sleeve sweatshirts like the ones you might see Steve McQueen wearing in old photos, or the one that Eddie Murphy wore in Beverly Hills Cop. In my opinion, it’s a perfect layer to transition between the spring and summer. Entireworld just started making short-sleeve sweatshirts in a classic gray color, which look much better than the one I tried to make myself by cutting the sleeves off of an old long-sleeve sweatshirt.

Fran Leibowitz once said she would rather see someone coming toward her with a hand grenade rather than see a man in shorts, and it took me a long time to come around to the idea that shorts could be both functional and still look fresh. As a kid I would lounge or play ball in basketball shorts, but for a long time I never considered wearing shorts to hang out. This meant I suffered a fair amount, as New York summers have become even hotter and more unbearable. I’ve changed my mind recently after picking up some Patagonia Baggies. They’re perfect for lounging around the house or a stroll around the block. I’m also a fan of Only NY’s tangerine-colored track shorts, just in case you’re considering adding a drop of color into your wardrobe.

Tembe Denton-Hurst, writer

I’m obsessed with this basic hoodie from H&M, so much so that I own two. I like the men’s version specifically because it’s perfectly oversized, very soft, and cheap enough that an accidental spill doesn’t send me into a tailspin. I’m really particular about hoodie strings, and I like that these don’t have metal tips. It also comes in a wide range of colors, making it easy to create a makeshift matching set with sweatpants.

These are probably the softest pants I’ve ever worn, and that isn’t an exaggeration. They’re cozy but not overly warm, which has been nice as it’s gotten slightly hotter but not hot enough to transition to full-on shorts. The best part is that they’re super-stretchy, which is nice for moving from bed to couch and back to bed again.

Photo: retailer

This isn’t a regular sports bra, it’s a cool sports bra. And by cool I mean non-restrictive, big-boob supporting, and ridiculously affordable. I own a bunch of these (around six, the last time I counted) and wear them religiously underneath my clothes. They make me feel dressed but not constricted or uncomfortable, which is crucial for having a productive workday.

Do socks count as loungewear? If so, I have to mention these. I probably have 40 pairs of white Nike crew socks, and I wear them daily. I think of them as kind of like footwear: They’re slightly padded on the bottom, look cute when scrunched, and go with absolutely everything.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, junior writer

These drawstring sweatpants are the closest thing I’ve worn to real pants since the start of quarantine. I’ve had them for years and there’s a hole in the pocket and the Nike swoosh is fading, but those are all signs that I’ve broken them in quite nicely, making them the most comfortable sweatpants I own. I wear them to work, on bimonthly grocery store runs, and to take out the trash. They also slip on easily, so they’re my go-to when I’m dressed less than decently and have to rush downstairs to get my takeout order.

I never wear shorts, but months before quarantine started, a few pairs of Jambys were sent to the office for us to try and I was lucky enough to get my hands on one. Right out of the package, they’re supersoft and somehow feel even better on. Seriously, I could wear them for days. They are also really comfortable to sleep in, and I’d be lying if I said I never roll out of bed, log on for work, and stay in them for the rest of the day.

One of my quarantine hacks is getting dressed in my workout clothes before work, so there’s no excuse not to workout after work. This isn’t completely foolproof, but it works on most days. This is one of my favorite Outdoor Voices combos: The TechSweat material has a second-skin feel, so it’s like I got dressed without any of the restrictions.

Hilary Reid, writer

Like many of my colleagues, I’m a member of the Entireworld cult (though to be transparent, I should note I was sent my pieces). My ideal pairing is either the sweatpants with the matching high-rib tank top (tucked in so it’s more “put together”) or the sweatshirt with a pair of Soffe shorts. Something about wearing a sweatshirt with lounge shorts reminds me of the blissful feeling of being home from a day at the beach, post-shower, pre-dinner, having chips and guac and just chilling in some kind of aloe lotion.

Louis Cheslaw, writer

I’ll never understand why so many dudes gravitate to their synthetic workout bottoms when looking for a short to lounge around in. Personally, I turn to these cozy towel shorts from sustainable-surf brand Outerknown. As a huge fan of anything terry cloth (the towel fabric just reminds me of beach days), I love these because the thick terry is on both the outside and inside, heightening that “lounging in a hotel towel” feeling.

As for my favorite sleep and morning-wear: I audibly gasped the first time I touched this pair of daytime-appropriate pajamas, which SAXX sent me as research for another story I’m working on. The fabric is satisfyingly cool to the touch and feels substantial despite its ability to stretch every which way. After night upon night of use and multiple washes, I’m glad to report that whenever I go to grab them, they feel the same.

Peter Martin, senior editor

There was a time when I would put on house shorts every day. As soon as I got home from the office, the work pants and shirt came off, and my polyester shorts went on (usually the same unwashed pair I had worn to the gym that morning), as I sat on the couch and watched The West Wing. But I was not married then, and I have a nicer couch now, so along with adding a shirt, my loungewear has gotten a bit of an upgrade over the last few years. When it’s still cold outside, until I can make myself get dressed, most weekends I wear a pair of Alternative Apparel sweatpants that are softer than the skin on our daughter’s fat little legs. They’re slim fit and tapered, which is nice when I have to run to the grocery store and don’t want to be embarrassed. Once summer hits I prefer these super-lightweight, stretchy shorts from Lululemon. They’re impossible to get bunched up and also make great gym shorts. I wash them now, though.

Dominique Pariso, writer

While I technically own Los Angeles Apparel’s currently sold-out French Terry Kool Shorts, their Mid-Length Heavy Jersey Shorts are practically identical. And as far as house shorts go, they’re basically perfect: They have pockets, hit mid-thigh, and have a comfortable elastic waistband, but still look nice enough (in an ’80s-gym-teacher kind of way). Plus, unlike my Terry Kool shorts, the Heavy Jersey shorts have an additional back pocket and a drawstring at the waist, which are bonuses in my book.

Liza Corsillo, writer

Hemp is the softest, most luxurious loungewear material. People go crazy for cashmere and fancy linen — I like those, too, but if forced to choose, I would always pick the slouchy, summery feel of hemp T-shirts. This one from Jungmaven makes me feel like Jean Seberg gone surfing every time I put it on. I have a few tees from the brand, all of which are sustainably made and feel great against bare skin. Plus, through May 10, Jungmaven is donating 35 percent of proceeds from their Hemp for Good collection to provide fresh, organic food to L.A. garment workers affected by the pandemic.

At this point, I hardly own any socks that aren’t Bombas. Their socks are better than all others because of the stretchy center band that hugs your feet. Plus, they are cushy on the bottom, so your feet don’t get as tired — though that is less of a problem these days, since I don’t go anywhere. But even as quarantine socks they stand out, never twisting or slouching and keeping my feet cozy on cold and rainy days.

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The Loungewear Our Editors and Writers Are Wearing at Home