The hottest fashion of the pandemic is the pajama set

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Caroline Daur in printed pajamas during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019.

  • If you splurged on a matching pajama set for the first time over the last year, you’re not alone.
  • Those fortunate enough to maintain an income shifted “scheduled spend” from normal routines to indulgences.
  • People also satisfied their “skin hunger” with silks, satins, plushes, and Peruvian cottons.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In March 2020, Vanessa Diaz was supposed to be in Mexico getting married. Instead she was quarantined in her Los Angeles apartment with her fiance and their chihuahua/pug mix, Raisin Bran. But she had just splashed out on a new set of pajamas she was planning to wear on her wedding weekend, and with no reason to leave the house she started wearing them more – like, a lot more.

Soon, Raisin Bran had his own set, too.

Diaz didn’t stop there, deciding to treat herself when she had to postpone her nuptials. Since she chose a lower-price-point Target set for $22 and kept her job in PR, Diaz was able to splurge on more sets, and over the course of a year she spent more than $100 on new pajamas. She said she’d never bought this much sleepwear before.

Prior to the pandemic, Diaz said, her leisure clothes consisted of oversized T-shirts. On the subject of pajamas, she said, “I just thought it was kind of like an unnecessary, luxury purchase, you know?”

Yes, we all know. Last April, PJ sales spiked 143% compared to March, launching an intimates-fueled year of quarantine. And in the year leading up to January 2021, market research firm NPD Group told Insider, pajamas priced at $50 or more grew at triple the rate of the total pajama market. In 2019, the global industry was worth more than $10 million, and it’s projected to reach more than $18 million by 2027.

Even the ultrawealthy got in on the action, fueling a boom in $1,000 pajama sets for the 1%.

The durability of this golden age for modern pajamas may even be a part of the new normal as the world reopens. That will depend on how long “skin hunger” and disruptions of “scheduled spend” continue to change the shape of the economy.

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From unnecessary luxury, to comfort and self-care

When Ashley Merrill founded the pajama brand Lunya in 2014, she said her biggest task was convincing people to pay nearly $200 for something to wear around the house.

“They’re very comfortable spending $250 on a cocktail dress, despite the fact that they’ll maybe wear it once or twice, and very uncomfortable with the idea of spending $200 bucks on a sleep set which they will probably wear 197 out of 365 days a year,” she said.

That changed in a big way in 2020, as pajamas took the place of office clothes, red carpet glam, and streetwear. Those in the $50-to-$200 range from brands like Lunya, Eberjay, and Lake brought luxury to middle-class bedrooms, and sub-$50 sets from the likes of Target and Marshalls also served as a self-care indulgence for many in quarantine.

The market has shifted, Merrill said. Her brand, which has historically sold its washable silk sets in solid, neutral colors, is launching its first pattern. Merrill said she believes people have proven they’re willing to splurge on at-home clothes and are ready for a little more distinctive.

“We’re playing with some things that are a little more special, a little novelty, because we’re realizing, people are ready,” she said. “They now get the value of what it would mean to have something that they feel great in around the home.”

We’re suffering from ‘skin hunger’

In the last three months of 2020, searches peaked for pajamas on the shopping app Liketoknow.it, with over 200,000 unique queries for the term. A spokesperson for the company said shoppers are on the hunt for “silk pajamas,” “pajama sets,” and “satin pajamas” – all of which had triple-digit month-over-month growth last year and still sit in the top searches today.

These fabrics satisfy what Lorna Hall of London-based trend forecasting firm WGSN calls “skin hunger.”

“Many of us are starved of touch,” Hall said, “so tactile fabrications become really important, because they sort of mimic touch.” She said silks, satins, and plushes are examples of fabrics that satisfy this need.

The spokesperson for Liketoknow.it separately agreed with Hall. “Our consumers are very much still in the cozy mindset, with search data for things like loungewear, matching sets, nap dress, and home bedding all trending since the start of lockdown last year,” the spokesperson said.

Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon, the cofounders of pajama brand Lake, said their most popular product had a blowout 2020. They sold 38,816 Peruvian pima cotton short sets, contributing to a 136% year-over-year increase in revenue. Lunya, which Hall credits with bringing washable silk to the masses, claims it has doubled revenue every year since launching in 2014, but declined to share exact figures.

The pandemic disrupted our ‘scheduled spend’

Among a certain set of customers, Hall told Insider, the pajama splurge could be the result of “lots of cash, nowhere to go.”

“The luxury pajama really fulfills a way to spend that makes sense, because you can wear them straight away, which, with a lot of apparel at the moment, you just can’t,” Hall said. “And you don’t have the event to wear something luxury and decadent to, because those events really don’t exist.”

Self-care items like pajamas took the place of what Hall calls “scheduled spend” or the purchases people regularly made in their pre-pandemic routine, like coffee, commuter fare, and lunches out. As routines changed, so did our regularly scheduled budgets. After all, Hall said, “bedtime is a thing that comes around every day, and lounging around in the house certainly is like a ubiquitous state for many of us.”

Plus, as Paris Fashion Week demonstrated, it’s no longer just about bedtime. Designers brought pajama-inspired looks to the catwalks this year, Hall said. “With pajama dressing and luxury nightwear, there’s a real crossover at the moment on the catwalks,” she said, describing Jil Sanders’ slip dress as “ostensibly going-out wear, but it’s a slip dress that could also be worn as a night dress, or is related to the night dress in terms of its shape.” In addition, Fendi’s wide-legged pants and intimates-inspired dresses fall in this category of “silky, satin-y, easy-to-wear, pajama-type wear as well.”

Hall said she believes the pajama boom will stick around post-pandemic, bolstered by designers’ pajama-inspired going-out wear. “Once you’ve treated yourself to something that’s of a certain fabric and quality level, it’s quite hard to go back when you’ve had the luxury sleep item.”

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Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear line, Skims, is now worth over $1 billion after leaning into loungewear during the pandemic

Kim Kardashian Skims
Kim Kardashian West at the launch of Skims at Nordstrom in New York City in February 2020.

  • Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand, Skims, is valued at $1.6 billion, The New York Times reports.
  • Skims offers shapewear and loungewear that’s inclusive of a range of sizes and skin tones.
  • Kardashian West is worth $1 billion in her own right thanks to Skims and her KKW Beauty makeup line.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear company has joined the unicorn club.

The 2-year-old brand, called Skims, has raised $154 million in new funding from Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital, as well as from existing investors, Imaginary Ventures and Alliance Consumer Growth. The new round pushes Skims’ valuation to $1.6 billion, Kardashian West told The New York Times’ Michael J. de la Merced.

Kardashian West is Skims’ biggest shareholder and controls a majority stake along with her business partner, Jens Grede, The Times reports.

Skims’ billion-dollar valuation comes after a year when shoppers were less in need of shapewear and more in need of loungewear. But Skims had started introducing more laid-back apparel just as the pandemic hit in early 2020, inspired by Kardashian West’s preference for being comfortable when she’s in her house, she recently told Vogue.

“The pandemic hit at like, our first or second drop of loungewear, and we had loungewear designed for the whole next year to drop,” she said. “And it just happened to be the perfect time and the perfect storm of everyone staying home and wanting to just be a lot more comfortable.”

Read more: COVID-19 has claimed an unlikely victim: Your underwear drawer. Here’s why the industry expects a 12% sales dip in 2020.

But Kardashian West told The Times that shapewear is still at the core of Skims’ business, describing the company as “your basics go-to.” The company offers bras, underwear, bodysuits, shorts, slips, and even pregnancy support in a range of sizes (from XXS to 5X) and shades: Many of the shapewear items come in eight different flesh tones as well as black.

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic – like sourcing materials – Skims reported $145 million in sales in 2020, which it expects to double in 2021, according to The Times.

Skims’ new valuation follows Kardashian West’s official debut as a billionaire. Earlier this week, she appeared on Forbes’ billionaires list for the first time, spurred by the success of Skims as well as her makeup line, KKW Beauty. Kardashian West sold a 20% stake in KKW Beauty to makeup giant Coty in June 2020 in a deal that valued the brand at $1 billion.

Kardashian West also earns income from her family’s reality show, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” which is on its final season, as well as endorsement deals, real estate holdings, business ventures like a now-defunct mobile app, and a portfolio of stocks that includes Disney, Amazon, and Netflix, according to Forbes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

15 pairs of sweatpants and joggers we’ve been living in while working from home

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Richer Poorer Jogger
  • Soft, stretchy, and well-fitting loungers are the not-so-secret secret to staying comfy at home.
  • Some of our favorite brands that make them include Tommy John, Roots, Lululemon, and Aerie.
  • These loungers average around $70, but the Insider Reviews team thinks they’re worth every penny.

There was a time, a dark time long ago, when I would wear jeans all day – yes, even once I got home and didn’t have to. Ever since I realized there are pant options 100 times more comfortable than even my most comfortable pair of jeans, I try not to dwell on this haunted past.

Having discovered loungers and joggers made from the softest, stretchiest fabrics and realized the error of my ways, I’m no longer foolish enough to keep my outdoor pants on after walking through the door. You can bet the moment I change into my smooth and cozy loungers that I will not be going back outside. Or, if I do, I could care less about what other people think because of how comfy they are.

My colleagues own comfortable lounge pants that make them feel the same way, a soft-burning appreciation for cozy bottoms that turns into a fiery speech whenever they have to explain that yes, these lounge pants are worth every penny.

15 incredibly comfortable loungers and joggers for men and women:

Vuori Performance Jogger

Vuori Performance Jogger

Performance jogger, available in 14 colors

Performance Joggers (Women’s) (button)

I’ve been hearing about these joggers everywhere, and now that I have a pair, I can say that they’re really that great. The performance material is super comfy yet feels a bit more “dressy” than standard sweats. I have the sky blue color and it’s a cheerful break from all the black leggings I’ve been wearing while WFH. One thing to note is that the legs are cropped, so I just wish I’d gone one size up for a longer fit. (I’m 5-foot-2 and they still hit above the ankle, just like the model pictured.) —Ashley Phillips, style & beauty editor

Target A New Day Jogger

Target A New Day Women's High-Rise Joggers

Women’s High-Rise Ankle Jogger Pants, available in 10 colors

Women’s High-Rise Ankle Jogger Pants (button)

Achieving full teddy bear realness, I own these jogger pants in brown along with their matching crewneck and tank. The entire set feels like a nice, warm hug. It’s my absolute go-to when it comes to WFH attire or a trusty airport look. The comfy fleece lining and high-rise fit ensure maximum comfort. It never gets too baggy with multiple wears, but even so, the drawstring cord helps keep the joggers breathable but flattering. At 5-foot-4, the size small hit my preferred length just below the ankles. And, it comes in both regular and plus sizes. —Jacqueline Saguin, style & beauty reviews fellow

Coalatree Evolution Jogger

Coalatree Evolution Joggers

Evolution Jogger, available in four colors

Evolution Joggers (button)

I love my Coalatree Evolution Joggers. They’re sustainably made, odor-resistant, and so comfy that I almost always have them on during the weekend. I’m also a big fan of the zippered pockets with tiny pull tabs. —Tercius Bufete, deals editor

Richer Poorer Fleece Sweatpant

Richer Poorer Women's Recycled Fleece Classic Sweatpant

Women’s Recycled Fleece Classic Sweatpant, available in 11 colors

Women’s Recycled Fleece Classic Sweatpant (button)

I credit the roundup of our favorite sweatsuits for my nonstop wear of these sweatpants. The cotton and recycled polyester blend is extremely comfortable — and saves around 40 plastic bottles from landfills. I was worried the fabric would lose its soft texture after going through the wash, but the material has held up well so far. I’m 5-foot-5 and the XS fits me perfectly. I can wear them high-waisted or push them down a little for a baggier fit. I’ll definitely be purchasing another sweatsuit and have already gifted one. —Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow

Aritzia Babaton Retreat Pant

Aritzia Babaton Lounger

The Group by Babaton Retreat Pant, available in three colors

Retreat Pant (button)

These lounge pants are like a wearable blanket. They’re fluffy all over, not just on the outside, and they almost instantly warm up your legs. The high waist fit means the pants keep both your legs and waist cozy, making them perfect for wear in the colder months. The waistband is stretchy and doesn’t restrict your movement or roll down. If I had to mention drawbacks, I’m 5-foot-5 and the XS fits well, but it runs long. I had to get them hemmed so they wouldn’t drag on the floor and pick up dirt. The material is also slightly see through but wearing nude underwear or saving them for at-home wear only easily solves that concern. —Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow

Tommy John Lounge Jogger

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Women’s Lounge Jogger, available in five colors

Women’s Lounge Jogger (button)

“Does Tommy John ever get it wrong?” That’s the question our team is constantly asking ourselves. If its Women’s Lounge Joggers are any indication, though, then no. Tommy John says they’re made of an innovative stretch material that always keeps its shape, and so far, I can validate that claim. The fabric is also still super soft after its first washing. Additional details like tapered legs, side pockets, and a tagless label make this pair of lounge pants an instant favorite. I look forward to going home and putting them on. —Ellen Hoffman, executive editor 

As Ellen already hinted, every piece I’ve ever tried from Tommy John elicits the same bemused chuckle: They’ve done it again. The company’s feather-light, super-soft underwear, camisoles, and tank tops are all standouts in my closet — and these joggers are some of the best. The side pockets, tagless label, and tapered fit are all perks, but the real highlight is the tri-blend fabric — unbelievably soft, airy, and hasn’t stretched out yet. It’s hard to wear another pair to bed. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter 

I had never tried anything from Tommy John, but my coworkers had raved about how comfortable all of their Tommy John loungewear is — they were onto something. These joggers are super soft, lightweight, and have a nice, tapered fit. They feel like pajamas, but look presentable enough to wear out of the house, which I did and was pretty happy about. —Remi Rosmarin, former reporter 

Sheex Modern Jogger

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Women’s Modern Jogger, available in three colors

Women’s Modern Jogger (button)

Made by a company known for its innovative performance fabric bedding and sleepwear, the Sheex slim-fit joggers are lighter and thinner than most so you can wear them during warmer days without overheating. If you’re prone to overheating regardless of the weather, you’re in luck because the fabric is temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking. As you settle into your bed, couch, or giant beanbag chair, both you and your legs can breathe easy. —Connie Chen, senior reporter

Lululemon Joggers

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Intent Joggers, available in two colors

Intent Joggers (Men’s) (button)

I am a major Lululemon sweatpants advocate — they are pretty much my number one requested gift around the holidays. Lulu’s Intent Joggers are just plain comfortable. I don’t know what magic is woven in the fabric, but the balance of soft and stretchy makes it comfortable to do work around the house, go out and run errands, and then still feel like you can relax on the couch immediately after. I have put some serious miles into these pants and so far, they have not wavered.

At Ease Joggers, available in four colors

Men’s At Ease Joggers (button)

The At Ease Jogger echos the same vibes as the Intent Jogger. The big difference between this and the Intent Jogger is that I feel more inclined to relax and lounge with the At Ease. I’m more likely to fall asleep in these sweatpants due to the relaxed fit, whereas for the Intent Jogger, I still feel as if I need to change out of them before I go to bed. —Frank Massaro, strategic partnerships manager

Roots Slim Elastic Sweatpant

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Men’s Original Slim Sweatpant, available in two colors

Men’s Original Slim Sweatpant (button)

Note: The Slim Elastic Sweatpant is now sold out and no longer available. We’ve replaced it with a similar option from Roots.

I’ve never been very loyal to any specific brand, but Roots will be my loungewear until the day I die, and even after that because I am insisting in my will that I get buried and spend eternity in these Slim Elastic Sweatpants. These sweatpants truly have it all; they look cool enough to wear outside the house, are soft enough to fall asleep standing up, and even have elastic cuffs so you don’t have to deal with the annoyance of constantly stepping on your pant legs. —Danny Bakst, story production manager

MeUndies Lounge Pant (Women’s)

MeUndies Women's Lounge Pant

Women’s Lounge Pant, available in six colors

Women’s Lounge Pant (button)

MeUndies makes some of the softest underwear and loungewear that I’ve come across, and most of my adult life has been spent in the pursuit of comfort. (My favorite possession is a $98 robe). The MicroModal/elastane blend is silky soft and weighty, and the cut is simultaneously sleek and loose — slim and polished enough to be alright for a morning bagel run or early morning flight. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter 

After hearing how comfy these lounge pants are from my coworkers, I was so excited to finally get my hands on a pair. They’re indeed silky soft, but what I like most is the weightiness of the fabric; I was expecting something flimsy, but these feel more like true lounge pants you could wear outside in a pinch rather than PJ bottoms. And, they have pockets which is always a plus. —Ashley Phillips, style and beauty editor

MeUndies Modal Jogger

MeUndies Women's Modal Jogger

Women’s Modal Jogger, available in six colors

Women’s Modal Jogger (button)

I love MeUndies’ joggers. In fact, I’m wearing my pair right now as I work from home. They’re ultra-soft and stretchy for lounging around or over-eating takeout on the couch, but the silhouette is sleek enough that I can wear them out on a walk with sneakers and a sweatshirt and not feel like a total slob. If soft and stretchy is what you’re looking for, these are it. —Sally Kaplan, deputy editor

Tentree Atlas Sweatpant

Tentree Atlas Sweatpant

Atlas Sweatpant, available in three colors

Men’s Atlas Sweatpant (button)

Tentree is a Canadian outdoor apparel company that makes high-quality and sustainable clothing. The Atlas sweatpants, which I’ve been wearing for the past couple of months, are made from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled polyester. The fabric is so soft and comfortable that you wouldn’t think it’s partially made from sustainable synthetics, but that’s a trademark of a great outdoors brand.

It’s roomy and breathable for staying inside a heated house, but the cuffed ankle, deep pockets, and heat retention make this a suitable jogger for heading outside (base layer recommended if it’s particularly cold where you are). The Atlas is like wearing your favorite blanket but in jogger form. A fleece version is also available. —Les Shu, senior editor

Outerknown Solstice Sweatpants

Outerknown SOLSTICE SWEATPANTS

Solstice Sweatpant, available in one color

Solstice Sweatpant (button)

The vintage-washed, terrycloth material is super breathable so I never feel overheated or uncomfortably warm. On the flip side, I’m never cold when I have these joggers on — they’re the perfect weight for year-round wear. I’m a little over 5-foot-1 and a size 8-10; I wear a size large for a bit of an oversized fit but could have stood to size down. The length hits my ankles, for reference. I should also point out that I really appreciate Outerknown’s focus on sustainability. It helps me justify the extra cost of its clothes since they’re not cheap. —Sally Kaplan, senior editor

Athleta Studio Jogger

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Studio Jogger, available in three colors

Women’s Studio Jogger (button)

I never thought I could love joggers so much until I tried the Athleta Studio Joggers. The material is extremely soft and feels like butter against your skin. I’m on the shorter side, so joggers tend to look big, baggy, and too long, yet these pants fit just right. They come in petite sizes and I own a pair in every color they have. Another bonus: they have pockets. I literally won’t wear anything else when it comes to trendy yet comfortable clothes. —Ariel Tilayoff, former story production fellow

Monrow Supersoft Vintage Sweatpant

Monrow supersoft black joggers

Supersoft Vintage Sweatpant, available in three colors

Supersoft Vintage Sweatpant (button)

I’ve had these joggers from Monrow’s Supersoft collection for years now and I still wear them several days a week. Just like the name suggests, the fabric is super soft and has a lived-in feel from day one. Unlike my other sweats, this is the only pair that I find comfortable enough to sleep in. I’ve also worn them on long flights with a matching sweatshirt. They have shrunk over time, so I recommend ordering a size up to be safe. —Ashley Phillips, style and beauty editor

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Levi’s sales are down as remote workers turn to loungewear over jeans

levi's
  • Levi’s revenue in the recent holiday quarter was down 12% year-over-year.
  • Sales beat expectations as losses slowed in the fourth quarter.
  • As many remote workers trade out their jeans for sweats, Levi’s is starting to sell loungewear.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Levi Strauss & Co reported its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, revealing that revenue was down 12% in the holiday period – an improvement over the prior quarter.

Despite the double-digit revenue decline, the fourth quarter still generated positive cash flow, and president and CEO Chip Bergh highlighted that sales beat Wall Street expectations during an investor call Wednesday.

The holiday quarter was better than the third quarter, which saw a 27% decline in revenue, thanks in part to Black Friday. Bergh called it a “really strong year given the backdrop” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Insiders who worked with Instagram mega influencer Danielle Bernstein say she rips off fashion designers and gets away with it

Still, even as losses grow smaller, the future of jeans, or “hard pants,” is unclear as people spend more time at home and loungewear becomes more acceptable. Experts have been predicting the end of jeans as go-to casual wear since the pandemic began, in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NPR, and other outlets, noting that jean sales were already falling before the pandemic. 

Bergh and the company acknowledged that “changes look like they’re here to stay,” including “casualization,” or more loungewear. Notably, losses were greatest in Asia, at 14%, though the continent has seen the most success in batting COVID-19 and reopening. 

Levi’s calls itself the “global leader in denim by a mile” in an investor call, but that might not mean much if jeans are no longer at the top. Even the denim company itself seems to recognize and hedge for this possibility by developing other products. The Red Tab line of unisex sweat suits in muted colors aimed at Gen Z sold out in only a few weeks. 

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