What Is Loungewear?

A woman with pink hair wearing a green bralette and matching underwear, a gray sweater, and checkered socks lounges on a leather sofa

As a self-proclaimed expert in coziness and comfort, I have a very extensive array of loungewear items in my wardrobe. What is loungewear? I’m thrilled you asked! Loungewear is clothing for the days when you need to get dressed to interact with other humans but you don’t want to feel dressed. 

Slow fashion is an excellent example of how patience and care can lead to an end result that is more sustainable and durable than anything made in half the time. The same idea applies to people. Going braless and chilling in some cozy hemp pants is one physical manifestation of slowing down and prioritizing your own comfort over the “rise and grind” mindset.

Consider this post your intro guide to the art of taking it easy while still being sharp enough to take on the world. I’m going to walk you through the ins and outs of loungewear and I’ll even throw some outfit ideas your way to get you started. Let’s get right to it!


A tattooed woman wearing a green bralette, green underwear, and a red floral robe sits on a chair in a room full of bookshelves and plants

We’re tackling the million-dollar question right off the bat: what is loungewear? Loungewear, as the word itself suggests, is clothing you can wear to lounge about (bet you didn’t see that one coming). That means we can immediately say goodbye to items like jeans, bodycon dresses, blazers/ suit jackets, and all notions of “business casual.” 

What situations are best suited for loungewear? Since loungewear covers a wide array of clothing items (which we’ll discuss in detail shortly) it can be appropriate for many different scenarios. You probably shouldn’t wear loungewear to formal dinners, special events, workplaces with a strict dress code, etc. For all other casual obligations in your life, loungewear is a great option.

Dress codes exist to maintain social hierarchies and expectations. Loungewear is kind of an antithesis of that idea. It prioritizes comfort over presentation. That’s not to say that you can’t look put together while wearing loungewear. In fact, the whole point of loungewear is putting together outfits that feel good and look good enough to wear through whatever your day has planned for you. 

That said, when people think of “what is lounge wear?” they often lump it right in with stuff you can wear to bed. And yes, you can certainly wear many loungewear items to bed, but you wouldn’t necessarily consider your pajamas loungewear. Confusing? Let’s break it down a little more!


A woman wearing a gray t-shirt and green underwear lays on a bed with her arm draped across her stomach.

What is lounge wear when compared to sleepwear? The general idea is that sleepwear is only suited for bedtime while loungewear is clothing you can wear to be comfy yet productive both in and outside your house. The added allure of loungewear is that it could also work as a set of jammies in a pinch. 

For example, you might wear a pajama set or nightgown to bed. Or maybe you just sleep in panties or boxers. All those options are great for bed but aren’t things you would wear to be around other people. Loungewear, on the other hand, is clothing that is perfectly fit for both leaving your home to run errands and taking a nap. 

I think of loungewear as something I could comfortably wear to sleep in a situation where pjs might not be advisable. Camping, for example. Sweatpants and a hoodie may not be the comfiest outfit to wear to bed at home but in a situation where you’re sleeping on the ground and a nighttime bathroom break means peeing in the woods? Yes please to loungewear!


A woman wearing a black bralette and black shorts holds a green spray bottle while standing amongst many green plants

Now we can look at the specific categories that define “what is lounge wear?” and differentiate it from regular clothing. The main idea of loungewear is piecing together items of clothing to create outfits that have a sort of shapeshifting effect (aka outfits that are cozy enough for doing nothing, and appropriate enough to spontaneously leave your house to run errands).

Here’s what to look for in loungewear:

  • Fabric: Since the name of the game is comfort, natural fabrics, such as hemp fabric, are ideal for loungewear. Natural fabrics tend to be softer and more gentle on the skin. They also last longer than their synthetic counterparts, so if you fall in love with a piece, it’s more likely to last you for a long time. 

  • Fit: The idealized loungewear meaning is loose and flowy clothing or clothing that moves with your body. This means we want as few buttons, zips, hooks, and closures as possible. Pinching and squeezing any parts of your body is not allowed!

  • Convenience: It’s all about the details! Pockets, hoods, long sleeves with a hole for your thumb, and any other cozy-fying detail you can think of are all good things to look out for when picking out new loungewear.

  • Warmth: Loungewear can be worn year-round but the types of items you’ll want to wear will of course change depending on the outside temperature. Consider airy pants, hemp tank tops, and robes for the summer, and lots of cozy layering pieces for the colder months. 
A woman wearing a white t-shirt and black underwear sits in a white chair.

Now that you’ve got the answer to the question “what is loungewear?” We can break down various categories of loungewear essentials. Loungewear is all about layering so we’ll start with the intimates and move our way up into outerwear so you’ll be well-equipped to put together several different loungewear outfits!


If you’re familiar with the bralette vs bra debate, you already know that bralettes are going to be my go-to recommendation. For all my tittied folk out there, you can go ahead and burn your underwire bras because they certainly don’t fall under the category of loungewear. A soft triangle bralette is a smart choice under any t-shirt or sweater and a racerback bralette can double up as a shirt for sporty ‘fits!

If you’re familiar with the bralette vs bra debate, you already know that bralettes are going to be my go-to recommendation. For all my tittied folk out there, you can go ahead and burn your underwire bras because they certainly don’t fall under the category of loungewear. A soft triangle bralette is a smart choice under any t-shirt or sweater and a racerback bralette can double up as a shirt for sporty ‘fits!


A man wearing only black boxer briefs stands in front of tall bamboo plants.

Underwear is an essential item for any outfit but certain styles are especially useful when it comes to loungewear. When asking the question “what are lounge pants?” the answer could be a great pair of mens boxers! Of course, a pantless outfit is not the most suitable option for leaving your house in, so these types of outfits are for at-home lounging. You can always throw a pair of sweats on top of them before heading out!

Boxers are great loungewear because they’re loose and airy and offer a lot of coverage. It’s like wearing shorts, but comfier somehow. And guess what, girls wear boxers too so this style of loungewear is for everyone! Boyshorts underwear is also a great full-coverage underwear option to wear in lieu of pants. 


Idealistically, what are lounge pants? That’s your own definition to create. There are lots of great options for loungewear bottoms. Many people lean towards sweatpants as the ultimate loungewear item. Leggings and yoga pants are also popular choices.

My personal loungewear meaning is loose, airy bottoms all the way. There’s no greater feeling of comfort than pants that let your legs and crotch breathe. It’s all the fun of a skirt without the fear of accidental booty flashes. (Side note: Can you believe women weren’t wearing pants until the twentieth century?!) That said, certain skirts may also be an option for your loungewear if pants just aren’t your thing. Be sure to look for ones that offer full coverage, a comfortable range of movement, and won’t need to be adjusted all the time.


A man wearing yellow boxer briefs and a brown hoodie stands with his hands in his pocket in front of a fence and a mountain view.

Loungewear is a treasure in the colder months when getting dressed is a monumental struggle each morning. Putting on several cozy layers that you can take on or off as needed is the smartest way to survive the cold. Hoodies and sweaters are certainly S-tier loungewear items. 

Soft materials and oversize designs are ideal for loungewear. Hoodies you can pull over your head, long cardigans without zips or buttons, and anything that looks and feels like a blanket are all excellent choices.


A classic choice for a loungewear top will always be a t-shirt. Long sleeve shirts and thin sweater tops are also great options for colder months. For people looking for something a little more fun, tunics and long tops are great for pairing with leggings or flowy pants. In some scenarios, just a bra will work as a top. It all depends on what you’ve got and what type of outfit you're planning. Soft button-ups and flannels make for great loungewear tops too!


I have one essential piece of life advice for you pals: get you a robe you can wear outside. It’s the coziest game changer. Especially if you need more whimsy in your life. A good flowy robe can easily be layered on top of almost any outfit. It can also make a simple tank top and leggings moment feel a bit fabulous!


A woman with curly hair wearing a black bralette and black shorts stands in a meadow with a mountain view.

You’re equipped with the answer to “what is loungewear?” and a list of all the essential loungewear pieces so now you’re ready to put together some outfits! To help you get started, I’ve whipped up this collection of outfit ideas for when loungewear is the ideal choice. 


 A woman wearing a black bralette holds a white mug while looking out a large window.

For a casual morning or midday hang with a close friend or relation, a cozy outfit will only add to the familiar, loving energy. This is the moment to let your most comfy-chic clothing pieces shine!

  • Leggings: Simple, cozy, and booty-popping. What’s not to love about leggings?
  • Sweater or baggy shirt: Depending on the weather, dress your simple leggings up with a cool t-shirt or an adorable sweater. 
  • A bralette: If it’s summer, you can ditch the t-shirt and throw a loose button-up over a cute bralette.


A woman wearing a yellow raincoat and a man wearing a purple hoodie hold hands an walk two dogs on a rainy day.

For the days that you really don’t want to leave the house but you, unfortunately, must, an outfit that’s cozy and practical is necessary.

  • Joggers: We’re not here to impress anyone, we’re here to be as cozy as possible.
  • Hoodie: A hoodie is awesome for rainy or windy days. Pop the hood to tune the world out. 
  • Boots: Keep your toesies dry and toasty!
  • Rain jacket: A good, lightweight rain jacket is a must for anyone!


A woman wearing a green bralette and black shorts lays on her yoga mat outside under trees.

This one’s for the days when you’re on the move but movement isn’t the name of the game. Sure, this could work as an exercise outfit but the golden word is loungewear here. This outfit is for leisurely walking your dog or doing some morning yoga stretches before going to play outside!

  • Sneakers: Practical shoes for any active day!
  • Sweatpants or leggings: The ultimate sporty attire.
  • A ball cap: To protect you from the sun and elevate the sporty aesthetic.
  • A bralette or sports bra: If you use one, a comfy bra is a must for this outfit!


A woman wearing a black bralette, black underwear, and a white towel on her head leans forward with a smile

We all need a bit of pampering sometimes. Putting together a fun outfit to luxuriate in some self-care at home elevates the experience. Even if the experience is just a foot soak, a face mask, and a cup of herbal tea.

  •  A robe: This could be a fluffy bathrobe or a delicate kimono, whatever makes you happy. 
  • A headband: To keep any facial treatments out of your hair.
  • Flowy pants: Or no pants. Whatever feels the most luxe to you.


A woman sits on the floor with a laptop in a modern living room

This last loungewear ‘fitspo is perfect for all your Zoom meeting needs. A good work-from-home outfit is all business on top and party on the bottom so feel free to have the most fun with the parts of your outfit that won’t be visible. 

  • Soft button-up shirt: This will create that perfect put-together illusion for any video calls while still providing maximum comfort.
  • Your comfiest pants: You’ll be sitting on your butt all day, working, so coziness is the top priority. Wear whatever makes your booty give a happy wiggle!
  • Funky Socks: Again, everything below the belt is for you—so put on your most ridiculous socks for morale!


Man and women in underwear relax on a van bed

When it comes to the question “What is loungewear?” The definition is really what you make it. As you can see, there are a ton of different clothing items that fall under the category of loungewear. What you define as the perfect loungewear fit will rely entirely on your own preferences.

Are you a big enthusiast of loungewear? Or are you willing to give it a try now that you know the ins and outs? I’m curious to know so share your thoughts in the comments!

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