Fashion has had to take a back seat now that we’re mostly staying indoors. So for those used to shopping contemporary labels, wearing elevated loungewear feels like a go-to transition, as seen in brands Halohalo, Carl Jan Cruz, Support Your Friends, Trude Lizares, and For Keeps the Label.
For a pambahay, anything above ₱500 seems ludicrous – after all, most of us consider almost-castoffs as our ideal clothing at home (the older the better, because that means the fabric has softened from years of wash and wear), but with limited options to express ourselves sartorially, many younger customers have turned to designers who have created pieces for our long days at home.
There’s an increased interest in pambahay, shares Lazada Country Chief Marketing Officer Neil Trinidad in a call with CNN Philippines Life. “It’s all reflective of this change that we now have that we’re at home,” he says. “What we’re buying is really changing based on our situation.”
The rise of at-home wear has brought shifts in the high fashion world. In the U.S., a survey by market research group CivicScience showed that one in five adults have purchased loungewear or leisurewear since the pandemic began. Searches for sweatpants started spiking starting mid-march, according to Lyst (spot this image of Vogue editor-in-chief in joggers) and even the world’s biggest boy group BTS reflect the fashion world’s loungewear moment in their “Life Goes On” video.
Here at home, local designers have paid more attention to the demands of comfort, and customers altered what they considered to be for home use. Out emerged a new type of homewear, certainly more expensive than the usual pambahay price point, but ideal for lounging and looking put together.
Who can imagine a wardrobe without a daster, sando, T-shirt, shorts, or wrap? CNN Philippines Life spoke to a crop of designers who directly work on pattern-making — converting design ideas to standardized cutting and sewing guides for actual apparel — for new takes on loungewear.
The daster — as it’s known today — comes from the duster, a long overcoat originally used by horse riders to protect clothing from dust. Over the years, the usage of the duster changed. It was worn as a cover-up for motorists in the 1900s and as a housekeeping smock by housewives in the 1950s. Eventually, it became as many Filipinos recognize it: a loose slip-on dress suitable for various tasks, from household chores to a T.V. series binge.
Halohalo’s Dalaga dress wasn’t originally necessarily for lounging. In actuality, founders and siblings Cara Sumabat-Limjap and Rocco Sumabat designed it as a companion to their existing bags and homeware. The dress even shares physical similarities with their popular Bulsa bags, such as the thin straps and square neckline. Staying true to the Bulsa bag’s name, it also sports pockets. All these details add to its functionality and convenience.
“Everything that we make has that feeling of comfort,” says Sumabat-Limjap. “You know, something that you’ll always run toward.”
Indeed, the Dalaga dress is already something customers incorporate in their daily rotation. On their Instagram page, tagged photos show girls wearing the dress at home, the beach, and small familial celebrations. Wherever it makes them happy, the Sumabat siblings say.
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In the country’s warm and humid weather, sleeves aren’t always pleasant. Every Filipino needs a sleeveless tank to endure the heat, and that’s the reason many own a sando. The airy top is the perfect article of clothing for anything casual — workouts, family inumans, or computer gaming. However, it’s also worn to dressier occasions as an undershirt, providing an extra layer below thin formal shirts.
For their Pambahay collection, the brand incorporated small but significant details to elevate common clothing styles. Their Sanda, although similar to the everyday tank, sports a tighter fit and figure-accentuating cut. “It covers the whole torso but still has that feminine touch to it,” shares the brand’s Senior 3D Designer, Ian Mercado.
The CJC team designed the Sanda to be worn wherever, whenever, and however. The top not only looks great paired with any bottom, but it can also be used reversed or inside out. With this piece, the only limit is one’s creativity.
The humble T-shirt is the king of casual clothing. The short-sleeved stretchy top doesn’t reveal too much, but it also isn’t stuffy — making it comfortable to wear both indoors and outdoors. Not to mention, one can always dress it up or down. Pair a tee with cotton shorts, and it’s considered pantulog. Slip-on some chinos, and the T-shirt is ready for a trip to the mall for an essentials run.
Support Your Friends founders Ralph Cruz, Randell Cruz, and Anna Bautista believe the t-shirt to be two things. One: it is a human necessity. Two: it is a canvas for sharing messages.
Queue the Great Indoors Tee. The top is specially patterned to suit the tropical climate, with chest allowance to push-and-pull the shirt to create, as Randell Cruz calls it, a “body fan.” Designed with common home-based activities such as gaming, drawing, and reading, it is also a nod to today’s times of isolation. The graphics relay something more profound, which is the endurance of productivity and creativity indoors.
“The Great Indoors tee was inspired by the people who constantly looked for self-improvement.” shares the SYF founders. “The ones that stayed creative and busy.”
How one wears the tee also sends a message, the trio say. One is free to wear SYF tops in any way they wish as this “speaks volumes about who you are and what you represent.”
Wraps are the best solution for extra coverage. When it’s a tad too chilly, they can block out the cold. When some guests are over, they can be used to cover up some skin. Wraps are usually worn like a jacket or wrapped around the body, so they can quickly be layered onto any outfit.
Trude Lizares initially designed her Julia Kimono to be worn as an accent, an article of clothing used to add a “pop” to an outfit. The linen robe is a bit more tailored than the usual, perfectly pressed with a straight cut and wide sleeves.
Due to the lockdowns and quarantine, her customers started to wear the robes at home. Lizares herself prefers to wear her robes first thing in the morning, when she goes downstairs to eat her breakfast.
In styling the robes, Lizares thinks a customer should let their personal sense of style guide them. When or how they use the robes is completely up to their schedules and preferences. “If you want to wear it out at night, you can wear them with your stilettos or fancy sandals,” she shares. “If you want to wear them to the beach, you can wear them with Birks — or even barefoot!”
In a Filipino household, shorts are the obvious pairing to any top. Cut above the knee, they are climate-friendly and slip on easily. They are also quite versatile, coming in many fabrics and sporting various closures. For these reasons, people wear them to various casual events. Whether one plans to stay home or take an afternoon stroll, they probably own shorts for the occasion.
In designing For Keeps the Label’s Essential Shorts, founder Renice Uy considered both form and function. The french-terry shorts fit loosely but come with hidden drawstrings to ensure the perfect it. They are comfortable without compromising a form-fitting silhouette.
“I design my pieces in a way that they are comfortable yet flattering and stylish,” says Uy. “My current products are considered loungewear but you can definitely go out in them as well without feeling too underdressed.”
Customers of the label regularly take to social media to show just how multi-functional these shorts are. They’re seen on TikTok dance videos and Instagram vacation pictures, usually paired with tanks, sports bras, or bikini tops.