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Business casual is a stretch.
Work attire has become loose-fitting loungewear, leggings and stretchy pants cinched with elastic waistlines as more Americans seek out cozy clothing in which to work from home during self-quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Loungewear is outpacing other styles currently,” a spokesperson for Gap told FOX Business on Tuesday, adding that the top three best-selling styles from GapBody online are women’s joggers, wide-legged pants and leggings.
“We are seeing that the common thread between these silhouettes is the super-soft, jersey knit fabrication, Modal. For men’s lounge, we are seeing great success within our jersey pant program and our Vintage sweats assortment,” the spokesperson added.
As retailers remain closed amid the coronavirus outbreak, some have experienced a surge in demand for athleisure wear. The number of sold-out tracksuits rose from 36 percent from Jan. 1 through March 16, compared with the same time period a year ago, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from Edited, which tracks more than two billion items on retailer websites in the U.S. and U.K.
The number of sold-out sweatpants, meanwhile, is up 39 percent and the number of bathrobes that are out of stock went up 29 percent, according to the Journal.
Athleta, which sells women’s activewear, has also seen an uptick in consumers shopping for athleisure wear.
“We have seen our customers looking for more ‘work from home’ styles," Sarah Wallis, Athleta vice president and general manager of e-commerce, said in an email. "We’ve specifically seen a rise in popularity among a handful of our jogger styles that provide her with a polished look, while still getting the comfort and stretch that she expects when looking for relaxed loungewear that she can wear at home.”
And shoppers aren’t just splurging on basic black leggings. Wallis says there’s been a surge for orders for printed styles like a camo-print jogger.
And while customers flock to Reese Witherspoon's brick-and-mortar Nashville-based clothing store destination Draper James when it's open for business, the clothing company says it saw a 1,255 percent increase in loungewear unit sales online, in addition to its polished yet comfortable crewneck gingham sweatshirt between the week of March 8 and the week of March 15.
Some legging retailers like Girlfriend Collective are pushing promotions that offer customers the option to try on styles for free for up to 30 days and then return them if they’re not satisfied.
Seattle-based Sam Parker Storino, 29, said she wanted something comfortable and practical to wear around her house and to walk her dog while self quarantining, so she invested around $120 for two new pairs of high-rise leggings from the brand in bright colors like orange and blue.
"It's nice to wear something comfortable and not feel like a bum. Not that anyone will see me," she quipped.