If there’s one thing we’re taking from life in isolation it’s that comfort reigns supreme. When you’re working from home, lolling about in your living room, or doing laps around the neighborhood, you need elevated basics. You might have a few staples in your wardrobe already, and if we were to take a guess they’re probably the first thing you reach for and the last to be laundered. That perfect T-shirt that drapes across your body with the right amount of heft and softness. Those sweatpants that don’t look dumpy but aren’t too form-fitting. The shorts that double as sleepwear and loungewear—hell, maybe even activewear if the mood strikes.
Point is, you need stylish pieces that are easy to mix and match and a league above the variety pack from big-box retail stores (not to say you shouldn’t buy your tees where you buy your bulk goods, but…).
Below, we’ve rounded up the brands that have perfected loungewear basics.
1. Afterschool Projects
If you’ve always wanted to pull off the laidback California vibe, Los Angeles-based ASP is giving you the perfect chance. The brand’s lineup of apparel is fresh and effortless (think: boxy tie-dye tees, French terry crewneck sweatshirts, and cotton twill utility pants and shorts). Each shines alone, but together (think of it as painting by numbers) they make an ensemble that oozes cool. We especially love the attention to detail like discrete trio mascot embroidery, hidden keychain loop in pockets, and local small-batch dyeing.
2. Aimé Leon Dore
New York City street style can often be a blackout, but this boutique menswear brand (which doubles as a cafe) injects a healthy dose of color. It straddles the line between preppy and sporty, regularly bringing color blocking and bold patterns to bowling shirts, cardigans, and shorts. For pared-down basics, check out the Uniform collection. Shop among simple French terry sweatshirts with rib-knit cuffs, combed jersey T-shirts with tonal embroidered logos, and baseball hats with a shallow crown and adjustable back tab with metal closure.
3. Richer Poorer
Richer Poorer’s ethos (“somewhere in between the highs and lows”) is all about that middle ground. The brand’s Cali roots, forward-thinking stance on sustainability, and breezy styling make it a stellar choice for elevated basics. In fact, the perfect T-shirt does exist, and it’s affordable too. Peep the Relaxed Tee: The cotton short-sleeve is pigment dyed (the Mirage Wash is actually applied by hand) and features dropped shoulder seams and an oversized neck rib. It cloaks your chest and arms without being baggy. Shop Everyday Essentials for RP’s core pillars: soft fleece hoodies and sweats, baseball henleys, and smart-casual micro French terry trousers.
4. Alma de Ace
Born and bred in London with a decidedly 90s flair, Alma de Ace is like the cooler older brother you always tried to emulate. The brand drops capsules throughout the year in limited quantities to reduce waste, introducing retro fits and styling to everyday basics like hoodies and sweatshirts, T-shirts, shorts, and even socks. With the combination of punchy color blocking, sporty striping, and variety of styles (mock neck, funnel neck, crew neck etc.), exercising shopping restraint will be a struggle.
Who says a pair of sweats can’t be refined? Amiss Conception exclusively offers knitwear—distinguished knitwear at that. Here you’ll find cashmere-blend cardigans, joggers, crewnecks, polos, and shorts made in Italy. There are plenty of neutrals, but also unexpected colorways like Cosmo (cotton candy pink), Tortilla (camel brown), and Yolk (sunny yellow).
Oh, you didn’t know “softwear” was a thing? Nicelaundry’s the pioneer in crafting whisper-light loungewear you’ll want to live in. Its boxer briefs/boxers, Lounge Short, and Lounge Pant are best sellers for a reason. Forget the mesh basketball shorts of your youth. These nylon mesh shorts have four-way stretch plus a micromodal interior—fabric that’s as sumptuous as silk but breathes like cotton.
Developed in Sweden and constructed in Europe, CDLP is all about introducing materials of the future into basics for the now. Direct yourself to the underwear. You’ll find all matter of trunks, Y-briefs, long johns, and boxer briefs crafted from lyocell, a sustainable fabric made from eucalyptus trees. T-shirts are a blend of lyocell and pima cotton for a bit more texture.
Lulu’s a household name because they make damn-good activewear and basics. A tapered jogger made from French terry fabric that doesn’t trap heat, restrict movement, or lose its shape? Bury us in it. Might we suggest pairing it with one of their basic tees. With tech that resists stink, wear and tear, and excess moisture, this is the hallmark of basics made better.
A go-to for travel near and far, Olivers delivers sturdy-yet-sharp essentials. The LA brand makes clothes for the guy who wants to bike commute to his favorite coffee shop, crush a workout then saunter to a sandwich shop, or laze on the sofa (sometimes all day). Shop the brand’s Bundles (bigger bang for your buck) to nab perfectly paired sets geared toward commuting/travel, comfort, training, and more.
Standouts include: Classic Bundle: Classic Hoodie and Sweatpants ($266)
With an origins story from a garage in Oceanside, California, Brixton supplies adventurers and the creative set with a bevy of hats, accessories, and clothing. Browse the Premium Basics for subdued separates and Brixton x BB Bastidas Capsule Collection for colorful graphics (some pieces include a crystal wash, graphic eye motif, and whimsical prints from the artist).
11. Reigning Champ
Athleticwear you want to wear everywhere. That’s what you get with Reigning Champ. These simple, stylish basics are monochromatic, durable, and take inspiration from boxing basics. If you want cozy everyday pieces, check out the Core collection. Want elite apparel that won’t just motivate you to beat a personal best but help you conquer it? Go for Performance.
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