Why loungewear isn’t just for lounging

Oliver Spencer has always made loungewear. Now he is learning just how versatile it is

Style 5 May 2020

Oliver Spencer House Sweat Harris in teal green, £110
Oliver Spencer Half Zip Sweat Milner in grey, £149
Oliver Spencer Clemson Crew Yale sweatshirt in red, £119

Fashion designer Oliver Spencer is also a committed life-long sailor and found himself on the Isle of Wight, where he has a home, when lockdown was declared.

‘I’ve been here for six weeks now,’ he explains, ‘and I consider myself very lucky as I have a garden to run around in with the kids.’ Interestingly, he has also been running his business remotely, which has made him think in a whole new way about the loungewear that forms a significant part of his collection.

‘If you’re spending time at home in this way, you want to be comfortable, of course, but you also want to look presentable on those video calls. I’ve realised that we have a number of pieces in the collection that seem to have been made just for a situation like this.’

Oliver Spencer Lounge Jacket Birch in navy, £249
Oliver Spencer Lounge Jacket Birch in navy, £249

His personal favourite is a zip-up top that he says he basically lives in: the Half Zip Sweat Milner in grey, beige or midnight blue. ‘I don’t even want to put it into the laundry, as I just want to wear it,’ he explains. ‘It’s perfect to sit at home in – you just put a T-shirt underneath it and you look totally respectable, but you’re really comfortable too.’

Also recommended is the Lounge Jacket Birch in navy: ‘The most comfortable jacket you’ll ever wear on account of its deconstructed design and the softness and natural stretch of its textured jersey fabric.’ And then there’s the 100% organic cotton House Sweat Harris ‘the most versatile piece in your wardrobe’, which comes in a range of colours, and the Clemson Crew Yale sweatshirt in red or navy, which is in a two-colour stripe cotton jersey: ‘It’s a bit different because it has a contrast colour ecru ribbed collar, hem and cuff.’ To finish it off, there’s the Slim Fit Jogger Milner in midnight-blue jersey, a straight-legged jogging pant in 100% Supima cotton with drawstring, side pockets, rear pocket and cuffed ankles.

Oliver Spencer House Sweat Harris in pale pink, £110
Oliver Spencer House Sweat Harris in pale pink, £110

Strangely, it sounds like Oliver Spencer has a whole mini-focus group going on down there on the Isle of Wight. ‘I have two mates who were down here with me and they have never left! One got his whole Bloomberg terminal system packed up and shipped down here. He sits on the top floor and trades all day. In my loungewear.’

Spencer and his family and friends might be hunkering down in comfort for the duration of isolation, but the designer is mindful of the challenges facing the country at the moment. Oliver Spencer has a long-standing relationship with Shine Cancer Support. ‘It’s a great charity that works to improve the lives of young cancer sufferers and their families, and while we absolutely appreciate the damage to lives that Covid-19 is causing, we also feel that we should support Shine now more than ever. So for the rest of the quarantine period, we are pledging 10 per cent of all sales to Shine Cancer Support.’