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Loungewear is here to stay

By MARBBIE TAGABUCBA, The Philippine Star Published Aug 20, 2021 6:00 am

Karl Lagerfeld once lambasted wearing sweats as “a sign of defeat,” of losing “control of your life.” Of course, it was a very different world back when the late fashion designer said this in 2013.

Today, for those working-from-home and/or working out-from-home, the new breed of loungewear is our uniform of fortitude. But it’s not like the loungewear that Karl spoke of — the difference is in weather-appropriate fabrications, a more tailored, gender-fluid fit and form, and a palette that doubles as color therapy. It’s not like a gym class uniform, but there are no Swarovski-studded bums, either.

Things may never go back to the normal we knew of before — and even when we start going out and dressing to the nines again, if there’s one thing we learned from coming to terms with blurred work-life boundaries and relinquishing control to the forces that be, we will not part with looking after our well-being.

The founders of Filipino brand Recess have been collaborating from different parts of the world to create something that they wish existed, and the need to dress for the fluidity required in our lives these days is consistent, which is what the second collection Flexwear is about.

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Top of mind is the phrase “Comfort with versatility,” Anne Curtis-Smith tells YStyle. “With my current lifestyle at the moment, being able to pop on anything without having to really think is so important for me. So with Flexwear, no matter where I’m going or what I’m doing, I'm at ease knowing that whatever I throw on, I’ll look cute but still feel comfy enough to move around, work out, play or just simply lounge in.”

Looking at the collection, modular, active-to-lounge pieces in a harmonious palette seem to be the answer.

“Our 100-percent cotton loungewear was a big priority in this collection. It's something that allowed us to materially expand what we believe in as a brand, which is that we make stuff you wear when you need to be good to you — lounging included,” says Paulina Paige Ortega. “While a lot of our ‘active’ pieces were designed to accommodate lounges, too,” epitomized by the supportive Ladies Who Lounge bra that provides ample compression in buttery soft fabrication.

About the Comfort Zone loungewear, Paulina continues, “These new sweats have different materiality and a much more relaxed fit. They've really become our WFH and workout-from-home uniforms over the pandemic and we're so excited to share it with everyone else!”

Roxanne Farillas says, “You can mix and match both the active and lounge pieces. Not only are the pieces very comfortable, they make you feel and look put-together, too. I can just throw on the Comfort Zone pullover right before my Zoom meeting and, just like that, I'm video-call ready! Another thing I love about our new lounge pieces is that the fabric, which is 100-percent cotton terry, is extremely lightweight and breathable — really perfect for the weather in the Philippines.” For bottoms, both shorts and pants come in active and lounge fabrics.

For something more active, Isabelle Daza-Semblat singles out the Personal Best+ Legging. “I wanted something with high compression,” she says. For everything else, she recommends “The Comfort Zone pullover and shorts, and the Do-Everything shorts. I live in them. They are a staple in my closet, even at home.”

Which priorities informed Flexwear? We caught up with the Recess founders to find out, decked out in the latest collection.

Paulina Paige Ortega

What do you make time for — and why?

Recess... from Recess. Seriously though, the idea of "Recess" is something I've absolutely learned to make time for.

As someone who is naturally inclined to be hyper-productive and always switched on, I've really learned over the years to take active steps to switch off. Whether it's for fun things like swimming or cocktails, quiet stuff like meditation, challenging activities like Pilates, or social things like calling friends (I'm in lockdown in Sydney, too), these are moments that allow me to recharge.

  Pauline Paige Ortega

What does a day in your life look like these days?

Lots of time on Slack and Google Meets. And lots of time outdoors going for runs or long walks in the park. We're in our strictest lockdown ever in Sydney right now, so safely getting whatever slice of the outdoors I can has been a saving grace.

Roxanne Farillas

What do you make time for — and why?

I am a firm believer in the work-life balance because it helps you prioritize your time by managing your personal and career fulfillment. No matter how busy I get, I try to make it a point to “recess” or have short breaks in between my meetings and recharge so I don’t get burnt out.

Given the current situation, self-care and self-love have never been more important so I make it a point to find ways of taking care of not just my physical health but also my mental health. And I’m also glad that I get to do these activities with my family.

    Roxanne Farillas

What does a day in your life look like these days?

Sometimes we think that the pandemic will slow us down, but apparently it forces us to exert more effort in adapting to the constant changes that we are currently living in. These days I have been busier due to more demands at work. Especially now that everyone’s struggling, I always need to think about what's next. Not just for me or the brand, but also for the people that I work with.

As part of having this work-life balance, I start my day with a workout to give myself the energy and endorphins that I will need to last the whole day. Afterwards, I go on with my work schedule — meetings, planning, etc. At the end of the day, I try to spend quality time with my family by having our daily conversations over dinner or indulging ourselves in TV shows or movies on Netflix. Of course, after a long day, we all deserve to relax and feel better.

Anne Curtis-Smith

What do you make time for — and why?

Aside from making more time to keep in touch with friends and family since we can’t physically see and be with them, I take time for myself. I enjoy little pockets of me time at night to just simply be — whether it be reading a book, scrolling on my phone, enjoying a cup of tea, taking some extra time to complete my skin care routine or binge-watching a series. I think it’s good to show yourself some TLC.

    Anne Curtis Smith

What does a day in your life look like these days?

My whole day is pretty much about Dahlia but I do have more time now to focus on my businesses and some mini shoots here and there. But most of the time, it’s at home, being a mum.

Isabelle Daza-Semblat

What do you make time for — and why?

Usually my workout but recently it's been spending time outdoors. I just feel so much better when I break a sweat!

    Isabel Daza-Semblat

What does a day in your life look like these days?

I've been in France since July with my two kids and my husband. We're spending time in the French Alps. So a typical day here would be: wake up at 7 a.m., breastfeed, and attend meetings in Manila. Meanwhile, Adrien will go to the bakery, pick up some fresh bread with Balthazar and have breakfast all together at 9 a.m.

If I have a busy day, which is usually on Monday, Thursday and Friday, I'll be on a call while eating because I'm not technically “on vacation.” Then get the kids dressed. I will answer emails and do some work. We try to leave at 11 a.m. and do a kid-friendly activity like a hike or walk to a playground, an outdoor theme park. Then lunch. And then put the kids down for a nap at 2 to 4 p.m. at which time I can really work and attend calls, do my life admin stuff, errands, and lurk on Instagram. At 5 p.m., we either do groceries or another activity outdoors, and by 6:30 p.m., I have to be cooking dinner ‘cause we're hungry!

I try to get Baltie and Valentin down by 8 p.m. so Adrien and I have time for ourselves, but it doesn't happen. Then I wake up like four times a night to breastfeed, so I'm a zombie.

Flexwear by Recess is now available from P1,698 to P2,398 at