Distinction
Elegant Living on Long Island
Sophisticated Style....relaxing the dress code, by Marialisa Arnold


"The casual looks in Susan Dunn's spa wear collection epitomize relaxed elegance. The Sante Fe collection's classic shirt with drawstring pant in textured plaid gauze (left) is perfect to be worn to a poolside luncheon. The Zen collection's long-sleeve tee with drawstring pant (center) in a sueded two-tone flatback rib looks polished in lilac/charcoal. This white hooded crop top with knit drawstring pant in textured plaid gauze and baby French terry is a sportier look from the Sante Fe collection.

Women want to be comfortable when they're relaxing at home. Usually, that means exchanging the tight, constricting clothing of the day for looser, softer-feeling clothing that is more forgiving on the body. There was a time when just about the only casual clothing available was a sweat suit...and that presented a problem. Very few women felt comfortable wearing "sweats" in public, realizing that as comfy as they are, sweat suits are not particularly flattering.

Fortunately, those fleece-lined favorites are now being relegated to the activity for which they were originally intended-working out. In their place, loungewear (also known as "stay-at-home wear," "lifestyle wear" and, in some cases, "spawear") is meeting the needs of women who are no longer satisfied with athletic apparel and sportswear. Loungewear is fast -becoming a wardrobe alternative, offering comfort without sacrificing style.

Consumers are beginning to agree that how they dress should not contribute to the stress of life but should help to alleviate it. Designer and CEO Susan Dunn, of Susan Dunn(, Inc., decided to design and manufacture spa wear that is "lifestyle prompted." To define the clothing category, "we used the word 'SPA' because of the relaxing images it evokes," explained Dunn. "My Casual Sport & Spawear uses fine fabrications like pima cotton to create sophisticated relaxing clothing."

Loungewear is meant to be worn at home to do all the things we do there-work, entertain, relax-comfortably. What makes it modern is that there is no double standard. What looks great and is acceptable at home still looks just right outside of it. Today's charming silk pajama top can be tomorrow's shirt. Those gauze separates that entertain on the patio, can just as easily step out for a casual dinner. And that dramatic cashmere top, with all its slouchy luxury, could easily board the Concorde without the slightest qualm. Just imagine the possibilities.