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Article: Why the Poet is the perfect utilitarian wardrobe staple

Why the Poet is the perfect utilitarian wardrobe staple

Why the Poet is the perfect utilitarian wardrobe staple

A do-it-all, every occasion, sleep-to-soiree, comfy yet luxe staple? Yes please!

If there was one product to sum up all that I love and what is important to me about Bedtonic, it would have to be the Poet’s Tunic. This loungewear hero sounds too good to be true, but there are many great reasons it has been our best seller for 8 years now. It deserves its own story time here on the blog so tuck yourself in! 

Poet's Tunic
Alicia Kapel - Mother's Day

Alicia Kapel and her little love for Mother's Day.

Let me take you back to where this journey all began for a moment…

For my 50th birthday we went on a cruise to the Caribbean, then onto New York City for a white Christmas, as you do. The cruise departed from Miami where we stayed in the most beautiful art deco hotel, the rooms dressed with linen bedding (yes, I fell in love). In a nutshell, upon our return Bedtonic was born. Initially we offered three linen sheet colours and three reversible duvet colours (Did you know we were the first to do reversible covers? I figured, why not have two colours for the price of one and mix up your room in a flip? More on this later…)

Back to NYC! I adored the city. I spent many a day and dollar shopping, wandering up and down Saks Fifth Avenue and admiring Macy’s window displays. Somewhere along the way, I purchased two linen cotton mix shirts in a simple style with a scoop bottom. AND it came in an XL which was a bonus for my shape! Coming from our Western Australian summer, we weren't really prepared for the notorious winters in New York - I wore these new shirts over LOTS of layers. But when I got home, these tunics paired with cropped jeans quickly became my daily uniform.

In NYC with the family and THE shirt inspiration
Out and about in NYC in THE shirt

Out and about in NYC with THE shirt inspiration.

Many of my favourite brands at the time weren’t available in my size, so my choice of clothing was limited. Typically, larger sizes were designed in garish colourways with synthetic fabrics. Online shopping wasn’t what it is now. Since I refused to buy from bigger department stores where clothes aren’t made to last….you can tell where I’m going with this!

The Poet’s Tunic is born

The Poet's Tunic in mid length

Moving ahead, Bedtonic was launched in 2016. Soon after our linen bedding sales were tracking along, my customers (still loyal to this day) asked me if I would ever do pyjamas or robes. I saw the competition making robes and pjs, including my peers in bedding. But what I did know from visiting our makers was that if pyjamas were being made for bedding brands from linen, so could my tunic. I decided to sample my well worn, NYC-bought shirt design. 

Now it might not seem that long ago, but Pre-Covid, ‘loungewear’ wasn’t trending like it is now. There were pyjamas, and there were clothes. I was beginning to think that perhaps our tunic could close this gap as a multi purpose hero - a piece that was comfortable and convenient but could take you from home to morning beach walks, onto the markets and then out to lunch. That’s the beauty of utilitarian dressing which I favour over frocks and frills! It embodies a certain practical effortlessness and with the incorporation of pockets, earthy palettes and industrial style seam finishes gives it a style of its own - both cool and timeless.

Those close to me know I love to sleep, and I’m not afraid to admit that this very busy and creative mind needs the odd afternoon nap (wink)! Over cups of tea and no doubt wine, my friends came to try the tunic sample. With some edits, I designed a mock-up to make it our very own wear-it-everywhere loungewear piece. We changed the base shape to a square and I added cuffs to the base, neck and sleeves - one size, no fuss, and in two lengths (mid-length and long). The tunic was offered in two colours, the indigo and denim chambray to start, followed soon by dark charcoal. We called it the Poet’s Tunic.

Upon launching, we made 90% of our first sales online - and still do. Every Saturday we ventured to the Subiaco Farmers markets where we gathered quite a tribe of Poets-obsessed tunic lovers. The Fremantle Bazaar at the Arts Centre also saw our tribe grow. Stories started flowing in from everywhere sharing love for the Poet’s Tunic - women wearing it gardening, to bed, travelling and dropping the kids off at school (looking fully dressed)! I had a last minute call from a footballers wife desperate to wear one down south to find a spot for her wedding - she picked it up from my doorstep that night! Reports came through of the Poet spotted travelling in Dubai, to our joy. It was obvious that we had created something special in the Poet’s Tunic, for everyone. 

The Poet in NSW
In the early days of Bedtonic, our bedding had been featured a couple of times in the Sunday Times Homes. Then editor Sandra, was obsessed with her long length Poet’s Tunic, often wearing it belted to work. One morning she pitched the story to her chief editor: a story on the perfect garment - one size, made of sustainable linen, wear it to school drop off, a coffee meeting and on to a board meeting! He scoffed at the idea, but Sandra was persistent. We organised to meet a photographer, grabbed a model and set up down an alleyway in Subiaco. The story was featured on page 7 the following Sunday and we sold out. 77 garments in one day! It was such a thrill. 

My Mollie with her Poet. 

Reeling on 8 years, the Poet's Tunic has now been made in over 20 colours, and loved by many who boast they have up to 7 in their wardrobe still going strong. When the tunics are really well worn, they may be relegated to baking, gardening and painting, but that's the beauty of these multi-use pieces. They are so well made - just as durable and well constructed as a boilersuit from the 70's. This is exactly why I am so particular about our standards for seams - either French or at the least, flat-felled wherever possible to give our garments years more life, not just seasons. My motto - buy less and choose well - is certainly realised in our beautiful Poet's Tunic.

Our perfect utilitarian piece means that whether you pair it with the slouch pants or modal layers, or throw on a Shepherds Jacket while the season shifts from Autumn to Winter, you’ll know that you look good as well as ready for anything your day brings.

What colourway has been your favourite in years gone by? And what would you like to see in our signature style in the years to come?

Don't forget we have gift cards available for the special women in your life this Mother's Day (and any day in between!).

Thanks for coming along for the journey,

Julie x

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