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The Allure of Purposeful Sleepwear

What Are You Wearing to Bed?

We’re all more casual dressers than we used to be. The pandemic has generated a world of possibilities in virtual office communications with home employment for so many that it negates the need to be dressed formally.

And if we’re not dressing up for the office, and formal social occasions are sporadic and subject to month by month consideration, it only stands to reason that the place where we’re usually most casual has really gone to comfort over all else.

I’m talking about sleepwear.

Ssh! We’re going to get rather personal this week. Grab a demitasse of tea, lean in, and let’s have a chat about what to wear to bed.

Vintage Hollywood starlet in silk pajamas.

Styles change from decade to decade, spanning centuries of sleepwear traditions among men and women. What I love about 2022 is the amount of choice we have when selecting what to wear. To begin with…

First and foremost, whatever you wear the fabric must feel wonderful against your skin. The most iconic natural fibers are cotton and silk, with plenty of synthetics like polyester, nylon, acrylic, and spandex as possible alternatives. While silk is the grand dame of them all, the rest provide different levels of the pleasurable touch factor all the same.

For me, it’s the glamour of old Hollywood movies that makes me pine for more formal sleepwear. If you are what you wear I’d like to emulate the woman above in her silk pajamas. It’s time to ditch the sweatpants and t-shirt!

If you could have nighttime fashion created to reveal your soul’s personality what type of design would suit you best?

Perhaps a full length robe made of cobalt blue brocade, lined with minky faux fur inside? Or the softest cotton pajama set in crimson you’ve ever worn? For those who run on the warm side there are shorts and lightweight t-shirt sets featuring patterns that range from stripes to animal print to paisley.

Make it something you could lounge around the house in, not just sleep in. These pieces deserve better than to be reserved for the boudoir only! You don’t have to take it as far as they did in 1930s-40s Hollywood when, for a spell, they wore pajamas as outdoor fashion. As in “strolling-down-the-boulevard-in” fashion. I think we’re past those days. But do be intentional.

Vintage sleepwear, 1920s.

There’s so much that goes into the construction of sleepwear. Design is as crucial as fabric, as is fabric layout and stitching. It all matters.

Take silk as a fiber choice. Fibers are one thing but what they get turned into makes all the difference in the world. There’s wild silk, silk chiffon, silk charmeuse, dupioni, and organza just to name a few textiles. A pair of silk charmeuse pajamas is going to have excellent drape as will a bit of ethereal chiffon or the wispy organza. Dupioni does not but softens incredibly over time.

Cotton will be your next softest fiber, with polyester after it. Polyester has come a long way since its early uniform uses in the 1970s. Nylon is quite slinky due to its composition — it’s made primarily from petrochemicals. Nylon and Spandex get paired together frequently and can be fun. Typically you get a brightly dyed textile and, by its very nature, it moves well with the body from the stretch of the Spandex.

If we’re talking women’s lingerie, it’s all about the French seam and bias cut. While straight of grain or cross grain cuts are most often used for clothing, one area of fashion where the bias cut works tremendously well is with lingerie. This type of cut helps fabric cling to the body as it drapes top to bottom. And French seams finish edges beautifully, particularly on sheer fabrics.

Plus, there are fun accoutrements to match like satin light blocking eye masks, or ear plugs with tiny tassels at the tips, hair wraps, furry slippers and socks…

Don’t be ordinary. Demand your nightwear have personality to it.

There are all sorts of other unmentionables that I haven’t…mentioned…here. I know that you can imagine them! Go wild. Be sexy, sophisticated, vintage, a lounge-about girl or guy, live out loud in your fashion.

Until next time~

Yours truly,

Vivie V.

Vivie V. is a fashion enthusiast from Chicago with a penchant for handmade and vintage pieces. She holds a B.A. from Columbia College, where her passion for the creative arts was heavily cultivated. When she’s not blogging for Tailor Village she’s concocting DIY fragrances, making her own clothes, and running her consultancy, Vivie V.’s Adorn Yourself.

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