You may have noticed sleepwear has been stealthily making its way out of the bedroom, out of the living room and onto the streets lately. It’s no longer confined to the domains of sleep, working from home (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about) and hungover Sundays on the sofa.
Sleepwear has become the new normal, whether you wear it as co-ordinate pieces or you go “full-pyjama.” And when I saw the recent sleepwear collaboration between the coolest woman on earth (Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine) with the most iconic print and fabric designer in the world (Liberty, natch), I embraced it whole-heartedly.
So if you like the idea of the sleepwear look, but are a little hesitant to try it, read on for seven tips on how to master it with style.
Sleepwear for me epitomises that louche and sexy style of the 1920s when Coco Chanel first introduced the concept of pyjamas as day and evening wear. Today’s styles have updated that original look with heavenly prints, slinky silhouettes and styling tricks to make it all so relevant.
Go for silk rather than cotton
Silk is the far more luxe fabric compared to cotton, and more importantly, falls so much better than cotton. It’s sleeker and more polished, which is vital when you’re wearing sleepwear as outerwear.
This is particularly relevant when you are going “full pyjama” (i.e. you’re wearing pyjama top and bottoms in the one look). To make sure it looks like a deliberate choice and not like you’ve just rolled out of bed, high heels are the best option feet-wise. The best shoes to team with your PJs are open toe with an ankle strap. There’s something about the combination of delicate footwear with silky pyjamas that make them just just the right amount of louche, sexy and polished.
Wear your pjs as co-ordinates
If you’re still not convinced of sleepwear as outerwear, ease into it by co-ordinating them into your look with other pieces.
The pyjama top works well tucked into jeans, with sleeves pushed up, tied in a knot with a skirt, or over a sharp leather pencil skirt. Treat and style your pyjama top as you would a silk shirt. You’ll get far more mileage out of it than just bedroom to living room.
The same goes for robes. I have long been a fan of the kimono or robe over my streetwear. The key is to keep it simple underneath. Let the robe (especially one as divinely ornate at the one I’m pictured in here) do all the talking.
Silk is a surprisingly warm fabric so the silky sleepwear look will last well into the winter. So in the colder months I’ll wear my pyjamas and cami-slip dress under an oversize cashmere jumper, or under sleek outerwear like a fluffy faux fur coat or sharp tailored overcoat.
remain wrinkle free
To maintain that deliberate, polished look to your sleepwear, avoid fabrics that wrinkle. This is where silk comes in, as it is less prone to wrinkle than cotton.
accessorise your sleepwear
Pulling it off comes down to accessories. Because the pyjama or nightdress silhouette is a casual and relaxed one, dress it up with sparkly necklaces and chandelier earrings. Perfect come party season.
always wear your sense of humour
The key to getting away with this look is to take your sense of humour with you. There will always be some smart-arse who will ask you if you forgot to get ready. Laugh it off, or just use my go-to line (with a smile and a wink) whenever I’m challenged over any of my more risky sartorial choices: “It’s called fashion, John, look it up.”