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A group of girlfriends and I decided we’d wear pajamas to our annual Christmas dinner party. It’s just us, no men—and dinner will be at home—but it’s gotten me thinking… I have nothing to wear. Call me “the Princess and the Pea,” but pajamas and nightgowns bunch and wad up and make it impossible for me to sleep. Something as small as a button feels like a golfball, and any kind of waistband—elastic or ones that tie—might as well be vice grips, and leggings are too constricting.

The only way I can get to sleep is by wearing nothing at all.

When I had a man in my life there were other reasons I didn’t wear pajamas and nightgowns: It’s difficult to project a come-hither look when you’re dressed like his mother. I wore teddies, kimonos or long figure-hugging silk chemises, but when it came time to sleep, they all wound up on the floor.

I own one pair of pajamas, navy blue silk with small, red polka dots, and I’ve had them for decades. They’re stored permanently in my luggage should I spend the night at someone’s home or share a hotel room with a girlfriend.

A few years ago I stayed at a girlfriend’s for the weekend. She had a house full of people, and I volunteered to sleep in her office… on a blowup mattress… on a poured concrete floor… in the winter. Silk is pretty, but it’s cold. It’s also slippery. For hours I struggled to get warm and to keep from sliding off the blowup mattress each time I rolled over. It was 2 am before I ditched those silk pjs and finally was able to fall sleep.

The only thing Marilyn Monroe wore to bed was Chanel No 5, but since I’m allergic to fragrance… That’s not an option either.

I wanted to write a Fashion Friday sleepwear blog in hopes of finding something that was comfortable and attractive.

Other than this $1,100 pair of red, silk floral pajamas—silk is slippery and cold, and cropped pants aren’t flattering to many of us, me included—but I would wear these, at least for a little while… if I could afford them,

and these cotton pajamas and robe I LOVE, but they’re no longer being made… I didn’t find ANYTHING that met my criteria!

Obviously I AM NOT the right person to offer suggestions about what to wear to bed.

Why do pajamas and nightgowns look like they’re either for little girls or something our mothers would wear? My mother wore the same ratty nightgown for 30 years. She also wrapped toilet tissue around her head and bobby-pinned it in place to preserve her weekly, beauty shop hairdo while she slept. She was a vision…

It just occurred to me that someday, when I’m an old lady, I might have to live in some kind of a care facility, and they’re going to require me to wear clothes when I sleep! What the flip will I do then?

Does anyone else have problems finding comfortable, affordable and attractive things to sleep in, or am I the only Princess and the Pea?

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28 thoughts on “WHAT DO YOU WEAR TO SLEEP?”

  1. Ha! My mother wore the same pajamas and toilet paper wrapped turban to bed each night! She had three husbands…..

  2. I’m with you! Been sleeping in my birthday suit since I was 5. As a guest though, I can tolerate a stretchy fitted tank and a pair of bikini panties… no twisting and tangling as I sleep snd more acceptable as I go down the hall to the restroom! Haha!

    • Hi Donna, Being a guest puts a whole different spin on things, doesn’t it? One Christmas Day my step-daughter-in-law to-be came to the breakfast table with short, short, shorts on and her butt cheeks hanging out, a tight t-shirt, barefoot and with messy hair. She proceeded to sit in my step-son’s lap and lick his ear in front of me, his mom, dad and grandmother. Not exactly a class act. xoxox, Brenda

  3. Such a timely post. I came home a few days ago with a pair of red & black buffalo check pjs for our visit to the kids. Well! You should have heard my husband’s reaction. It’s just for eight nights. Something I can lounge around in in the evening or get my first cup of coffee in the morning. I thought they looked cozy. He saw armour!
    I wear a short T-shirt type nightie to bed. I started to wear nighties when my son was little. It seemed appropriate to have something on when he awoke at night. It became a habit long ago. Nothing sexy but eh, bare bum. Am I right?!

    • Joanna, a nightie with a bare bum sounds sexy to me! Your new pjs are the exact opposite, so I can see why your husband thought you’d “armored up!” LOL! Thank you!! Brenda

  4. Every Christmas, our family makes matching flannel Christmas PJ’s. Those have been my sleepwear of choice forever. And a long-sleeved shirt. I have to have my arms out. Then they get cold. Hence the shirt. I’m quite sure you’re wondering how I ended up with six kids!!
    P.S. Mom always did the ‘toilet paper wrap’ as well. (And even tried it on me. With minimal success…)

    • Diane, You’re cute!! Love your response and I’m glad to know other mom’s wore toilet tissue to bed. That must have been what all the hairdressers suggested back in the day, or maybe Ladies Home Journal. My friend is that generation and was the editor-in-chief of LHJ back then. I should ask her! xoxox, Brenda

  5. I can’t stand nightgowns because of the slide-up-and-bunch factor, and pj’s with buttons drive me nuts because they get all twisted. I’m no prude, and don’t really have a modest bone in my body, but while nursing 3 kids at different times, I was up and down all night and there was no way that I was going to sit “starkers” in a rocking chair and nurse during a cold winter! Yikes! I got in the habit of wearing cotton sleep leggings (not tight around my waist at all – no elastic and I leave the drawstring untied) with a tank top or tee. Easy, comfy, and I don’t give the neighbors a show. Their loss! Haha 😉

    • Oh, Val!! So funny! “…going to sit “starkers” in a rocking chair and nurse.” That’s quite an image. Women with children have different criteria for sleepwear that’s based on practicality. The last few nights, since I wrote this, I’ve tried sleeping in several things I have but always windup taking them off, again. It’s the comfy factor that gets me. Today I wore a Gap t-shirt to the gym. The label in the back is printed on the shirt and after many washings has started to “flake off.” Had I been at home I would have ripped it off and found something else to wear. Think this t-shirt is destined to be a dust rag. xoxox, Brenda

  6. I slept nude for years and am not sure when I started putting clothes on to sleep. I remember transitioning into long men’s t-shirts but now sleep in a t-shirt and PJ bottoms. It is funny because I was going through my sleepwear draw the other day and it is full of nice silky gowns and sets but I have no idea why I have them or when I ever wore them.

    • Victoria… There’s another blog entirely… When’s the last time you wore what’s in your drawers? If I cleaned out my drawers I could have a lot of new space! I’ve “lost” a few things only to find them a year later in my drawers! Dumb… dumb… Must do a better job of organizing them. xoxo, Brenda

  7. I love silky short nighties for our normal Texas weather, and am quite sexy in my thermal pj’s in this cold weather. 😀 The 32 degrees tops and leggings are pretty form fitting and are also good for cold weather. I slept in the nude some in the past, but once I had kids I decided I had to wear something or else I’d have to pay for their future therapy! ;D Got a good chuckle thinking of sliding off that air mattress in the cold! LOL

    • Hi Beckye, You’re funny!! I did have thin, thermal top and leggings I slept in a few times when we’d go to Colorado… and kids were around, but I have no idea what happened to them. They’re probably lost in my chest of drawers somewhere. Glad someone got a laugh out of my slip ‘n slide experience. That night it was anything but funny! xoxo, Brenda

  8. HAVE NEVER been able to find WOMENS PJ’s!!!!!!
    I did wear MENS PJ’s from BROOKS BROTHERS after I read DOMINQUE BROWNING wore those to bed!She was the editor of HOUSE AND GARDEN MAGAZINE!The women are always too short or too small for me!I want ROOMIE!!!!!!
    Now thats a MARKET someone needs to INVESTIGATE!!!!!!

    • Elizabeth… Trust me… I’m investigating! Pajamas aren’t my thing unless they’re really pretty, don’t have labels and buttons to poke me and don’t ride up my legs. I do much better in the altogether. xoxox, Brenda

  9. Hi Brenda,
    You made me laugh with your “slip and slide” episode! Personally I get TOO hot if I don’t wear something to sleep in. I know it doesn’t make sense but it’s true! My hubby sleeps bare-neckid and gets really warm and I think my jammies keep all his body heat off me. Even though I start out all bundled up, socks on, electric mattress pad on, duvet pulled up, I hate being too hot when I sleep and by mid sleep I’ve pushed things off and away, and the only thing keeping me from freezing is my comfy cotton PJs. I prefer tailored, traditional style but I’ll also wear knit tops and bottoms – long or short depending on the season. Okay, TMI!!
    They sell 32 degree brand undershirts and leggings at Costco, those might work for you – super thin, lightweight and stretchy.
    Xo Heidi

    • Hi Heidi, It’s not too much info! LOL! Especially compared to what I shared. Since chemotherapy I have mild neuropathy in my feet, and I can’t fall asleep if my feet are cold. Even when traveling I take a heating pad for my feet and usually wrap them, while reading in bed, until they’re nice and toasty, and then turn it off and go to sleep. 32 degree brand at Costco… I’m not opposed to trying it. Thanks so much!!! xoxo, Brenda

  10. Hi Brenda, I’m new to your blog here, but had to chime in. I like to wear what I’ve been lounging around in the evening to bed–which is usually yoga type pants and a loose T top. My man likes the bedroom window open and it’s freezing, so this outfit seems to keep me from having icey shoulders and popsicle toes!

    • Hi Jen! Great to see you here! Popsicle toes… I know about those. I can’t get to sleep if my feet aren’t warm. It’s interesting how many couples don’t agree on the thermostat. I have a girlfriend whose hot flashes overwhelm her, but her fella likes the temperature on the warm side. They may wind up sleeping in different rooms because of it although snoring can do the same thing. Thanks for your comment. Hope to see you here, again, Jen! Thanks, Brenda

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