Dressing for the ordinary nights

Dressing for the ordinary nights

Exactly one year ago I wrote about dressing for the ordinary days. I’ve learned (the hard way, as always) that when I actually make a little bit of effort with my appearance, I feel cheerier and get more done.

This past year, I’ve (usually) done a great job dressing for regular life: I follow the rule of three, I wear my little bit of makeup, I choose happy clothes.

But in October, Codi left a comment on that old post that floored me.

She said, “PS: I also know that I feel better-rested and calm when I have matching pajama sets instead of t-shirts and random sweats!”


I’ve come to realize (the hard way) that restful nights of (enough) sleep are crucial to my well-being, my parenting, my productivity, my patience–the whole package. I know good sleep habits are crucial: I’ve devoted a good bit of attention to bedtime routines and rituals.

But I have never once thought about what I wear to bed.

When I started asking around, several of my girlfriends agreed with Codi: they swore their nighttime routine improved and they started sleeping better when they traded in the old college tees for cute pajamas.

Confession: I still sleep in old college tees.

But I’m resolving to do better. I finally bought some cute DKNY pajamas (similar to these), and I am actually going to wear them.

Dressing for the ordinary days worked really well for me in 2013. In 2014, I’m dressing for the ordinary nights.

Who’s on the cute pajamas bandwagon? I have two questions for you: 1. What kind of pajamas? and 2. Do you think you sleep better because of what you wear? I’m so curious to hear your answers!

pajamas shown above (all from DKNY): stars / black geometric / currant dot

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  1. TJ says:

    I love Pajamas. Mine usually come from Target or Walmart. I can usually find something soft and fun that I like for an okay price. For Winter it is flannel pants with a waffle like shirt. For spring and summer, it is a caprii set made out of soft material in fun colors. I don’t know if I sleep better but I feel better. On the other hand, wearing fun/cute pajamas sometimes doesn’t motivate me to get dressed in the morning if I don’t have any place to go.

  2. sheila says:

    You will get a kick out of this. I am love with the kay anna pajamas from http://www.sierratradingpost.com/. I bought a couple sets with pants and then decided to get a nightgown. When I put the nightgown on (full-length, plaid) I thought I was going to get a couple of comments from my boys and husband. So I go downstairs and just kinda stand there until they notice. My little one looks at me first, gets these huge eyes and says in a hushed tone, “Mom, you look like Anne (of Green Gables)!”

    Priceless. Plus it is so warm and comfy.

  3. I’m a sucker for pjs… always have been. Hit up the big sale at VS (probably starting sometime this month – it’s been a while since I was there) and grab some cute flannel sets. I love mine. I also snagged some cute flannel pants and matching waffle shirt at Old Navy right after Christmas that are making me smile at the moment. And the hubs has contributed to the assortment with FLEECE pjs. Most of the time, I put them on to watch a movie and then change to flannel for bed (the fleece gets quite warm), but this week, with temps in the negatives, I actually slept in them and they were fantastic.

  4. Ginger says:

    I’m a new convert to pajamas myself. My one and only new year’s resolution for last year was to wear real pajamas each night.

    For the longest time, I just couldn’t bring myself to spending money on night clothes that hardly anyone saw when I had tons of perfectly good college t-shirts lying around, but I realized that it’s the last thing my husband sees me in each morning when he leaves (ridiculously early) for the gym and work.

    I started with just a couple pairs from Target, and collected more throughout the year, when I found good sales or just fell in love with a pair. I’m partial to crisp white sets, and this southern girl even found a pair of seersucker pjs!

    My absolute favorites are from Soma. They are huggably soft and wash and wear beautifully. I’ve gotten my mom obsessed with them too (they make great gifts for those moms who “want nothing)!

    I dropped in on my sophisticated neighbor the other morning, a tad on the early side, I’ll admit (9 a.m. … is that early? In my defense, I was bearing fresh, hot muffins as a thank you for picking up our Christmas mail.), and she was up and puttering around in an adorable matching set of light blue pjs. She looked so cosy and confident and even put together, and had no shame in opening the door for me. When I apologized for catching her too early, she exclaimed, “Oh, honey, most days I’m in my pajamas until 2 p.m.” I had to laugh and feel better.

  5. Maggie says:

    As part of de-cluttering my closet, I got rid of a ton of old t-shirts and random sleep wear. I invested in a couple of pairs of summer pajamas from Garnet Hill (so cute) and now flannel ones for winter. I love them! My drawers look more orderly and if you’re still in them when the mail arrives, no problem.

  6. kelli says:

    Garnet Hill, Gap Body, and Victoria’s Secret sets are my favorites. I’m definitely a pj person – has to be long sleeve tops with shorts on the bottom! I do it because it makes me feel better, more put together and not as frightening to my family when they see me. 😉

  7. Anna says:

    This is so interesting. I too prefer to dress well each day. Not until this pregnancy did I leave the house in yoga pants when I wasn’t headed out to exercise. And I wear makeup pretty much every day – at least some mascara and a groom of my eyebrows. But pajamas. I hadn’t thought as much about that. I used to have some cute nightgowns, a particular favorite was from Anthropologie, but they are old and ratty and now don’t fit over my baby belly. I could never not ever sleep in one of those pajama sets. I’m a super high maintenance sleeper and I have to wear as little as possible and stay very cool at night. Plus if the fabric from what I’m wearing drags against the sheets I would go crazy. There was a scene in Gilmore Girls about that once – hilarious. I do want to invest in some more short night dresses. I don’t know if it helps my sleep, but it helps my mood before and after sleep which is just as important.

    • Anne says:

      I can’t remember that scene from Gilmore Girls–it hasn’t even been that long since I watched the whole series! But now I’m so curious…

      • Anna says:

        It’s season 6 or 7. Paris is asking Lorelai for advice about living with a man and somehow pajamas or nightgowns or something came up. Incidentally, I bought one of the tops Lorelai wore for pajamas in season 7 – it was a short nightgown from Anthropologie.

  8. Shay says:

    I always try to wear matching pajamas when we go somewhere to stay (inlaws, friends, etc), and I don’t mind walking downstairs in them when I wake up. I generally feel cuter and more put together! I hadn’t really considered that wearing them regularly would also make me feel differently at home, but I bet you’re on to something. Off to find my matching jammers tonight!

  9. Anna says:

    I like cute pajamas, but for me they are just to wear before and after bed. I always like to look at them, but don’t really find them comfortable. I move around so much before I go to sleep and in my sleep, things twist around. I hate that feeling. So I just sleep in a tank top or T-shirt. If it’s cold, I will wear a fitted long sleeve knit shirt & leggings. We travel, stay in others houses, or have people in ours a ton, so I wear a soft sleep bra so that I can feel OK around other people in my PJ’s. My favorite is to have a cute tank or t-shirt and matching pants that I can just pull on when I get up.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Confession: I have a hard time sleeping in pants. I make myself do it when I’m sleeping places other than my own bed, but I don’t sleep as well! I used to just sleep in oversized shirts, but a few years ago I bought some cute nightgowns during a VS semi-annual sale, and I loved them! (I’m talking actual nightgowns, not Iingerie.) My favorite one is actually a “sleep shirt” – basically it’s an oversized pajama top made of super soft material. I have two, but I want more! And I’ve had luck with finding some super soft nightgowns at Nordstrom Rack, too. They are more summery though, so they’ll stay in the dresser until spring.

    I do have lots of matching PJ sets, though. My mom always gets the family matching PJs for Christmas Eve, so I wear those when I’m staying with friends or family overnight.

  11. I love this idea. I usually get too hot sleeping in long sleeves, so I wear flannel pj bottoms (my faves are from J. Crew and Victoria’s Secret) with a tee or tank. Some of the tees are my old college ones, but some of them are cuter and more fitted.

    In the summer I either sleep in a cami and shorts or in soft cotton chemises. Not really lingerie (and more breathable than the satiny stuff), but soft and pretty.

  12. Leigh Kramer says:

    The last several years I’ve been transitioning my old college Ts out and fun PJs in. I have a few cute nightgowns in the summer (always feel luxurious when I wear them) and camis and boxer shorts. In the winter, I have one matching set but I’m more likely to pair flannel pajama pants with a long sleeved t-shirt in a complimentary color. I don’t like being super matchy-matchy when I’m awake or asleep. I still wear the occasional White Sox shirt- especially when there’s an important game- but I feel more like a grown up when I wear nice PJs.

  13. Shannon says:

    How funny, I have been looking for new pajamas because I’m sick and tired of rambling around in old navy flannel pants and tee’s. I’m working on a whole nighttime routine revamp and thought that having clothes I was excited to get into would help. So happy to read this.

  14. Bethany V. says:

    I gave up wearing Tshirts to bed when I got married. My husband still doesn’t really get it. But for me, pj’s must be comfortable and attractive. I feel better about myself, more relaxing, and often more romantic; which definitely helps our intimate life. I love VS pj’s. Quality and they last me years.

  15. melyssa says:

    I’m laughing because I was just talking about this to some women last night. I’m a ballet teacher, so my “uniform” is black yoga pants (the days of pink tights are long over for me, haha) and a tshirt. Usually I throw on my dance teacher skirt over that (basically I look like a ballerina bag lady). The bad thing though is when I get home at night, I pull off the bra and the skirt and ta-da! pajamas! Sexy, right? It’s pretty bad when your work clothes are interchangeable with your pjs… Something’s gotta give!

  16. I have to admit…since getting married, I rarely wear much of anything to bed! Never realized how comfortable that is. Anyway, when it’s cold, I do need to wear SOMETHING. I have a few nightgowns, including one that’s bright red, long-sleeved, and comes down to mid-thigh. It’s so soft and I just love it. I also have a set of pants and a long-sleeved shirt, but that (and almost all my other night-wear) is from high school… I just graduated college. In all honesty, sometimes I sleep in some of my husband’s oversized t-shirts, because they’re so soft and comfy. I’ve asked him about this, and he doesn’t seem to mind at all. (I think he finds it cute that I like to wear his shirts.) But now you’ve got me thinking… I think it’s time to invest in some nice, comfy, grown-up pajamas!

    • I was waiting for someone to say that so I could say ditto. Hee.

      We have a down comforter and fuzzy sheets, and even on cold nights, it’s plenty warm without pjs.

      Also, bonus: if you wear nothing but undies, it’s awfully frugal. PJs can wear out, but, um, nothing can’t. =P

      • Haha, I didn’t think of that! Cheaper just to not wear anything! 🙂 I love our flannel sheets and we don’t have a down comforter, but I have been layering a down throw blanket on the bed this winter and it’s amazing how much warmer it keeps us! 🙂

    • Kelly L. says:

      That’s just what I was going to say! Since there’s a warm body next to me every night, I found I don’t need to wear anything to bed in order to be comfy and, in fact, I get too hot if I wear jammies. On nights when I do wear something to bed, my husband definitely expresses his disappointment! I do admire the PJs I see in catalogs and at the stores, but they’d just sit in a pile on the floor next to the bed and that’d be a waste.

  17. Missy June says:

    I’ve enjoyed ‘dressing’ for bed since girlhood and new jammies have always been a treat. My personal favorite is a smooth, medium length sleep-shirt/nightgown. However, as mother to five I need to cover up more in the evenings/morning. A robe is great during the summer, but in winter months I usually wear a fitted top and flannel pants or leggings under the nightshirt. I love a long gown, too!

    I must comment that while VS has a few realistically comfortable items, I cannot shop there! To me, they promote fantasy over reality and a false image of what women should be and look like, so I won’t support them…thank you for letting me soap-box! I love Soma, Eileen Fischer and others.

    Fun topic!

  18. I have to admit I’m skeptical. I can’t imagine how pjs would make much of a difference in terms of sleep quality. However, they are fun and cute so who cares if it does? It’s a great excuse to get a new pair! Personally, I can’t stand to wear pants to bed so I definitely always wear some version of pajama shorts to bed with usually an old college T-shirt. I love it that way!

  19. Shelly@ There's No Place Like Home says:

    Ha ha! I really need to take your advice. I don’t usually get dressed until about 3, sometimes not at all, and I hardly ever wear makeup anymore. My poor husband. As for pajamas, sometimes I sleep in my regular clothes. (I’m in a sorry state, aren’t I?) I do know that when I do actually change into pajamas, I sleep a lot better. Maybe some changes are due…

  20. Liz says:

    I think I’m going to need a couple cute pairs of pajamas because this morning was the third or fourth time various neighbors have popped up at our door really early (this morning it was about 6:15. Honolulu is an early town!) to ask whether we’ve seen their dogs or to give us a bag of tangerines from their tree. So there I am, in my pajamas, making spaghetti for lunches, with sleep in my eyes, and bedhead. Great first impression! I suppose if I had cute pajamas, I’d also have to wear a cute apron at 6am! Ha!

    • Anne says:

      I just can’t fathom my neighbors knocking on my door at 6:15. But I would totally open it if they had tangerines–and I had on cute pjs!

  21. Ana says:

    It gets REALLY hot in our 3rd floor bedroom (even in the winter, because the heat just…RISES…something about physics) so I can’t imagine wearing PJs like those pictured (though they really are cute!), or even a long sleeve shirt to bed. I ALWAYS sleep in a soft, tagless T-shirt and cotton (no way would I wear flannel or fleece) pants or shorts/capris. I have tried to upgrade said shirts and bottoms because my husband started making comments…I used to buy the cheapest PJ pants I could find on clearance (usually the wilder patterns and colors) and in a too-big size. I’ve started paying full price (gasp) for the prettier patterns and opting for a more fitted look. I also got rid of all the over-stretched, hole-y, faded Ts and got some new ones.

    • Anne says:

      “I’ve started paying full price (gasp) for the prettier patterns.”

      Ha! I completely relate to this. 🙂 (Although mine were on sale for half-off. 🙂 )

  22. Jeannie says:

    I LOVE button-up flannel pj’s like the ones you show here. I like pj’s with t-shirt tops too, but when when you are staying overnight at someone’s house OR you have overnight guests yourself, you can walk out in “public” in button-up pj’s without being too revealing — something that pj’s with t-shirt tops don’t always allow. I like nightgowns in theory but when I actually wear them to bed I find them too bunchy. So it’s pj’s for me.

  23. ltut says:

    I don’t think I would have ever gotten on the pajama bandwagon if my husband hadn’t started buying them for me. I remember the first time he gave me a set of cute comfy pajamas (instead of lingerie, which had been his habit) it was so sweet! I still revert to the ratty T-shirts more than I care to admit, but mostly just because I don’t have enough pairs of PJs and the laundry gets backed up. =)

  24. Lesley says:

    I definitely feel better in the morning when I wake up wearing cute pajamas. My mother-in-law gets me a new pair every Christmas, which I love. I try to buy myself one summer pair each year too.

  25. Kailey says:

    One of my new years resolutions is to wear real pajamas to bed. It calms me down and gets me into the mind set of sleep and rest. As a college student, most of my days are spent in oversized t-shirts and Nike shorts, it felt silly to change into another oversized shirt and sleep shorts and sleeping in basically the same thing I wore all day. Plus, I like looking feminine and wearing cute, soft dresses. It’s helped a lot as a wind down for bed!

  26. I love this! I was recently convicted of this too when my husband made a comment that it would be OK to use some of my clothing budget to buy some “nicer” pajamas. I realized that my old ones were…well rather old and not at all pretty. So I got a few new sets of pajamas, still practical and comfortable yet a little more attractive!

  27. Heather says:

    During the spring/summer months, my favorite pajamas are from Garnet Hill’s Asian Wrap line. When the weather is chilly, I wear my trusty flannel pajamas. I get mine from Eddie Bauer since they carry tall sizes. I’m 5’10” and I absolutely cannot stand pajama pants with inadequate inseam length.
    I wear cute pajamas for two reasons: First, as hopefully you will discover, it makes me feel good. Second, it’s an investment in my marriage. My husband appreciates that I do not turn into the queen of frump when I turn in for the night. I can’t say whether or not it makes me sleep better, but I do know it helps me unwind and motivates me to get in bed.

  28. I always wear comfy and nice PJs to bed and indeed, I feel better in them. In summer, it’s sometimes so warm I want to sleep in just my underwear… but then I don’t sleep well, so I don’t anymore. I used to have nightgowns too, when I was little, and loved that, but now all I can find is either lingerie or really oversized T-shirts and I don’t like that. It has to fit somewhat tight, otherwise it’ll twist or turn into knots or make me in general uncomfortable during the night.
    For summer and winter, I have PJs that differ in fabric, sleeve length and even pants (I have one with shorts, which is great!). That really helps, just as outdoor clothing adapted to the season helps with feeling well.
    Hope it will work for you!

  29. Jessica says:

    Long live the college tees! And seriously, even better than my college tees is a really soft and cozy onefrlmmy husband. And although I will wear sweatpants, I love love love to sleep in leggings that are slightly too big. They’re cozy and comfy. Not tight but not schlumpy either. I’ve bought pajamas before and they just sit in my dresser.

  30. Ginger says:

    I bought a fuzzy hair of animal print DKNY pajamas shortly before Christmas – and I love them! They are so cozy and comfy! I wear my hubby’s old Air Force PT shirt when he’s deployed – it helps to feel closer to him when he’s away – but I try to save that for only those times. Having real pajamas just feels so much better!
    BTW, I recently had this discussion with a friend – How do you say pajamas? Is it pa-jah-ma or pa-jam-ma? 🙂 It’s funny to learn how others around the country say common words!

        • Anna says:

          Oops. I meant Pa-jah-ma. Typo. Funny story about pronunciation of pajamas. When I was in language school learning French, one of the students was named Paul James, but went by PJ. French speakers in the areas used the initials “PJ” to refer to pajamas, so our teacher couldn’t get used to calling him that. He thought it was a really weird American thing. The student had to go by Paul, although his roommate was also named Paul, so it got confusing. We all teased him about being named “pajamas.”

  31. Jessica says:

    We moved into a new house almost a year ago. Where we lived before was more rural so no one ever really stopped by unannounced. Here, we get company a lot so I started buying pj sets so I at least look presentable. I never realized how much more put together I would feel! I love to feel cozy and cute even when I’m home alone. It’s a totally girly thing that I love. I’m obsessed with Victoria’s Secret, they come in short (me), regular and tall. Not cheap usually but I picked two more pairs up today at the Semi-Annual and they were only $17 each!

  32. Cindy says:

    I love flannel pants but do not wear a matching top, used to but just don’t anymore.
    I wear a sweatshirt or long sleeve tee, either one is usually matching. Now that the weather is cold, we live in MI, I wear Cuddle Duds under my pjs. We do not have an electric blanket, have not for years. I love the heaviness of the blankets on top of me since we got away from the electric blanket. In the summer, usually a pair of pajama shorts with a short sleeve tee BUT have been known to put on a long sleeve tee if it is even a little cool, I don’t like my arms bare, also really like a sheet over my legs in the summer. Strange habits! I have an almost 25 yo daughter who loves to sleep without anything on (where she got that from is beyond me!). Thankfully, she got married last May so I am sure her husband has no problem with that!

  33. Carolyn says:

    Ok, I just had to weigh in… I do sometimes see cute sets, but I am so definitely not on that bandwagon. Totally ‘nakkers’ is how we roll around here. And it’s COLD where I live. We have to remember to pack pjs when we go to my parents or camping – for that I do have a few pairs of pj pants and an old t-shirt. I do think I sleep better that way. I have a little guy, and a big fuzzy robe I throw on when I have to get up with him – warmer than pj’s easy to slip out of again when I slip back into bed. It helps to use jersey sheets, too. We love them and use them year round.

  34. Molly says:

    I don’t know that I sleep BETTER in matching pajamas, but I have become much more conscious of what I wear to bed since I’ve gotten married. As a single gal my go-to was t-shirt and flannel boxers in the summer and sweats in the winter. I now rarely wear t-shirts to bed unless they are actually PJs and have purchased a few PJ sets with flannel pants and nightgowns made of the super soft material that is so popular now. I haven’t pulled my sweats out for more than trips to the gym in months. And a cute bathrobe has been purchased for around the house too.

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