If you are yet to slip into PJs fashionable enough to wear beyond the bedroom,
Casey Vassallo shares why now is the time to embrace sleepwear designed with more than its age-old function in mind
Consider this: girl wakes, rolls out of bed, showers, dresses in pyjamas, goes about her day.
It’s dreamy, idealistic, and a new reality. Because sleepwear is now an ensemble fit for Monday chores, Tuesday appointments, Wednesday catch-ups, Thursday errands, Friday drinks, Saturday gatherings and Sunday rests. On the street, at the bar, market runs, beach days and everything in between: what was once reserved for the bedroom is now the ultimate fashion compromise.
I’m the first to raise my hand and declare my long-time love affair with bed. Being a transient, it’s the place I feel most at home. Day to day, I’m generally nostalgic for bedtime – for the sleep, the refuge and the solace. It’s where I write more often than I’d like to admit. Naturally then, what I wear in bed is important.
Like many, I must confess my nighttime choices to date have been solely based on comfort and are almost never answer-the-front-door appropriate. Until now. The likes of neutral-toned linen twin sets and slinky silk slips from Sleepy Jones and Morgan Lane are ticking all my lazy day boxes, and my busy ones too.
Sleepwear must be loose enough to breathe in, spoon in, dream in and spend the majority of Sunday in. With this in mind, French stone-washed linen was the ultimate fabric choice for Juliette Harkness and Emma Nelson when they created their Byron-based, Japanese-inspired Deiji (pronounced day-jee) Studios. “We’re trying to create the ultimate sleep,” Nelson says. “Warm through winter, cool through summer,” Harkness adds.
Today, their block-coloured and striped sets, dresses and robes adorn the bodies of women around the world, day and night. “We wanted to have something that didn’t look like you were wearing pyjamas, that didn’t look quite as daggy,” Harkness says. “You could go down to the shops and get your milk, but still have that freedom to get straight in to bed afterwards.”
They practice what they preach, too. “We mainly wear our Deiji sleepwear,” Harkness says. “It’s just so easy to throw on the shorts with a t-shirt, or the kimono top over a pair of jeans. There’s no thought to it.”
Made from long-lasting materials, the designs are fast-fashion adverse and carry the ‘I just threw this on’ sentiment, as much as the statement of ‘less is more’. “It was always the intention for us,” Juliette says of the brand’s ethos. “I’m not surprised with the way people live now that people are embracing it.”
Worldwide, we’re seeing traditional cuts in luxe tones from brands like ASCENO, or Olivia von Halle’s vivid animal prints in the same vein. Then there’s Sleeper, a New York-based brand loved by Belen Hostalet, Saasha Burns, Busy Philips and We The People’s Jessie Bush for its Sound of Music-esque smocks and night shirts.
As co-founder Asya Varetsa explains, Sleeper was quite literally dreamt up. She watched the 1991 movie Curly Sue one Christmas Eve with friends including Kate Zubarieva, the other half of Sleeper. They were enamoured of actress Kelly Lynch (now a client of theirs), as Grey Ellison, wearing a black-and-white striped silk robe. The scene stuck with Zubarieva, as she dreamt that night of standing in a pyjama factory. It was fate. The brand launched in 2014.
Inspired by airports as “authentic street-style” hubs, the pair set out to create the perfect bed-to-wherever-in-the-world attire. “We wanted to create real pyjamas, a true thing that surpasses its original and expected purpose,” Varetsa says. “You wake up, throw over a coat, slip on sneakers or mules, and voila, you’re ready to go out for your morning cup of coffee.”
Both Varetsa and Zubarieva’s wardrobes consist mainly of their own label, too. “My favourite item is the Milk Punch pyjama set from our holiday capsule collection,” Varetsa says, referring to an all-white look with marabou feather-lined pants.
As to why sleepwear is such a popular outfit option now, Varetsa puts it down to a sign of the times. “For one, as we all can observe, so-called dress codes have becomes an atavism. Successful business people of our generation – millennials – wear jeans for $70 and Seiko or Polar watches to their luxury offices,” she explains. “Nowadays people’s perception of style is solely based on their own ideas about beauty and convenience. Sleepwear as everyday wear has trickled into the mainstream as a result of democratisation of fashion, and is here to stay.”
If you read the 2018 fiction hit My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, you might be inspired to do a – hopefully less drug-induced – version of your own year of rest and relaxation. If so, sleep-to-walk attire is essential.
Trend or not, many are committed to spending time in and on this idea of sleepwear. Those that bypass the movement – as some did with the comeback of Birkenstocks, the rebirth of scrunchies, or puffy-jackets revised for life off the ski fields – will only be missing out. Sweet dreams.
Photography Kelly Geddes
Styling Talisa Sutton, Badlands Studio
Hair & Makeup Kristin Brett
Model Bella Thomas @ Kult
Words Casey Vassallo
From Issue 05 of Badlands Journal