Ask Design Mom: Pajamas

July 23, 2012

Hi Gabrielle. I have a question. What are your favorite pajamas? What do you wear to bed daily? In respect to this travel season, what pajamas do you wear to bed when you have company staying over and you know you will meet them bright and early at the breakfast table for coffee? I have 3 little ones and lots of family bopping in and out during their travels. I always wonder-how do I look put together (ok, at least presentable) in my pajamas?  — Melissa Kane

Hi Melissa! Thanks for the question. Personally, I am a huge fan of 100% cotton men’s pajamas — preferably pin striped. My pajama drawer is piled with almost nothing else! I like the coverage in front of guests — they don’t cling when I’m running around the house sans-bra. They’re season-less. They’re comfy for lounging. And if I want to surprise Ben Blair (I do!), then I can wear something lacy/racy underneath. I think the contrast of the masculine cut + the feminine underthings is perfect.

I pick up a pair in the men’s department whenever I spot a size small — they can be hard to find! I’m 5′ 6″ and the size small typically has a pant with just the right length. I’ve found them at my grocery store in France. I saw this houndstooth pair in Target (I only wish it was all-cotton). And department stores often stock them as well. If you need something smaller, sometimes you can spot a pair of pajamas in the women’s department that are inspired by men’s pajamas, like the pair from J.Crew pictured.

How about you, Dear Readers? What do you wear to bed at night — especially when you have guests in the house?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eva July 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

Great question! I was daydreaming of asking you this very same question. Pinterest is kind of bleak when it comes to pajamas, and my internet searches have left me uninspired. What I’ve seen is either super racy and uncomfortable lingere or grandma jammies. I’m looking forward to seeing all the comments! My husband is so sick of my jammies!


2 Sur July 23, 2012 at 8:52 am

I have had the same problem for a while now, since we travel a bit and have family visiting quite often. I have often used yoga pants pared with old t-shirts, but always dislike that my dear old Ts cling. I recently invested in a victoria secrets sleepwear set which seems to be working well for now.

I really really miss the “night suits” that we had as kids back in India :)


3 Louise July 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

Can you explain what a “night suit? is?


4 Sur July 23, 2012 at 11:59 am

A “night suit” was a set of short-sleeved, front-bottomed night shirt with full-length straight pajamas. And they came in all sorts of colors with contrast colored piping and cute monograms.
I had a couple of sets: light green,yellow, and my fav, soft pink with ruffles on the sleeve :)


5 Sur July 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Oops..not “front-bottomed” I meant buttoned.


6 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

Yes! I’m curious too.


7 Angie July 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

I have a couple of chic caftans. They are cotton with zippers and very cool. The cling factor is not an issue and I love that I am completely covered as well as comfortable. I bought mine a year or two ago at Macy’s.


8 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

I need to try caftans for sleeping. Right now, I wear them as summer dresses.


9 Lorraine December 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Any suggestions on where to buy nice short robes to wear over pj’s? I’ve been looking for this exact combo.

Also, for anyone who has had shrinkage with Victoria Secret pj’s, were they placed in the dryer? I just bought and washed my first pair however hung to dry to avoid them shrinking…I sure hope they didn’t shrink…I’m in love with them…wore them 3 nights in a row, loved them that much.


10 Giulia July 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

Mens inspired PJ bottoms or shorts in summer with a T-shirt (usually a ‘run for a cause’ T that I don’t wear anywhere else). Nothing fancy, but covered enough to open the door and lounge.


11 Melissa July 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

Thank you! We are usually the overnight guests and I want to be modest around brothers-in-law and teenage nephews, especially because there is often a line for the bathroom and showering/dressing immediately upon waking isn’t an option.


12 Kelly July 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

Thanks so much for this post! I have always loved men’s style pajamas, and the materials are often more pleasing. Why did I never think to just purchase them for myself? I just look for them and lament not finding an affordable version! I usually wear yoga pants and a tshirt and cross my arms constantly! Now I have to run to the store, so that I will not feel so uncomfortable in front of my brothers in law!


13 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

Happy pajama hunting!


14 jodi July 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

I buy lightweight sleep pants with a matching shirt. If I have company spending the night I will sleep with a bra on also. (like when the kids had sleepovers). my pre-K class has pj day one day during december. For that I make sure that the pants are a little thicker and darker. And I always treat myself to a new pair. Its good to treat yourself to new ones on a regular basis.


15 Sara July 23, 2012 at 9:32 am

I usually wear knit lounge pants and a tank to sleep in. If I have company I just throw on a short robe that I usually don’t even tie. The baggy robe masks the no bra and clingy tank problem.


16 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

I love a good robe for lounging. It’s like a cardigan for your pjs. : )


17 Grace @ sense and simplicity July 23, 2012 at 9:33 am

It’s funny, but I wear menswear-style jammies that I buy in the women’s section (Land’s End or Eddie Bauer). I never thought to buy them in the men’s department. I will have to have a look. I wonder if they are less expensive there too (like haircuts – men’s being much cheaper than women’s).


18 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

You know what, I think they typically are less expensive in the men’s department. At least, that’s been my experience. But they are boxier and less-fitted than women’s pjs — so they probably won’t appeal to every one.


19 Sharon @ Discovering blog July 23, 2012 at 9:34 am

I like a loose nightshirt, with sweats or gaucho pants. If there is a guest over, I throw on a tank top underneath, so everything is properly contained. I can’t sleep in pants, so I need a longer top for sleeping.


20 The New Diplomats Wife July 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

brooks brothers makes the best women’s “men inspired” cotton pyjamas – the cotton is nice and crisp, like hotel sheets. Gap Body I love for softer items and a bit more feminine, but not too revealing since our place too is a revolving door for all kinds of visitors.


21 Sherry July 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

I always sleep in spaghetti strap, lace or cotton, short night gowns. After 25 years of marriage, I just want to still look and feel sexy for my husband (and myself) when I go to bed. In the morning to make breakfast for my children before school, I put on a cotton robe over it. Right now we have company from England staying for a week, so in the mornings I throw on a pair of Gap or Target cotton lounge pants with a simple white t-shirt and bra. Doesn’t take long to throw something on to wear out to the kitchen for morning coffee. I just can’t cross over to heavier pj’s. We splurge on expensive sheets and the feeling of them against my bare arms and legs reminds me why they are worth the money. I’d hate to miss out on that life pleasure with long sleeves or pants. Love the look of the men’s wear though…very timeless.


22 cbloe's mom July 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

My Natori silky pjs have been worth what I have paid for them. I love the Asian flair, flattering fit and fun bright dragon patterns. They are pretty enough to answer the door in to greet the ups man or run a kid to school who has missed the bus. JT, our HT, has seen my whole array of Natori pjs and I don’t think he feels disrespected ;).


23 Victoria Regina July 23, 2012 at 10:42 am

I sleep almost exclusively in sweatpants and old theatre T-shirts. This is a mixture of habit and extreme thrift. However, I dream of just biting the bullet and buying a pair of beautiful menswear-inspired pajamas: ideally pinstripe, and very, very soft.


24 Sara July 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

I usually wear cotton lounge/pj pants (like from Old Navy, etc.) and t-shirt, but especially if we have guests, I like to to wear on of those cotton tanks with the built in shelf-type bra underneath. Those tanks are not enough support for me to wear out and about, but are significantly more coverage than just the t-shirt. I had several pairs of mens’ and mens’ inspired pjs, but I recently gave them away b/c my husband hates them. I loved how soft, comfy ,and baggy they were, but unless I can get back to the size I was in my early 20′s, they are just too unflattering on me.


25 julia @ life on churchill July 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

I wore that style a lot post-partum. It was great for having visitors in the hospital and the buttons made it easy to nurse. With that said, now that my littlest is 3, I have no desire to wear the men’s pj style :)


26 Lori B July 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

I also wear mens’ or mens’-style pjs! I wear a camisole underneath so that I can take the pj top off when I go to bed. My husband gives off heat like a space-heater (he’s hot in more ways than one ;) so a long-sleeved top to sleep in just wouldn’t be comfortable.


27 Shana July 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Ah…my favorite topic!! My fav pajamas for the summer are like the examples Gabrielle gave…but shorts. Steven Alan makes an incredible set (expensive, but I found an awesome tomboy-plaid on sale at Anthropologie a few months ago):,default,sc.html

Or I’m loving the Marigot Collection:


28 vicky July 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I really can’t stand wearing pjs. A camisole and matching panties is all I like to wear. Nice sheets just feel too good against my skin! I also absolutely hate robes! Part of me is worried about lighting myself on fire making breakfast with the huge sleeves and the other part of me just feels that throwing on some clothes takes just as much time as throwing on a robe. I love to throw on some velour sweatpants for walking around the house and depending on who is at home will determine what kind of shirt I throw on overtop. But on another note, I have spent a LOT of time sleeping at the hospital when my daughter was sick and some drs often drop in early, while you are still sleeping to chat with you. What I was most comfortable with was yoga clothes, especially tanktops with built in bras so I could sleep comfortably but still feel covered and contained.


29 Ann July 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

This is such a great idea! I’m usually pajama bottoms and a tank.


30 Kim at July 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Frequent travel as a guest led to a splurge purchase on these Eileen Fisher pajamas that hands down won me over- expensive, but with 3/4 sleeves covered all essentials for interacting with various household members, super soft cotton in a sedate brown that seems feminine, with a flattering twist knot that makes being braless not so obvious at least for my physique. I was tired of being caught in skimpy, tight, hot, or unflattering manly pjs. I have only one pair, but they are light, roll up nicely, and have become my go to pjs when traveling or hosting guests. I’ve thought of making my own based on this pair, but I’ve yet to make the time for them with my own current international move from Japan to Ohio.$P_Main$&$src=24120_main


31 Rowena July 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

So funny! I was just planning on writing a post on this topic for my own fashion and lifestyle blog, She She Shoppers ( Tired of the dilemma of what to sleep in when hosting guests or being a guest! Great tips. Thanks for sharing.


32 Sharon Fischel July 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm

When I have guests, I just throw a big sweatshirt over my pj top (anything from a camp, to a t-shirt, to a flannel) so that there’s no, um, headlights visible!

I love men’s style PJs, but as an XS, men’s sizes just don’t fit. I have found men’s style PJs online at Victoria Secret, though! All cotton and very comfortable. I might buy a size up, though, next time since they do shrink.


33 APal July 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Lightweight, dark colored yoga pants w a built in bra cami. If I need to cover up a bit for wandering around the house, I throw a light weight poncho over it in warm weater or a zip up hoodie in cooler weather. Pretty functional and modest but comfy and still a bit girly.


34 Lisa July 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Ok, love the mens PJ style, but wanted something with a cute print. I am HOOKED on the Nick and Nora brand at Target. I get myself and all the other girls in the family new flannel sets for Christmas, and now a cotton set for spring. The prints are cute, the fabric soft, modest in cut. I never worry that they don’t offer enough coverage. LOVE them!!!Plus, only cost round $25. The flannel gets softer the more they are washed!!!


35 Johanna July 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Victoria Secret’s pjs come in LONG (tall) which is hard to find and impossible at, say Target. Unfortunately they’re from Victoria Secret, but fortunately they’re cute and comfortable. Mine are cotton, pink stripes.


36 Caroline July 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Fun topic! I wish I could be one of the women who wear cute little outfits to bed, but I truly hate the feeling of my thighs touching, so I have to wear pants! My husband hates my pjs (calls them “no sex pants” because nothing says sexy like plaid drawstring pants!) and I am always looking for cute and comfy options. For guests or when I am a guest I throw on a sweatshirt or bra before heading into the kitchen, and often sleep in yoga pants. Sadly, my robe is strictly for post shower, pre clothes wearing. Any good resources for cute robes to wear over pjs?


37 the enchanted home July 24, 2012 at 5:05 am

I consider myself a pj expert:) MUST be cotton, perferably very soft cotton. I love mens pj’s and cute nightshirts, its all about comfort. I could live in pj’s. Literally.


38 Megan July 24, 2012 at 6:36 am

I love the same men’s style jammies; I find them made for women at Brooks Brothers…and for less at the Brooks Brothers outlet! Saw them just the other day actually AND they had a summery short-sleeve style…sigh…is it bad that I run my daughter outside to her preschool bus in them? LOL…


39 Molly July 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

This reminds me of reading the book “Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness” by Dominique Browning. The pajamas are from Brooks Brothers men’s department, which Browning insists makes “the best pajamas for grown women.”


40 Kate The Great July 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I wear a dressing gown around the house as my pyjamas. I just got back from an out-of-state stay at my parent’s house, and my dressing gown was perfect for breakfasting and conversing before showering and getting dressed for the day.

When I’m around my own house, my dressing gown is also perfect for dealing with my toddler before he and I get dressed. We enjoy lazy mornings, and we generally get dressed around 10A, or even as late at 1P, if we’re not going outside at all that day. I sleep in my underwear, which my husband loves, and my dressing gown is the perfect in-between.

What does it look like? Well, I think it was made in the 50s or 60s. It’s greenish-blue, and it has two layers: the under layer is a light flannel cotton that clings to my skin in just the right places and ends in a large ruffle that sweeps the floor. I sewed the ruffle on myself after I bought my dressing gown because I wanted it to be longer. I love the grace and the weight it gives the gown.

The second layer is a wispy, flighty, opaque cloth. It drapes over the clingy layer to make me more modest, but still feminine. Because of this layer, it makes the clingy layer look more suggestive, more abstract, than in your face. It also ends the half sleeves in a ruffle, and also gives a ruffle between the bust line and the neck line. It is the only layer from above that neck ruffle, so it makes the neck and shoulders.

I love the little details my dressing gown has, too. The wispy layer tears easily, especially considering how old the garment is, so I’ve mended some of the tears with radically different thread. I think it gives it a Sally-doll from Nightmare Before Christmas look. Other rips I leave because I like their location, like the slit on the side that goes up.


41 Liz Stanley July 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Love your pj idea! I’m always an offender of the clingy tshirt w/o a bra…


42 Adventures in Dressmaking July 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm

So cool to see this question and response! I’ve recently come to the same conclusions–still searching for the perfect pair of preppy, classic PJs but I agree Target has some great options!


43 Melissa July 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Thanks Gabrielle! I have already purchased a pair from J Crew :)


44 GSD July 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Great idea, and right on time too, any excuse to buy new lounge gear tho right?


45 Lydia July 28, 2012 at 3:27 am

I actually really like all the sleepwear they sell at aerie, in terms of nightgowns and bottoms. I usually just wear a cheap t shirt on top. Remember, you can always wear a sports bra!


46 Sandy July 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm

It’s quite awful of me, but I usually wear whatever I have on by the end of the night to bed. Fortunately, it’s usually things I’ve set aside as “house clothes”. Whenever I get back from class or anything, I usually immediately change into comfortable clothing. If it’s not immediately, it’d be a gradual change.


47 Becca July 30, 2012 at 2:44 am

Those pj’s look nice! I’m a BIG fan of men’s pjs as they seem to be better made than women’s pjs. In fact I have lots of pairs, and I don’t have any women’s pjs at all. They also are roomy – I hate tight nightwear, not comfy at all. My fav pjs are black and white bold stripy men’s pjs, size S but really quite baggy on me. Cool to relax in and comfy to sleep in. If the legs or arms are too long, it isn’t hard to sew them back. Most cotton pjs are so lightweight you hardly know the difference.

(TMI, but talking of men’s pjs is ironic as my man always sleeps totally as Mother Nature intended, and as his Wife prefers! LOL)


48 pj ja ma September 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm

pajamas, pajama are indispensable in my life,have someone thinking like me?
I’m guy, i single ,I think ,I probably with some people different , because I feel pajamas are as a set of clothing more attractive than all kinds ,and I feel they even courtesy and elegant more
of course I just like,male pajamas, and they have the classic style, stripes,or neutral colors ((there is absolutely no flowers printed or cartoon))
I hope someone with the same interests as me to talk about them,


49 Katie March 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

I love sleeping in leggings with a sweatshirt, tshirt, long sleeve t, or tank – depending on the weather. If I have guests (or if I am a guest!) I add a robe or over sized hooded sweatshirt for breakfast/lounging.


50 Emma January 29, 2015 at 1:32 pm

I wear Granny pajamas or heavy cotton top and bottom, bra, knee high socks and sleep under a heated blanket. My husband hasn’t slept with me in over 40 years so I wear what’s warm.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: