Let’s be honest, it’s always easy to tell who the well rested among us are – the bundles of energy and noticeable absence of under-eye bags are a clear giveaway.
But while there are a lot of factors that can affect how we sleep, none is more important than temperature. That’s why silk pyjamas are a luxe, yet smart, choice for the serious sleeper. Silk is anti-irritating and allows your body to retain moisture which can prevent you from overheating at night – so you can pull in that one leg you always stick out the side.
Not only does it feel great against your skin, silk also has anti-ageing properties. Containing a natural protein, as well as amino acids, this fabric helps trick the nervous system into relaxing, which helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that silk pillowcases are becoming a must-have accessory for bed time. But we think it’s also worth going that one step further and investing in some silky jammies too.
How we tested
We’ve rigorously tested – read: spent many nights snoozing – in some of the best silk sleepwear on the market, and we’ve charted the best of the best below. We were looking for pyjama sets that were obviously comfortable, but that also helped control our body temperature on muggy, mild, and cold nights.
It’s worth noting that, during our research, we discovered there iss an inclusivity issue when it comes to silk pyjamas. Besides a select few brands catering to those who wear UK18+ (hello, Karen Mabon), most brands don’t cater to bodies above a UK16 or even a UK12 in some cases. But we sincerely hope that fashion brands will continue to improve this across the board.
The best silk pyjamas sets for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Ghost Alice silk PJ set: £179, Ghost.co.uk
- Best for size inclusivity – Karen Mabon’s midnight tiger silk pyjama set: £160, Coggles.com
- Best sustainable option – Charlotte Dunn ‘silk’ cami short set character edition: £110, Charlottedunndesign.com
- Best for vegans – Fox & Taylor eco vegan silk serenity pyjama set: £55, Foxandtaylor.co
- Best budget buy– Karen Millen silk lounge top: £18, Karenmillen.com
- Best shorts set – Ethical Kind organic peace silk camisole and shorts set: £360, Ethicalkind.com
- Best for chic sleepwear – The White Company silk piped pyjama set: £189, Thewhitecompany.com
Ghost Alice silk PJ set
Launched in January this year, Ghost’s sleepwear range is the newest kid on the silk wear block. With slips, robes, longline pyjamas and slouchy short sets to choose from, each is made from 100 per cent silk but can be washed in a regular, delicate wash when turned inside out (win).
Available in sizes XS (UK8) to XL (UK16), we tried one of the Alice silk PJ sets in a lush charcoal hue (more green than grey). We found that the oversized shirt should fit a couple of sizes above what is advertised, while the shorts are more true to size. The material is lovely and soft, perfect for when the summer heatwaves eventually hit.
Karen Mabon’s midnight tiger silk pyjama set
Best: For size inclusivity
Karen Mabon is the most inclusive silk pyjama stockist we found. The London-based designer’s hand drawn pyjama sets come in sizes XS (UK6-8) to 5XL (UK24-26) and, unlike so many of its contemporaries where colours are muted or various shades of navy blue, Mabon’s designs are fun, fresh and vibrant.
The current collection offers bright pink and yellow-hued pyjamas alongside the black tiger set, and there’s also a set that pays homage to Agatha Christie. The pyjamas are made from 97 per cent silk and fit like a dream, the only downside being that they are dry clean only. Almost a bit too fancy for bedware.
Charlotte Dunn ‘silk’ cami short set character edition
Best: Sustainable option
Handmade in London using sustainable bamboo “silk”, Charlotte Dunn’s new character edition of her cami short set brings the female figure print trend to our PJs. An ideal set for summer, we won’t blame you if you want to wear the flattering cowl neck cami top as a regular top too, it’s that pretty (sizes are available in UK6-14).
What’s more is you can feel good about your purchase, too. Each of Charlotte Dunn’s designs are made with fabrics that come with a Global Organic Textiles Standard certificate, which means that the way the fabric is sourced – right from the growing and harvesting stage – is environmentally and socially responsible. It’s a win-win.
Fox & Taylor eco vegan silk serenity pyjama set
Best: For vegans
While the top in the set is made from ultra-soft organic cotton, the toffee and treacle animal print pyjama bottoms are made from 100 per cent cupro – recycled vegan silk. Accredited by the European Vegan Union, the vegan silk used is made from the part of a cotton plant that is generally thrown away as waste. True to its promise, the material is silky soft and it’s machine washable too.
While the sizing states that it goes from XS (UK6-8) to an XL (UK14-16), the fabric is non-stretch and we found it ran quite small. For those who want to complete the look, however, there’s an eco-friendly vegan silk headscarf (£22, Foxandtaylor.co) available as well.
Karen Millen silk lounge top
Best: Budget buy
By far the best budget silk buy we came across, Karen Millen’s lounge top and the matching shorts (£15, Karenmillen.com) are made with 100 per cent silk. Despite the fabric being a little see through, we love these as a smart summer option – it’s also best to hand wash this set instead of machine wash as the fabric is delicate.
Sizes range from UK6-16 and the set fits true to size. For an option that can double as a work-appropriate shirt, the silk oversized tee (£22, Karenmillen.com) is a high neck, cap sleeve version of the lounge top – but opt for the black hue if you can.
Ethical Kind organic peace silk camisole and shorts set
Best: Shorts set
Sleepwear with a social conscience. Ethical Kind was created in 2019 by Lily Chong and is a collection of 100 per cent organic peace silk pyjamas, camisoles, kimono gowns and pillowcases. Peace silk is made using a cruelty-free process (where no silkworms are harmed) and the feel-good factor here is furthered by knowing that five per cent of profits is set aside to support social and rural uplift for women and children in Jharkhand, India.
The pyjamas themselves are available in a full coverage set or the camisole set – we opted for the camisole in black, which was lovely and roomy despite there only being two small and medium sizes available. The top is perhaps a bit too nice for bed wear only, we’d be tempted to pair it with jeans for a summer look.
The White Company silk piped pyjama set
Best: For chic sleepwear
There’s a reason why The White Company’s silk pyjamas are so favoured by the style set. Made from luxurious 100 per cent 19 momme silk, these PJs wrap around you like a warm hug – and look incredibly chic while doing so. The piped set is available in ivory – which we think would make perfect treat-yourself wedding PJs. There’s also a stitch detail silk set available in pale blue or pink (£132.30, Thewhitecompany.com), ideal for those who prefer a pastel hue come bedtime.
These are available in sizes extra small (UK4-6) to extra large (UK18). And while the long sleeves are ideal for the cooler months, these sets are made to feel breathable, so will be cool against your skin during the height of summer as well.
Silk pyjamas FAQs
Are silk pyjamas worth it?
In a word, yes. Although pricier, silk pyjamas are a more durable option than cotton and feel extra smooth on the skin, so are more of an investment for your pyjama collection.
Why are silk Pyjamas so expensive?
There is no getting around it, silk is expensive. As a natural fibre, it undergoes a lot of treatments and labour-intensive processes to make it to the shops.
Silk is synonymous with luxury, and has long been loved for its gentleness on the skin as it doesn’t tug or irritate – simply gliding across your body. Those who live with skin irritations, like acne or dermatitis, are often advised to wear silk pyjamas or use silk pillows and bedding, to help with their condition.
Additionally, Silk fabric has thermoregulatory qualities, which allows your skin to breathe as you sleep, helping you to stay cool in the hot summer months and cosy in the winter.
How do you clean silk Pyjamas?
As silk does not tolerate heat or harsh chemicals well, as it may shrink or weaken, it is often best to dry-clean your silk pieces. However, you can gently hand-wash your silks in cold water, with some delicate detergent.
The verdict: Silk pyjamas
Ghost’s Alice silk PJ set is our top pick thanks to its midpoint price range, relatively good size range (shout out to its oversized tee) and pure comfort for when you do hit the hay. It could definitely do with extending its size offerings, however.
We also love Karen Mabon’s truly inclusive and ultra-fun range, however, the fact that it’s dry clean only just isn’t accessible to the everyday pyjama wearer. Ethically speaking, we’re drawn to Charlotte Dunn’s bamboo silk range for its eco-credentials, lower price point and versatility too.
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