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8 best women's summer pyjamas: Keep cool during balmy nights

Don't let your jammies get in the way of a decent night's sleep

Emma Henderson@Emmalouisehendy
Monday 29 June 2020 12:00
When it comes to breathable fabrics, linen, cotton and silk are all summer go-tos
When it comes to breathable fabrics, linen, cotton and silk are all summer go-tos

We love summer – who doesn't? Albeit this year's is a very different one.

As lockdown measures start to lift and temperatures rise, we'll be spending more time outside. The brighter mornings and longer evenings will mean plenty of alfresco dining, too.

The only issue is that with warm sunny days comes hot sticky nights. Cool showers and sleeping with nothing on can help solve overheating, but if that's not for you, you need to find the right pyjamas for the job, considering we spend around a third of our lives sleeping.

And there's nothing more important than knowing your fabrics when it comes to summer nightwear.

Natural materials like cotton are most people's go-to, but if you're a nighttime sweater, the lightweight fabric might not be your best option, as although it will soak up sweat, it won't really dry out.

Welcome in linen, which dries much quicker than cotton, meaning you won't wake up with a soggy top sticking to you. It isn't quite as soft intially, but does soften up with time. It keeps you cool in summer and warmer in winter, so it's a great all-rounder.

Silk, if you're willing to splash out, is the ultimate summer pj material as it's cool and moisture wicking, as well as being super soft on your skin.

If you're looking for an eco alternative to silk, check out bamboo. It can look and feel almost the same as silk, has all the same breathable properties, and is not as expensive. There's also rayon, a man-made fabric created from cotton and woodpulp, which is also widely used to imitate silk.

We've tested a range of linen, cotton and bamboo pyjamas for how comfy they were, the material they're made from, the fit, and how cool they kept us during these balmy summer nights.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Nightire pjs sweet clementine short set

Taking its name from the merging of “night” and “attire” – these gorgeous pjs are made from 100 per cent bamboo, which is environmentally friendly and moisture wicking and thanks to this ingenious fabric, they look and feel luxurious like silk. The sweet clementine print is part of the new 2020 range, which also includes a red and pink coral print, as well a third design coming soon too.

The bottoms are elasticated with a scalloped bottom and the shirt also has a top right pocket. We really love the subtle detail of an embroidered outline of a closed eye on either lapel, reminding us that these are to sleep in, but we’d happily wear them anywhere.

They’re oh-so-silky to wear, we didn't overheat in bed (even during a heatwave), and they wash well too. We’re absolutely obsessed with them. Available in sizes XS-XL, the brand also sells cute matching scrunchies and eye masks, too.

Sleeper lounge suit

Despite its name, Sleeper is actually best known for its daywear – and we bet you’ve seen its off the shoulder, floaty midi dresses in gorgeous prints and pastel shades all over your Instagram. Its pjs are just as fabulous, and Sleeper actually advocates wearing them during the day too, and when they look this good, it’s no wonder.

This set features a cute frill around the bottom of the shorts, ¾ sleeves, a button up front and an elasticed high waist short. We loved this print best: cream linen with a little baby blue flower print all over, but it also comes in six other colourways, from pale pink to mustard. The tops can be quite oversized, so consider ordering one size down from your usual. We usually go for a medium in clothes sizes, but could have gone for a small here.

Yes, they’re very expensive, but the Ukraine-based brand pays fair wages to its workers, makes everything to order so there’s no overstock and you get a handwritten note telling you who made your item by hand. In short, you get what you pay for. They’ll last a long time and they’re absolutely adorable – we think they are worth saving up for if jammies are your thing. The set also comes in an adorbale reusable cotton bag too. Available in sizes XS-XL.

M&S cotton tropical print pyjama set

If you can’t wear bright and bold prints to bed, then when can you? This orange floral print makes us think of beautiful beaches and it's making us long even more for summer holidays. They’re one of the thinnest cotton sets we tried, which makes them good for people who get overly hot but still prefer the coverage of a shirt. The shorts have a drawstring waist and the collared shirt buttons up the front. We think they’re a perfect set for when you do get to go on that holiday (or staycation) as they’re lightweight and won't take up much room in a suitcase either. They look a lot more expensive than they are, and for the price, you can’t really go wrong. There’s also a nightdress and cropped trouser available in the same print too. Available in sizes 6-22.

Piglet white linen pyjamas shorts set

If you're still wanting to wear a long-sleeved top with your shorts set, then Piglet’s matching top and bottoms are the answer. Made from French flax linen – which is cool in the summer and warm in the winter – this set oozes luxury and you’ll absolutely want to wear it at breakfast, as well as all day on lazy Sundays too, and you certaintly won’t be caught out if someone rings the doorbell.

The chic duo is finished off with pearlised buttons and contrasting navy piping. They are designed to have an oversized fit, but we recommend going for a size below your usual which will still be plenty roomy enough. Also available in pale pink, navy and navy and white stripes in sizes XS-XL.

Desmond & Dempsey Pahari print blue linen top and linen bottoms, sold separately

We always look forward to a new print from one of our favourite pj brands, Desmond & Dempsey, and this year’s are absolute winners. Inspired by the mesmereising landscape scenery, lakes, architecture and wildlife of Udaipur in India, this print encompasses everything that makes the area so beautiful. Available in a blue and white colourway, as well as a coral pink and gold, we found it very hard to choose between the two. Sold separately, the V-neck cami has adjustable straps while the shorts are classic D&D style; with a drawstring waist that can be worn low or high, side pockest and pipping along the bottom. This set is made from linen, which is more breathable than cotton. Another set that we struggle to wear only just for bed. There’s also a shirt top in the same print, if you prefer that style.

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Asos design tie side pink tee and short pyjamas

Made from ribbed cotton, these pjs are soft and cosy and quite oversized, so if you prefer a tighter fit, definitely go down a size. We love the pastel pink colour, and the nicely baggy shorts have a lovely thick waistband making them really comfy to wear. The T-shirt is also generously sized, with the sleeves almost coming down to your elbow. We removed the side tie for sleeping in, but it gives a nice detail if you’re wearing these as loungewear during the day, which we definitely are. As the material is one of the thickest sets we tested, they're a great option when you want an inbetween pair of pjs.

Eberjey summer stripe tank

In 1996, this brand started creating designer underwear that suited the body type of one of the owners after she struggled to find great fitting lingerie. It's since grown and offers loungewear and pjs, too. For those of us who prefer to sleep in a sleeveless top, this is the ultimate luxurious item. Made from seriously soft cotton, (no really, it’s unbelievably soft), we love the racer back style. If you’re usually on the hotter side, you'll still be feeling cooler during warm nights, and most importantly comfortable and not restricted if you don't like shirts. We also think the lemon-stripe colour is perfect for the summery months.

The White Company cotton spot top and bottom pyjama set, sold separately

This brand does some of the best pyjamas on the high street – we’re already big fans of its long classic jersey pj set which won the best buy in our round-up of women’s winter pjs, too. When it came to summer, there wasn’t much doubt we’d also find another set to adore. And who doesn’t love a ruffle? What’s even better is this set has two – on the shoulder and on the bottom of the shorts. The cotton is very lightweight and the pink embroidered polka dot print adds a sweet touch. We like that the top has an elegant V-neck as well as an elasticated back which gives it a flattering look and a great fit. The matching bottoms are also elasticated around the waist, and are so comfy you’ll be wanting to wear them in the day too.

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The verdict: Women's summer pjs

For the ultimate comfy pjs, it has to be Nightire's sweet clementine set. They're silky smooth without the price tag of other luxury alternatives, wash well and have gorgeous prints to choose from, and we love the eco-credentials. Sleeper's linen suit is beautifully made and Desmond & Dempsey's new Pahri prints are excellent, too.

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