There was a time when pyjamas were just clothes you slept in. Whether you favoured oversized T-shirts, slinky slips, or giant knickers, chances are your sleepwear collection was far from fashionable. And why should it have been? These are garments you wear exclusively during nocturnal hours. They’re not supposed to be trendy. What would be the point?
But things have changed. The pandemic has meant that more of us are spending time at home. And yes, for many of us, that means spending more time in sleepwear than usual. With no commute and no office, the art of getting dressed became somewhat redundant. For some it might have become a way of retaining a modicum of normality, but for many others, it was an unnecessary burden.
And so sleepwear became something we no longer wore to sleep in. Suddenly, we were working, eating, and possibly even Zooming in our PJs or loungewear. The problem is that there’s only so many daylight hours you can spend in a tatty old T-shirt without feeling, well, sloth-like. That’s where statement sleepwear comes in.
In recent months, statement sleepwear has surged in popularity (Google searches for the term “feather PJs” spiked in October).
Think matching silk sets, brash patterns on button-downs, and even feather trims. As Christmas approaches, when restrictions means we’re likely to be spending more time at home than usual, there’s no better time to invest in this trend, one that will help conjure up a sense of an occasion while also keeping you comfortable.
There are a number of specialist brands leading the way in the statement sleepwear sector. One of them is Sleeper, the cult nightwear label founded in Kyiv in 2014 by two former fashion editors: Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa.
Famed for its fluff and feather-trimmed matching PJ sets, and its all-female team, Sleeper has become a go-to for those looking to amp up their sleepwear this season.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen a noticeable growth in buying activity,” says Varetsa. “Home clothes have never been as significant for people who love fashion and beauty as they are now.”
Zubarieva adds that during lockdown, the most expensive items in our wardrobes (think jewellery, handbags, and inappropriate shoes) were defunct.
“Those items were left in the background, while the clothes we don't usually show, like pyjamas, suddenly became more prominent. And thanks to Zoom and other virtual social platforms, our private rooms have become a place that we now show more. So clothes that are good both for going out and for staying at home have become a bridge to reality between our home routine and our social lives," she explains.
That’s the best thing about statement sleepwear: you can wear it out and about too, even if this year that simply means wearing it to midnight mass. Sleeper has been seen out in the wild on a range of famous faces, including Emily Ratajkowski, Leandra Medine and Mira Duma.
It was also featured in the hit Netflix series, The Duchess, which was revered for its styling. Lead actor and writer Katherine Ryan pairs her pale blue, yellow feather-trimmed Sleeper set with a pink jumper that reads: “World’s Smallest P****”. Prices range between $250 and $300 (£185 to £222).
Another cult boutique brand that is a trailblazer in the sleepwear world is Olivia Von Halle. Founded by British-born Von Halle in 2011, the luxe label specialises in silk sleep sets that come in a wide range of bright colours and prints.
For those looking for something more affordable, fear not. There are plenty of labels creating statement sleepwear at lower price tags. Take Le Nap (under £100 price range), another brand that tells The Independent its sales have spiked during the pandemic.
Based in Amsterdam, Le Nap prides itself on well-made, sustainable nightwear that doesn’t compromise on style. Its PJ sets come in a wide range of distinctive colours; pastel lime green and bubblegum pink. We love this celestial blue set (£76) that projects a vibrant Peacock vibe.
Other labels to seek out include Desmond & Dempsey, Scamp and Dude, and beloved dress brand Rixo, which launched its first-ever sleepwear line in November - a testament to the increased demand in the sector.
Whichever brand you choose to invest in, be sure to pick a PJ set that will work just as well outdoors as in. Because while we might still have a long way to go until things “return to normal”, the time will come when we do get dressed up again. And you won’t want to leave your pyjamas to fester at the bottom of your wardrobe, they’re far too pretty for that.
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