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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Licentiate Column 12/05/11: Fashioning Nightwear

What do you wear in bed? Burberry pajamas? Silk kimonos? Calvin briefs? Something saucy by Elle MacPherson or (cue scandalised gasps) Ann Summers?

The politics of nightwear aren’t so much convoluted as they are unexplored. I can’t remember the last time a fashion magazine dedicated a shoot to fashionable nightwear, if ever. I doubt somehow that the sticky subject of what to wear while unconscious and riding the waves of REM has Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington engaged in vicious debate over the best hemline for a babydoll nightie.

A straw poll taken amongst my female friends (the answers the males gave are unfit for print and would probably result in a mental-picture induced fainting fit) revealed that fashion has no place between the sheets, unless grey Marks and Spencers t-shirts are the new Spring/Summer trend that Vogue have unforgivably forgotten to report on.

We already over-analyse what we should wear to weddings, to dates, at work and at play. Why not stir a pot already overloaded with spoons and discuss the ramifications of what you wear in bed? That grey tee will never look the same again.

1) Pajamas. Loose fitting shirt and trousers, often made in a cotton or silk material. A much beloved Christmas present from clueless maiden aunts the words over, pajamas are basically slouchy suits. The pajama is the formal matriarch of the nightwear family. It is staid, perennial and probably best worn in cream silk with reams of pearls, a la Coco Chanel. Here’s a bonus fun fact: Pajamas were, up until the 1940’s, an acceptably chic form of daywear. Those girls who go to Tesco in their best Penney’s piggy print know more than they’re letting on.

2) Baby-doll nighties. Super short, often transparent nightgowns, sometimes sold with matching underwear. Much-maligned, under appreciated and terminally neglected now that suggestion just doesn’t cut it in the sexy stakes, baby-dolls were once the pinnacle of Playboy risque. Modern baby-dolls are close cut on the hips and have slightly seedy connotations. If buying, vintage baby-dolls are your best bet. Be warned, old polyester can scratch like angry sandpaper and if worn by the wrong person, can make you resemble a circus tent with legs.

3) T-shirt and underwear. By far the most popular answer in the straw poll, the thinking behind this combo is that, before bed, you take off everything but your underwear and cotton vest. And that’s it. No effort equals high function and low impact. Many women labour under the thought that this is actually the sexiest option for bed-time attire and they’d be right, unless their partner watches too many exotic films. It’s you with the absolute minimum of clothing on - what’s not for your partner to love?

4) Funzie - The adult version of a onesie, this is best indulged on a lonely night in front of the tv, with a tub of ice cream and a dab of paraphilic infantilism. Just say no.