“The best gifts are little luxuries the recipient would never buy for themselves.”–testimonial from Town & Country in praise of LAKE super-soft Pima pajamas.
Pandemic Rise in Popularity
Is there any aspect of life that wasn’t affected by the pandemic? One perhaps unexpected thing it did was to shine a spotlight on…yep, pajamas. As a result of people working from home, the popularity of PJs skyrocketed. We spanned the gamut, from just working all day in our pajamas to creating the new hybrid look of dressing business casual from the waist up, while featuring your favorite sleepwear below camera. And, we started placing more value on comfort, fueling the focus on comfortable, fashionable pajamas and a willingness to spend money on them. So, it’s no surprise that pajama sets that express style and give us a feeling of being put together are on the rise.
Quality of Sleep
Let’s face it, nobody craves a great night’s sleep like busy moms with young kids. But, most of us probably don’t think about the connection between our sleepwear and the quality of our sleep, but experts say the two are related. Who knew that wearing binding clothing at night can actually inhibit melatonin production, which affects your sleep cycles. Yikes!
When you’re thinking about buying a pair of new pajamas, the first thing you’re probably thinking about is the season. Is it wintery outside, hot, somewhere in between? Or, constantly transitioning back and forth from one to the other? Do I need long sleeves or short? Tank top? Long pants or shorts? What fabric? What style am I in the mood for? Preppy, posh, cute, comfy, loungewear? Maybe something I can run a quick errand or pick up the kids in? Or, hey, what about a cute nightshirt?
Style and Fabric
Most of us have a preference for certain fabrics. Do you love natural fabrics or maybe you’re trying to be more conscious about sustainability with your buying choices and want to explore the newer eco-friendly fabrics.
Sure, when it comes to choosing your sleepwear, comfort is key. But that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to comfort and style! The goal at lookingGLASS styling is to show you how to develop your wardrobe to assure you have both—down to your pajamas! Regardless of your preferences, there are pajamas in a cut, style and fabric that you’ll swear were designed with you in mind.
The Pajama Backstory
Cute lounge sets sleepwear for ladies have always been in style, but, although most of us have probably taken this sleepwear icon for granted, PJs have a history that might surprise you. Before we take a look at our brand picks that we think feature the best pajamas for women, let’s take a little peak at the PJ backstory.
Believe it or not, the history of pajamas, or pyjamas in the commonwealth, dates back to the time when the Mongol Empire was periodically invading Persia and parts of northern India.
In the 1600s, pajamas, loose trousers tied at the waist with a cord, made their way from India to England as “lounging attire” and were called mogul’s breeches. (Over time, the term mongol underwent Persian and Arabian alterations, emerging as mughal, or mughul, and eventually mogul…okay, we are definitely feeling some Harry Potter vibes here... and by the time they hit jolly ole’ England, we had mogul’s breeches.) But, it wasn’t until 1870 that pajamas became popular as mainstream sleepwear for men.
So, how did the ladies get in on the great PJ movement?
At the beginning of the 20th century, pajamas were introduced as women’s sleepwear and, by1920, were trending as at-home evening wear. By 1916, pajamas had made their way into women’s closets, thanks in part to a couple of hit Billie Burke films at that time (yes! The same Billie Burke of Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, fame in The Wizard of Oz (we know, could your love for Glenda get any higher!). Another pajama game fun fact from Hollywood: Bette Davis caused a fashion revolution in 1943 when she appeared in her husband’s pajama top as her sleepwear in the film “Old Acquaintance.” The morning after the movie opened, the iconic I. Magnin luxury department store sold out of men’s sleepwear, all of it sold to young women.
If you feel a newfound sense of reverence the next time you pull out your favorite jammies, it’s completely understandable. And, if you’re ready to ditch the boxer shorts and old college tee as your nightly sleep attire, we have got some great sets for you to check out!
Cut Long Long
Starting off with some fabulous long sleeve pants PJs from brands from LAKE to Target, here are our lookingGLASS stylists’ picks for great style and comfort for chillier weather.
For a classic preppy aesthetic, we love these poplin PJs from LAKE, featuring a long sleeve, button up top in classic navy and white stripes. For a softer look, Eberjay offers a similar style with a drapier look and a ton of colors to choose from.
Traditional Men's Style
If the boyfriend look is more your style, you’ll love these traditional men’s cut pajamas from J. Crew, featuring breast pocket, notch collar, piping and elastic waist. And if you’re mad for plaid, you’ll love the roomy L.L.Bean men’s cut.
You can always count on Target for super cozy and casual with affordable prices. We love these feather yarn pajamas from Stars Above, and if you don’t own a set of these, where have you been? Just looking at them makes you want to curl up with your favorite book and cup of coffee. An added benefit for these cozies is that, in a pinch, you could throw on your favorite sneakers and run an errand without having to change into “street clothes.” And nothing will make you feel more like you woke up at your favorite ski-in ski-out chalet than these cute cuffed thermals with the Henley-style top. Aaand, we’re thinking these could easily double as long underwear when the thermometer takes a sudden plunge!
If the call of the wild is your love language, check out these outdoorsy, nature lover pajamas from L.L.Bean. Casual, cozy and cute, it’s hard not to love this sleepwear. The color-coordinated Henley top features placket and inside neck lining detail out of the same fabric as the pants, pulling it all together for an elevated casual look.
This “slouchy” PJs set from Eberjay might be our favorite for a crossover style that can go from sleepwear to loungewear to a quick dash to the grocery store. This high-style look combines a roomy drop-shoulder, slim sleeve top with Cairo style pants tied at the waist with a beautiful contrasting color oversized drawstring. The high quality, buttery soft fabric is 95% crease and shrink-resistant modal jersey.
Cut Long Short
There’s just something deliciously glam about this LAKE long sleeve with shorts pajama set. The long sleeves give it a sort of boyfriend feel—think Bette Davis raising some eyebrows from the big screen—the shorts give it a cutesy kick. The superior-quality poplin fabric is a great canvas for the main attraction: chartreuse.
We can’t talk about chartreuse without mentioning its provenance in the Carthusian Mountains of the French Alps! Yep, it seems that back in 1605, a French aristocrat, François Hannibal d’Estrées, discovered a manuscript containing a secret recipe that supposedly offered long life to anyone who drank it. D’Estrées brought the recipe to Monks near Paris, who ultimately sent it down to La Grande Chartreuse abbey, the chief monastery of the Carthusian order. In the late 1700s, the recipe was tweaked to create the French herbal liqueur we know as Green Chartreuse. Some 75 years later, another monk tweaked the recipe again, and voila! today’s Yellow Chartreuse—which btw is the gorgeous color of these pajamas! This yellow-green can be a tricky color to wear (paler complexions can look overpowered and washed out by this vibrant shade), but if you can pull it off, you’ll wake up feeling spring green fresh, whatever the season.
Cut Tank Long
Here’s a perfect PJ solution for those hot winter nights. Yes, hot. It happens. Just ask anybody who lives in a region that has winter weather that fluctuates between cold snaps and “unseasonal” warmer temperatures, when Mother Nature just can’t seem to make up her mind. This soft, silky knit tank top and long pants set is made of Peruvian Pima cotton, the “cashmere of cotton,” and offers cool to cozy comfort for those transitional nights.
Next, leave it to Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James brand to offer up this sweet and fresh as a farm-to-table breakfast pajama set in pink gingham. Just don’t be surprised if you wake up singing Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!
Cut Short Long
For transitional weather nights, short sleeve pajamas with long pants is a safe bet. Reach for a fabric like cotton, silk, or some of the newer sustainable, temperature-regulating fabrics, like bamboo.
Check out these super cute PJs from Tommy John.
Continuing with a fabulous feline theme, we love these Katie Kime cheetah prints. When you slip into these pajamas, you’ll understand why some of the most important goddesses of yore are depicted with the persona of a big cat. And this is one cat you’ll be thrilled to let out of the bag!
Okay, how fun are these Katie Kime “affirmation” pajamas? Come on. “The world is my oyster?” Who could have anything but a fabulous day after waking up to that?
If luxurious is more your style, these gorgeous 100% mulberry silk jammies will be top of your list. Lightweight, thermoregulating, and washable, they feature a button down V-neck, pull-on top with a pocket and long pants.
Cut Short Short
For warmer weather, who doesn’t love a pair of shorty pajamas? Can you say shorties, for short? Well, we do want to cover the long and short of it…
These three similar preppy pajama sets, all short sleeve with shorts, feature classic button up style with breast pocket and contrasting piping and demonstrate a range of fabric—and price—options. The Stars Above from Target is a great cute look in a modal blend fabric at a very affordable price. In the medium price range, you can’t miss with J.Crew’s crisp looking 100% cotton PJs, with elevated styling elements that include contrasting drawstring waist and a nautical flare. If you want to treat yourself to one of life’s “little luxuries,” why not spring for the comfort of stretch-knit bamboo from Cozy Earth? We love the variety of color options here, especially the make-you-weak-at-the-knees pomegranate. There’s a reason Cozy Earth has made Oprah’s Favorite Things list five years in a row! The list has featured best pajama brands for women, and as a matter of fact, this popular segment started out with her love for flannel pajamas!
Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James brand delights again with these preppy-meets-southern-magnolias. The dreamy polyester and spandex blend fabric features white magnolias on a buttery pink background. If you want to get in touch with your inner southern belle, these could be just the cute PJs for you.
Katie Kime brings on a similar cut and style pajama, with these cute modal and cotton blend toile shorties with elastic waist and adjustable ribbon tie. We love the light and airy look for staying cool on those warmer nights, and yes, this set would look adorable with your initials on that front pocket, if you can wait an extra 7-10 days for delivery!
If you’re looking for a luxe look at an affordable price, you’ll love these easy glamour, silky satin look shorty pajamas from Ekouaer, featuring a scoop neck, pullover top and tie-string shorts and available in a variety of colors.
Or, you may want to ditch the PJs look altogether and opt for this cute nightshirt from J.Crew.
Okay, this shorter-than-most-nightshirts length featured here does conjure up the Bette Davis husband’s pajama top movie scene we described earlier, but this made-for-the-ladies version fits oh so nicely in the shoulders!
The lookingGLASS Top 7 Brand Picks
- LAKE – Best overall for comfort quality and price. We love that they have lots of fabric and print options.
- Tommy John – Material is a dream, stretchy and soft (like your favorite underwear from college that has lost all the elastic!). Great first-order discount and sizing guide.
- Stars Above – Affordable (half the price of other brands) and convenient (already on your Target run!). Great selection of prints (including Christmas pajamas!) and options.
- Cozy Earth – Bamboo fabric can be cooler than cotton. Unique 100-day free night sleep trial guarantee. Basic neutral solid colors and comes in tall lengths. Also, offers joggers, sweatshirts and bedding.
- J.Crew – Always reliable for that classic preppy, put together look (including monogramming option!) good when your lounging around with gals on a sleepover. Offers extended sizes.
- Draper James – Another great preppy brand, with a soft, feminine touch. Not as many options, but at around $70, cheaper than J.Crew.
- Eberjay – So-comfy jersey fabric and wide price range ($50-150). Some are hand-wash only. Convenient on Amazon.
Other Great Choices Include:
- Katie Kime – Playful and fun. An Austin local.
- L.L.Bean – Flannel lovers go-to. Reliable quality and style
- Lunya – When you want to splurge on washable silk!
- Ekuaer – Luxe look and feel of silk without the $$$ price tag.
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