The sun goes down and it’s time to settle in for the evening. You turn the lights on around the house, make yourself a cozy drink, and get changed. Off goes the officewear or the jeans that fit just a little snugger than you want, off goes everything tight, binding, unforgiving, and proper, and instead you finally get to put on the ratty old sweats that feel like a hug, but make you look like a homeless person.
It feels like relief, but when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, you avert your eyes. When you snuggle up in front of the TV to watch some beautiful people going about their glamorous lives, you wish you could live like that because in your real life you feel…shabby. But why would you dress up just to go to bed? After all, you have worked hard today and have earned your relaxation. You deserve to just let it all hang out. Besides who cares if your t-shirt has a couple holes and your underwear lost its spring a while back. It’s not like anybody important is going to see you, right?
Oh honey, that is inside out and backward!
YOU are going to see you!
What you wear affects how you see yourself!
Each day, each hour, we are forming our self-image, revising and updating our self worth.
Everybody else just takes your word for it.
When you treat yourself as someone unimportant, you internalize the lesson that you are unimportant. You even end up teaching your kids that you are unimportant.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of only wearing something nice for the sake of others.
It is so easy to spend time and effort figuring out the outfit you are going to wear to church, or to a party for a few hours, but absolutely zero time on figuring out what you are going to wear tonight, for three times as long.
Who are you dressing for?
You might have experienced buying frilly little bits of pretty for the purpose of getting your partner all hot and bothered, but when you actually put it on, you might not have felt particularly good in it. You weren’t wearing it for you, you were wearing it for him. And while there is nothing wrong with sometimes wearing something for your partner’s sake, the daily default should be the outfits that make you feel amazing.
You do not need a special occasion to wear something that makes you feel beautiful.
You do not need other people’s eyes on you to wear something that makes you feel beautiful.
You do not need to save your happiness for the presence of people whom you have implicitly decided are more important than you.
The clothes you spend half your life in
Let’s say you go into lounging mode at 8pm each night, and you gird up your loins for public life at 7am (your hours may be totally different, but I had to plug in something). That is 11 hours a day that you spend in your pajamas. 77 hours a week (though let’s be realistic, you probably log a few extra on the weekends). Which is about five and a half solid months each year.
On the one hand, you could wear something ratty, that lowers your respect for yourself, or on the other, you could pamper yourself with gorgeous YET COMFORTABLE nightclothes/loungewear that makes getting changed in the evening, the highlight of your day.
The easiest way to add to your net pleasure, is to upgrade something you do daily. The more frequently you use something, the greater of an impact it has on your life.
A rare freedom
But why should you bother with pretty night clothes? Sure there are all of those self-empowerment messages about making yourself feel great, but sheesh, can’t a girl ever have an aspect of her life that she isn’t trying to optimize? It feels a little excessive doesn’t it?
But there are some good reasons to put in a little extra effort in your night clothes collection.
As adults in our society, outside factors dictate to some degree what we wear every day. There are expectations for what constitutes looking professional at work, there are expectations for what we look like as mothers at our kids activities, and what we wear to church. We have to wear certain types of clothes to accommodate exercise, specific types for different hobbies, and an unending level of layers based on the weather.
Outside of certain modesty factors if you have kids of an age that you don’t want to see certain things, sleepwear is about the only time when outside factors are not dictating your wardrobe. It is one of the rare points when you get to decide what you like best, solely to please yourself.
High return on investment
Think about all the effort you put into your outfit for special occasions. If you are religious, think about how much time you have spent putting together attractive outfits for church. And yet we spend so much more time in our nightwear. A small improvement in enjoyment in that category gives you a huge return on investment.
I am an unabashed collector of very high heels. I love them passionately. But the net pleasure increase to my life that I get from a new pair of heels is far smaller than what I get from a luxurious velvet dressing robe. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I only wear heels once a week. I can wear that robe every evening.
Unlike replacing an entire business or casual wardrobe, you can buy just three or four pieces of night clothes and completely transform your daily experience.
It is an incredibly efficient and cost-effective lifestyle upgrade. Especially if you are a bargain hunter, or love haunting eBay or consignment stores for unique pieces, curating your night wear collection can be fabulous fun.
And how many times have you or someone in your hearing complained that we live in a society where we don’t get to dress up like princesses anymore. We don’t generally get to put on the big gorgeous dress and go to the ball. We don’t get to wear lavish gowns, instead we have to go around looking…normal. But when it comes to your night wear, you get to be whoever you want to be. You get to wear your prettiest things everyday, and it’s nobody else’s business to tell you no.
And doesn’t every woman need a little bit of luxurious dress-up in her life?
So what do I wear?
But what should you wear?
Most women, when they think about fancy nightwear, think about the type of dainties that our partners buy for us. Something frilly, lacy, possibly see-through.
Something that is designed to be posed in, rather than slept in.
These have their place, but if you have ever fallen asleep in something very low-cut, and woken up with one breast hanging out the neckline, and the other hanging out of your armpit, you were probably less than dazzled.
Don’t get me wrong, if lacy little numbers are what you love best, then have at it! The point is to wear what makes you feel beautiful. But if there is a little voice inside that says that you aren’t fully comfortable (whether physically or emotionally) in those clothes, then I want to make it abundantly clear that you don’t have to wear them!
What works for you might be completely different than what works for somebody else.
But if dressing up for bed doesn’t necessarily mean sexy lingerie, what does it mean?
Take a moment to picture a woman whom you admire. It doesn’t have to be a real person, it can be a character. All that matters is that she is iconic in your mind of someone whom you wish you could be like. Now imagine her at 10:30 at night in a big cozy chair next to a crackling fire.
What is she wearing?
There is no wrong answer.
Your tastes may run to elegant, such as a white silk pant set with a matching robe. You might prefer a sexy look, with a long satin nightgown, cut on the bias for comfort. You might like crisp cotton men’s pajamas. You might prefer something luxuriously boho, that makes you feel like an Instagram influencer, even if you know your grandmother would refer to it as “hippie”. You might love the idea of a long soft cozy flannel nightgown that makes you feel totally cottage-core.
It doesn’t matter what style makes you happy, only that it makes you happy.
As a side note, it is critical that no matter what style you prefer to pamper yourself with, that it be comfortable.
Cozy evenings, long nights when the top sheet seems absolutely determined to tie itself in a knot around your ankle, and mornings when you have to force yourself out of a warm bed into a cold room, are not the times for uncomfortable clothes.
Under no circumstances should they bind, pinch, constrict, or entrap you.
Everything you own exists to make your life better, and night clothes have only two jobs.
They must feel good on your body, and make you feel good in them.
They have to be a complete success on both fronts, or they have not earned their space in your wardrobe.
You are your only audience
Another thing to keep in mind when you are curating your collection of sleepwear, is to not worry about what anybody else thinks of it.
I’m not saying this as one of those fly-your-own-flag, be-true-to-yourself inspirational speeches.
What I mean is that every person needs a point in their day when they are off duty. When they get to make decisions that are not based on how somebody else is going to respond to it.
When you get changed each evening, you are off duty, at least in this.
You may be on call as a mother 24/7, you may still have a list of things that need to get done to get your household tucked into bed, but at least in this one small area of your life, you get to do something for yourself.
Unless you are in the middle of a reality show, with cameras trained on your bed, it’s nobody else’s business what you wear at night.
Especially if you have a life where you are being pulled 100 different directions, with 100 different responsibilities. Then it’s even more important to have aspects of your life that you get to optimize solely for your own pleasure.
Consider it self-care that gives you joy every day, but takes no time away from your family or responsibilities. Not a bad investment!
So if you have something pretty and comfortable, something that makes you feel beautiful, lay it out on your bed and give you something to look forward to tonight.
If you don’t have any night clothes that live up to that standard, take a moment and schedule a time to shop for them.
It’s worth it.
You are worth it.