19 June 2024

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A Thank You Letter to Pyjamas

Image Courtesy of Milsted

Words by Lauren Cochrane

I didn’t wear pyjamas when I was little. Ours was a nightie household. In fact, there’s a family photo somewhere of me and my two sisters, all in matching Mickey Mouse nighties. Others I remember include a Victorian-style frilly floor length number, and another gigantic one, this time with Minnie Mouse, so big it could have fit all three sisters inside. But, somewhere along the line, pyjamas became the thing, a ritual—worn for the sofa in the evening, eggs in the morning. I have had pyjamas so old that the pattern has worn out through wear, pyjamas that only come on holiday with me, pyjamas that are worthy of a trip around then block, pyjamas that doubled as something to wear for yoga. Oddly, perhaps, I have lots of T-shirts, tons of jackets, but I only have one pair of pyjamas at a time. Maybe because pyjamas are special.

2020 has been a weird year for most things – pyjamas included. According to CNN in May, pyjama sales were up 143%. I haven’t bought any new ones but my pyjamas—currently a pair of silky black ones that are comfortable but not too ‘I’ve given up on life’—have helped to bring a sense of difference in lockdown days that are spent in the same place doing the same things with the same people.

When I put my pyjamas on in an evening, that’s my way of changing tack, of moving between laptop for video call to laptop for boxset. It’s a small win, but a win nonetheless. Sometimes—if I’m feeling louche—I combine them with a vintage silk robe I have, with a dragon embroidered on the back.

Possibly thanks to this lockdown moment, possibly due to happenstance, the pyjama choices currently are excellent, should you be in a market for a new pair. There’s Tekla’s unisex range of striped cotton ones, which would look great in the bathroom mirror when brushing your teeth, or possibly for a trip to the supermarket (it seems a shame not to share). Les Girls Les Boys are interchangeable – allowing you to surprise your living room with a new mix and match combo, should the mood take you. Sleeper’s, meanwhile, are fabulously extra. They have a marabou frill at the ankle, the party girl of the pyjama world.

Pyjama icons are important. Winona Ryder in the nineties, with wet hair and a fresh pair of striped pyjamas is the goals of this look. Katherine Hepburn and Doris Day are also good references—and for the robe, you could (or not, your choice) obsessively study Zoe Kravitz eating cereal in the remake of High Fidelity. Whichever one of these you land on, remember that pyjama wearing is—first and foremost—about you doing you, they bring both comfort and style. So, thank you pyjamas for making me time happen. See you tonight.


Lauren Cochrane is Senior Fashion Writer of The Guardian. Based in London, she has worked for Vogue, i-D, The Telegraph and InStyle. She now writes about everything from Marc Jacobs catwalk shows to band T-shirts and the fashion influence of LouLou de la Falaise. @lauren_cochrane_