MONTHS AGO we received an email from a reader who asked if we dressed as fashionably at home as we do in the blog.
For Valerie, the response is: um, uh, well, mmmmm...
See, Valerie lives with cats (now singular, not plural). Many, many years ago, liking to dress as she does, Valerie would come home from work and lounge around in her work clothes, more or less till time for bed. What happened to change all that was that one person too many, over the years, said to her, out of nowhere, "Oh, I see you have cats." And when Valerie asked, astonished, how people knew this (since she didn't carry pictures, or for that matter carry cats), people would simply point out the cat hairs all over her jackets. "Don't all people have random animal hair on their jackets?", thought Valerie, dullwittedly. Apparently not. So, tired of the same old question, Valerie decided to change out of her street clothes as soon as she got home, and since then has dedicated animal hair-friendly home wear/sleepwear. Usually, these are things she has worn to work and then gotten lazy with. (That means she broke her own rule, wore them in the house, and got kitty peach fuzz on them.) Above are two such items. One wouldn't have thought it comfortable to wear leggings to bed, but life is full of surprises. And if you have to peek your head out the front door all be-jama'ed, your neighbors won't snicker at your home look.
Jean travels a lot on business and learned the hard way over 20 years ago that one must pack sleepwear that one could wear in the parking lot at 3 AM when the fire alarms go off and she and fellow guests are forced to evacuate the hotel. An even more fun lesson occurred in 1975 when an electrical fire in the ceiling of her first New York City apartment caused a two-alarm fire. That it happened on the Saturday night that her parents came to visit made it so much more exciting when all three of them had to evacuate. New York's Bravest hacked holes in her ceiling with axes and shot fire hoses through the ceiling to the apartment above. Eventually, her apartment, the ones above and beside hers, and the one above that one all connected through giant holes hacked to expose the burning wooden beam that caused the conflagration. So Jean's sleepwear choices are basically based on items which one can wear to bed and wake up in to flee a building without getting arrested for indecent exposure. Exercise wear, leggings and tunic tops are her most frequent choices. She also sleeps in her jewelry rather than waste precious moments trying to find and put on her 12 rings before running for the door. (If she could sleep in her glasses, she probably would!) Did we mention she has not one but two smoke alarms in her apartment?
We then got to thinking about what other people wear to go to bed. Remember Wendy Darling, the intrepid heroine in Disney's Peter Pan, who carries on all of her adventures wearing her nightgown! Actually, Disney's artists were on to something -- the night gown allowed freedom of movement and modesty while also suggesting that all-time favorite Disney princess motif.
Men's silk pajamas are always a fashion statement -- for both sexes. Audrey Hepburn makes them positively femme.
Artist and director Julian Schnabel has adopted pajamas as day-wear, instantly adding an air of decadence to his surroundings.
We couldn't pass up an opportunity to showcase style icon Cary Grant, who can make shaving in a bathrobe look chic!
On a totally different unisex fashion note, the union suit or "onesie" is a perennial bedtime favorite across age and gender. Check out these Aussies, who also demonstrate our theory that hats always spiff up any outfit.
We liked the contrast of these two renderings of the union suit.
OK, dear readers, we've shown you ours. Now, you show us yours! When push comes to shove, what do you really wear to bed?
Something frothy like this?
Or the old standy-by, the warm and toasty flannel nightgown?
Inquiring minds want to know. Please comment and tell us your sleepwear choice(s) or send your photo to email@example.com. Meow and sweet dreams, pussy cats!
What we're wearing:
Jean is wearing: a black 3-tiered cotton trapeze top from H&M and leggings from TopShop.
Valerie is wearing: a cotton top from a second hand shop; cotton and lycra leggings in positive and negative handprints are from Extaza.
Hotel room courtesy of indulgent friends Anne and Beth who were staying at the Millennium Hotel in Times Square and who not only let us use one of their beds but also shot the photo. (Wish we could have shown you their view from the 50th floor!)