Women’s pajamas are great both as sleepwear and loungewear but nonetheless sometimes you want something more feminine and fun. This is where the nightie comes into its own. Nighties cover a multitude of nightwear from nightdresses and nightgowns through nightshirts to lacy negligees. They all make great sleepwear in their own way. The only real difference between nighties and pajamas is one of style, well that and the fact that they are dresses versus pants.
Actually, nighties in their various forms are the original women’s nightwear. Pajamas came much later and, of course, were originally menswear. The traditional white nightdress is still a popular choice of sleepwear while it has been interpreted and redesigned to a state of near invisibility in some of more lingerie inspired styles. Indeed, the common practice of wearing a large t-shirt in bed is nothing more than a contemporary take on the traditional nightgown, albeit a unisex one which usually comes with a large image or logo on it.
For generations the simple cotton nightdress was what women wore in bed and they are still popular. The traditional style is a long dress hanging to the ankles. Variations come with long, short or no sleeves and with different necklines. The typical nightdress is made from cotton and comes in white or simple colors or in simple patterns. They are actually quite practical nightwear and it can be a joy to wrap yourself in a long cotton nightgown. Cotton of course is fresh and comfortable to sleep in but a nightgown can be surprisingly warm as you wrap yourself up in what is essentially an extra sheet and create your own little cocoon of warm air to sleep in.
Nowadays, of course, our bedrooms are centrally heated and come with duvets and electric blankets so heavy nightwear is no longer essential. The nightie has changed from the nightdress to reflect this. When we think of nighties we think of something a little more exciting and revealing than a long white cotton dress. Nighties generally are shorter, anything from knee-length to the classic babydoll nightie that just sits on the hips. Even when they are floor-length they tend to be much more decorative and luxurious in the style of exotic negligees. They also come in a much wider range of materials, colors and patterns as these have all become more affordable. Very often they are about making a statement and looking your best in bed.
Nighties vary from the very plain slip to outrageous constructions with ruffles, lace and bows. These characteristics can be used to your advantage. For those fortunate to have a good figure a skimpy plain slip will highlight their figure but for most women something that conceals as much as it reveals can look better. Indeed a long plain nightdress style can be deceptively flattering as it clings to curves while concealing the details. A nightdress that hangs straight down will also conceal a multitude. Nighties with sleeves can conceal shoulders and arms if you are unhappy with them while spaghetti straps or strapless models will highlight the arms, shoulders and neck. Extra detail around the bust will highlight it as will lower necklines. If you need extra support there some nighties come with built in bras and under-wiring or with push up bras for the small busted. Loose sheer nighties can cover up a tummy while others come open at the front for those who want to show off an athletic figure. Short nighties will highlight legs and make them look longer. Short nighties also make great petite nightwear for the shorter lady. Longer hemlines can help cover up hips, thighs, knees or even legs and divert attention elsewhere. Color rules are much the same for nightwear as for any other clothes: dark colors are slimming, light colors can highlight and pastels are feminine. For more lingerie oriented nightwear of course there are rich shades of red, purple and gold which can be very sensual but be careful that they do not turn trashy.
Which type of nightie you choose will depend very much on how you want to wear it. Some are just practical sleepwear. Other nighties are for those nights when you want to indulge yourself, dress up and feel special. Others are for fun, for dressing up, feeling sexy and for sharing with your partner. Whatever style of nightie you choose the one essential accessory is a good robe to throw over it either to conceal or for lounging in. Every woman should have a nightwear drawer if not an entire wardrobe. There are times you want warm fleece pajamas, times you just want an old t-shirt and times when you want to spoil yourself in your best frilly nightie. Building up a collection that covers all your options is great fun and so is wearing them.
At the end of the day nothing beats changing into your favorite pajamas. If dressing for the modern woman is about putting on a public face, then a woman’s pajamas are an expression of her real self. A woman relaxing at home in her pajamas is in total control of her time, her look and her body.
For such a simple combination of apparel, women’s pajamas fulfill a multiplicity of roles. They are, quite simply, the basis of the stylish woman’s sleepwear and loungewear collections. A woman who takes care over the choice of her pajamas will never need worry again about being inappropriately dressed at home.
There are few things as comfortable as a pair of pajamas. Their very comfortable looseness is the exact opposite of the tight, restrictive clothing that women are so often obliged to squeeze themselves into in the normal course of their day to day existence. Women’s pajamas on the other hand are soft, warm and cozy; the very essence of normal femininity. Nor or they restricted by the artificially numbered sizes of retailers – a woman is free to choose whatever size she likes from skimpy satin pajamas to comfortable plus size pajamas to match her mood and feeling.
It is this practicality that attracts so many women to pajamas. They are not just great for sleeping in, they are perfectly functional for wearing around the house. You can even put out the garbage in them. And there is nothing better for loungewear. What woman does not love her pajama day? It is the height of luxurious me-time to settle down on the sofa in your cozy cotton pajamas with nothing but daytime television or a good book and not a care in the world.
Which is not to say that women’s pajamas are frumpy or unattractive in any way. There are few things as attractive as a relaxed woman in her silk pajamas. Or, indeed, in her boyfriend’s pajamas. The variety of materials, cuts and styles available in women’s pajamas today allow for a wide range of emotions from the teasing tomboy to the seductive vamp. Women’s pajamas can be as sexy as you want to make them. As with so much of a woman’s wardrobe, when it comes to women’s pajamas, it is about how you wear them rather than what you wear.
Take the time to read through The Best Women’s Pajamas Guide for your complete introduction to women’s loungewear, women’s sleepwear and women’s pajamas. Hopefully, this site will give you some new ideas and inspiration in nightwear. Happy reading, whether you are in your pajamas or not!
Once upon a time nightgowns were primarily designed to keep women warm and comfortable in bed. Over time, as beds became more comfortable and the temperature of bedrooms became more controllable the practical element of nightwear became less important and it was replaced by the aesthetic element . Nightwear increasingly began to be about dressing up and looking your best even in bed. How it looked became as important as how it felt. Nightgowns became shorter and turned into nighties. Elements of men’s sleepwear were adopted and women’s pajamas were born. All sorts of intimate apparel and lingerie were adapted or taken on as they were for use in the bedroom.
The babydoll is a classic example of these crossover styles as it is somewhere between a nightie and a piece of lingerie. The basic babydoll is a simple, short loose garment that hangs from small straps and reaches down to the hips. It can be made from any light material and decorated with all the usual feminine trimmings. From this basic design it can be worked into a simple short nightie or an exotic piece of lingerie.
The name babydoll comes from the 1956 movie of the same name (although it was spelt Baby Doll). The movie starred Carroll Baker in the title role as a 19 year old nymphet who sleeps in childish shortie nighties of this style and is a figure of lust for the men in the movie. The babydoll has remained popular ever since with the movie contributing greatly to the styles current erotic appeal. To this day, babydoll nightdresses are seen as exciting, erotic and tempting nightwear and are often explicitly marketed as such.
While many babydolls really are only short nighties and make comfortable and cool sleepwear, there are just as many that have been developed into fancier sensual and sexual styles. These are very often shorter exposing the legs and even the buttocks, in which case they are usually sold as babydoll sets with matching panties. They may also expose much more of the breast or incorporate bralets or cups to enhance the bust. Open babydolls which are split or buttoned up the middle are also available in this vein. The more erotic styles can be made from sheer, see-through or luxury materials and are very often decorated with fancy lace and other trimmings.
Despite their barely there nature, the basic erotic babydoll can be worn by women of many different shapes and sizes and retain its allure. Sizing is not important and it is possible to get specialist petite babydolls and plus size babydolls. The trick is to choose one that highlights and flatters your individual body shape. By paying attention to shape, color and embellishments it is always possible to draw the eye to those parts of your body that you feel happiest about.
Babydolls are an essential item in any woman’s wardrobe. As short nighties they are great for staying cool on hot nights. And as exciting lingerie they are great for heating up nights too. Most of all, they are great fun for dressing up in.