Weekend Wednesday: Pajamas

pajamas for grown ups

Pictured: pink chemise / art deco pants / blue jogger pants / green PJ set 

All right, ladies, let’s talk about something near and dear to my heart: pajamas. Do you treat yourself and sleep in luxurious fabrics like silk — or pull our your old college t-shirts and boxers to sleep in? What brands are your favorite, and how have your pajama choices changed over the years?

If you’re curious about MY choices: I’ve alternated between mismatched PJ bottoms and fancier (but not va-va-voom) chemises over the years for regular sleepwear. In my college and law school years I usually wore a yoga top (with a shelf bra) with PJ bottoms from spots like Anthropologie, although I remember getting a ton of PJs from Chico’s because my mother had gotten a gift card and regifted it to me.

A few years ago I discovered the brand Midnight by Carole Hochman, and her chemises seemed to be the perfect mix of all worlds — not too sexy but not too frumpy, comfortable, and machine washable — and for a few years I exclusively wore chemises. (The gorgeous pink one pictured (from Natori) was about my speed — more pretty than sexy, and machine washable.) After my eldest son got to the toddler stage I felt a bit funny running around the apartment in a chemise on the weekend, so I started buying PJ pants again, and now I’m back to those, but worn with a proper t-shirt and sleep bra.

Here’s another question: do you buy t-shirts just to sleep in, or do you just wear old ones? I feel like Marie Kondo would slap my hand, but I can’t bring myself to pay money for a t-shirt to sleep in when I have so many old ones with holes or other fit problems. I have one matched PJ set for when we stay over at my in-laws, similar to the green one pictured above, but I feel odd wearing it, like I’m pretending to be someone else.

As for sleep bras, this may or may not be an odd preference — I haven’t talked about it with many people, to be honest. I began sleeping with support in my mid-20s but would just buy regular yoga tops with shelf bras to wear to bed. Now after nursing two kids, I’m just more comfortable sleeping with a sleep bra but prefer something looser/less low-cut than a yoga top. When I was nursing I loved (looooved) this Bravado bra for sleep, and I continued to wear them even after I stopped nursing. Those bras are looking a bit worn, though, so I recently went on a hunt for a non-nursing sleep bra, trying this Champion bra (which hilariously is marketed as a sports bra — I practically fall out of it for sleep, so I would never wear it for any activity) and trying and actually liking this $19 infomercial bra. (I’m not a fan of them, but I know a TON of people love the Coobie bra for sleep or lounging.)

In terms of which PJs I wear, I still like to splurge on Anthropologie ones or fancier ones from brands like Josie (these are super soft!) or the fancier line, Natori. I don’t yet have problems with night sweats or the like, but I recently tried these “Cool Nights” PJs from Soma (owned by Chico’s) — mostly impressed because they have a petites section for PJs — and fell in love with the silky but washable fabric. I’m also in love with Make + Model PJs from Nordstrom. I actually have the gray stripey ones I featured here (but a slightly different fabric blend than the ones pictured — mine are 50% polyester, 46% rayon, 4% spandex) — they’re a ridiculously soft fleece inside.

So let’s hear it, ladies — what do you wear to bed? Which are your favorite brands; what do you look for? Do you buy special sleep t-shirts, or wear sleep bras? 

This is an occasional feature where we take a deeper look at weekend wear for professional women. Curious for more bra talk? Check out our top style tips for busty women, as well as my tips for bra care.

Psst: I’m still laughing about the Jammie Shuffle from SNL a few years ago, as well as this hilarious Buzzfeed post that discussed the 1930s advice about the four types of pajamas a single girl should own.


Pajamas for grown ups


  1. Free the girls! :

    Why buy pj’s when you can sleep in the buff?

    Like Kat’s tshirt comment, I can’t see spending a lot of money on sleepwear either- the few nightgowns/tshirt & boxer sets I own are mainly from Target which has some surprisingly soft fabrics.

    I bought one of those “lounging bras” from Victoria’s secret PINK collection when I was traveling Europe during my master’s program, sometimes my group would book out a hostel room for the weekend and I had male classmates sharing the room. Otherwise, the girls go free at night.

    All else fails, I can just steal the hubby’s tshirt. That option is free.

    • I don’t sleep in pjs, but I do buy them for lounge clothes. Almost all from Target – I love the Gilligan & O’Malley line. I usually buy yoga or athletic tanks with built-in bras if I want support.

    • Anonymous :

      I sleep naked, but I’ll lounge around the house in jammie pants from Costco or JCP and tank tops or tshirts that I already own.

  2. Wanderlust :

    Ha! I too have a pajama set specifically for staying at the in-laws. It’s a pair of Target cotton PJ pants and my SO’s bar mitzvah shirt in a size XL

  3. kjkoepsell :

    This caught my eye because, even though I haven’t nursed my youngest for over a year, I was still wearing my old nursing bras until a few months ago! Although I’m pretty small chested, after nursing two kids, I am never going without a bra again EVER. The nursing bras were looking pretty ratty, so I bought a few of the Yummie by Heather Thompson bras (in the “Mallory”) style from Amazon, and they are WONDERFUL!

  4. Anon for this :

    Too funny! I was actually going to ask for pajama suggestions on this page tomorrow morning. I’ve just weaned my second (and last) child so I’ve been sleeping in nursing tanks for a while and slept in tank tops and yoga shorts before that. Can anyone suggest some pajama tops with some support for the “girls?” Not looking for a huge level of support (like a nursing tank) but just enough that I’m comfortable with my now sagging girls. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous :

    I sleep in boxers from various sources and almost exclusively Old Navy t-shirts. They used to make this “vintage” style of t-shirt that is super soft and I bought like 15 of them just for sleeping. I generally sleep alone, I can’t be bothered to pay a lot of money for nice pyjamas.

  6. I actually didn’t know that sleep bras were a thing until reading this. Huh. (Not suggesting it’s a bad idea — I just didn’t know they existed.)

    I used to really love Target’s shirt and shorts combos, because the shorts were long enough for coverage and the tops were button down and the patters (unicorns and stuff) were funny. But lately they only have shorts that are shorter than I like, and/or sleeveless shirts.

    If anyone has ideas for where to find shirts that are substantial enough fabric that nothing is showing through, have sleeves, and have shorts long enough to cover everything, would love to know.

    In winter I wear Nick & Nora cotton or flannel pants/shirts combos either from Target or Nordstrom Rack.

  7. I sleep in tank tops and soft shorts. Most of them are JCrew or JCrew factory. I always get annoyed at chemises/gowns because the fabric ends up bunched around my waist.

  8. Anonymous :

    I wear cotton dresses or swim coverups that I used to wear in the summer but that are no longer appropriate for wear out of the house. Either because they have some little holes around the hem, are pilled, or it’s way too revealing in the top but it’s so comfy that I couldn’t bear to return it.

    • I do the same. Target has great deals on their basic cotton dresses/sundresses at the end of summer. They cover enough to wear as loungewear around the house and to sleep in but aren’t frumpy.

  9. I wear the various free t-shirts I’ve accumulated over the years and Soffee shorts or long pajama pants when it’s cold. I could never imagine spending real money on sleepwear – I’m perfectly comfy in these!

    • WorkingMom :

      Same here! I usually sleep in old tee shirts, you know the kind that is just worn enough to be so super soft? Various between old race tee shirts and shirts of my husband’s that have shrunk! I do like PJ pants though – but I could never spend significant money on them. I’m a target gal for PJ pants or shorts, plus the old tee shirt and I’m good :)

  10. I clicked on the link for the pink chemise because it’s adorable, but $160!!!! Who would pay that for pajamas?!?!?!

    • I’ve paid more than that. But when I do buy a chemise, I like it to be silk, and that costs money.

  11. Leggings (either just regular Gap or Forever 21 (they’re cheap…) leggings or loungewear leggings), sweatpants, or shorts and a t-shirt or sweatshirt if it’s cold. I have a couple of pairs of real PJs my aunt got me during a hospitalization last year that I love. I have one sleep-dress that’s just a cotton, stretchy shift. Good for summer.
    I sleep alone. I don’t see why I should have to match.

  12. Senior Attorney :

    After I ran away from home three years ago I got myself a whole bunch of matching PJ sets, which I love wearing. Flannel in fun prints for winter, cotton in fun prints for summer. Three weeks ago I moved in with Lovely Fiance and all but one pair each for winter and summer got donated because I only wear PJ’s when I’m sleeping alone.

    I have had a couple of bridal parties lately and despite my insistence that they were parties, not showers, I’m now nicely set with fancy sexy recreational sleepwear, which is fun even though I suspect it won’t get much use.

  13. Tshirt with the neck cut out (I have a normal sized neck (I think??) but still for some reason feel that tshirts strangle me when I’m trying to sleep) and boy short underwear. Add soft modal leggings if it’s cold. Or, if I’m in the mood, nothing.

    Have never understood sleeping in a bra of any kind.

    I am also on team How Much for a Nightgown?!

  14. I’m definitely one of those people who is MUCH more comfortable wearing pajamas than not. Typically it is some college t-shirt and cotton pajama pants.
    I tend to get overheated when I sleep though so I like really cool-feeling cotton percale as opposed to jersey. I really like the PJ pants I’ve gotten from Vineyard Vines and Talbots — both very comfortable, cool-feeling, and reasonably priced when on sale.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever slept in only my underwear; the only time I’ll sleep in a sports bra with shorts is if it’s oppressively, miserably, “there’s two fans on me and I’m still dying” hot, and even then it’s usually a middle-of-the-night shedding of a tank top type of thing.

  15. PhilanthropyGirl :

    I love pajamas. So so much. I don’t have any I’m in love with right now, and will occasionally steal DH’s shorts and t-shirt. And I never splurge to buy the expensive stuff. Because budget. But I still love pajamas.

    I had this pair of VS flannel PJs about 10 years ago (bought on clearance). I puffy hearted them so much. They were warm, but not too warm. And super comfy. And they didn’t shrink. And held up – the color didn’t fade, the hems didn’t wear. I had to give them up when I got pregnant with baby #1, and never lost enough baby weight to wear them again. They’re still tucked in a box somewhere in the hopes that one day they will fit.

  16. I’m in Texas, and it’s too hot to sleep in sweatpants, but chemises also seem too little to run around in. I love these (I received them as a gift) and think they are awesome:


    My go-to sleep/lounge bra is this:

    I generally sleep in colorful men’s v-neck t-shirts a size too big from Gap or H&M, and a comfy pair of boyshort undies. I keep leggings or Old Navy sweatpants nearby for when I get out of bed in the morning. I’m a little OCD about matching, so stick to solid tops and grey bottoms. Crazy I know.

  17. pinkrobot :

    I must be the outlier.

    I have eight sets of PJs, ranging from a flannel set from target to to a cuddleskin set handmedown from my mom to a silk set I got for my honeymoon last year. Four of those are cotton pj bottoms from Old Navy I’ve paired with a retired linen or cotton shirt. I keep each set rolled up together and during laundry since they match a piece has never gone walk about or ended up in a sibling’s or roommate’s pile. I’ve never been a nightgown person. My thighs sweat in them.

    I really like the silk ones in the hot sticky summer weather and the flannel in the winter. The cotton ones work well 3/4 of the time.

    It may be worth noting that I had male roommates for 7 years and grew up with 2 brothers before that.

  18. I brough some from Soma. They are comfy and also have pockets which I appreciate because I usually walk around doing random stuff in the house while brushing my teeth. I don’t do shorts or dress like pjs because I don’t always shave my legs. The ones like dresses also ride all the way up because I move around quite a bit. I have some bralettes I wear just for sleeping.

  19. I have never been one for PJs, but after having a baby & staying up at odd hours of the night with her I ended up getting a pair of Cosabella pajamas and I am a total convert. I actually bought them on RueLaLa for like $30, intending it to be a last minute gift for someone, but ended up not needing the gift and kept them and now I basically buy them anytime I see them on sale because they are so fantastically comfy and I feel so awesome wearing them. All other PJs sit in my dresser unworn. Occasionally I also like to sleep in long cotton Little House on the Prairie type gowns. Eileen West makes really nice ones and you can usually buy them on sale on 6pm or at places like Nordstrom Rack. To me they’re sort of the platonic ideal of “more pretty than s*xy” and I would be fine seeing my in laws or chasing a kid in them, but I still also feel like an attractive woman in them and not “just a mom” or “30ish lawyer wearing her cuddleduds.”

    Now for a question: is it impossible to avoid getting droopy knees in pajamas? I love my PJs the first night or two but after that the droopy knees get to be too much. Is there a magic trick I’m missing?

  20. Anonymous :

    As soon as I get home from work, I put on PJ pants (knit or flannel depending on the season) and a shelf bra cami. In the winter I add a sweatshirt or a drapey cardigan from Anthro and cute socks. Our evenings are very short–basically dinner and then straight to bed–so it seems silly to bother changing into loungewear and then into PJs two hours later, and I cannot stand wearing my work clothes while cooking dinner. If I have to go out in the evening for some reason, I throw on athleisure clothes.

    I am having an increasingly difficult time finding shelf bra camis that are not nursing tops. I used to buy them at Old Navy, but the quality declined and then they stopped selling them at all.

  21. Has anyone found pajama tops with shelf bras that also have sleeves? I found some from HerRoom that I asked for last Christmas and they’re great, but I’d like more affordable options. If anyone has a source for non-tank tops with shelf bras, please let me know!

  22. Pajamas is a very comfortable apparel and it is very help full while sleeping, I will suggest you all to wear pajamas in night to have a very comfortable sleeping, You can also wear short pajamas for sizzling your look in night, I will not suggest to wear pajamas while you are not at home or while travelling. You can find various types of pajamas dealers at http://www.exportersindia.com/indian-suppliers/pajamas.htm

  23. Little Red :

    I love wearing my Bedhead pajamas even though I live and sleep all alone. I have two flannel pairs for winter and two cotton (one in sateen and one in voile) for summer and they look and feel great.

  24. Little Red :

    Also, just recently bought a pair of pajamas in red silk from Neiman Marcus.

  25. I have a couple chemises but find them infuriating to sleep in so I stopped buying them. Maybe because I’m small up top, but they always twist and then I think, ‘Well I might as well be sleeping in nothing.’ I’ve stopped buying them and just wear old t-shirts and pj shorts/pants.

  26. I hate shopping for pajamas. I prefer to wear natural fabrics as much as possible, and finding all-cotton pajamas can be difficult. Just when I think I’ve found some, they change the fabric to some nasty poly or modal blend. I wish I could find more tank tops with shelf bras, instead of thin-strapped camis with shelf bras (which do not work for my D-cups).

  27. My sister and I still receive a matching flannel pajama set every year for Christmas and I have built up quite a collection over the years (I’m approaching 30). I typically buy myself one pair of cotton pajamas or a sleep shirt every spring/summer, again, over the years I’ve built up quite the collection. I can’t bring myself to pay Eberjey prices yet, but Nordstrom, J.Crew, & Victoria’s Secret all have a great selection.

  28. Good source to get comfy pajamas.

    https://www.sudara.org/collections/punjammies – UNJAMMIES® are loungepants made with hope by women in India who have escaped human trafficking. Whenever you purchase PUNJAMMIES®, you invest in the freedom and dignity of these women and girls who are working to forge a new life for themselves and their children.

  29. I like the *idea* of chemises/nightgowns, but they bunch up around my waist within 15 minutes of getting in bed, and then I feel too bizarrely exposed to sleep (it feels way less weird to be totally naked than to be covered on top but bare on bottom).

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