Here’s a question: How much of your before-bed time is ritual and how much of it is routine?
Routine vs. Ritual
I’d say that the distinction between the two is simple. With routine, maybe you throw on your comfy clothes (or just ditch them all together); you scroll through your phone out of habit until your eyes are tired; or maybe you fall asleep on the same side of the bed- always in the same position.
With a ritual, you’re putting your hair in its protective or proactive nighttime coiffe; you’re washing your face and thanking your skin for being so good to you (#MarieKondoSkincare); and you’re putting on something that is a joy to sleep in.
I don’t know if it’s age, or sleeping on the road as often as I have been, but lately I’m come to create (and revere) new nighttime rituals for myself. When all other factors are strange- or at least in flux- my solace, my escape and my home has become the things I do to wind down at the end of the day, and what I wear on my body when I do it.
Style & Ease (but mostly ease)
Now, if I had to point to a single fashion moment that has had the most influence on me, it was coming home every Saturday afternoon after my weekly morning gallery & studio visits with The Contemporary Austin (then known as Arthouse), watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s* and seeing Holly’s sleep mask and that dress she threw on when Paul, Baby came to apologize to her. Now, typically this is where I insert a hyperlink, but I’m going to embed the video just to make sure we’re all on the same page before we move along.
From dead asleep to rather chic ensemble in no time flat. That level of effortlessness and style has been the ultimate wardrobe goal since then, and I think I’m getting closer and closer to the promised land.
Every instance of pajamas designed to double as out-of-the-house-wear calls back this scene for me, which is why the PJs seem to have dug such a deep hole into my heart. These sleep ensembles combine the style of Holly Golightly, the ease of a Hoarders Muumuu and the warmth and security of a Self-Care Sunday dialed up to an 11.
Your Pajamas are Your “Good Clothes”
Now, we’ll turn back to the idea of ritual and Pajamas as actual loungewear with another question: What do you wear to sleep in and laze around your home on a Sunday morning? If you’re answer is “some fleece drawstring PJs I bought from Old Navy in college” or “whatever’s on top of the (relatively) clean clothes pile”
I’m going to say that you’re doing yourself a disservice.
We all know that the act of undressing after a stressful day can flip a immediately improve your mood because you are safe, in your comfort zone and can relax. But let’s get into the benefits putting on clothes to change our moods:
The Sleep Mask:
A sleep mask is a full stop on the day. Pulling a sleep mask over your face says “The phone is away. I am in bed and I have no intention other than to sleep.” As a traveler, there are few joys that compare to the combination do-not-disturb sign and nighttime that you can carry around with you. And, it’s like a hug for your eyes.
A Set of Soft Pajamas:
A pajama set it a commitment to relax. Sure, there are sects of folks that somehow get more aggressive when wearing pajamas, but for the most part the most you can be in a set of good pajamas is “miffed.” If you want to raise your voice, you’ll have to change back into your old cotton tees.
Dressing For Life is Not A Fashion Show, It’s an Act of Self-Love
Finally, you deserve the best version of yourself. If you’ve ever been told “why are you wearing that at home where nobody can see it?” (or if you’ve ever thought that to yourself) please remember that life is now (NOW).
So do not treat it like a run though where you save your “good clothes”, your good grooming and your best self for when there’s an audience. That is a subtle way to live your life dictated by others.
And wearing nice clothes around the house is a small act of rebellion against the tyranny of the norm that you can practice every day.