The big sleep: pyjama dressing for fall

Pyjamas can make you think of anything from innocent days spent pillow fighting with friends to late nights sipping on wine fireside; they can be sensual or comforting, a ritual designed to blanket you with the warm comfort of sleep, your uniform for descending into the dream world – or perhaps, for luring an object of desire into the boudoir. And like all things that have some positive association, that makes them ripe for fashionable picking; an ideal target for reworking as daywear.

Of course as things go, this fall 2013 fashion trend is one that takes confidence and an imaginative eye to pull off, so if you want to make it work without looking like you literally rolled out of bed and were too lazy to get dressed, you’d best read on. Here’s how pyjama dressing has evolved for autumn / winter 2013.

pajama dressing sleepwear as daywear

Click the thumbnails for full pictures:
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear
Sleepwear as daywear

It’s all about the Noir.

It’s not exactly uncommon for pieces of the silky, sleepy kind to make their way into other parts of our wardrobes. Tap pants and silk shorts, Oriental inspired robes, and silk slips have all held their place in fashion’s recent memory (and continue to do so). As for pyjamas, though, there’s one major evolution for fall / winter 2013, and it’s one that comes down to mood. This time, it’s all about the noir.

Pajama fashion classic sleepwear
Clockwise from left: Louis Vuitton FW13; Kim Novak in Vertigo; Eunice Gayson in Dr. No; Rochas FW13; Louis Vuitton FW13; Lauren Bacall; Marc Jacobs FW13; pulp fiction book art.

If last autumn embraced the idea of masculine sleepwear – think menswear paisleys and polka-dots, belted smoking robes and loose silhouettes – then this season things have softened. The PJ wearing girl is a vintage screen siren, a film noir vixen, a dark heroine who seduces or steals away into the night.

Feminine, mysterious, alluring, and dark. If you want to capture the sleepwear-as-daywear trend as it existed on the fall 2013 runways, then those are the qualities you want to aim for.

Sleepwear as daywear: the pieces.

If we’re to narrow it down, there are two key items that take sleepwear to daywear for fall 2013: the pyjama pant suit, and the slip dress.

The former can be anything from a relaxed two piece in lightweight fabric – like those at Rochas and Paul & Joe (pockets mandatory) – to a silk one-piece jumpsuit like the one spotted at Julien David.

silk pajamas as daywear
Pyjama dressing at Rochas and Juilen David, FW13.

The satin or silk slip had it’s moment in the 1990s, worn by everyone from Kate Moss to Courtney Love, but this time around it’s returned to its ladylike roots. At Louis Vuitton it was worn with fur-trimmed coats and the kind of attitude that begs for a cigarette and a smokey eye.

silk slip dress
Silk slip dress on the runway at Louis Vuitton FW13.

Those two things aside, there is also a third option: the pyjama top worn as a mini dress. You’d probably want to keep it slightly longer than those at Marc Jacobs for the real world.

marc jacobs pajamas
Pyjama top as dress at Marc Jacobs FW13.

Pyjama dressing: how to do it now.

The key to rocking a pajama look without getting strange stares in the street is to distinguish your outfit as being removed from the bedroom.

If in doubt, avoid other aligning trends like smoking slippers and bed hair. Going for all these things together can create a very effective and thematic look, but it’s hard to pull this off outside the house. If you want to play it safer, contrasts are your friend.

Instead, pair your pyjama pieces with exactly the kind of things you wouldn’t wear to bed:

  • Imagine you’ve stepped out of a Hitchcock film or off the cover of a pulp fiction book, and pair your silk slip with sparkling necklaces, roller-set hair, red lipstick and high heels.
  • Layer a luxe vintage-inspired coat over a pyjama pant suit to make it outerwear ready.

coat over pajamas

  • Try pairing a silk pyjama top with a skirt in a heavier winter fabric.
  • Mix in anything a little unconventional: like a moto or bomber jacket, sporty luxe pieces, or some tough punk accessories. Go for vintage yet modern over pure vintage.
  • Take a silk lace-trimmed slip back to the grunge days with heavy flat boots and a relaxed blazer.
  • Lastly if you’re unsure, wear just the pyjama pant or the pyjama top rather than both together.

Pyjama picture inspiration.

For more inspiration on pajama dressing straight from the runway, click on the thumbnails above and browse the gallery.

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Some people's wardrobes are about a small selection of pieces that all fit within one aesthetic - Tania Braukamper isn't such a person. With a wardrobe that spans three different rooms, her approach to fashion is a mixture of current-season key pieces mixed with vintage finds she's sourced on innumerous shopping trips around the world's more cultured capitals. Despite a disparate approach to shopping, Tania is adamant that the key to mixing vintage with new season is to stick to key looks and colours that work for oneself. And it's a theory that she works into her writing for Fashionising.com, where she serves as the publication's Editor.