How to buy nightwear that will stand the test of time

In recent years the clothing industry has been given a bad press in relation to the
environment and we believe some of this has been justified. We live in a culture where it had become acceptable to buy something, wear it once and then discard it. As a result, it’s also become OK for quality standards to slip in response to this. Why put lots of time and effort into making a garment, when someone might only wear it once? Fortunately, the fashion industry is waking up to this and whilst it may be a gradual yawn, stretch and snooze kind of wake up rather than a jump out of bed; awareness of the problem is growing. We’re firmly of the view that we not only need to take notice but also to take urgent action. The behaviour of individuals adds up to bigger change and if we all took so time to think about the choices we make, we can make a difference. Buying good quality clothing is one way to make a difference. If we choose items that are designed and produced to last longer, there’s
less chance that they’ll be on a shortcut to landfill.

The first thing to say is that price is not an indicator of quality. Just because you pay more, it doesn’t guarantee that the quality of your pyjamas will be better than a comparable but cheaper style. That said, low-cost manufacturers often cut corners whilst higher-priced retailers do have the budget to build quality into their items. Sadly, not all of them do but here’s a few things to look at to make sure you’re getting value and quality for your money.

Timeless style not today’s fashion:

Fashion is exciting and tapping into the latest looks can give you a real buzz. That said, there is also something deeply satisfying about finding a really great piece of clothing. The kind that has simple yet undeniable style. These pieces, when you find them, are an investment, even if they aren’t that expensive. You’re buying something that will look good, not just today but if you look after it, for years to come. The great thing about buying pieces with timeless style is that you are more likely to keep hold of them and wear them over and over. From a nightwear perspective, this could be a simple navy or white pair of pyjamas in a gorgeous fabric or a beautiful long white nightdress that goes on every summer holiday with you. Ask yourself when making a purchase, will these still look good in a couple of years?

The key to answering this is in the detail. Is the silhouette a simple but flattering one? Is the print linked to current fashion or more of a classic combination? Are the colours really hot this season or ones that will perennially look good?

What’s inside counts:

One trick is to take a look at the inside. What you see will tell you a lot about the garment you’re buying. On the whole, lots of raw edges are not a good sign, there’s a chance with repeated wash and wear that the fabric will fray and slip through the seams. Take a look at buttonholes and the end of drawstrings, do the stitches look secure or do they seem a little loose? If you can see fabric through the stitching, this is also not a good sign. Then, have a gentle tug at some of the seams. The one at the back of a pair of PJ bottoms is a good one to try as this will come under pressure as you move whilst sleeping. If it starts to pull apart or unravel, put the garment back. Other signs of well-made garments are areas that have been reinforced on the inside such as behind the buttonholes and other openings. You may also see a double layer of fabric around the back of the neckline. The extra pieces of fabric you find in these parts of the garment help to stabilise it and make it stronger, meaning it will last longer.

Fabric matters:

Fabric is another factor to consider. The first tell-tale sign is how it feels. Does it feel like it will be particularly comfortable next to your skin (this is crucial when choosing nightwear)?

Then take a closer look. If it’s really thin and you can you see your hand through it, it may feel beautiful but it may not be strong enough to withstand the rigours of sleep (all that tossing and turning can really take its toll on fabric). Another way to check this is to look at the structure of the fabric. With knitted fabrics, if the loops look really open it would suggest that the fabric may not be as strong as you need it to be. The same applies to woven fabrics, the closer the yarns are together, the more likely the fabric is to stitch, wash and wear well. Now get really close and look at the surface of the fabric, if it’s already a little furry, the chances are with wash and wear, this will become bobbly.

Some fabrics are just inherently more long-lasting than others. Synthetic fibres have the
best reputation here but come with compromise that their use of harsh chemicals and
production methods has a serious impact on the world around us. Natural fibres such as
cotton are a better alternative but the fact that they are natural means that they can vary greatly and be inconsistent. To improve the consistency of natural fibres, many
manufacturers use some fairly strong chemicals and this often means they lose some of the benefits they originally started with, including softness and durability. We strongly believe that the family of ‘so-called’ semi-synthetic fabrics, which include modal and lyocell really do offer the solution. Made from natural substances such as wood-pulp, they are treated using fewer chemicals in production and have inherent properties such as durability, superb softness and are less prone to bobbling. You can read more about the fabrics

we use in our article.

Treat your PJ’s with love:

Once you’ve found your perfect style, checked out its credentials, made your purchase and indulged in that wonderful first-wear feeling, there comes a point when it’s time to brave the washing machine. Our first piece of advice actually starts way before then. Remember when you turned your PJ’s inside out to take a good look at the seams, well at this point don’t forget to read the care label too. Probably one of the most overlooked parts of any garment, it is in reality a mine of useful information. For starters, it should, by law, tell you what fabric(s) the item is made with. It will also recommend the best way to care for your new purchase and this is where it’s really over to you. If you won’t remember to hand wash or separate your new favourite item for the dry cleaners, then you’re really looking for that machine washable symbol. Washing at 30 °c has been proven to do the job and is kinder to the world around us than higher temperatures. The care label is also where you’ll find a guide on how to iron the item, with 1 dot for a lower temperature and 3 for higher ones.

You may also be advised to iron on the reverse or with steam. Following the instructions on the label is a step in the right direction to prolong the life of your new purchase. For more advice on how to take care of your nightwear.