June 12 2010
Lucia van der Post
There’s something a bit naff about the word “loungewear”, but never mind that: the idea is lovely. It stands for clothing that’s truly comfortable, that enables one to waft around feeling warm and cosy in winter, light and unencumbered in summer. And though women have been well supplied with fine down-time clothing for a long time (Juicy Couture springs to mind, as do The White Company’s offerings), men’s needs have been less well attended to.
Well, all that is set to change with the opening of The Pyjama Store which will, to start with, concentrate on those old-fashioned things called pyjamas, but which also has some of the aforementioned “loungewear”, the sort you slink into when there’s nothing more demanding on the menu than a good drink and a box set of The Wire. It was started, as so many good things are, by somebody – in this case James Riggs – who couldn’t find what he wanted; to wit, a classier alternative to old jogging bottoms and chain-store pyjamas. If he wanted to slip into something finer and was prepared to pay good money for it, then so, he reckoned, would lots of others.
And so a website, The Pyjama Store, was born. It’s selling the best of nightwear, some of it from familiar names such as Bonsoir, famous for its brushed cotton and its Somerset-made dressing gowns (second picture: Bonsoir lambswool robe with silk lining, £265), and others, such as Zimmerli and BedHead, which have been hard to find in the UK.
Zimmerli is an ultra-luxe Swiss brand, rumoured to be a favourite of Prince Charles. Founded by Pauline Zimmerli Bäurlin, who invented the first two-needle knitting machine, it uses only the finest of cottons, goes in for tiny stitches (52 per square inch), takes great care over the fit, makes them up in its own Swiss workshops and is considered the aristocrat of the nightwear world. It has been available only in a few stores (Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges) but now it can be bought online. Pyjamas cost from £106 a pair.
For a change of mood there’s BedHead, a Californian label best known for its exclusive prints and its very fine cotton. It’s less sophisticated than Zimmerli, being breezier with a hint of Californian charm. Prices range from £99 to £104 (first picture, Casablanca pyjamas; third picture, Inisgnia pyjamas, both £99).
For something less obviously made for sleeping, more for lounging about, there’s Piero Galante, a British brand that offers pyjama pants in three colours which are teamed with a series of brightly patterned shirts, all made from brushed cotton (fourth picture, men’s Stephano pyjama set, £99).
If you feel your night-time wardrobe needs an uplift, it could be time to check into The Pyjama Store’s website. This, one imagines, is where James Bond would kit himself out, always presuming he goes in for nightwear.