The clothes you choose to sleep in are as important as a comfy bed (one that doesn’t ruin your spine) and a cosy blanket for a good night’s sleep. Nightwear and sleepwear are underrated and quite often, we overlook the fact that our choice of PJ sets can impact our sleep.
The right fabric and clothing construction (use of stitch lines, buttons, etc) is extremely important. It is in contact with your skin for those 7-8 hours of deep slumber. When your nightsuit irritates your skin or causes discomfort and restricts mobility, it leads to you losing sleep, which is unhealthy for the mind and body (and your morning mood!).
ELLE got in touch with eight mindful Indian sleepwear labels who told us their story, what fabrics they use for the outfits and what you should look at while buying your next set of pyjamas or nightgown.
1. The Summer House
Best known for its outfits with comforting fabrics, pastel shades and relaxed silhouettes, the sustainable label The Summer House (founded by Rekha Datla and Shivangini Padhiyar) has always believed in designing clothes for slow living and quiet moments. So naturally, its next step was to create a sleepwear line.
“There are three kinds of nightwear we normally make. Our zero dye nightwear is made from raw fibre that is handwoven into the fabric and no chemicals or dyes are used in this process. If you have sensitive skin, this nightwear is fantastic because when you wear nightwear that’s not natural, the dye rubs against your skin through the night and it slowly wears into your skin over the years, hence, it’s not advisable at all. The other fabric we use is organic cotton and the third kind of fabric we utilise is signature prints which are made in collaboration with artisans,” says Shivangini.
Pro Tip: Much like how you read the packaging when you buy skincare products, it is equally important that you buy nightwear that is made from natural fibers, organic if possible and zero dye if you have sensitive skin. Synthetic fibres tend to irritate the skin especially if they are dyed with chemicals that are not azo-free and they do not let your skin breathe. So when choosing nightwear, it’s best to choose natural fabrics, natural or azo-free dyes and comfortable silhouettes.
2. Sweet Slumber
Sweet Slumber, is a woman-led, homegrown boutique online store for loungewear and more, started by lawyer turned entrepreneur, Bhanu Garg in 2018. Based in Dehradun, Bhanu told us that the success of her label is only because she has always put herself in the shoes of the customer.
“Some questions I always ask myself before taking the smallest decisions – Would I buy this print? Would I find this comfortable? What do I miss in a good pair of pyjamas that I can include in my designs? This is what has worked for us as a label. For our summer collection we have always used only 100% cotton, in the most vivid Jaipuri hand block botanical prints – simply because we understand the importance of fabric that not only looks pleasant to the eye but also feels really good on one’s skin.”
Fashion designer Sagrika Grover found her label Essgee when she was only 21 years old. Stemming from the idea of bringing something luxurious plus comfortable, she began a line of loungewear for her label. “Our collection is bohemian in luxurious fabrics. Loungewear is usually categorised as causal, however, the best thing about our pieces is that you can dress it up anytime. We use 100% linen or flex crepe for the sets which not only adds oomph to everyday relaxing but also is friendly and comfortable for the skin. For sleepwear, we use the softest modal cut in carefully designed silhouettes that allows free movement as well as flatters most body types. The buttons are made out of coconut shells, but are sustainable and soft at the same time,” shared Sagrika.
Pro Tip: Opt for a size up for extra comfort.
4. The Boozy Button
The Boozy Button’s Ananya Jain always wanted to create something fun yet comfy. Her inspiration came from Kareena Kapoor Khan who rocked the kaftan in 2020 and hence wanted to create a range of artsy digitally printed kaftans with a young yet delicately rooted Indian vibe. It was with kaftans that the brand grew on to diversify its range of loungewear which they refer to as leisurewear – something the girls can slip into at home and dazzle around comfortably while working from home or slay in the same outfit if someone happened to randomly come over.
“Our clothing is a range of effortless style with comfort. The fabrics we use are buttery soft and are mostly an amalgamation of pure cotton and pure silk. Silk component helps in the natural shine and luminosity of the garment and also helps the garment take the natural shape and flow of the body which makes you feel relaxed. Cotton, on the other hand, gives it the required volume and density to the fabric and makes it long-lasting,” says Ananya.
5. The Calm Collective
With self-care and well being at its core, Neha Gill started The Calm Collective after her own experience. “I was leading the sleepwear business at one of India’s large fashion retail chains for several years until corporate burnout led me to a quick break. During this time, I refocused my energies on well-being and good health again. I went back to honouring a disciplined sleep time, eating healthy and getting physically fit and that is when I realised the great value in wearing soft, weightless cotton to bed. It was magic. I also threw out every single piece of old clothing that had made its way into my sleep wardrobe over the years without me realising that some of it contained blends of polyester and other semi-natural fibres that probably did not let my body breathe or help in body temperature regulation. Cotton became the primary focus for The Calm Collective as well. We focus on experimenting with different qualities and weights of cotton suitable for different times of the year. We are also experimenting with Modals, linens and silks. All-natural, all beautiful and soft fabrics that help your body regulate temperature while you sleep,” Neha told us.
Pro Tip: Be mindful and look for the fabric composition when buying. Wear light, super light-weight, weightless cotton that feels like second skin. It is guaranteed to give you a night of deep and rested sleep. Old worn-out t-shirts are not a solution for sleepwear because your regular t-shirt may contain blends of polyester/nylon that could interfere with deep sleep and rest.
Samyukta Nair founded Dandelion five years ago to bridge a distinctive gap in the sleepwear segment. “What was available wasn’t aesthetically pleasing or appropriate to our weather conditions resulting in me wanting to create something that was refined in aesthetic and put comfort first since how you sleep is how you recover. Using a base fabric that is breathable and durable was of utmost importance. This led me to indigenous cotton as it’s suited to the Indian climate and easy to wash and wear every day in the comfort of your home. Given that traditional sleepwear has been associated with worn-out clothes, we wanted to give people an opportunity to really indulge in something which made them feel well taken care of as they chose to retire and refuel for another day ahead,” shared Samyukta.
Akriti Kochar realised that there was a major gap in the Indian market for someone who loves sexy, comfortable, and affordable nightwear and loungewear. Thus Perch was born in September 2015. Perch epitomises girls and young women who are driven, have a purpose, love what they do, and also take out time to perch — relax, rejuvenate, and refresh themselves after a long day or week. In an effort to remain environmentally conscious, Perch believes in the use of 100% Organic Cotton Poplin, which not only feels great against your skin but it is also environment-friendly. The label ensures it takes its customers’ needs into consideration. “When we get a call from a customer we always try to explain the different fabric qualities we have and understand what exactly they are looking for and make it as personal for them,” says Akriti. “Comfort goes hand in hand with patterns and fit, the right sleeve length can make you feel cosy in winters and a shorter one airy in summers. We mostly do classic pantsuit styles, and to make sure the fall feels soft on the female body, it is tapered slightly,” she added.
Pro Tip: Focus on loose fits. Twirling around in bed has to be comfortable in the end.
8. The Initial Studio
The Initial Studio by Tarini Manchanda started as a design studio for personalised products and launched its monogrammed PJ sets with the idea that they make for the perfect gifts. However, people started buying it for themselves too, which made the label start an entire range of loungewear. The pieces come in 100% cotton sets, yarn-dyed cotton, satin and velour set for winter. Tarini makes sure that she caters to her customers’ needs while designing the clothes. “The one thing we keep in mind (and continue to try and improve) is the size. Apart from the regular XS-XL sizes, we also have customisation options should the wearer not find their size. Some other things we try to be careful about are details such as the drawstring – it shouldn’t be too thin, a label tag shouldn’t itch, buttons shouldn’t pop open while you sleep, the fabric shouldn’t be too thin, to name a few,” said Tarini.
Pro Tip: The main criteria people should look for is definitely comfort. I would recommend being cognisant of the weather – our velour sets may be too warm for the South, our satin sets (though they look beautiful) may not be the best option for summer months. I would also urge customers to have a look at the size chart before ordering as we normally size up for a relaxed fit.