How has nightwear evolved through the years?

How has nightwear evolved

Most of us tend to have a well-established bedtime routine, which generally includes a ‘wash and brush up’ and changing into our nightwear. We might all have fallen asleep in our day clothes before now, but it’s generally considered not quite the way!

Nightwear through the ages

In bygone centuries, dedicated nightwear that you only used for sleeping wasn’t widespread. Depending on the weather, it was common to sleep naked, in your shift (underwear) or in full daywear for warmth. In Medieval times most people slept naked, but by the 16th century, if you were rich, you might have a special set of clothes just for sleeping in. Wealthy Elizabethans had ‘nightrails’, long white linen smocks to be worn at night. Headgear, including kerchiefs and nightcaps, was common. This was partly to keep hair neat and partly for warmth. It was the Victorians who really embraced and popularised nightwear, with nightgowns for women and night shirts for men.

The origin of pyjamas

Pyjamas are, surprisingly, a comparatively recent development. The name comes from the Indian word ‘piejamah’, which refers to a style of loose trousers with a tie at the waist. Colonials brought the idea of ‘bed trousers’ back to Britain in the 19th century and the pyjama has never looked back.

Modern nightwear

These days, pretty much anything goes! The advent of modern textiles and printing techniques has meant that you can go to bed wearing anything from a silk lounge suit to a Batman onesie. Modern nightwear still has certain points in common with its historical forerunners, though, in that it still needs to be loose fitting and comfortable.

Classic cotton nightwear

In our opinion, it was the Victorians who had the right idea. They popularised the idea of changing into a separate set of clothes at bedtime, considering it to be cleaner and more hygienic. As nightwear became more elaborate, with embroidery and embellishment, bedtime routines became more complicated too. We may no longer have time to brush our hair with 100 strokes, but we do think that making a little event out of bedtime is a good idea. A crisp, cotton nightgown or pyjamas is something you’ll look forward to changing into, which will put you in the mood for sleep. Our beautiful cotton nightwear will keep you cool and comfortable all night long while looking stylish and elegant. Ours are easy-care, too - we think the Victorians would have approved!

View our range of pure cotton nightwear


Older Post Newer Post