Speed walking through the back streets of Chelsea one winter morning, I overheard a familiar voice shouting, “The buzzer’s not working, so I’m coming down. But be warned - I’m wearing my pyjamas!”. I slowed the pace to see if my auditory suspicions were true, and spotted a grey-haired gent making his way down the steps towards a sturdy set of iron gates. That inimitable 8am drawl was none other than British broadcasting veteran, Sir David Frost, who’d been caught mid-cornflakes by a crash helmeted delivery driver. It’s a scene that’s proved hard to forget. Unlike most mere mortals, he wasn’t sporting some saggy old tracksuit bottoms and an accidentally bleach splashed tee-shirt for bed – hell no. Sir David was suave and entirely presentable in a muted, candy striped two-piece and slippers, every inch the superstar as he strode down to greet the courier. His self-imposed smartness didn’t stop once he’d clocked off at the television studio, it seems he took his slumber attire pretty seriously too.
What stayed with me, was how composed he looked. Far from dishevelled and lazy, it was a look that radiated a certain readiness, an old-fashioned elegance. Those pyjamas were probably ironed with the same sense of pride and perfection as his shirts. And who can blame him? After almost a year of blurred boundaries between work and play, maybe we all need a little definition too? Don’t panic – I realise there are hordes of us who aren’t quite ready for the formality of power dressing just yet (I can’t be the only one who’s spent 2020 raiding the fridge) so rather than talk tailoring, I’m here to signal the launch of the much-anticipated Studio Nicholson sleepwear instead.
If you’re sick of answering emails in mismatched separates, or tired of just making your upper quadrant look Zoom-ready, it’s high time you invested in something a little more ‘complete’. Enter stage left, the perfect pyjamas. Originally derived from the Hindi word ‘paejama’ meaning leg clothing, the noun's usage dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Worn by both sexes in India, Iran, Pakistan and Bangladesh, these loose trousers were first introduced to the west in the 1870s, when British colonials chucked out their nightshirts and styled their baggy bed pants with buttoned-up matching shirts instead. By the time the androgynous 1920s rolled around, women were getting in on the action – with Coco Chanel busting the stuffy gender stereotypes by sauntering down to the beach in hers.
Bra-burning aside, pyjamas remain popular because there’s no other garment you can sleep in and then propel yourself out of bed to answer the door in without looking ridiculous. It goes without saying though, that your choice of PJs should ideally be just as considered as the knits, shirting or outwear you choose to wear. Such is the sophistication of total dressing. For true modularity, all bases must be covered. A wardrobe shouldn’t stop with the sharp punctuation of good shoes and a beanie hat; it needs the full 360. This is the rationale behind the new Studio Nicholson sleepwear sets.
Softly engineered in a choice of two different premium Italian shirting cottons, these unisex, seasonless sleep styles have been cut to represent the Studio Nicholson silhouette. Playful volume in all the right places, there’s a choice of mid-length shorts or full-length pants with gently elasticated waistbands, secured with the addition of a drawstring in self-fabric. Roomy enough to sleep in and comfortable enough to lounge around in, the superior thread count on both options means they’ll retain their understated polish and refined hand-feel wash after wash. With a boxy shirt finished with mother of pearl buttons and generous chest pockets there’s a subtle nod to the Whitman Brothers aesthetic from The Darjeeling Limited. Pants and shorts have the regulation side seam pockets and one patch pocket at the rear and are all delivered in a matching drawstring pyjama bag. Practical and functional with just the right amount of bedtime nostalgia, these are the gateway to 24/7 modular dressing.
Leanne Cloudsdale is the Studio Nicholson Editor-at-Large