growing a minimalist wardrobe: sleepwear.

July 26, 2017

I’ve been sleeping in my underwear for the last month because it’s summertime and in summertime I sleep in my undies. But before I actually climb into bed, between the hours of, say, 8pm and 10pm, and after I roll groggily back out of it somewhere around 6:00 am, I like to wear pajamas.

A few years ago I wrote a bit about loungewear, but I thought this space could use a post dedicated to some of the sleepier stuff. Truth is: I like all kinds of pajamas. Romantic and gauzy and breezy? Yes. Sporty and soft and striped? Also yes. Short? Long? Somewhere in between? All of the above. 

And I’ve said it before, but I’m a real believer in pajama pajamas. That it is to say, those things that have been designed with sleeping in mind and not just something that’s leftover from a closet purge gone wrong. 

That old tank top? Stretched out and stained? To the sleeping in pile it goes! 

No!

I understand the impulse, but relegating all of your worn out or otherwise cast off clothes to be worn early mornings or late nights means that you wake up and go to sleep dressed in so much less than your best. Besides, most of those things will continue to languish in pajama drawer purgatory despite your best intentions to put them to use. But what a luxury it is to slip into something soft and clean and—dare I say–dedicated to sleeping in at the end of the day.

Here are a few favorite spots for sustainable pajama shopping, should you be on the hunt:

Brook There: Beyond bras and undies, the folks at Brook There have a Pearl Silk Slip made of 100% silk charmeuse that looks perfect for some fancy sleeping (or coffee drinking). For sportier sleeps, these shorts and this tank also look just right. (I could build block towers all morning in that set.) All items made by Brook There use low-impact production methods. Made in the USA.

Domi: The stuff of loose, breezy, hand-spun organic cotton sleepwear dreams. Domi’s look is decidedly romantic, should fairytale sleeps be what you’re after. I love just about everything these guys make, but their Straight Slip, with those lovely bits of cotton lace is especially sweet. I wouldn’t mind this little Pink Straight Slip a bit, either. Both come with adjustable straps. Made in India.

Dosa at Tina the StoreDosa doesn’t specialize in sleepwear per se, but they’ve got some beautiful options for sleeping in. Recycling and reusing are integral parts of the creating process at Dosa. They operate under the philosophy of “using less, cherishing more.” (You can learn more about their recycling projects here.) Their Kymber Slip is especially beautiful. It’s made from 100% khadi cotton with lace under the bust and along the hem and the straps are adjustable. Made in the USA.

Everlane: As I’ve written before, Everlane operates under an admirable, “radical transparency” policy, encouraging consumers to “Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why.” Their Silk Sleep Set includes a tank and pair of shorts and is made of 100% silk. I have the set in black from a few seasons ago, but this season’s set looks like it comes with a few tweaks to the design and a subtle pin stripe. Made in China.

Fabrik: A current RMTL sponsor and the makers of one of my favorite nightgowns (similar here), they typically have at least one terrific pajama option in stock. One of my favorite things from their current collection is the Linen Short Sleeve Pyjamas—a classic short-sleeved pajama set—made of 100% linen with shell buttons. Ethically made in Bali.

Fog Linen: For folks after something truly simple for sleeping in, the 100% linen Carina Slip from Fog Linen has a classic shape and looks lightweight enough for warm summer nights. (And it’s still entirely serviceable as a slip for wearing underneath all of your gauziest summer dresses.) If you’re more of a pajama pant person, their linen Oise Drawstring Pants might be in order. Made in Lithuania.

House of Baltic Linen: These guys sell predominately linen bedclothes, but they always have a few clothes for humans on offer, too. If you prefer to sleep in separates, the Stonewashed Linen Pajama Set with loose wide-leg pants and relaxed top is a beautiful option. Made of 100% linen. Handmade in Lithuania and Australia.

Land of Women In their words, these folks make “lingerie for the sport of womanhood.” The Land of Women Circle Slip would make for a luxurious nightgown (and a useful undergarment). It’s made of 100% silk charmeuse. I love the straight neckline and thin straps. Made in NY using Italian fabrics.

Loup Charmant:In case you’re the kind of person who likes to take your nightgown on a run to the corner coffee shop, this floor-length Maxi Slip is made of 100% organic cotton and fully lined. Straps tie at the shoulders. Available in a range of seaside-inspired colors. If you prefer something shorter, their Classic Slip is also dreamy. Made in New York.

Maison du Soir: I love just about all of Maison du Soir’s pjs. If I had to choose something to love this minute, I’d go for this gauzy Paris Pajama Dress. For folks needing something a little less sheer, the Melbourne Pajama Dress that’s available through Wilson & Willy’s would be perfect. Made in LA.

Only Hearts: James gave me two of their Organic Cotton Lace Chemises the year that we got married, and they’re both still in regular rotation nearly five years later. If you’re more of a separates kind of person, their Organic Cotton Tank and Organic Cotton Pants are made from the same Peruvian organic supima cotton and look terrific for cooler nights and more coverage. Made in NYC.

PonyBabeA relative newcomer on the cozy clothes scene, this Brooklyn company uses natural and “eco-friendlier” materials like organic cotton and bamboo. (No fabric is wasted during the process of making these garments—scraps are used in zero-waste projects and donated to elementary schools to be used in craft projects!) The Raceback Tank Top and Pleated Pants make for great loungewear and sleepwear, but they’re pretty enough to step out of the house in, too. Made in the USA.

The Sleepshirt: For folks who like their sleepwear to have a little extra tailoring, these collared nightshirts look comfy. They come in a wide range of sizes and styles. (There’s something about the extra-long one that I really love.) Made in Canada.

PS. The nightgown in the shot above is this one, from P. Jamas—full-length, thin straps, 100% cotton. A gift from my mom!

As always, I’d love to know what sustainable sleepwear you guys have your eyes on!

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46 Comments

  • Reply Natalie July 26, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I love pajamas! My sister is definitely guilty of recycling old clothes as her sleepwear. She’s 21 and still wears a t-shirt back from 5th grade. I hate that shirt so much haha – it has holes underneath the armpit, and it irks me. Maybe, I should buy her some pajamas as a gift? Thanks for the links to these wonderful shops!

  • Reply Victoria Way July 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Check out Sloan Sleepwear! So so good. An investment, but could arguably be worn outside too. Also, the colors!!

    thesloanstore.com

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 26, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      Beautiful! Naturally dyed cotton gauze stuff of dreams! I love the Chuck Nightshirts.

  • Reply Rachel July 26, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    $300 for a piece of fabric to sleep in at bedtime? This is utterly ridiculous.

    I find it so mind-boggling that you can cry for affordable health care for Americans, but turn around and market sleepwear that is highly overpriced. If that isn’t the definition of privilege, I don’t know what is.

    I disagree with this post, but that’s my opinion. I do love coming to this space and admiring your other work.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 26, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Sorry that some of these pieces came with their share of sticker shock. I’m not denying the privilege that allows me to even daydream about some of these options. What I will say is that admiring beautiful and thoughtfully made sleepwear and demanding affordable health care for Americans doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    • Reply Genevieve July 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      There’s really not a conflict between advocating for social justice issues and basic needs like healthcare and suggesting that it’s nice to rest in lovely pyjamas. While some of these items are certainly too expensive for me that’s not the case for everyone. And though there are many factors that go into what a garment costs, it has been discussed many times here and elsewhere that producing clothing ethically (with sustainable environmental practices, fair labor costs, etc.) results in prices much higher than we’re used to paying.

    • Reply Leslie July 27, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Rachel and Erin — So refreshing to see this respectful and cordial exchange that so easily could have turned nasty and defensive. It’s wonderful that you create this environment on your site, Erin!

    • Reply Therese July 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

      agreed! On a day in which millions potentially faced the loss of their health care, this post seemed out of place to me as well. Especially on a site that is usually so aware.

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

        Thanks for sharing your view. I think there’s an argument here that advocating for ethical fashion choices and advocating for universal healthcare is part of the same moral landscape, but on this site my subject matter includes sustainable fashion and less so healthcare policy. Still, doing my best to strike a careful balance! Thanks for the feedback.

    • Reply Emma August 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Rachel, I totally agree with you on the prices. It’s ridiculous to pay such prices. Give me clean and comfy 100% cotton, moderately priced for the average person and I’m happy.

  • Reply MissEm July 26, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Love this list. You’re amazing! Was just having a talk with a friend the other day about how so much sleepwear is made of skeazy fabrics. I only wish there was more lightweight sleepwear that wasn’t see through – my kids are getting to an age where that’s starting to feel weird (maybe I just need to indulge in a lovely robe? ;)). So…what would you think about bringing your sustainable, attractive, round-up knowledge to kids’ lunchboxes?

    • Reply Erin July 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I adore my robe. I just need to get a summer version!

  • Reply Shelbi July 26, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I know, I’m so bad about not buying actual pajamas! I just wear my loungewear and on hot days I just wear my underwear as well…

    Shelbi

  • Reply Lee July 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    My eye had always been on the most sustainable option of all: my skivvies. Nothing wrong with reusing old clothes as sleepwear either; after all, not every old tank is destined for donation, and there’s only so many dustrags one household can handle. If we’re really trying to redeuce-reuse-recycle, isn’t that always the best option?
    But I definitely agree that there’s no conflict between pricey sleepwear and desiring universal healthcare. Talk about apples and oranges.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 26, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      You’re right of course! I’m just a real pajama fan, so I threw in a little hyperbole for effect. You know, just in case anyone wanted to be freed from the 20-year-old D.A.R.E. t-shirt they’re still wearing to bed 😉 Thanks for your support.

  • Reply mado July 26, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I definitely can’t afford $300 for a nightgown, but I hope the people who can, choose some of these brands that you’ve so carefully selected for their ethical practices! Your site is pretty much the only one I’d come to for these sorts of recommendations. Until everyone has a living wage and access to healthcare, ethical shopping is something. Unfortunately where I live it’s never warm enough for warm-weather pajamas, so I’ll be over here in my thrifted knit shirts and flannel pajama pants (dreaming of a matching set someday)!

  • Reply Dana Leigh Lyons July 26, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Okay, this post – unlike most with clothing links – added like 10 items to my (carefully curated) wish list :).

    I keep to a minimalist uniform when out and about…but live in loungewear (er, underwear, come summertime) at home. I find feeling good in this home-wear super-important – for my mood, creativity, relationship, well-being, sense of ease. Lovely list of leads – thank you, Erin!

  • Reply Dana Leigh Lyons July 26, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    P.S., Thank you for including a Canadian line (I’m in BC, and love ordering without extra shipping concerns.)

  • Reply Jeska July 27, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Some great points here – and very beautiful sleepwear, Erin. I am a fan of anything gauzy too and don’t mind saving up for a higher priced, fairly produced item, I will then wear it until it falls apart! 🙂

  • Reply Raza July 27, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Thank you so much for the recommendations! I’ve been looking to buy myself a summer and winter pajama set and get rid of all the lounge-wear in my drawers that I gravitate to but don’t actually love sleeping in.

  • Reply Kirsten July 27, 2017 at 8:24 am

    To each their own, I guess. I’ve never been able to get myself to shell out the $$ for $20 pajamas, much less dropping three figures on something to sleep in. It’s funny, I’m totally on board with saving up for special, US-made clothing items and love most of your other minimalist wardrobe posts, but something about expensive pajamas just rubs me completely wrong!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 27, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Hi Kirsten! It requires a bit of a mind shift to think about the true cost of handmade clothes, for sure. That said, it’s certainly not my intention to convince anyone that they have to buy anything on this list at all! My hope is only ever to provide
      a list of thoughtful resources in case someone *is* on the hunt for something new and wondering where to look. Wearing what we already have or shopping secondhand is always on the table! Etsy makes it easy to look for vintage cotton nightgowns, for instance, and there’s a nice selection right now in the under $50 range! Here’s a link if you’re curious!

  • Reply Christie July 27, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I think with universal health care, I would be able to afford nicer, more ethically made pajamas. I would also have more time because I wouldn’t spend so much of it fighting and appealing insurance company decisions. Also, the amount that my taxes would increase would actually not even come close to what I’m paying out for insurance now. And for Obamacare haters out there, my insurance is only slightly more now ($150/month) than it was before but it is FAR, FAR, FAR superior. Unlike before, my son won’t be denied health insurance for his pre-existing condition of infant anemia (seriously was denied for this).

    • Reply Sasha August 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Well said Christie. I shop from amazon, target, and mostly, and have for decades, thrift. And I enjoy a tiny wardrobe and a minimalist house because I like it that way. I rarely buy organic anything, but am vegan except for the eggs we raise in our back yard, and eat a whole foods diet. I have no health insurance, haven’t for many years (can’t get obamacare OR insurance from my husband’s work, it’s complicated). I care (very lovingly & with great joy) for other people’s children, full time. Do I shop at target because I just don’t care about children in Malaysia? Or buy from amazon because I love their wasteful packaging? No. That’s what I can afford, under a capitalist system that doesn’t value my work, provide universal health care or education (still paying for an MA). Would I ever pay $300 for a nighty? No, I find it obscene. BUT in the universe I live in that nighty is worth a month’s worth of food. Not apples and oranges at all imho. This reality is why I think a few readers chose to speak out about this post. I value a space where people can thoughtfully and compassionately and politely engage. Thank you to all.

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 4, 2017 at 10:10 am

        Yes: We all come to this from different places, certainly. My sharing of clothing that is by all measures expensive comes from a place of wanting to share craftsmanship and care and thoughtfulness that I admire, and not because I expect that most people can afford to shop that way regularly. These items are aspirational, for me included. (As an aside, I lived without health insurance for the great majority of my childhood and am also still paying off both undergraduate and graduate student loans. I’m not denying any privilege I have now, or have always enjoyed, but I do feel compelled to share that it’s not from a vantage point of great wealth that I admire folks who are trying to produce clothing in an ethical manner.

        On a different note, I’ve been struggling with how to put it into words, but it has been interesting for me to see how the comments on this post have unfolded. For one part, it seems fair to point out that only one item on this list comes close to costing $300, and yet that’s been the refrain throughout the comments. That aside, I’m fascinated by the implication that a garment’s end use should dictate its price. It seems that in part, paying a high price for sleepwear specifically was troubling for folks. I can understand not wanting to spend a great deal on sleepwear, but whether an item is made for sleeping in or wearing around town, doesn’t necessarily change the materials, time, or resources needed to make it. Something to at least bear in mind, I think. What I do also wonder is how much my own admission of enjoying the “luxury” of sleeping in dedicated pajamas triggered folks. I think in general, our culture is disdainful of people—especially women—who admit to liking anything that sounds indulgent. Somewhere we still have a Puritanical ethic that tells us that luxury is bad, and I wonder if to some extent people were reacting to that as well.

        • Reply Sasha August 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm

          Erin, thank you for sharing all of that, I love it when people feel like they can just be real. I want to know everything real about you 🙂
          Luxury, aspirational…yep, totally trigger words for me. I live in a place where the vast majority of the economy exists to cater to people who vacation here for a few weeks of the year, live in 15,000 sq feet “luxury” “rustic” 2nd, 3rd or 4th homes. I don’t personally begrudge you the luxury of nice pjs, truly I don’t. Nor any of your readers. Luxury and aspiration just don’t personally appeal to me. I don’t want that lifestyle and I love your blog because of many of the other values you live and write about. I can see how long lasting, well made clothing fits with those values too. I like that this is a place where thoughtful discussion can happen.

  • Reply Erin July 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I am coveting this little number: https://www.amaella.com/product/negligee/

    However, I often buy my night clothes second hand. I got a great white cotton night gown off etsy for about $20 (and my husband loves it for some odd reason as it’s fairly puritanical looking), I also got a great red silk one from Goodwill – I just washed it well and have no issues with it!

    • Reply Genevieve July 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      This note about your husband liking the puritanical nightgown made me laugh! Never can tell what one’s partner is going to go for.

  • Reply sid July 27, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    If anyone has some recommendations for beautiful AND supportive lounge/sleepwear please chime in.

    I can never seem to find anything nice that can transition from sleeping to lounging without the step of adding a bra. I might be searching for a unicorn but I figured it was worth putting a shout-out on a site that curates for people with impeccable taste 🙂

    • Reply Carmella August 2, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      While I don’t necessarily need one for support, in a houseful of teenage boys, I’ve found that wearing a bralette under my sleepwear gives me peace of mind in the modesty department. Even if I dash out of bed in the middle of the night, or bend over to pet the dog in the morning, I know I’m covered! They’re very comfortable and may be supportive enough for you to wear in the fringe hours of the day as well as at night.

  • Reply SEM July 27, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    So my eyeballs definitely bugged out a little when I saw the price of some of these. I prefer the loungewear styles because I feel like they’d get more mileage. I’ve always appreciated the little ways you encourage us to counter fast fashion and purchase ethically made garments and I wonder, do they make sustainable, fair trade garments that are accessible to lower income earners? I feel a little put out when fairly paid garment workers still can’t afford the products they sew. Not sure the way around this conundrum because higher price tags usually means the ‘savings’ aren’t being passed to the customer at the expend of the laborer. The cost covers expenses (including fair labor) and a marknup. I’m interested to know if you’ve read anything about companies who have closed this gap a bit?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 27, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      You know, I wish I had an easy answer for all of this stuff. I really don’t. Foiled again by capitalism? The truth is that it’s an inherently exploitative system. It’s difficult to know exactly how money and resources get meted out all along the supply chain. It’s hard to know what communities and the environment are being subjected to as a result of our quest for nice things to wear, and the more we dig, often, the less rosy the picture.

      We certainly live in a moment when the prices that we expect to pay for clothes are artificially low. I recently linked to an article from Fast Company that cited a recent study revealing that a majority of people surveyed were unwilling to pay even a few cents more for a t-shirt, even if that that would allow the person sewing it to take home a living wage. And yet, it’s not lost on me that a high price for a garment doesn’t begin to guarantee an ethical garment, and moreover that even so-called fast fashion remains inaccessible for a great many folk who can hardly afford basic expenses, let alone an ethically made t-shirt. I think, as always, some of the answer is simply that we all do our best. If one day someone figures out a perfect system, I promise you, I will be the first to shout it from the rooftops.

  • Reply Nina July 27, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Erin, can I ask why you’ve described one of these brands as being “handmade”, and have also used the word to refer to more expensive clothing in one of your replies to a comment above? All clothing is handmade – even the mass-produced fast fashion stuff has to have every seam run through a sewing machine by human hands. It doesn’t really make sense to use the word ‘handmade’ to imply ‘more ethical’ (at least in the case of clothing), because it’s ALL handmade.

    For the people (like me) who can’t afford the options listed here, a simple nightie (nightgown) is one of the easiest things to sew yourself. Or keep repurposing your old clothes, or your partner’s, no shame in that! The New Internationalist magazine’s online shop sometimes has reasonably priced (but not extra-cheap) organic cotton, fair trade sleepwear. UK/Japanese fair trade co People Tree sometimes has good sales. For mainstream brands you can check them out on rankabrand.org to see which are the most sustainable/least unsustainable.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 27, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Nina! Thanks for pointing that out! Yes: a very good thing to remember that there are human beings behind most all of our clothes! Didn’t mean to imply otherwise. How wonderful that you can sew your own nightgowns! I wish I could do that—maybe one day! As for repurposing old clothes, I didn’t mean to imply anyone should be ashamed of that. As I mentioned above, I was really just encouraging folks who might need a bit of encouraging that going to sleep in a something lovely that you own for the express purpose of sleeping in can be a lovely luxury (regardless of the cost or former life of the garment).

  • Reply Annie July 28, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Who knew sleepwear could arouse such controversy! Such lovely and beautiful options, Erin.

  • Reply Auste July 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    These are lovely. Do you happen to have any suggestions for men’s sleepwear? My husband enjoys sleeping nude, however our two daughters are getting to the age where seeing their father naked might waver towards inappropriate. He hates sleeping in boxers and hasn’t found anything suitable! Ideas? Thanks!

    • Reply Gaia July 29, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      What about silk shorts? That probably sounds crazy fancy, but I’m thinking more like the long underwear that’s silk as opposed to shiny shorts! ha. Supposed to be really breathable!

  • Reply Gaia July 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Ha: “That old tank top? Stretched out and stained? To the sleeping in pile it goes! ” This made me laugh because it describes me to a T. Now that I’m not perpetually covered in spit-up, I’ve been looking into upping my pj game. Thanks:)

  • Reply Karen B. July 29, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve read all the responses above, but still, paying “$300 for a piece of fabric to sleep in” is more than I can wrap my head around.

  • Reply Amanda K. July 31, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I loved this post, but was even more intrigued by the comments. It’s flawed logic to think that you cannot both wear a nice nightgown AND support universal healthcare. Or why are we worried about something as trivial as HEALTHCARE when there is a nurses strike in kenya? (http://paradoxuganda.blogspot.com/2017/07/kenya-nursing-strike-is-anyone-paying.html) And people are dying because there is no one to provide healthcare for the direly sick?
    Of course you can care about both, advocate for both issues.

    ANYWAY

    I was also shocked at the idea of a $300 nightgown. I’m not sure I’ve added anything to my wardrobe since I left home for college? But I do think it’s worth thinking about — for people who buy a few pairs of PJs a year, they probably are spending close to $300 a year on pajamas, so why not make that $300 a single, high-quality, ethical purchase rather than stuffing your dresser with 12 pairs of $15 cozy pants? Makes sense to me.

  • Reply Alexandra Suhner Isenberg August 1, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Thank you so much for the mention Erin!

    My name is Alexandra and I am the founder of The Sleep Shirt. I wanted to address some of the pricing concerns mentioned in the comments, in hopes of explaining our point of view and adding another point of view to this complex debate.

    First of all, I think it is unfair to use the word overpriced to describe our sleepwear because I can assure you our items are not overpriced. Knowing how manufacturing works, I am pretty sure the other brands’ products aren’t either (unless they own their own factories.) They are expensive, yes, in fact some of our pieces are VERY expensive, but overpriced implies that we are pricing them higher than what a normal and fair margin would dictate. We certainly don’t do that. In fact, our margins are considered low by industry standards, but for obvious reasons, we don’t want to raise our prices just so we take home more money.

    Most luxury brands don’t make crazy money off their clothes, the “overpriced” pieces are things like accessories and fragrance which have much higher margins. Of course some are probably raking it in, but generally smaller or independent luxury or premium brands don’t make huge profits until they branch out into accessories or lower priced lines.

    Also, I should point out that the repeat of the $300 price point is also unfair. Hardly any of the brands mentioned on this list have items over $300, and at The Sleep Shirt, items priced $300 and over represent less than 5% of our collection. I am not saying our stuff is affordable, but $300 is much, much higher than our average price point.

    “I feel a little put out when fairly paid garment workers still can’t afford the products they sew” – this was a very interesting comment. In the case of our products, it’s unlikely that the garment workers can afford to buy loads of our $300 nightshirts, but there is no reason that someone who gets paid above the minimum wage, like our garment workers do, can’t save up and buy a $150 nightshirt and wear it every day for five years and then buy a replacement. Our products are made in a country where the minimum wage is a living wage and while spending several hundred dollars on sleepwear might seem steep to that person, someone who wants to buy nice things and is willing to sacrifice quantity for quality, could theoretically afford it if they were willing to save. Most people don’t do that for a pair of pyjamas but it is not hugely different to saving up for a bag or a pair of shoes you use every day.

    But I am realistic and I know that this is not the norm. In order to make a product ethically, with good materials and in a country whose working conditions are humane, you need to charge a decent amount for your product, or you need to exclusively sell direct to your consumer (and hardly ever put it on sale) or you need to produce in large quantities. Or a combination of the above (which is how Everlane manages to keep prices reasonable.) The sad thing is, most people aren’t paid living wages and in countries like the US, where you guys pay little tax but pay so much money for healthcare and other essentials, it’s even harder to be able to afford luxuries.

    We would love to make our products more accessible and comparable to fast fashion retailer prices, but the only way to do that (significantly) is to move our production to Bangladesh or Vietnam, and that is not something we are willing to do. This is a blog about sustainable and purposeful living, and the products under that banner are often more expensive than the stuff we buy at Walmart. You can’t have your cake and eat it – if people want things to be manufactured locally and the workers to be paid fairly, they need to be prepared to pay a lot more for it. That’s not an option for everyone, but it is the reality of how production and pricing works.

    To the person who said “but still, paying “$300 for a piece of fabric to sleep in” is more than I can wrap my head around.”- I want to say that our sleepwear is more than just a piece of fabric. It’s an expensive piece of fabric, made in Japan on high quality weaving machines, and then shipped to Canada to be made into a garment by people who are paid above minimum wage. That “piece of fabric” will last years. Up until last year I only had 2 nightshirts on rotation at home (plus a nightie but it never gets hot here so I only wear it 1-2 weeks a year.) One of them I have had for five years and it is still in excellent condition. It has at least another 3 years of wear in it, if it is on rotation with another shirt. So while you might be paying $250 for a nightshirt, if you wear it half the year for six years, you are paying $0.23 a wear. That’s probably better value than an $80 blouse or a $150 dress. I know that it is still a high price tag, but there’s value behind it. It is definitely more than jut a piece of fabric.

    Lastly, to those who don’t believe in spending money on things to sleep in – that’s your choice. Different people spend their money different ways. But a lot of us value our sleep and are willing to spend a bit of money to make it feel good. That includes a good mattress, nice sheets, and comfortable sleepwear, all made from natural fabrics. I didn’t spend money on sleepwear until I discovered a vintage nightshirt that inspired me to start this company. And now I am hooked, because I wear my sleepwear eight hours a day (and longer on the weekends) and it’s something I think is worth spending money on, if your lifestyle allows it.

    Thanks again Erin for including us on this great list of brands and thanks to everyone else for this interesting debate.

    • Reply Amanda K. August 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      thank you for this thoughtful and kind explanation!

  • Reply Jay August 1, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    I strongly believe that one can make eco-friendly and ethical choices for sleepwear that do not have to be anywhere near this expensive. I don’t think the choices are limited to super expensive/eco-friendly vs. cheap/junk. There are much less expensive yet ethical , quality options out there.

    I personally don’t find it ethical to spend that much on one garment ($200 -500 for a night shirt!) when people are hungry, going blind because they can’t afford cataract surgery, or dying because they have no access to good healthcare. What I need for a good night’s sleep –far more than organic cotton or silk sleepwear–is peace of mind.

  • Reply Ally August 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I love Coyuchi’s chemises. Organic cotton and/or linen and affordable:

    https://www.coyuchi.com/sale/womens-point-reyes-chemise.html

    or this one:
    https://www.coyuchi.com/wear/women-s/botanic-print-chemise.html

  • Reply thefolia August 6, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Ah pajamas…I’ve been needing them for over a decade now and even a decent pair of underwear…why is something so simply so difficult to find. Sweet dreams.

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