My Repeat Buy: Charlotte Collins On Pyjama Suits

In this series, we ask stylish women to tell us more about their most purchased item. First up, SheerLuxe deputy editor Charlotte Collins explores her unwavering obsession with pyjama sets…
By Charlotte Collins /

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Why pyjamas? So many reasons. They’re incredibly chic but seriously low maintenance. I can’t think of a quicker hack for looking polished – or a comfier one – than a matching two piece. They work for chilled dinners on holiday, off-duty weekends, days at the office or important meetings. You can add trainers, sandals, boots or heels. A gold hoop and a chunky white pair of New Balances is my default in the week, a pair of Manolos, big gold earrings and a slicked-back bun is my evening twist. But more importantly than their versatility, they just feel so… me. They achieve everything I want to achieve when I get dressed – cool, laid-back, effortless and a little bit glamorous too. It’s been such a joy finding that one thing I know I can rely on and still feel like myself, whatever the occasion.

The first pair of pyjamas I bought was a yellow set from Mango in 2015. It has a greige background with lots of little yellow squares, the trousers were slightly cropped at the ankle and the top was loose and oversized, with a double button detail. I remember it arriving at the SL office and putting it straight on for an evening out with white heeled ankle boots. The ankles are slightly frayed, but I still wear that set frequently. A few more high-street pairs followed. There was a particularly good dark navy striped set from & Other Stories that, in the end, couldn’t withstand multiple washes, and a green Zara one with statement jewelled double breasted buttons which is just a touch too small, but I can’t bring myself to part with – it’s just so glamorous.

I graduated to real silk just before the pandemic. I got my first pair of Asceno PJs in the NET-A-PORTER sale – a burgundy, floor-trailing pair to celebrate my birthday in February. I had wanted them for so long; the brand signifies everything I want my wardrobe to be, and I reckon that’s still my most worn pair. Asceno very kindly sent a few pairs to the SL team just as lockdown begun – this time, I got a black and white checked pair with cropped trousers and white piping. That’s a set I tend to save for evening – it’s a slightly heavier silk which feels more formal.

I’ve dabbled with other fabrics and finishes over the years, but NOTHING COMPARES TO PURE SILK. Linen is cool but just doesn’t have THAT GLAM FACTOR – also it tends not to come in such fun prints and patterns.

Asceno is one of my go-tos but I’m obsessed with Olivia Von Halle too. I have three pairs, and that’s only because of the hefty price tag – I’d buy the entire collection if I could. Olivia Von Halle PJs are slightly more structured and a more classic shape – the trousers tend to be longer and the top a slightly slimmer fit. I love the playfulness of their prints, though – my favourite is a bottle green pair with pink and white accents, but an orange snake-print style is probably my most worn.

I’ve dabbled with other fabrics and finishes over the years, but nothing compares to pure silk. Linen is cool but just doesn’t have that glam factor – also it tends not to come in such fun prints and patterns. Same with poplin. The only exception to that rule is Sleeper – I have two PJ sets from them, which are almost obscenely oversized (and therefore quite divisive) but I love them. One is a very heavy blue satin, the other is a ridiculously soft pink cotton – I have to wear those more carefully (they’re certainly not important meeting appropriate) but for real comfort, the brand can’t be beaten.

I love to mix and match different sets – the unexpectedness of a bright orange trouser with a pink shirt, or a yellow bottom and blue top is what I live for. It’s a great formula because the hard work is done for you – you don’t have to faff with tucking, layering or even much styling. You’re making a statement just by clashing those prints. I rarely wear them as separates – occasionally I may add a silky blouse to a pair of jeans but I find the impact is lost, and it can all start to look a little normcore.

I’m asked a lot about high-street sets. But I’m reluctant to share because, for me, it’s not about getting a look so much as taking real pleasure in the quality of the pieces. Of course, you can recreate that style with more affordable versions, but I’d always rather wait and save up to have the real thing. It’s not a hard and fast rule – my original Mango set has really stood the test of time. But the X factor comes from the quality of the silk and the design details that cost more. Sales are your friend – I’ve never paid full price for a single pair.

Some of my favourite pairs are from lesser-known brands – I have a beautiful set from Karen Mabon, which is a pale pink and green chinoiserie style. I also have a cool short sleeved set from By Malina, and there’s a nautical short sleeved style from Alemais that I really regret not buying earlier this year. I try to keep an eye on the Scandi brands – Saks Potts, Nanushka and Ganni have all done great sets over the years.

I’d always rather wait and save up to have the real thing. It’s not a hard and fast rule – my original Mango set has really stood the test of time. But THE X FACTOR COMES FROM THE QUALITY OF SILK and the design details that cost more.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t love all silk PJ sets. I like bold, fun colours – there are some really cool Totême styles right now, but the palette is a little too earthy for me. Same for the very popular Sundarbay designs – I think they look great on others, but they’re not quite feminine enough for me. My dream is a Valentino pair – I want fluffy cuffs and ankles, double breasting and an incredible bright print. La Double J have some amazing styles, and there are a few Liberty print ones I love, too.

At the moment, I’m living in an Asceno X Alexandria Coe pair – the artist designed a special set, with her signature line drawing, to raise money for charity. The fit is really oversized, and I’ve loved lounging around in it all summer. The pair I’m most likely to invest in next is a short brown set by Olivia Von Halle – I know I’d live in it on holiday for years to come.

Follow @CharlotteLeahCollins on Instagram.


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