How many of you wear ratty t-shirts to bed at night? Maybe it’s time for some better summer sleepwear!
Last week a reader from Hawaii sent me this question, and I promised to answer it before summer slipped away:
I have a conundrum.
I’m a mom of a 13, 10, and we do foster care for ages 0-6 yo but on the other side I have been married for 15 years and realized that my poor husband has been seeing me in ratty shirts and holey shorts for the last 13 years and he deserves better. My problem is that I have to get up and feed the babies that come to our house and don’t necessarily want to redress while the baby is crying and if my 10yo son gets up that he wouldn’t see too much of me.
The other glitch is that I do have a robe but we live in paradise and have no AC so when it’s 80+ in my house I’m not interested in covering up more.
Is there any hope for me? am I over thinking this?
Yes, there’s hope for you, and HOPEFULLY I’ve got some answers for you today!
I actually really enjoy clothes, but I know many of my readers HATE shopping. So I’ve put together a pictorial guide of nightgowns I think are modest enough for your sons to catch a glimpse of you, but still fun for your husband!
Here are some main things to consider when you’re looking for summer sleepwear that will actually work for you! You want:
1. Summer Sleepwear Needs to be Comfortable
It can’t be tight or fit weirdly around the bust/waist. The reason we turn to ratty T-shirts is because they are comfortable. They’re not tight, they don’t hug us wrong, and they move when we roll over. But so do lots of other sleepwear possibilities!
2. Summer Sleepwear Needs to Be Cool
You don’t want long sleeves, or anything that’s stifling. You don’t want stuff that sticks to you.But you also want these things:
3. Good Sleepwear Should Have Shape
You are a woman. And it’s okay to be a woman. It’s okay for your children to see that you’re a woman. The problem with ratty T-shirts is that they have absolutely no shape. You could be a man under there. And if you’re heading for bed–where very distinct man/woman things tend to happen–you don’t want to look like you couldn’t care less about being a woman. First, because it’s not nice to your husband. You’re the only woman he’s allowed to look at–so let him look! But second because it sends a message to you: I’m not a sexual being. I’m not really a woman. And that’s not a good message if you want to get in the mood later!
4. Good Sleepwear Shouldn’t Let Everything Hang Out
At the same time, you can’t be mortified if your teenage son were to see you. I have some sleepwear that my teens don’t see me in, that I really only use for special occasions (like anniversaries, etc.). It’s NOT sleepwear, actually. It’s what you wear BEFORE you go to sleep, and you often don’t wear it for very long. But there is fashion that falls in the middle. It isn’t shapeless, but it doesn’t show a ton of cleavage or reveal anything to your sons you wouldn’t be comfortable with them seeing.
Yes, modesty is important, but you are in your own home. And it’s also important that your children see that you are comfortable in your skin and take pride in your marriage. So let’s try to find some summer sleepwear options that satisfy all four conditions:
1. The T-Shirt Look
Some women just LOVE t-shirts at night, mostly because they’re cotton and they’re comfortable. But LOTS of things are cotton and comfortable. And even if you want to do the t-shirt look, you can do it in a way that is at least a little bit more attractive.
Jockey makes some sleep shirts that are like T-shirts, but they’re longer. And they pull in at the waist and have a V, so they show you have some shape.
These are JUST as comfortable as T-shirts, but they’re much more attractive. So you can’t tell me that the only thing that’s comfortable enough to wear is an old T-shirt. It’s just not true!
2. The Classic Cotton Nightgown with Some Detail
Then there’s your classic cotton nightgown, with a very lightweight material but still some detailing around the bust to make it look feminine, like this Eyelet Trim Pleated Summer Nightgown:
Definitely looks feminine, but still very long so that you don’t have to be embarrassed if your preteen boys see you.
Here’s another one with smock tatting–this one emphasizes the bust more, but I still think it’s fine for your boys to see you.
3. The Satin Nightgown with Some Sheen
Here’s a short flutter-sleeved nightgown that isn’t cotton, but is still cool because it doesn’t stick to the body. It’s feminine (V-neck and detailing at the shoulders) and it’s attractive, but it doesn’t let things “hang out”.
You could even wear this one through most of your pregnancy because there’s room for baby, and it’s an ideal shape for those who are rather big on top.
Here’s another option with lots of detailing around the chest, but still really loose in the sleeves and waist/hips:
This is your typical “classic” nightgown, but it avoids looking like a granny gown because of the great colour and all the details.
4. Full Length Nightgowns
There’s something about a full-length nightgown that is just very luxurious–and even sexy! They really aren’t hot when you’re sleeping in them.
Shadowline has a wonderful line of nightgowns that are comfy and not too expensive (most, again, under $40).
Here’s a modest nightgown with straps that’s really cool:
And here’s one that’s more form-fitting, and much more romantic, but still not mortifying if your sons see:
Personally, the nightgown that I wear the most is a full-length satin one (it actually was my mother’s 40 years ago!), and it’s so vintage and pretty. I just feel nice in it. So I think every woman who can afford it at all should invest in a full-length nightgown.
For summer sleepwear, I think you can get by with one full-length and one shorter, more casual one. There are also the two-piece choices, of course, but I thought I’d just focus on nightgowns here. My feeling is that it’s perfectly okay for teenage boys to see you in any of these, though some of you may not be so keen on the ones that do outline the bust more. That really is a personal choice.
You can be comfortable and cool while still being attractive.
And that’s important–it shows our husbands that we respect and appreciate them enough to put in an effort, and it sends a signal to our own bodies that “I am a woman, and I like feeling like a woman.” If you want to keep your sex life alive, you need to send that message!
If you like some of these nightgowns, but there’s no money for you to buy something for yourself right now, you can always add them to your Amazon wish list, or–here’s a tip I love–create a Pinterest board called “Gifts I’d Like” and add things to it. Then show your husband how to access the board. Add stuff throughout the year, and then for birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas, your husband can go choose something from that board! It’s easier for him, and it’s fun for you.
So there are my choices for summer sleepwear for those of us who are also moms. What do you think? What do you wear to bed? Let me know in the comments!
UPDATE: I’m getting some requests in the comments for ideas for 2-piece summer sleepwear that isn’t a nightgown. Sounds like a great idea for a follow-up post (and it will be fun because I had fun putting this one together!) So look for it soon.