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Help a Reader: Pretty, Natural Plus-Sized Sleepwear | Manolo for the Big Girl

Help a Reader: Pretty, Natural Plus-Sized Sleepwear

Happy Friday gang. Boy am I glad to see this week’s tailfeathers shaking in the rear-view mirror. First server woes then my Facebook and email started acting up and then I saw The Avengers because I like Tom Hiddleston except it made me weep for the standards of contemporary American cinema if that is what qualifies as a “smart” film. To paraphrase MftBG favorite Terra Cotta Sugarbaker, I have heels higher than those standards.

Anyhoodle, the other day I received an email from superfantastic reader Rachel:

Dear Miss Plumcake,

I apologize if you covered this before on Manolo for the Big Girls, but I am looking for some nice sleepwear (and I think others who are plus sized and not 21 any more might appreciate). I’m looking for something pretty, made with fabrics found in nature and something I can actually sleep in. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

From personal experience I got nothin’.

I am what my baby brother used to call a “wuff sweeper.”

Try as I might, I cannot find a nightie, jimjam or other form of nocturnal costuming that doesn’t end up wrapped around my throat or lodged irretrievably in one of my more tender nooks and crannies after just an hour or so of sleep. If I attempt to sleep in anything more substantial than moisturizer, I risk serious self-injury, and frankly that is NOT something I want to explain to emergency responders, especially not in Spanish.

Pretty and nice are subjective as is something you can “actually sleep in”, and “not 21 anymore” covers a lot of ground, so the best I can do is offer my one feeble suggestion and open it up to the crowd.

I have heard good things from people whose taste and style I respect about Eileen West sleepwear.

She does old-fashioned nightgowns and pajamas that might fit the bill.

I don’t find them particularly alluring, but I think some of them could possibly fit the description of pretty if you cast your net wide enough. Also Vermont Country Store seems to offer Eileen West as well as a few other purveyors of olde-tymey sleepwear.

So okay girls, open your pajama drawers and help Rachel out.

21 Responses to “Help a Reader: Pretty, Natural Plus-Sized Sleepwear”

  1. oliviacw May 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Recently, it’s been sweatpants and a tshirt for me. Nothing exciting or sexy, sorry.

  2. Ida May 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    I would check Evans. Sometimes frumpy, sometimes nice. Don’t the likes of Ralph Lauren etc do some in plus sizes? Ooh, if you’re adventurous, check Marimekko. Ace stuff in voluminous models even if not plus size per se. And Bravissimo, for built-in support.

  3. Isabella May 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Believe it or not, I have had great luck with Sears (I know, right?) Their Laura Scott plus brand has some really adorable, 100% cotton PJs. I have several pairs and they wash/wear well.

  4. Rubygirl May 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    This won’t work after a certain size, but I have had a lot of luck with Gilligan and O’Malley at Target. They often have all-cotton, but I also like their 95% modal/5% spandex line (modal/rayon is sort of in-between natural and not-natural, but unlike their polyester/spandex items, it is comfortable on my skin and is breathable). To give you an idea of their sizing: I’m a size 16 on top and usually wear a Large and a size 20-22 on the bottom and wear a 2XL (in the modal/spandex).

    I like that they have lots of different styles and colors in tops, bottoms, and nightdresses. If you don’t like what they have on a given day, wait a few weeks and they often change it up.

  5. Thinposter May 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    I have loved Sleepyheads.com for years. That is where I used to get my Nick & Noras, before Target started carrying the cheap versions. They have a nice plus-size section with stuff from Frankie & Johnny, Bedhead, and PJ Salvage, as well as some more serious looking nightgowns. (How cute are these? http://www.sleepyheads.com/pajamas/women-s/plus-size/sleepyheads-plus-size-daisy-white-shortsleeve-lounger-pajama.html)

    Nordstrom’s also has some good stuff. For chemise-style nightgowns, I like the Midnight by Carole Hochman line. They don’t have anything I’m in love with right now, but there’s usually a gown or two on the Anniversary Sale.

  6. Ros May 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Lands End has some cotton nightgowns that are basically ankle-length tshirts/tank tops.

    I especially like the more tank-like one (I have this one: http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-plus-size-sleeveless-midcalf-sleep-t~227815_-1.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::WAC&CM_MERCH=IDX_women-_-sleepwear-_-nightgowns&origin=index ) – it’s long enough to then lounge around the house in, and it’s loose enough to not be restrictive while tight enough to be cute.

    Also, it comes in solid colors, with no abominable flowery patterns that look like my grandma’s nighties.

  7. SharonD May 25, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    I am all about the knit/yoga style pants and a short-sleeved t-shirt. Comfy, and you can take the dogs out in the middle of the night and it’s no worries!

  8. qbertina May 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Yay! The ur-source for Eileen West is the Serene Comfort website. It also carries other brands with large size ranges that do cotton and modal (Carole Hochman, Natori, La Cera etc).

    Eileen West runs a good two sizes large — I do fine in an L and I’m normally a 1X/14W/16 — but also does make 1X-3X.

    Something slightly less demure for smaller/inbetweenie readers: these do NOT come in true plus sizes but they run big, not Eileen big but big, I swim wildly in the XL: simple silk charmeuse chemise-style slips from WinterSilks. (There’s a sleepwear section on that site but I ignore it. The kind of chemise I like is under slips. I do also see charmeuse pyjamas in the very limited women’s selection so if you’re a pyjama person you could try that. Also, in general the site is about winter stuff, hence the name, so there may be more variety on offer in a couple of months.)

  9. qbertina May 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Oh, and for best results with Eileen West (nicest nightdresses) look for cotton LAWN, not for cotton knits.

  10. katie May 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    I’ve bought nightgowns from LL Bean and been happy with them in regards to fit and quality. For the most part though, I’m super lazy and just wear a t-shirt or tank top and panties to bed. I find when I wear a nightgown it seems to ride up and really annoy me… In winter sometimes I’ll thrown on my Old Navy cotton or flannel bottoms with my t-shirt but really I feel like I’m constantly overheating and I usually end up taking them off in the middle of the night.

  11. Helena Z. Wilson May 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Strangely, Kohl’s Department Store has some pretty good Vera Wang nighshirts and pj’s. Reasonable price, cute, and I usually wake up with the nighshirt just below my knees.

  12. O.C. May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    There are some really pretty plus sized sleep shirts and nightgowns at the Nordstorm website. I bought this one in white and love it! Pretty, subtly sexy, and soft.


  13. ZaftigWendy May 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Okay, everybody’s going to laugh at this, but I have honestly found my favorite sleepwear at – Walmart.

    It’s 100% cotton, often short-sleeved so I don’t overheat. The cotton knit nightgowns are generously sized and yes, they’re a bit on the cutesy side, but I don’t need to be sophisticated when I’m sleeping and I love my Eeyore nightgown (I also have a Tweetie one that makes me smile when I wear it)! They’re also very reasonably priced and last forever.

    I also frequently find good and more-sophisticated nightwear at Ross. They almost always have rayon caftans. I like them because they’re very lightweight and perfect for the summer. They’re quite easy to sleep in since they weigh basically nothing. The only caveat is that they’re VERY long. That works for me, because I’m 5’9″ and having something that brushes my feet when I walk is a rare pleasure. However, if you’re shorter, there’s an easy fix – just wash it and put it in the dryer. They shrink in length more than width, so a couple of wash/dry cycles and they’ll be just right.

    (If you’re in San Antonio and want a shortened caftan, let me know. I have a couple that my hubby/kids washed that are too short for me)

  14. Thea May 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I generally only wear sleepwear for actual sleeping when there is company in the house but I’ve had success with swim cover ups when I don’t want something too twee or too grandmotherly

    This is my latest purchase. 100% gauze which works well in Texas summer but demure enough to stumble downstairs for coffee in when guests visit.


    For winter I love this Wintersilk nightshirt, tho it’s very thin and not appropriate for company viewing

  15. Sabayon May 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    I have found great sleep/lounge wear at Soma (http://www.soma.com/store/home.jsp?CMP=KNC-GOOG_BRAND). Their stuff is pretty and they have a lot of really comfortable bamboo nighties as well as the usual cotton. They are not specifically plus-sized, but I wear a size 24 in most stores and can fit their largest size in most things.

  16. Susan May 28, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    Upon checking the labels in my sleepware — Eileen West, Stan Herman,and Carol Hochman. I like both PJs and nightgown. This summer I am wearing mainly cotton knit t and capri PJ sets from carol Hochman and a set of two knee length tank style knit gown and seersucker robe from Stan Herman. When I travel I take along Vanity Fair nylon PJs and knee length sleeveles gown – they roll up to nothing, can be easily hand washed and dry quickly.

  17. BrieCS May 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    This depends in part on how plus size you are, but Soma’s sleepwear is some of the most amazing sleepwear I’ve ever bought. So comfortable! And, incredibly cute.

  18. Rachel May 30, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Thank you for this! I can’t wait to order new cute sleepwear!

  19. Ananas May 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m with you, Plumcake. The only time I wear anything to bed is when I’m in the same house as my parents. And then it’s an oversized t-shirt I stole from an ex and a pair of boxers I bought myself.

    But what I would love to find is a good, classic, flannel robe. One that goes down to the mid-calf, not the mid-thigh, and is warm enough to wear around the house in the coldest Minnesota winter. I’ve got a summer robe, but it is a kimono-style thing that my dad brought back from a trip to Singapore, and that lightning is unlikely to strike twice, much less warmly.

  20. authentic retro jordans sale June 2, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    “Bubble bath and wine”… I’ll have to try that next

  21. Jezebella June 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Ananas, try Lands’ End and LL Bean for classic, warm, sturdy flannel. I have had the same flannel robe for like twenty years and it is still going strong. I love it. For summer wear, I usually go with sleeveless gowns (but not strappy, I hate the little plastic adjuster widgets on the straps) from Target. I usually have good luck finding stuff at TJ Maxx, too.