I'm not delusional. Regardless of how many "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" or "Mad Men" reruns I watch (and I watch many), I know I will never be someone who wears vintage nightgowns to bed. I will never own a robe or slippers that aren't Ugg brand or glorified stuffed animals, and I know this because I've tried to be classy and fancy and I have failed. Polyester and/or chiffon is uncomfortable to sleep in, and I stand by the theory that nightgowns exist only to slowly make their way up your body in the night and kill you.
Matching pajama sets were the logical next step.
Fresh out of the holiday season, matching pajamas are like a nighttime extension of our New Year's resolutions. Instead of pairing free T-shirts you scored at bars sometime in 2008 with jogging pants you've made go from day-to-night (and back again), matching PJ sets seem easy. They're warm. They look cute. They perpetuate the Nancy Meyers effect, alluding to having one's life together despite, well, the opposite. They imply that you're capable and competent and have high standards for yourself — even at bedtime, when you're allowed to be entirely and unglamorously yourself.
So, I vowed: For New Year's, I would commit to better pajamas. I would grow up and grow into comfort and coordination.
And then, I failed. And failed again. I've failed so many times over so many years that in 2019, I've resigned to the cold, hard, mismatched truth: My pajamas will never be completely together and frankly, neither will I.
Last year was my final attempt. After ringing in 2018 with stitches and an ungodly reaction to my booster shot, I faced the rest of January with a glorious belief: If I wore grown-up pajamas, I would feel more grown-up. I wouldn't make the bad decisions whose aftermaths I had brought into the New Year; I wouldn't drop bowls in the sink and accidentally slice open my finger; I wouldn't procrastinate on the book edits I'd saved to start five days before they were due. Matching pajamas would fix me because frankly, why wouldn't they? I would get it together from the night up, and awake each morning in fresh-ish flannels, capable and also perfect. I assumed even my hair would look better.
My scheme lasted maybe three nights. After picking up (and successfully wearing) two pairs of post-holiday PJ sets from the Gap, my laziness won out after forgetting to do a load of laundry and accepting the fact that I would likely not do a load anytime soon. Tired and cold and desperate for an elastic waist, I seamlessly transitioned back into my cotton sweatpants and old-ish (but clean — I do have standards) T-shirt and still managed to wake up a grown-ass woman in charge of her own destiny.
This rationale is why I kept the pants, even after the matching tops suffered a sad fate in the wake of an at-home hair-dying incident. As it turns out, they look great with a large hoodie and flamingo-print socks.
But yet, I nearly tried again this year. As Christmas marketing revved up after Thanksgiving, I began wondering if I would ever know true joy without wearing the matching pajamas created in the spirit of Kate Winslet's wardrobe in "The Holiday." I wondered if I could eliminate imposter syndrome if I wrapped myself in the festive robes of Kevin McAllister and his strange-ass family. (The kid had style, and was arguably much more of a grown-up than I'll ever be.) At one point, even after pitching this piece, I thought long and hard about Julia Roberts' "Stepmom" pajamas and considered if, maybe, I was finally old and cool enough to stop religiously wearing a T-shirt advertising a now-defunct media company I worked for in 2012.
And then I thought about it, and: No.
No, because I will never be that cool, and no, because matching pajamas aren't a barometer with which to measure one's life. I am allowed to be lazy and oddly sentimental and to seek solace in jogging pants (in which I can also go outside and grab coffee, by the way). I am allowed to sometimes fall asleep in the sweater I was wearing all day with plaid PJ pants that seem ripped out of 1998. Not that they have holes: I like my clothing intact.
I also have bigger things to worry about. If you live and die by matching flannel, I'm here to celebrate that accordingly. But if you, like me, recently slept in Roots sweatpants and a T-shirt with cartoon Drake on it (who, in said cartoon, is watching "Homeward Bound") and feel nothing but pride and comfort, I will celebrate that, too.
I am a proud matching-PJ-set failure. I reserve my togetherness for other ways; I've color-coded my planner, after all, and subsequently embraced how uncool I am in the process.
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