What Do You Wear to Sleep?

Like millions of readers worldwide, I recently picked up Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organization.

I had read and implemented a few of her tips for tidying, and was impressed with the results. I was also curious to learn more about her idea that tidying your house can clear emotional or psychological clutter. Or, as she puts it,  “when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too” (Kondo, 2014, pg. 4).

I am halfway through the book, and the jury is still out. On the one hand, I feel that (as terrible as this sounds), she would stand to benefit from the application of her own core idea, to her book –  I think she could ruthlessly discard much of the text.

On the other hand, I appreciate much of her advice. For example, she explains that if you feel the common spaces in your house are a mess, you should start by cleaning your own space – not only because cleaning is contagious, but also because “the urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space” (Kondo, 2014, pg. 53).

Last night, just before falling asleep, I read this passage, and it really stuck with me:

“If you are a woman, try wearing something elegant as nightwear. The worst thing you can do is to wear a sloppy sweat suit. I occasionally meet people who dress like this all the time, whether waking or sleeping. If sweatpants are your everyday attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact your self-image” (Kondo, 2014, pg. 70).

Once my initial reaction of rage subsided (What about men? Why are they not encouraged to wear “something elegant as nightwear”?! Why should women be concerned about whether they look attractive and asked to put on a front – even while unconscious?!),  the deeper message began to sink in.

I am someone who on many days chooses to spend much of the day (let alone the night) in a ripped cotton shirt and a disintegrating pair of sweatpants. What does this say about how I think about myself? It is true that often when I venture outside, I do still feel in a sense that I am wearing those sweatpants. How would I feel if, instead, I slept in a crisp pair of pajamas, or a buttery soft nightgown? The point is in fact that not many people see you in your nightwear – it’s about how you want to be seeing yourself.

What do you think? Does changing what you wear, even when most of the world can’t see you, shift the way you comport and think about yourself?

And, how about you? What do you wear to sleep?


For more dispatches–sartorial and otherwise–from women who are on the brink, follow @shespoised on twitter, or like She’s Poised on Facebook (and select Get Notifications from the drop down menu).

P.S. How We Dress For Work and Self-Expression Without Objectification.

5 replies »

  1. Wow, that’s an interesting point of view. I never thought of how your nightwear might affect/reflect how you see yourself. But she might have a point!

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