Flannel Nighties Definitely Meant for Elderly Women: Stepping Up My Loungewear Game

Well before COVID-19 warped the realities of many workplaces and made it socially acceptable—trendy, even—to don stretchy pants to Zoom meetings, my wardrobe consisted of approximately 50% loungewear, 25% novelty T-shirts, 15% other stuff that I hardly ever wore, and 10% undergarments. Though I pulled these numbers out of thin air, I guarantee that they’re in the ballpark. I own so. many. pairs of sweatpants, friends. Just ask my husband, who’s probably stuck in a pile of them at this very moment.

I’ve always valued comfort more than I do style. Don’t get me wrong: I understand the importance of dressing for the occasion, and I enjoy wearing something fancy from time to time. In other words, I won’t show up for your wedding (or your birthday party, unless you tell me I can?) in my very nice Roots sweatpants and the Frasier T-shirt I bought on a whim. As soon as I arrive home, however, I’m getting changed. Into sweatpants, in case that wasn’t already clear.

Allow me to now refocus on the topic of this post, which isn’t the entire history of my clothing choices but rather my more recent apparel preferences.

Being the unpredictable beast that I am, I didn’t react to the fashion shifts brought on by the pandemic by happily embracing the fact that everyone had sartorially stooped to my level. Instead, I found myself a little possessive of my loungewear, kind of how I imagine it would feel if a band I’d always been a fan of suddenly became popular, although that’s never actually happened to me.

I was thus in the simultaneously awkward and enviable position of having to brainstorm attire more comfortable than loungewear is. I had to figure out how to out-lounge the loungewear.

This is when I remembered a whole category of loungewear still up for grabs, a category with the potential to make me feel like an individual with something someone somewhere in the world might call a sense of . . . I don’t know.

Enter the flannel grandma nightie.

Before I continue, a few notes.

First, I’m fully aware that the flannel grandma nightie is at-home-only attire, even if it’s nothing more than a super modest dress that social norms shouldn’t prevent me from running errands in.

Second, this is a category that I can get away with embracing because I only have a couple of weekly Zoom obligations and tend to avoid other video chats. I’ll keep doing just that—embracing it, that is—for the following reasons:

  1. I’ve never stopped fantasizing about being a pioneer girl from Little House on the Prairie, and the kind of flannel nightie I’m talking about would make Laura proud.
  2. I regularly browse the sleepwear section on thebay.com with the knowledge that they have the best selection of nighties unequivocally designed for elderly women and for me.
  3. If I’m going to be comfortable, I might as well be really, really comfortable.

I got my first for Christmas. It’s a plaid Lanz of Salzburg beauty with a Peter Pan collar, everything I could’ve asked for, surpassing my sky-high expectations. Last week, my second, this one hand-sewn by my devoted mother, arrived in the mail. It’s also perfect.

So while you suckers wear yoga pants to work and smugly think that you’re getting away with something, I’m slowly amassing a collection of floor-length nighties that most eighty-year-olds, except the fashion-forward ones, that is, would approve of.

As satisfied as I am now, though, I can’t afford to be complacent. Summer, with its hotter temps, is quickly approaching: I better start sourcing some options made in a lighter cotton.

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