Monday 5 December 2016

Bairbre Power: put your feet up

Time for the post-Christmas chillax so stretch out in your PJs

Published 27/12/2015 | 02:30

Olivia Von Halle ‘Coco’ pyjamas, €380 and Stella McCartney bra, €54.95, Brown Thomas.
Olivia Von Halle ‘Coco’ pyjamas, €380 and Stella McCartney bra, €54.95, Brown Thomas.
Ice blue silk PJs, €195, Susan Hunter, Westbury Mall, Dublin 2.
Ice blue silk PJs, €195, Susan Hunter, Westbury Mall, Dublin 2.
Yolke silk PJ top, €330, bottoms, €210, Brown Thomas.
White cotton 'salon' top and 'Libre' blue striped cotton PJ pants, €35 each, COS.
Ivory silk pyjamas piped in a contrasting colour, also available in pink, €180, Top Drawer, 69 Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Dublin
Handmade Soap Company's Sweet Orange, Basil and Frankincense diffuser.

I was surprised at first when I heard it but then, I thought, "that makes perfect sense". There are families I know who, after doing the rounds of Christmas morning, all come home, change out of their 'good clothes' and into their PJs before they sit down to eat their Christmas dinner. Now, these are posh PJs, no old, chewing gum grey, gym T-shirts matched up with odd tartan pants and a mismatched dressing gown. It may not be for everyone but pyjamas at Christmas certainly let you unwind and enjoy comfortable downtime whether you are chilling out with charades, board games or just watching Home Alone (again) with your hand in the box of Roses.

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Lounging around in loungewear was big in the 1920s and haute couture queen Coco Chanel made wearing silk pyjamas the epitome of style. She introduced women to the concept of wearing men's-style pyjamas. She dressed them up for eveningwear by adorning them with pearls and even introduced beachwear pyjamas for the holidays. Yes, Chanel was a visionary all right and while I don't agree with the idea of wearing them outdoors for that dash to the supermarket for a pint of milk, there are lots of stylish women, particularly in London, who consider silk pyjamas, from designers such as Olivia Von Halle (pictured above right) the perfect answer for partywear along with designer heels, lots of jewellery and a full face of make-up.

For most of us though, wearing PJs carries other connotations. We crave them at the end of a tough day and the thought of changing out of a restrictive work suit and into some comfortable, silky-feel PJs for a night on the couch literally powers our journey home.

Loungewear and leisure clothing are amongst the biggest growth sectors in the fashion world. Cashmere hoodies and trainer-style designer shoes are just the tip of comfie, tactile smart casual. It's all stepped up to a whole new level and 'athleisure' is the buzzword that has fashion industry chiefs on their toes. Luxury brands want to interpret the art of layering expensive gym clothing because even if their customers aren't actually going to the gym, they want to dress like they are.

Cue the arrival of Net-a Sporter, a new channel from the online retailer Net-a-Porter which is dedicated to finding sportswear that is as chic as everything else in your closet. Their slogan absolutely nails it: your time, your space, your style. Women's desire for supreme comfort from our clothing is not going to go away anytime soon, and designers and shops know it!

@bairbrepower

TOTAL RELAXATION!

And it's not just the clothes that make it relaxing, you'll want to create the right ambience too. The Handmade Soap Company has launched a new range of diffusers to complement its range of natural handmade soap, body and home products. The diffusers come in four fragrances - Lemongrass and Cedarwood, Pink Grapefruit and MayChang, Lavender, Rosemary and Mint and the very festive one (pictured right) Sweet Orange, Basil and Frankincense. Founded in 2010, The Handmade Soap Company's candles, soaps, lotions and balms, are all handmade in their factory - an upcycled linen mill in Slane, Co Meath - using natural ingredients from plant and mineral extracts. Crucially, all products are free from parabens, SLSs, petrochemicals, synthetic colours and fragrances which ensures that they'll be kind to skin, and no product is tested on animals.

The Handmade Soap Company diffusers are available from Avoca, Kilkenny, Carraig Donn, Arnotts, House of Fraser and leading pharmacies, home and garden centres and spas.

See thehandmadesoapcompany.ie

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