beauty

How to wear your pyjamas in public... and get away with it.

By CHERRY BEALE.

Two weeks ago, I started wearing nighties in public, and I haven’t looked back since. Yep, that’s right – call it what you will: nightie, nightgown, nightshirt, pyjamas – I’m wearing it in public, and I’m loving it.

You see, I’ve had a fashion epiphany of late.

There’s nothing like gaining 25 kilos of baby weight and then losing 22 of them to force you to have a good, hard look at your wardrobe.

Nighties: the answer to all your post-baby fashion woes?

My weight gain was brought to me by the letter F, for fluid retention, thanks to a chronic kidney disease that was diagnosed halfway through my pregnancy, as well as the letters ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ, for apple pies, bacon, cronuts, doughnuts, and every other food beginning with a letter of the alphabet.

After my weight loss, my pre-baby clothes were still too tight, with many zippers just refusing to be zipped, and yet, my maternity clothes were literally falling off. I think everyone at my local playground has seen my butt-crack by now, because try as I might, sometimes I just didn’t have a spare hand to pull up my huge maternity pants while I was helping my daughter on and off the slide.

Of course, the most obvious solution to fitting back into my pre-baby clothes again would be to lose weight. But when you lose 22 kilos, losing another 3 kilos just seems like a bit too much to ask.

Is my weight in the “healthy” BMI range? Yes. Do I feel healthy and strong? Definitely. Am I going to put the Tim Tam down, then? No. I could also invest in nice, new clothes, full of wardrobe staple investment new classics (blergh! So boring!) that actually fit, but I feel that would be a waste of money, especially as my weight keeps fluctuating.

Seeing as I don’t have a job right now (thanks for giving me a pre-baby temporary contract, guys), I have since found myself shopping more regularly at Kmart, instead of, say, David Jones, or even Target.

One day, I was buying clothes for my daughter, when I accidentally happened upon the women’s sleepwear section. And there, amongst the pastel colours, silly slogans (“I HEART ZZZ”) and numerous cartoon pictures of animals, the scales fell from my eyes, and it dawned upon me: Yes! I will wear nighties instead of clothes, and I will get away with it, because I’m a badass bitch who birthed a baby through my vagina and I meet that baby’s needs every damn day, and I can do whatever I want because it doesn’t matter!

That’s the key, ladies and gentlemen: it doesn’t matter.

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T-shirt or nightie? It’s both and it rules.

I realised the clothes that I wear doesn’t matter anymore, because everyone is distracted by my super-cute, exclusive accessory – my baby.

Friends and family have eyes purely for my daughter. Strangers only talk to me these days to either say that my baby is adorable, or to tell me that I am raising her incorrectly (“Excuse me, did you know your baby has only one sock?” Um, yes, she pulled it off and tried to eat it, so I confiscated it, but thanks anyway).

No-one has ever noticed that I am wearing a nightie in public, simply because it is a fact that there is nothing more gorgeous than a baby.

It also doesn’t matter how a piece of clothing is categorized or labeled. You don’t have to wear anything the way you are supposed to. No-one will tap you on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me, you are not allowed to wear a scarf as a skirt. You are going to fashion jail.” And if fashion jail exists, then incarcerate me! It would be full of all the best punk-rockers and DIYers, and we would have the best time. No Trinny or Susannah or anyone bossy or boring. We would listen to Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection all day long and wear raggy lace in our hair, preferably ripped right from your grandmother’s old curtain.

Fashion is more fun – and more budget-friendly – if you can think of multiple uses for a garment, or if you shop in unexpected places.

A scarf is not just a scarf, it’s also a pillow to drool on while you sleep on the bus, which is how I spent most of my morning commutes in my twenties. I found a pair of strangely chic, brightly coloured men’s shorts at Lowes, and I love wearing them especially because they are not butt-cheek short. Ladies, just because there are posters of mustachioed, retired rugby league stars in the shop window doesn’t mean that you can’t shop there!

The item of clothing that I was most complimented on last year was actually a beach kaftan from Sportsgirl that I wore as an everyday top, layered over a black t-shirt or singlet. I looked like a Chinese version of Stevie Nicks, which is to say, I looked and felt amazing, if I do say so myself. (I’ve noticed that women often spend a lot of time explaining how bad they look – “I look disgusting, I’ve only had three hours sleep” – fair enough, but let’s also be real about when we look fantastic.)

Finally, thanks to the blessings of punk-rock and the scarily on-trend Kmart design team, I succumbed to wearing nighties in public.

Who said you can’t wear your jammies and look like a rock star?

Kmart have a range of long t-shirt nighties, that are super cheap (on sale, some are $3), brightly coloured and sometimes with fun designs on them. I wear them either as shift dresses, or I cut the nighties until they are a tiny bit shorter, and I wear them over leggings and jeans. The nighties are 100% cotton, and you can just chuck them in the washing machine to get rid of the baby food smears (or whatever you happen to filthify yourself with) and they won’t become outrageously shrunken.

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And by wearing a nightie in public, you will gain a secret insouciance from knowing that you have given the finger to the fashion man (eat THAT, Karl Lagerfeld…oh that’s right, you don’t eat, sorry), while looking super cute, dangerous and punk-rock.

You will also feel so comfortable that it should be illegal. I find that the oversized nighties are extremely forgiving, as they just lightly skim over everything and are not clingy. I recommend wearing this look with accessories that pop, a smoky eye, messy hair and a real don’t-care attitude.

Here’s my guide on how to customise a t-shirt nightie from Kmart.

1. Buy a t-shirt nightie in your usual size, or one size up for a more floaty look.

2. Lay your nightie on the floor, or on a table, smoothing out the creases with your hands.

3. Find a long t-shirt that you already have, and put it on top of the nightie. Using your old t-shirt as a guide, cut the bottom of the nightie so that it is shorter. If you don’t already have a long t-shirt, then put the nightie on and look in the mirror. Mark with a lead pencil where you want to cut the shirt, take it off and then cut it. Don’t worry too much if your cutting is a bit uneven or ragged, as that’s all part of the look.

4. Done! Too easy. Feel smug, and most importantly, happy and comfortable.

Such fashion. Very nightie. Much smug. Wow.

If there was ever an outfit that could literally take you from day to night, then the nightie is it. What are you waiting for? You could do this in your sleep!

Please note: Kmart did not pay me to write any of this. However, I do owe them something, because I accidentally stole a maternity singlet from them a few months ago.

My baby was only a few months old, and she was screaming her head off while I was trying to negotiate the new-fangled self-serve checkout thingy. Everything was going wrong, and I was stressed out. Consequently, I put a maternity singlet into my bag, thinking, “Did I scan this? I can’t remember. MUST BREASTFEED SCREAMING BABY NOW!” I returned home, read through my receipt and realised, with horror, that I had stolen the singlet.

This is all to say: sorry, Kmart! Take this ode to your nighties as payment?

Cherry Beale is a jumble of creativity, working mostly as a writer, photographer and illustrator, and occasionally as a designer, actress and art teacher. Her real talents, though, are rapping all of Shoop by Salt-N-Pepa, and hugging her husband and daughter like a barnacle. See more of Cherry’s work on her blog, cherrybeale.wordpress.com

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