If it weren’t for Madame Clouseau, I might have gotten through the summer seemingly content with my pajamas, if you can call them that. But when I saw the inspector’s wife in the original 1963 production of The Pink Panther all decked out in a beautiful blue penoir with white lace and matching robe, I started feeling schlumpy. Though Madame Clouseau was trying to hide from her husband one man under her hotel bed and the other behind the curtains, she looked classy nevertheless. In my pajamas, I, on the other hand, look like I was in the middle of coaching soccer when I suddenly felt tired. Certainly Madame Clouseau would never retire for the evening in a pair of black knee-length shorts and a blue and red shirt emblazoned with the famous drawing of “Tilly,” which is basically a man’s goofy face, under the words “Coney Island.” But I do.
One could argue that Madame Clouseau’s sleepwear was chosen by the wardrobe department at United Artists so that she looked good on camera. Or that the nightgown and matching robe look in general is a generational phenomenon. After all, my mother actually packed a nightgown, matching robe and slippers for a recent family trip. (For what I wore to bed, see above.)
Yet every once in a while, I attempt to buy sleepwear that’s somewhat nice, or at least nicer than something I’d throw on over a swimsuit to attend a water balloon fight. But when I get to the store, I have an inner dialogue that stops me cold:
Now, why would I spend $75 on something I’ll be wearing in the dark? I don’t even spend that much on purses, and I bring mine most everywhere.
Oh, I’ll fall out of that. How will I play Uno with the boys before bed without causing them long-term psychological harm?
That’s gonna wrap around my legs with every toss and turn until I’m bound and tied by my own nightgown.
I don’t do itty bitty bows.
If there’s a fire and we have to escape the house in the middle of the night, I won’t be able to climb a ladder in that thing.
And then I go home and put on my “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel” T-shirt and call it a night.
Yesterday, though, I quashed my inner dialogue while visiting the Sleepwear department at Target. Granted, you’ll find no silk penoir sets at “Tar-zhay,” but there are plenty of little bows and low-cut nightgowns. I paid no attention to them.
Rather, I made a beeline for a pair of green and blue plaid cotton pajama bottoms (10 bucks through the weekend only!) and paired them up with a navy tank top. It’s not exactly Madame Clouseau worthy, but it’s not a gray and red Boston University Women’s Soccer t-shirt and a pair of ratty brown shorts, either. And they’ll hold me over until fall brings cold weather and my navy blue Jersey Shore sweatshirt and oversized gray sweatpants at bedtime.