White Silk Pajamas

Late last week I was pulling some clothes out of my closet to add to the growing things-I’ll-give-to-the-thrift-store-someday-when-I-can-again pile and I came across the pair of white silk women’s pajamas on a hanger near the back.

I say white, but they’re off-white, maybe an “old ivory” or “cream” shade, with roses on them. They’ve been in the closet a long time and survived a number of purges. I’d never gotten rid of them but I’d never worn them.

I pulled them out and looked at the size. They’re Large, which means they’d be a little big on me now, but pajama bottoms have drawstrings, so that problem’s solved. I tried to figure out how old they are. As near as I can tell, I probably bought them in the 1990s. And not the late 90s, most likely mid-90s.

These pajamas are old enough to vote and buy alcohol. If the pajamas had children, those children might be in elementary school by now.

These pajamas could have finished college and post-grad work and be defending their doctoral thesis.

As I looked at them – they’re in good shape, no moth holes, no stains (I mean, I’ve never worn them) — it did occur me that they could have been bright white when I bought them and yellowed to the cream color during their decades in the closet, but the shading is not quite yellow enough, and it’s completely even throughout.

As I said, made of silk, with roses on them. In other words, so not me. But I remember buying them. I can’t remember why I bought them. (I almost wrote, “what possessed me,” but maybe I don’t want to go there.)

Luxurious nightwear for a getaway, like maybe to St Orre’s? Okay, sure, but… they’re not sexy. I’m as covered wearing those as I am in a blouse and trousers. So that doesn’t seem like it. The fabric feels wonderful. Maybe I just bought them for myself? I remember that the cost, while high for sleepwear, was not outrageous for clothing, if that makes sense, and I remember buying a black silk paisley bathrobe at the same shop, which I used as part of a costume for a couple of years. That sartorial wonder did find its way to the thrift store. But I kept these.

I kept these, but I never wore them.

I mean, nobody wears tailored pajamas anymore, do they? We wear pajama bottoms and T-shirt-like tops, or long nightshirts.

I wrote earlier than I didn’t know why I bought them, but I think I do know that. I know how the silk feels against my fingers and how quickly it gets warm. I know the way the light plays down the fabric in a tone that’s something between the light of an August full moon and a pearl. But why didn’t I wear them? Maybe I thought they were too fancy? Too self-indulgent?

Anyway. I wore them Friday night and Saturday night. And they are wonderful. Maybe I’ve reached the time in my life where I can have silk pajamas.


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