Which of these women wears nothing in bedSo what do YOU wear at bedtime… and does your husband hate it – or love it
22:30 GMT, 7 November 2012
22:38 GMT, 7 November 2012
You know Christmas is getting close when herds of shifty-looking men start migrating to the negligee sections of department stores and asking for 'something lacy'. It's what most men dream will greet them each night, but do any ordinary women really wear such things in bed Five writers invited Femail into their bedrooms to find out . . .
Kathryn Knight, 40, is a writer and lives in London with her husband Duncan Adams 30, a civil servant. She says:
I gave up nightwear quite late. During my years of flat-sharing in my 20s I was a devoted wearer of incredibly unsexy nightwear: buttoned-up, long-sleeved, ankle-skimming PJs decorated with cute animals. They got discarded at the request of the first boyfriend I moved in with who was a fan of letting it all hang out once bedtime beckoned.
As nature intended: Kathryn prefers to sleep naked
I found I liked the sensation of clambering into bed unencumbered by clothing, of nothing coming between me and my crisp cotton sheets. And so, when the relationship ended, I took the habit with me.
I’ve never gone back, especially since, when I met my now husband seven years ago, I discovered he also liked to sleep naked and was astonished at the very notion of sporting nightwear.
'I adore being skin on skin with my man'
Of course, I’m sure he would periodically like me to shimmy in to bed wearing a piece of satin sauciness — certainly, encouragement has been shown in that department, gift-wise — but while time has marched on since the early days of our courtship, he apparently remains happy enough with my naked form beside him.
Long may it continue: skin on skin sleeping has a lovely intimacy about it, and I intend to enjoy it for as long as I can avoid the inevitable slide into flannelette. Going to bed in the nip is my last stand against the relentless approach of middle age.
DUNCAN SAYS: Both of us slept naked from the moment we met and I’ve never given it much thought, although I suppose it would be nice if Katie occasionally rung the changes and wore some nice lingerie.
I have on occasion demanded that she puts on a pair of socks, as she has a habit of trying to warm her cold feet under my thighs. Other than that, I’ve no complaints — although house guests do risk a horrible shock should they bump into either of us on the landing in the middle of the night.
Angela Epstein lives in Manchester with her husband Martin, an accountant, and is mother to Sam, 19, Max, 17, Aaron, 14, and Sophie, eight. Angela says:
Marilyn Monroe may have famously been content with a spritz of Chanel No 5 for nightwear, but she never lived in north Manchester: a place where miserable, chilly, damp weather is Mother Nature’s default position. Which is why I like to go to bed in a warm-as-toast onesie.
Cosy: Angela loves sleeping in her onesie – even though it's made her the butt of her husband's jokes
This, for the uninitiated, is a soft, fleecy, all-in-one suit redolent of the Baby-gros I used to dress my children in when they were tiny. In fact, I always used to envy how snug they looked, cocooned in their cosy sleep suits. Now, joy of joy, these are available in adult sizes on the High Street.
What’s the appeal Well I have a love/hate relationship with winter nights. I love fresh air, but I hate being cold. So, even though I like to sleep with the window open, I can’t deal with dropping temperatures.
'He says it's like sleeping with a Teletubby'
Over the years, I’ve tussled with types of nightwear. I remember putting together my trousseau before I married 22 years ago— wisps of black lace and supermarket satin.
On my wedding night, I couldn’t get the negligee off fast enough — not for the obvious reason, but because the prickly lace itched wildly.
I’ve tried pyjamas but come the morning, I’d find, Houdini-like, that I’d either kicked the bottoms off or twisted them round my legs. I’d have to bunny hop to make it out of bed.
That’s why I love my cosy sleepsuit. Martin may make jokes, but when it comes to what I want in bed, I know who is my number onesie.
MARTIN SAYS: Ange has got a great figure, and she can wear anything. So when she latched onto these bizarre sleep suits I thought she’d taken leave of her senses. It’s like sharing a bed with a Teletubby, but she’s adamant the onesie is staying.
Still, if it saves me from getting a wallop for stealing the duvet, it’s a small price to pay.
Tanith Carey, 45, is an author and is married to journalist Anthony Harwood, 47. They live in London with their daughters, Lily, ten, and Clio, seven. Tanith says:
The other day I came across an old negligee at the bottom of my underwear drawer. I almost laughed. There might as well have been cobwebs on it for all the use I’ve had out of it.
Comfort over style: Tanith would rather stay warm in her PJs than wear a negligee
After 14 years of marriage, donning anything so obvious in bed would feel corny. And the thought of that cold, slippery silk on my skin made me shudder.
Give me some sturdy, flannel PJs any day. Maybe it’s my age — or maybe it’s our soaring heating bills — but I’ll take warmth and comfort over style every time.
My greatest pleasure is peeling off the shape-wear I use to keep my lumps and bumps at bay all day, and slipping into something a lot more comfortable. Indeed, such is my devotion to PJs, I have a whole wardrobe devoted to lounge-wear — for wearing in the evening, post-bath and pre-bed.
Not being a morning person, the other advantage of being snug in my pyjamas is that at daybreak I can fling off my coverings without dreading an Arctic blast.
'She might as well wear a do not disturb sign'
Of course, there’s the matter of what my husband Anthony thinks of them. After all, they are shapeless and not in the least bit alluring. But I have assured him that standards will not slip any further — the day will never come when he sees me wearing them to Tesco.
ANTHONY SAYS: To be honest, after a hard day’s work, it’s disappointing to come home to see Tanith slouching around in her pyjamas. Usually they are accessorised with her laptop — so she might as well hang a sign around her neck saying: ‘Do not disturb.’
Practical they may be — but that’s the only good word I have to say about them. Thankfully, now my intense dislike of her bedwear has come out, Tanith promises me things won’t get any worse.
I will have to make sure they don’t by leaving a heavy hint — something more shapely from the M&S underwear department — under the Christmas tree this year.
Samantha Brick, 41, lives in Maussac, France, with her carpenter husband Pascal Rubenat, 51. She says:
I pay just as much attention to what I wear in the evening as I do during the day — and I’m not only referring to those nights when I’m wined and dined either. I ensure that at bedtime I am always deliciously camera-ready.
Seductive: Samantha thinks every woman should make an effort in bed for their partners like she does
When I prepare for bed, my rituals are as important as if I were dressing for the day ahead. That’s a bath, body oil and then slipping into a figure-hugging, silk nightdress. It’s always a reassuringly expensive number, laundered and ironed to perfection. I can’t comprehend those ‘women’ who pay scant regard to what they wear in bed; quite honestly they give femininity a bad name.
We all know the types: falling into a grubby, unmade bed looking like an unkempt team-mate who has just finished a women’s rugby training session. All saggy-bottomed, elastic-waistband jogging bottoms, stained T-shirts and items of clothing which, one suspects, might even belong to her all-too-frequently neglected ‘beloved’.
A gift's more exciting if you have to unwrap it'
Then there are those infantile pyjamas — replete with flowers and animals. Such garments are more suited to the residents of the local geriatric ward.
There is something wincingly predictable about falling into bed naked — you might as well fling a packet of condoms and a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey on the bedside table.
It’s far more seductive when there is something to unwrap. For this is how I see myself: the ultimate present for my husband to enjoy. So I always ensure I’m delectably prepared to climb under the covers.
While my philosophy might well exasperate ‘put-upon’ women, I’m sure they’d find — if they bothered to ask — that their partners are secretly in complete agreement with me.
PASCAL SAYS: When I open our bedroom door and my wife greets me, beautifully presented, it always gives me immense happiness. Even five-and-a-half years after we met, I get just as much pleasure from slipping into bed beside her as I did the very first time. I'm a happy man.
TRACKIE BOTTOMS AND BEDSOCKS
Charlotte Kemp, 40, is married to journalist Tom Rawstorne, 41. They live in Kent with their children Amelia, ten, Beatrix, seven, and Martha, two. She says:
Call me unromantic but to my mind, slipping into something more comfortable means exactly that.
Much as I like wearing pretty underwear in the daytime, at night my primary concern is to keep warm — and that means a vest, T-shirt, leggings and a cosy dressing gown. Recently, the finishing touch to this ensemble is a pair of bedsocks.
Wrapped up: Charlotte would rather stay warm in bed with bed socks and a 'cardigown'
Tom tuts every night as I put them on, but I get such cold feet, I can’t sleep without them. Then there’s my cardigown, a cardi crossed with a dressing gown. Heaven.
I would love to work the negligee like Elizabeth Taylor in A Cat On Hot Tin Roof, but our house is never warm enough to prance about scantily dressed. Husband take note: turn the heating on!
Besides, that kind of thing hardly looks sexy if you don’t have the pert, luscious body to pour into it. I read once that Mariella Frostrup wears a bra at night. Now I know why. As a buxom woman, I can’t wear anything skimpy without serious scaffolding.
'Bedsocks are a turn-off but they're so cosy'
As for satin pyjamas, I’ve always thought them unflattering — and sweaty, too. The shiny fabric highlights every lump and makes even the smallest bottom look huge. If the mood is right, I know my husband won’t notice the scraggy T-shirt and saggy leggings. But he better be warned. I won’t take the bedsocks off without a fight.
TOM SAYS: Sometimes my wife wears more clothes in bed than many people do during the day. I’m all for wrapping up rather than turning up the heating, but I draw the line at bedsocks. When they come out in early September, I know for sure summer is over.
In a fantasy world, my wife would go to bed naked, bronzed limbs glistening in the candle light. But we don’t live in a tropical paradise. I do sometimes wish Charlotte would wear something more attractive in bed: she has a great figure and it’s a shame to wrap it all up.
But I can’t criticise her choices too sharply. The truth is, my bed attire is probably just as far removed from her fantasies: when it gets really cold, I slip into a pair of long johns which, she says make me look like Wee Willy Winky.
One thing’s for sure, our choice of bed clothes are a constant source of amusement. Thankfully, we’ve been together long enough to know that it’s what’s underneath that really counts.’