Night Shift: The Evening Gown Renaissance

It is a truth universally acknowledged that modern pyjamas are almost crushingly inelegant. The Rake for one can stand them no longer, so what follows is a cry to arms. It’s time to embrace the evening-gown revolution…
Noel Coward in Present Laughter.

“My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon 53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s as bad as listening to The Beatles without earmuffs.” One of Sean Connery’s finest lines, delivered to Jill Masterson in his signature drawl as he shrugs on a baby blue silk dressing gown with navy piping, turnback cuffs and a wide sash in Goldfinger (1964), also delivers an important lesson in dressing behind closed doors (as well as how to drink one’s Dom.)

For it’s one thing for a gentleman to step out of his home, hotel room or helicopter looking good, but it’s quite another for his suavity and style to continue into the bedroom. Much like the knack of ballroom dancing, letter writing, time keeping and using a fish knife, the art of after-hours attire is tragically a rather lost one.

Considering we, as human beings, spend an average of 26 years of our life in bed, it’s somewhat baffling that men of all ages and stages have disregarded loungewear in favour of tracksuit bottoms, old T-shirts and – the most punishable perpetrator – threadbare boxers. What happened to the beautiful silk pyjamas? The damask robes? The tasselled sashes designed to be woven endlessly through fingers – yours or otherwise? Where did the monogrammed slippers and calf-length cashmere socks go? When did we wish farewell to quilted silk linings, jacquard and brocade, plush velvet shawl lapels and deep pockets in the depths of which one can lose everything from their mind to their money? If you’re reading this and a faint feeling of guilt is rising from the pit of your stomach – I’m glad. For you, Rake readers, are so much better than that.

If you’re Savile Row-savvy, your preferred shoemaker is on speed dial and the man who makes your ties is more of a confidante to you than your own brother, doesn’t it make sense that you dress to retire in equally rakish style? After all, the bedroom is not just for sleeping, and if there’s anything a woman can’t resist, it’s a man who looks like a man (not a boy). Equally, whilst dressing to impress is a noble endeavour, dressing for oneself belies an honourable mark of self-respect and quiet confidence. Plus, if you take care of yourself even down to the clothes you wear to dream and doze, just think how well you can take care of her… Sigh.


December 2016


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