My New Pajamas
I came home from Beijing last night and brought back with me a new set of pajamas I had made while I was there. Beijing is huge (one of the biggest cities I’ve been to) and there must be hundreds of tailors in the capital. I talked to about seven. One was from Hong Kong and seemed fairly skilled, but he was expensive and very backed up. Others were cheap (one only charged $20 for a custom-made shirt) and could turn things around quickly, but I had much less confidence in their work. I finally settled on a tailor that was located just a couple of miles from where I was staying. He mainly made custom suits and shirts, but said he could turnaround a pair of pajamas for me in two days for about $100. 
The results are a bit mixed. On the downside, the stitching is mediocre. A well made garment should have a high stitches-per-inch count, but of course, this slows down the production, so many tailors opt for something faster and less refined. The pajamas are also made with a basic seam instead of a flat felled seam, which is cleaner looking and more durable. The fabric could also probably be a bit better. On the upside, however, I have pajamas that actually fit and I was able to design them as I liked. I sketched out the collar and pockets, told the tailor where I wanted the white trimming, and picked out the fabric and buttons.
I’ve been waffling over whether I think this was a good purchase, but after finally sleeping in them last night, I’ve decided that I like them. Off-the-rack pajamas don’t fit me, and custom made ones in the States are way out of my budget, so this is a good compromise. It seems to me that a place like Beijing is great for these sorts of things. If you find yourself in need of a custom shirt, for example, and have a limited budget, you could get some made in Beijing if you’re ever in that region of the world. The workmanship won’t be amazing (unless you go to one of the higher-end Hong Kong tailors), but you’ll be able to get a decently fitting garment for a reasonable price. Just try to bring your own fabrics.

My New Pajamas

I came home from Beijing last night and brought back with me a new set of pajamas I had made while I was there. Beijing is huge (one of the biggest cities I’ve been to) and there must be hundreds of tailors in the capital. I talked to about seven. One was from Hong Kong and seemed fairly skilled, but he was expensive and very backed up. Others were cheap (one only charged $20 for a custom-made shirt) and could turn things around quickly, but I had much less confidence in their work. I finally settled on a tailor that was located just a couple of miles from where I was staying. He mainly made custom suits and shirts, but said he could turnaround a pair of pajamas for me in two days for about $100. 

The results are a bit mixed. On the downside, the stitching is mediocre. A well made garment should have a high stitches-per-inch count, but of course, this slows down the production, so many tailors opt for something faster and less refined. The pajamas are also made with a basic seam instead of a flat felled seam, which is cleaner looking and more durable. The fabric could also probably be a bit better. On the upside, however, I have pajamas that actually fit and I was able to design them as I liked. I sketched out the collar and pockets, told the tailor where I wanted the white trimming, and picked out the fabric and buttons.

I’ve been waffling over whether I think this was a good purchase, but after finally sleeping in them last night, I’ve decided that I like them. Off-the-rack pajamas don’t fit me, and custom made ones in the States are way out of my budget, so this is a good compromise. It seems to me that a place like Beijing is great for these sorts of things. If you find yourself in need of a custom shirt, for example, and have a limited budget, you could get some made in Beijing if you’re ever in that region of the world. The workmanship won’t be amazing (unless you go to one of the higher-end Hong Kong tailors), but you’ll be able to get a decently fitting garment for a reasonable price. Just try to bring your own fabrics.

My Pajama Project

I’m visiting Beijing for a week and while I’m there, I’m hoping to get two or three pairs of pajamas made for me to take back home. I’m a really lean guy, and although pajamas are meant to fit a bit full, I’ve never been able to find a pair that didn’t make me look ridiculous. Which is why I’m hoping to find a tailor who will make them for me while I’m in China. 

In my mind, the perfect pair of pajamas has a shirt with curved collar points, satin piped edges, and three patch pockets - two at the hips and one at the breast. The pants have a button fly and flat draw-cord waistband. The draw-cord should be in the same color as the satin piping. Silk wears a bit warm, so I think cotton is better. The colors should be like a man’s shirt, either light blue or white, and in a solid color or with simple Bengal stripes. 

You see these kinds of pajamas worn by Cary Grant, Paul Newman, and Rock Hudson in many of the old, Hollywood classics. Jimmy Stewart, in fact, played a whole film wearing almost nothing but pajamas. And they all looked great. Sure maybe they’re not things you wear out to the world, but you’ll appreciate them while you’re at home, lounging around and reading a book, and that’s what counts.

To get something like this made in the US can be extremely expensive (around $500, depending on the fabric and tailor). If you’re lucky enough to not be shaped like a twig, you can get really nice pajamas from Brooks Brothers, J PressO’Connell’s, and Derek Rose for a fraction of that cost. Custom made ones in the US are way too expensive for me, and off-the-rack versions don’t fit, so hopefully my pajama project in Beijing will pan out. 

Sierra Trading Post
There are some really good sales right now at Sierra Trading Post. Once you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter, you’ll be notified of their daily coupons. Lately, they’ve been offering 35% off your whole order, as well as free shipping if you spend more than $100. That gives the following deals:
Derek Rose pajamas: Excellent pajamas available in multiple designs and colors. Starting price is $78. A bit expensive, to be sure, but Derek Rose is one of the better makers out there. 
Falke and Pantherella socks: Two top-tier hosiery manufacturers, though Pantherella’s quality has taken a dive in recent years. Still, you can get over-the-calf wool socks for about $5 right now, which makes this one of the best deals I’ve seen on socks. 
Johnstons of Elgin scarves and throws: Johnstons of Elgin is a 200+ year old manufacturer of woolen and cashmere goods. They’re not as nice as Colombo or Begg, but they’re very good and much more affordable. Johnstons’ cashmere scarves can be had right now for $39, while their lambswool scarves are $13. At those prices, these are a real steal. 
Tretorn sneakers: These aren’t the Nylites that the menswear bloggerotti have been wearing, but I could see this model still working very well for fall. For $45, it’s not bad. They also have other styles for as little as $26. 
Smartwool baselayers: Smartwool makes some of the best garments for cold weather. If you live in a cold climate, it may be wise to get a few of their baselayers and socks before winter arrives. They’re not the most stylish, but since they’re worn under your garments, they’re also not seen. I even recommend wearing them at home to save money on your heating bill. 
Trickers shoes: Trickers are a bit too rounded for my taste, but they’re quite popular among men’s style enthusiasts. Of the ones available at Sierra Trading Post right now, I like this boot the most, and the extra discount brings it down to $316. 
Bill’s Khakis M3 pants: Bill’s Khakis look a bit frumpy online, but I assure you they’re excellent. The M3 is their slimmest model, but it may need some tapering once you get them. That job should run you about $20, but when the chinos themselves cost $52, these are still a great deal.

Sierra Trading Post

There are some really good sales right now at Sierra Trading Post. Once you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter, you’ll be notified of their daily coupons. Lately, they’ve been offering 35% off your whole order, as well as free shipping if you spend more than $100. That gives the following deals:

  • Derek Rose pajamas: Excellent pajamas available in multiple designs and colors. Starting price is $78. A bit expensive, to be sure, but Derek Rose is one of the better makers out there.
  • Falke and Pantherella socks: Two top-tier hosiery manufacturers, though Pantherella’s quality has taken a dive in recent years. Still, you can get over-the-calf wool socks for about $5 right now, which makes this one of the best deals I’ve seen on socks.
  • Johnstons of Elgin scarves and throws: Johnstons of Elgin is a 200+ year old manufacturer of woolen and cashmere goods. They’re not as nice as Colombo or Begg, but they’re very good and much more affordable. Johnstons’ cashmere scarves can be had right now for $39, while their lambswool scarves are $13. At those prices, these are a real steal.
  • Tretorn sneakers: These aren’t the Nylites that the menswear bloggerotti have been wearing, but I could see this model still working very well for fall. For $45, it’s not bad. They also have other styles for as little as $26.
  • Smartwool baselayers: Smartwool makes some of the best garments for cold weather. If you live in a cold climate, it may be wise to get a few of their baselayers and socks before winter arrives. They’re not the most stylish, but since they’re worn under your garments, they’re also not seen. I even recommend wearing them at home to save money on your heating bill.
  • Trickers shoes: Trickers are a bit too rounded for my taste, but they’re quite popular among men’s style enthusiasts. Of the ones available at Sierra Trading Post right now, I like this boot the most, and the extra discount brings it down to $316. 
  • Bill’s Khakis M3 pants: Bill’s Khakis look a bit frumpy online, but I assure you they’re excellent. The M3 is their slimmest model, but it may need some tapering once you get them. That job should run you about $20, but when the chinos themselves cost $52, these are still a great deal.
A toast to our friends at Gilt Groupe and Band of Outsiders for this amazing product offering: a women’s pajama shirt for men. As you can see, it’s a perfect pairing for chinos whenever you’re looking for that, “I just rolled out of bed, and I wear women’s loungewear in public” aesthetic. (You can tell it’s a women’s shirt, by the way, because the buttons are on the left side of the garment.)
The price, if you’re wondering, is $99. Before you say: “isn’t that kind of a lot for a women’s pajama shirt being sold to men without the pajama bottoms?” just remember that the “Original Price” was $200. So really, this is a bargain. In my mind, the only true question is: how did this not sell at retail?!
So: if you’re tired of going to Bergdorf’s or Wilkes Bashford for your women’s pajama shirts, or paying through the nose for custom women’s pajama shirts from Ascot Chang or Turnbull & Asser, here’s an affordable alternative.
Five stars!
(Thanks, Trey)

A toast to our friends at Gilt Groupe and Band of Outsiders for this amazing product offering: a women’s pajama shirt for men. As you can see, it’s a perfect pairing for chinos whenever you’re looking for that, “I just rolled out of bed, and I wear women’s loungewear in public” aesthetic. (You can tell it’s a women’s shirt, by the way, because the buttons are on the left side of the garment.)

The price, if you’re wondering, is $99. Before you say: “isn’t that kind of a lot for a women’s pajama shirt being sold to men without the pajama bottoms?” just remember that the “Original Price” was $200. So really, this is a bargain. In my mind, the only true question is: how did this not sell at retail?!

So: if you’re tired of going to Bergdorf’s or Wilkes Bashford for your women’s pajama shirts, or paying through the nose for custom women’s pajama shirts from Ascot Chang or Turnbull & Asser, here’s an affordable alternative.

Five stars!

(Thanks, Trey)

After some success making scarves for a few close friends and family members this holiday season, I thought I’d try a genuinely ambitious sewing project. The tricky bit of learning to sew when you’re a man is that there’s no basic building block piece you can make. Women who are bad at sewing can make skirts. Men who are bad at sewing can make… skirts.

So after careful consideration, I’m going to take a stab at making a pair of pajamas. I bought a pattern for $5 on eBay, and headed down to LA’s fashion district to buy some fabric.

The big fabric stores, like Michael Levine, tend to cater towards seamstresses, not tailors. That means lots of cotton floral prints and not a lot that I would want to wear as pajamas. Some careful research turned up B. Black & Sons, who’ve been supplying woolens to tailors since the 20’s. I figured that if they didn’t have shirtings suitable for my PJs, they’d at least know who would.

The gentlemen who work at B. Black were a little perplexed by my presence, but offered a few helpful words of advice and sent me off to wander through the store. It’s a big place, and chock full of suiting wool of every kind, but they had some cotton here and there, and I found something I liked. It’s a pretty simple blue pinpoint oxford. Ten bucks a yard, and I needed six yards… this won’t necessarily be a money-saving project, but I went for it. A few buttons from the notions counter and I was all set.

So, now I’m armed with a pattern, some buttons and no idea what the fuck I’m doing. Wish me luck.

(photo by Nick Solares)

It’s On Sale
Oxford Cotton PJs
FOR CLASS ACTS ONLY.
$29.99 from $59.50 at JCrew.com

It’s On Sale

Oxford Cotton PJs

FOR CLASS ACTS ONLY.

$29.99 from $59.50 at JCrew.com