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What are the rules of pyjama dressing?

In recent years, fashion insiders have been wearing pyjama tops and bottoms outside of the bedroom to chic effect. But this is definitely a challenging trend to wear for us mere mortals, because it can look very inappropriate for the day.

Instead of a head-to-toe look, which can work on the runway but not so much in real life, extract the top of a look like this one (photo 1) from British designer Stella McCartney’s spring/summer 2015 collection.

Tuck the collared, soft, pyjama-like button-down into a structured, full midi skirt instead, for a balanced outfit. It will make for an interesting contrast with a hint of retro chic.

It the top is oversized, you could even unbutton the top and wear it like a wrap shirt instead. It works because the skirt will ensure the top stays in place and not turn into a frumpy mess.

You can also take the silky bottoms of a pyjama-esque ensemble like this one from Belgian label Dries Van Noten’s spring/summer 2015 line (photo 2).

On their own, the pants might look too “loungey” for outside wear. But paired with a cream sweater and heels, the pants will look relaxed but chic, something not to be confused with sleepwear.

The easiest way to take on this trend, though, is to be less literal. Instead of working a pyjama top or bottom into your daily ensemble, why not wear something pyjama-inspired?

Not only is it less of a challenge, you will enjoy more versatile and diverse outfits. Go for a silky fabric cut in a loose silhouette.

Bonus points if the outfit incorporates patterns such as pinstripes or paisley that are classic pyjama go-tos.

Take this look, also from McCartney’s collection (photo 3). It incorporates billowy pyjama-inspired elements but evokes a much more sophisticated feel.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on January 2, 2015. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.