About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Naming names in the best formulas for sleepwear a la CFIDS/ME/fibro...

Wearing a very loose gown made of cotton - oh how I loved the gown and my friend and I tried to (unsuccessfully) replicate it!   Seen here: the pure joy of having a baby!

And so, as promised a few days ago, I have rounded up a list of the brands/designers who I feel relatively safe ordering through the Internet, having had pretty good luck with them...that is, I don't often have to return an item.  Actually, this is the third rewrite of this post because after my first "attempt," I decided to order a few nightgowns to test my tips.  The results are in and have been incorporated into the suggestions below.

I've declared my "formula" before, that is, my favorite fabrics, cotton being king, and my love especially for cotton jersey knit because of maneuverability in bed and the bed linens.  Tank type nightgowns are the way to go as far I'm concerned, with no lace, embroidery, or other embellishments because they irritate. 

Furthermore, nightgowns are the way to go if you have problems with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) because then there is no pressure around the belly area, and as stated in my earlier post with my "formula," they should be at least tea-length or there may be psychological trauma for all involved if that gown goes up too high when bending over, caught in bed with gown twisted up to waist, etc.  Please spare your loved ones (and especially the NOT loved ones like a plumber in the house you weren't aware of - it CAN happen!) the trauma.  Anyway, without further ado:

  • Hanro nightgowns, especially the tank style.  Although, unfortunately, they aren't a jersey, they are a beautifully luxurious mercerized cotton, very smooth and almost silky without the problems that come with silk.  I try to keep the bleach to a minimum with these gowns but sometimes the temptation is just too strong and so I have a couple that started out a beautiful soft robin's egg blue (which I always think of as "Princess Diana blue") but are now white.  They're uber-expensive yes (huh! she says, "exhorbitably so") but I find that they last forever.  I have a couple that have got to be at least eight years old and and are worn regularly, not to mention abused.  Hubby sees these gowns as "go-to's" for Christmas presents and Mother's Day gifts - bless his desperate heart!  
Addendum: In order to do my research for this blog (HA!) I ordered a short one and it also had sleeves.  Yes, I should know by now (over fifteen years of buying Hanro) that this was a potential failure.  How wrong was I? INCREDIBLY.  The sleeves were bothersome, though a cute and wonderful length for fall, winter and very early spring - IN CLOTHING, not in sleepwear.  The fabric was the heaviest I've experienced with Hanro.  I'm definitely sticking to the plain white and the longer length.  I looked preggers with the pleating below the buttons and my stomach was NOT bloated today!  No embellishments is definitely now seared into my head.  I'm very sad.
  • Natori - moving right along - is well known for it's silk (and polyester) super outrageously-priced gowns, but will occasionally come out with a simple knit white tank gown.  When they do, I snap them up.  Unfortunately, this has happened only once or twice, but I keep hoping that it'll happen again soon!  (Hope springs eternal, anyone?)  
Addendum:  I ordered a tank type of gown in a beautiful rich purple and am debating about keeping it.  It has a "built in bra" that I may find too irritating.  On the other hand, I do have one gown with a built in bra that I love, but again, I rarely wear it.  
  • Ralph Lauren comes out with a nice couple of cotton knit nightgowns each year but you have to keep an eye out for them and order immediately.  They disappear as soon as they show up on the Ralph Lauren website or on Nordstrom's or Macy's sites too. They last for years.  
Addendum: I ordered one and thought it would be long enough: only if I were a pre-teen!  And what was I thinking when I went for ruffles too?  Desperation (and the great photography, stylers and models) will get you every time. This was most certainly a cautionary tale!  
  • Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Dior I've lumped these three designers together because it is almost impossible to find any of these designers any longer in nightwear and most certainly with the "CFIDS/ME/fibro restrictions."  Please, if anyone out there happens to know how to get word to any of these designers, please ask them to get back to designing more nightgowns too.  I used to bank on their gowns and am really upset that they seem to have stopped designing nightgowns, or at best, rarely so.  I did find one by Donna Karan a few days ago and immediately ordered it.  It was almost enough to make me jump out of bed and do a jubilation dance!  
Addendum: Regarding the Donna Karan: what the heck???  The fabric (black) was completely see-through even before trying it on.  There was some awful ruching in the back of the neck, plus the gown went out and then in, tulip shape.  Really, Donna????  Oh, I can just see every single CFIDS/ME/fibro-er out there tripping on every step taken.  My heart is broken.
  • Eileen West:  After such a great success with the pink tank jersey one I bought a couple of months ago, I was ready for experimentation.
Addendum: Two came in and unfortunately, they were failures, but again, I was experimenting, hoping to find something besides my beloved cotton tank long gowns. They were really large and I was swimming in them.  The lace around the neck was bothersome.  This is what I get for tweaking with my "formula."  
  • Nautica:  Ah!  Finally, my experimentation worked in my favor.  I've never bought Nautica before but when I saw the tank, long, no frills, and 100% cotton and a jersey, I couldn't resist and I'm thrilled. The one I bought is a green and blue stripe (stripes are so "in" now but I hate to think what they'll look like in a season or two?  They ARE going the "wrong" way and so difficult to wear though I have a couple of dresses in stripes: to be worn WHERE, exactly?  Oh that's right: to the doctor's!)  
OK, back to topic.  So, I've learned a very good but expensive and time-wasting lesson.  Expensive because now those charges are on my credit card and will need to be refunded.  Time-consuming because hubby will need to do returns for me.  On the other hand, going to the store would have been even MORE time-consuming (I thought to myself as I was trying those gowns on with the a/c broken and wanting to cry from the sheer exhaustion).

Of course, there's also the boxer shorts/tank top combination to wear, but if you suffer from IBS the bloating and indeed, sensitivity around the waistline in general, it may be a bit hard to deal with.  I also keep a couple of PJ's on hand, just for variety and every-once-in a-while, and wear a tank top while using the top of the PJ's as a bed jacket as my body temperature does its St. Vitus Dance throughout the day.  

I have found that keeping down the carbs helps me with the IBS and temperature fluctuations, so you may want to see if there are any foods that contribute to your IBS.  I'm convinced that each person has foods that help them/harm them and these foods vary with each person.  Gosh: not too off-topic, am I?

Anyone out there with any ideas of comfy sleepwear that works as "live wear"?  Let us know.  Don't be shy!

Thanks for stopping in and hopefully there were a few pointers to make your life easier.  I'm hoping that the day is treating you well, or as well as can be!


  1. Hey!

    I've really enjoyed reading your blog posts so far, but this one was especially useful. I've been finding it quite hard to get to sleep recently, and extra sensitive to any heat and difference in the materials I'm wearing, so there are some good ideas here. I'll have to search out some similar stuff in the UK!

    Ruth xx

    P.S - You had trouble following my blog earlier, I added a subscribe by email bar, so it should be OK now!

    1. Hi Ruth! I am absolutely thrilled that you found something to help you - jumping for joy! I'm, of course, saddened to know you're having trouble sleeping. I hope you can find a few bits of nightwear that are good for sleep. Fear not: sleep WILL be addressed in this blog... Perhaps too often when all is said and done!

      I was able to sign up for EVERYTHING for you, so you're set with me.

      Irene xx