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The (designer) pajama game

'They're separates," said the lady of the house, putting a nice spin on the Bill Blass top and Geoffrey Beene pants of my new pajamas. They came from a post-post-post-holiday sale, and no matched sets were left in my size.

I wouldn't have known if I hadn't noticed the labels. Designer pajamas! If the plain blue Beene part were as boldly checkered as the Blass, I might never get to sleep. I went through most of the past century in nothing racier than Fruit of the Loom.

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My dad eventually gave in to pajamas. But my childhood version of him is in a flannel nightgown, or nightshirt, as men called it - never "nightie."

Why pay a lot for what nobody's going to see? says the ad for the bargain clothing store. I once fell for a jaunty little combo of orange short-sleeved shirt and knee-length pants for summer sleeping. I felt foolish even though no one was looking.

We weren't issued special sleepwear, as I recall, during World War II in the Pacific. At night in our tents, we'd just peel to the usual skivvies (shorts and undershirts), and sometimes further in honor of the humidity.

Uncle Sam's new big-budgeted TLC for the military hasn't yet mentioned designer jammies for vets. Anyway, I still seem able to get a few winks without special garments. Suit and tie work fine at certain concerts. Sweater and slacks will do with the right book and the right footstool.

Macbeth yearned for sleep to knit up the raveled sleeve of care. So far, my separates don't need mending.