Pajamas just might be the most neglected part of fashion there is. For a lot of us, "pajamas" means ratty T-shirts and sweatpants, or at best, bulky fleece or flannel getups that score high on the cozy meter but don't even make it onto the style one.
This is where Tink + Tiger comes in. Designed by Charleston transplant Amanda Greeley, Tink + Tiger is a line of high-quality, stylish women's pajamas and loungewear that just launched its first collection. Made with soft, elegant fabrics and classic silhouettes, Greeley's creations are the types of PJs you could easily spend a day in — without feeling like a total slob.
Greeley came up with the idea while she was living in New York. She was working at Coach at the time and had gotten sick of the corporate grind. "I kind of wanted to do something more small and indie," she says. "I was having a conversation over a drink and said, 'Not enough people are making quality pajamas. Then I just started diving in."
Greeley grew up playing with fabrics and sketching designs with her mother, who worked in retail, so she felt comfortable navigating the design, manufacturing, and launch process on her own. "It was something I knew I wanted to do, so step-by-step I started learning how. It was kind of organic, self-taught," she says.
Although she laid the foundation for Tink + Tiger while still in the Big Apple, she didn't start creating her loungewear until she moved to Charleston in early fall 2013. Greeley thought, astutely, that it would make sense to launch her independent, fledgling line in the Holy City's smaller, boutique-friendly fashion world rather than compete with all the big names and bigger money in New York. "Charleston has this little budding community of design and entrepreneurs," Greeley says. "It works really well for something like this because it's not necessarily runway fashion, where you need to be super-connected to the high fashion world."
The name Tink + Tiger, as you've probably guessed, comes from the Peter Pan characters Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily. Greeley conceptualized the line as pretty, feminine PJs for women to wear when they go to dreamland, or Neverland, she says. The designs for her first collection are in keeping with that theme. "For this first one I was really thinking about the name [Tink + Tiger], so mixing that classic, British men's pajama — like the kids would have worn in the nursery — with what happens in an island dreamland," she says.
So while the collection begins with a long-sleeved pajama set in blue gingham or white (you can get long pants or shorts), it gradually moves into softer silhouettes made with lighter fabrics. There's a silk romper and nightgown, silk tank tops and shorts, and a silk shirtdress, which perfectly mixes the two overarching styles. Many of the pieces, especially the silk tanks, could have another life as day-wear. "I wanted it to be loungewear that lives beyond the bedroom," Greeley says.
The fabrics are all top-quality — Greeley buys all her cotton from Italy or Brazil, and the silk comes from China. The pajamas are sewn in a factory in Brooklyn that Greeley visits at least once every couple of months. She knew from the beginning that she wanted to have her clothes made in the U.S.A. "Yes, it's more expensive, but besides just liking the idea of American-made garments, it's the right thing to do. When you're a small company, it's neat to be able to get to your factories easily and have them see your face," she says. "Having that kind of personal relationship with the people sewing your stuff is great."
Greeley's currently at work on her fall line, which will offer more prints and new silhouettes in the same quality cottons and silks. "Picture your classic bad American tourist: that kind of floral printed shirt, sandals, Birkenstocks, maybe a Panama hat," she says. "A tropical tourist lost in a Northern city is the concept." She's interpreting that with some beautiful versions of those typically awful Hawaiian shirt prints.
While there will be lots of similarities between her fall line and her first, spring/summer line, Greeley thinks she's found a different vibe, one that isn't quite as tied to her location. She says, "It's hard to say that Charleston wasn't an inspiration for this collection. It's my first one, moving here — there's a Charleston vibe, it kind of feels like."
Learn more and shop online at tinkandtiger.com.