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The Style Girlfriend Guide to: Bedding

By Megan Collins | Mar 21 2011

Let’s talk bedding. Because the sheets you put on your bed say as much about your style as the clothes you put on your back. Assuming you’ve upgraded from your childhood twin racecar bed, there’s a full, queen or even king size bed making a statement about you – good or bad – in your bedroom right now. If there’s not already a woman in your life…collaborating…on your bedding, you’re hoping there will be at some point. You want you and your bed looking good when that day comes. Below are some pointers for helping along the latter:

 

COLOR

This is not the time to get fancy. You want a set of sheets that will see you through any bedroom redecorating (a new wall color, a new bedframe), so go for neutral colors. Think gray, khaki, or, yes, even white. It’s not boring, it’s practical – and classic.

But please, no black sheets. Using black sheets on your bed is like installing those ultraviolet lights the contestants used on Room Raiders, as light bulbs. Everything shows. All the time.

MATERIAL

Let’s get one thing out of the way – satin and silk sheets are never an option. Yes, they’re soft; they’re also ridiculously tacky. Any self-respecting woman who sees a bed outfitted in the faux-romantic fabric will look at you like you’re Deuce Bigelow, then leave.

{Sorry, but this only happens in stock photos}

Since we already agreed on neutral colors, we know these sheets will be around a long time. So go ahead and spring for the good stuff – 100% cotton. Yes, poly blends are cheaper, but nothing beats cotton for a good night’s sleep. It’s super soft and “breathes” better than a blend – like the UnderArmour of bedding.

THREAD COUNT

When it comes to sheets, we’ve been conditioned to think, “It’s the thread count, stupid!” Thread count is the number of threads running horizontally and vertically in one square inch of fabric, and conventional wisdom says the higher this number, the more luxurious the fabric. To a point, that’s true, but thread count can also be misleading. That’s because some manufacturers artificially inflate their numbers by using 2-ply thread, letting them double their thread count without actually improving the quality of the fabric.

It’s sort of like a sunscreen’s SPF; above a certain number, it’s really not worth the extra cost. Aim for 250-300 thread count, and you should be set. (And yes, I expect a Dateline special report exposing this 2-ply scam any day now…)

WEAVE

More important than thread count is the weave of the fabric. Look for a long weave, which feels softer and will wear better than a basic plain weave (which just means it’s made from an equal number of vertical and horizontal yarns). Sound complicated? Just search out words like “pima,” “supima” or “Egyptian long-staple” on the label, and you won’t go wrong.

TOPPING IT ALL OFF

{Down Comforter from The Company Store, $189-289}

Now for the master class, a comforter versus a duvet. Much like the defining features of a skirt versus a dress, it’s come to my attention that many guys don’t know the difference between these two sheet toppers. So here goes. A comforter is the big fluffy bedspread you put on top of the bed. A duvet covers a down comforter, almost like a pillowcase.

You can, of course, get a comforter that doesn’t need a duvet (think those “bed in a bag” combos sold at Linens ‘n Things), but then you’ll have to wash the whole comforter when it’s dirty, as opposed to slipping off just the duvet. To me, that seems like an unnecessary hassle. Plus, a duvet is easier to replace when you get sick of it than a patterned comforter.  



{I love Calvin Klein for bedding. This one’s from Macy’s}

For the design, it’s up to you what strikes your fancy. You don’t need to play to the female audience with pastels or florals, but also know that if you go super masculine (pinstripes, paisley, naked ladies), it may turn some off.

MAINTENANCE

Wash often.

Sheets should be washed every week to two weeks (and that’s pushing it). A comforter or duvet cover should get laundered every month to two months. Seem like a lot? Two words: night sweats.

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