One of the most contentious topics in the bedroom: the top sheet. “Top sheets are engineered to fail us,” wrote the author of a GQ story last year called “F@*# Top Sheets.” She opines: “There are so many ways to make a bed … You know what’s the best way? Just to have a duvet with a cover. Easy. Grab one side of it and throw it and let it land over the bed.”
Just two days after the story went live, GQ decided to publish its own rebuttal. “Humans are disgusting, stinky, excreting creatures,” another author wrote. “With respect to gravity, a top sheet serves to protect your duvet or blanket as a fitted sheet does your mattress. Sweat; it stains. And then there’s cum, menstrual blood, and, god forbid, poo (which, of the aforementioned, is actually the easiest to wash out).”
If the debate centers around convenience versus hygiene, there’s also versatilely to consider. “I prefer having a top sheet,” says Jimmy MacDonald, co-founder of Authenticity 50, the only company right now selling bedding made 100 percent in the U.S. “In the dog days of summer, we often just have a linen blanket over our top sheet. No duvet, to keep things cool.”
While MacDonald admits that some of his customers do skip the top sheet, opting instead for the brand’s Duvet Set ($239), a majority still buy the Signature Set ($169) that comes with a top sheet. “I think the top sheet is here to stay,” he says. “It’s easier to wash than a duvet cover, and a high-quality duvet cover is significantly more expensive than a top sheet. The best combo is a great top sheet and great duvet cover, so you can mix and match as your needs and the seasons change.”
Should you ultimately decide to keep the top sheet — good choice — use hospital corners when making the bed. Not familiar? They’re used by everybody from the U.S. Military to your favorite hotel chain — and, of course, Martha Stewart.
“Hospital corners provide a sophisticated, symmetric look that shows attention to detail,” MacDonald says. “They actually originated before fitted sheets had elastic, and it was the nicest way to get a large flat sheet to stay tucked up against the mattress. However, putting elastic around the fitted sheet is a superior way to keep a fitted sheet in place, and hospital corners were transferred to use on top sheets.” Here’s how to do them right.
Place the top sheet on top of the fitted sheet. Make sure it’s hanging evenly off the bed on the bottom and both sides.
Tuck the bottom hem under the mattress. The sides should still hang evenly off the bed.
Grab the hem on one side. Lift on top of the bed, tuck in the remaining fabric and make a hard 45-degree crease.
Drop the side and align the crease with the corner of the bed. Smooth the top and tuck the remaining fabric under the mattress. Repeat on the other side.
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