Eli & Elm, a new upstart sleep brand, sent me their Whitney Collection to review, which consists of two pillowcases, a flat sheet, and a fitted sheet. The set came in a shipping box along with their Wharf Collection, which I will review soon. The shipping box weighed a little under a ton, and 20% of that was tape.
After I cut through the ubiquitous adhesive, I was met with my favorite color—cyan—and the word “COOL.” printed across the top of the matte blue box. The box style, build, and structure was very reminiscent of Layla’s packaging, but when the clamshell opened, it did not remain open. This made it a bit challenging to remove the plastic-wrapped sheets, but with some prodding and pushing, they came out smoothly.
The sheets themselves weighed quite a bit, and after removing the plastic wrap I could see… and feel why. The fabric strangely reminded me of that used for thermal curtains, but thinner and smoother. This is because Eli & Elm’s Whitney sheets are made of a composite Phase Changing Material (PCM). This is where the “COOL.” comes in.
Whitney Collection Construction
Phase Changing Materials act as a kind of heat sink for beds and clothing, meaning that they absorb heat that is imparted on them to regulate temperature. Fabrics that use PCM technology incorporate a temperature sensitive ingredient into their composition that will change from solid to liquid and back with the application of heat. The chemical phase change from solid to liquid traps the heat from the source and later releases it during the opposite reaction. Temperature sensitive ingredients often used to create commercial PCMs include paraffin, fatty acids, and polyglycols because they are safe, non-reactive, and can be easily incorporated into fabrics. Eli & Elm chose to use a composition of 70% cotton, 20% lyocell, and 10% paraffin, which makes these sheets really impressive.
First off, lyocell is a fabric that serves as an alternative to the environmentally controversial textile rayon. Lyocell is comprised of dissolved wood pulp that has been reconstituted as a fiber that can then be spun. The great thing about lyocell is that unlike most rayon, no toxic solvents are used to dissolve the cellulose. This makes the production process much safer for the environment and those working with it; the fabric is also 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Lyocell not only is great for the environment, it’s also great for the sleep-lover because it exhibits natural thermal regulative properties along with a high quality feel. Eli & Elm uses long-staple cotton, which makes for a more durable cotton textile. When you combine the sustainability of lyocell, with the durability of long staple cotton, and the temperature regulative properties of paraffin PCM technology, it’s clear that Eli & Elm is entering the bedding world with a bang.
My Whitney Collection Findings
I washed the sheets as directed, in cold water followed by a low heat tumble dry, and they came out much different than they went in, but they didn’t shrink. They started with a matte sheen that reminded me of Heavenluxe’s 3-piece set, but less reflective. The sheets lost that stiff thermal curtain feel and matte sheen, and came out feeling like any old set of cotton sheets—same texture and same weight. The main tangible difference between regular cotton sheets and Eli & Elm’s cooling sheets is that when I pulled the sheets out of the dryer, they were actually a bit cold.
I made my bed with high hopes for a set of sheets that could usurp the throne for top sheet on my list, and I wasn’t disappointed. I slipped between the two sheets and I was caught aback by their texture. They were a bit rougher than I expected, but what really surprised me was how perfectly they modulated heat. Obviously I knew they were supposed to, but part of me didn’t actually expect it to work. Sleeping on Eli & Elm cooling sheets is like experiencing those first few minutes under slightly chilled covers, but for the entire night. As someone who gets too hot at night, my feet are the prospectors of the elusive bed sheet cold rush—constantly relocating in search of a respite from the heat. On these Eli & Elm sheets, I never have to move my feet to stay comfortable, nor do I have to roll over on a chilly spot to fall back to sleep. The Phase Change Materials work like a charm—it may be basic thermodynamics to a scientist, but to me it’s like witchcraft.
My Whitney Collection Recommendation
It’s been a few days now and there’s only one issue I can find with these sheets: the price. These magical sheets command a hefty $300 price tag, which is mostly expected considering the amount of advanced technology that went into developing them. From the point of view of someone who is quite conservative when it comes to spending money, and doesn’t have much cash to throw around in the first place, there aren’t many sets of $300 sheets that I see as worth the price. If I were going to spend that kind of money on a set of sheets, I would want to make 100% sure that I like them before committing. Luckily, most of these high quality bedding businesses understand this, and like Eli & Elm, offer a trial period. Aside from that, I would want to read every review under the sun and weigh the pros and cons. So If you’re doing that now, and you have trouble with temperature regulation when you sleep, buy these sheets. Right now. You won’t regret it.
I received a set of white sheets from Layla, but I thought that I had received a bedside table from a furniture retailer. When my roommates asked me what I could’ve possibly gotten that was so large, we all found ourselves a bit bewildered when the answer was “sheets.”
I opened the box and found… mostly nothing except for some industrial plastic wrap. At the very very bottom of the box, in a distant corner, was a dense box tightly sealed in more plastic. After retrieving the box from the abyss.
I’ve gotten some overzealous packaging from Amazon, but never have I ever received something in a box 12 times the size of the actual object. I think they wanted the box in pristine condition which may explain the bix box. I don’t think this will be the case goine forward.
This is a very new product so as of this writing there isn’t too much information about the product on the website but that will change.
The product box was breathtaking. This was not just any cardboard box, they somehow managed to make this box look like the Mercedes-Benz of boxes. The corners and seams were sturdy and perfect. The clamshell mechanism fit like a dream, and slid over the edge perfectly. All parts of the cardboard box were covered in fancy, smooth, matte gray paper. The box looked like it was made of two pieces, but the hinge was made so well that it opened to only 90°. The graphic design was impeccable—the fonts and colors were perfect, and the inner flap donned a two-tone gray gingham pattern that complemented the whole package so well. The inner flap read “YOUR NEW SHEETS HAVE ARRIVED,” which made the aesthetic experience all the more real. These were my sheets and I was ready to love them.
After opening the clamshell I found yet more plastic wrap, but the dense pile of folded sheets looked so perfect I didn’t want to disturb the chic package. After revelling in its glory, I broke down and opened the inner package.
Layla Bamboo Construction
The sheets were shiny, but not as reflective as the Heavenluxe set. Most of the seams were neat and hidden well, but some of the seams were boldly emblazoned in the very same dark gray that was used on the box.
The sheets were soft and smooth, living up to all the good things I’ve heard about bamboo sheets. I ran the sheets through a cold wash and a tumble dry on low and they came out even softer. There was some minor shrinkage, but nothing too concerning—the pocket depth started at 14.5in (15.25in with the elastic band) and ended at 13in (14.5in with the elastic band).
When I brought the sheets up to my room to make my bed, I noticed they felt abnormally hefty. When I shook them out against my mattress, they made a thunderous noise unlike any sound I’ve heard a fabric make—it sounded like muffled clapping. The fitted sheet fit snugly without any ripples, and the flat sheet sat on top smoothly. By this point it was 3am and I was still awake for some reason, so after making my bed I really needed a perfect set of sheets to help me doze off as fast as possible.
My Layla Bamboo Findings
When those sheets touched my skin, they didn’t even feel like they were made of fabric—they felt so delicate and liquid like in a strange indescribable way. The sheets definitely felt heavier and more durable than the Heavenluxe sheets, but somehow they had a kind of ethereality about them that surpasses every experience I’ve ever had with any fabric. Sometimes all I think about at night is how amazing it will feel to pass out sandwiched between those gentle bamboo sheets. I want to say that I’m in love, but like every product, there are some hangups.
I was really shocked by the shipping waste and I really hope that is not how Layla intends to distribute their products, but I didn’t want that to cloud my judgement of the sheets themselves. I love these sheets, but I find myself wondering if I love Layla’s sheets, or I love bamboo sheets. There are a few more bamboo sheet sets in the pipeline, so I want to make it very clear that this is my first set of sheets made of this fabric and I have no referent.
My Layla Bamboo Recommendation
Since there isn’t much information on Layla’s website, I don’t know how their fabric composition or production differs from any other kind of bamboo sheet, so I don’t feel like I can adequately make a judgement on the company itself. Bamboo is a very promising agricultural alternative to cotton, but like hemp, the miracle textile crop of your dreams isn’t always sustainable. Ultimately whether you buy these sheets or not comes down to how important your carbon footprint is to you. Off the bat, while bamboo and hemp grow quickly and function more efficiently as textile crops, farms are often established on land that was deforested specifically for the cultivation of these crops, which is ironic and dangerous.
Eli & Elm sent me their king-size organic cotton Side Sleeper pillow. The large cushion was rolled up and stuffed inside its long, white shipping box.
I pulled it out and cut away the bag and tape to reveal a gold and ivory pillow shaped like half of a fingertip bandage.
The quilted pillow fabric is extremely soft, and the filling is especially plush and squishy. The front and back of the pillow have “Organic” written stylistically across the pleats, and are joined by a gold suede band.
The seams are hidden and seem durable enough to withstand even the roughest of sleepers. I really appreciate the placement of the zipper, as many zippers that go from corner to corner often get jammed with the interior fabric. When I unzipped the portal to coziness, I was met with tiny noodles of cotton stuffing, which Eli & Elm explains can be removed to adjust height, support, and cushiness for a fully customizable experience.
Side Sleeper Construction
Eli & Elm’s pillow design is not only customizable for all sleepers, but it’s specially designed to benefit side-sleepers. The unique shape gives the head and neck the support they need, which is often not provided by flat pillows. I have two flat pillows that have lost every ounce of support and comfort that they once had, so this has been a long time coming. I couldn’t find any information on how I was supposed wash it, and I’ve had issues in the past with damp pillows, so I gave it an extra hour for good measure totaling 120 minutes on low heat. Once out of the dryer, I could start enjoying the pillow without having to smell the factory in which it was made.
The pillow fabric is comprised of 37% organic cotton, 2% spandex, and 61% polyester; and the fill is made of 75% latex and 25% polyester fiber. Eli & Elm claim that their cotton fabric is breathable, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and temperature modulating, so I was intrigued to try it alongside Eli & Elm’s Cooling Whitney Collection. Unlike the Whitney Collection, the Side Sleeper does not utilize Phase Changing Materials in its construction, so experiencing the cooling effects side-by-side would give me an ideal comparison test. In the end, it really did do what they said it would.
My Side Sleeper Findings
The pillow is heavy and kind of unwieldy—if you hold it with one hand, you feel like it will stretch into oblivion, but if you hold it with two hands, it still figures out a way to spill over your arms. When moving the pillow, it feels as though it’s caught somewhere between liquid and solid despite very clearly just being a fabric pillow stuffed with little squishy noodles. When placed on an immovable surface—like a bed—the pillow takes on a whole different personality. The noodles compress under the weight of your head allowing the half-fingertip-bandage shape to conform to your neck. The Side Sleeper feels like a luxury neck pillow made of pizza dough, and I love it. It can be hard to find a pillow that meets all of your greatest expectations, but Eli & Elm got it right this time. No matter which way I slept or rolled, the pillow was always there, giving me the best cushion experience for all sides of my head. It was both supportive and forgiving, which makes it a perfect pillow for literally anyone.
When used simultaneously with Eli & Elm’s Whitney Collection, I found myself in one of the most breathable and temperature consistent sleeping environments ever. Sure, getting into the bed was a bit chilly (my house thermostat is pretty consistently set between 55F and 62F morning and night), but once inside, all the high tech cooling fabric started doing its thing and the sheets and pillow quickly adjusted to my body temperature. After a few days of usage, I was curious what the other side of the pillow felt like since the undersides of pillows are always colder—this one was very cold. In a sleepy daze, I strangely couldn’t tell if the pillow was cold because it was damp or just cold—turns out by perching the Side Sleeper on top of my other pillows (covered with the Whitney pillowcases), I created a kind of black hole for heat in between the two cooling fabrics.
My Side Sleeper Recommendation
Eli & Elm’s Side Sleeper is a magnificent pillow for sleeping, to which I have found no comparison. That said, pillows are generally very versatile and practical, but I don’t think the Side Sleeper shares those traits. Due to its shape, it wouldn’t make for a back or head cushion while playing cards or writing your next novel, and its weight and Jell-O-esque feel make me think traveling with it would be a hassle—its true element is on a bed. The only thing that I’m unsure about at this moment is the stiffness of the pillow. This of course is just a personal problem, because Eli & Elm recommends removing or adding noodles as you go to get the perfect firmness, which I haven’t gotten around to doing. So for all of you prospective buyers and readers out there, if you’re looking for a pillow that is more squishy than firm, make sure you extract some noodles first before deciding it’s not for you! In the off chance the Side Sleeper is just not for you, Eli & Elm has a 45-day risk free trial period so you never have to invest in something you don’t actually like. For me? This is a real keeper and paces miles ahead of the comparable $100 solid bamboo pillow I got online.
Primary Goods sent me a 5-piece set of 100% percale sheets in their special February color, “Lilac Snow.” As of this writing, you can get a queen size set for $179. The sheets come with a 100 night trial which means you get to try them in your bed for 100 nights and if you aren’t happy with them, you can return them for a refund. Just bear in mind that you will pay a $19.99 return processing fee for any product that is washed or used. You also need to pay for return shipping.
The sheets came in a pretty nondescript brown shipping box, and when I opened it I was not met with sleek designs or extravagant packaging—I was a bit surprised considering how many other sets come in over the top wrappings.
Honestly, it was actually kind of refreshing not to have to choose between keeping the packaging to admire like a piece of modern art, and tossing it out. Primary Goods kept it simple with a shipping box and five fabric baggies also known as self packaging, each containing one piece of the percale puzzle. I disassembled the set and started looking over my new purple sleep treasure.
Primary Goods Construction
One thing I did not account for was how close “Lilac Snow” is to pink. Contrasted on a bright white backdrop, “Lilac Snow” has the slightest discernible hint of purple on their website. In real life, under non-studio lighting, it is actually undeniably ballet slipper pink. I know this for a fact because I spent a few hours freaking out over my perception of colors before asking my roommates and sister what color they see. We all had a flashback to the dress that broke the internet in February 2015—the dress is clearly white and gold in that photo, but I digress.
The consensus was unanimous: these sheets are not any perceptible shade of purple or violet. Since lilac is a pretty ambiguous color—lilac flowers can range from light red to dark purple and everything in between—I give it a pass with the disclaimer that unless you live in a photography studio or a glass house in sunny southern California, the sheets will be pink. Don’t get me wrong, pink is a great color, but purple is my favorite. On a side note, the sheets are surprisingly shiny (despite Primary Goods calling them “matte”), which made photographing the true colors very challenging, so please keep that in mind as you scroll through the photos.
I unfolded the sheets and analyzed them closely. Initially the sheets felt a bit rougher than any old set of cotton sheets but Percale is a different weave than sateen and they will be more breathable, also given the weave, percale sheets have a sort of crisper crinkly feel that some people crave.
My Primary Goods Findings
I followed the laundry directions and washed the sheets in warm water followed by a low heat tumble dry and there was no shrinkage, but they didn’t dry. I had to run the sheets through the dryer a second time to eradicate the dampness. During both sessions they were the only objects in the dryer, but for some reason they needed two hours to dry on low heat, which was frustrating. Pro tip, this happens with comforters and all sorts of bedding. It’s often best to dry the fitted and flat sheet separately so they don’t become entagnled which prolongs the dryng process.
The corners of the fitted sheet may look like a pink Victorian era dress, but they sure do grip mattress corners well, even if it does seem a bit like overkill. If your sheets are prone to coming loose at night, these will ensure they stay in place.
I spread the flat sheet out on my bed, set up the duvet, and began testing their signature snapping feature.
If you go with their signature snapping system to attach the flat sheet to the duvet just keep in mind that this is meant to work as a system. If you use the flat sheet on its own, it will cover the top of the bed but it is not big enough to make the hospital corners.
The goal of the snap system is to keep you from losing your top sheet an night. The primary purpose of the top sheet is to keep your duvet clean so you don’t have to launder it as often. If you’re disciplined enough to launder the fitted top sheet this is a good system.
My Primary Goods Recommendation
Honestly, my first night sleeping took some getting used to. You need to get used to the feel of the top sheet being in sync with the duvet. After a few washed these sheet should soften up well and what you get for the money is a good value.