For those who like feeling as if they’re sleeping on a pile of feathers, or in a Ritz-Carlton penthouse suite, nothing will bring you there like a plush mattress topper. An extra (literal) layer of softness can be all the more necessary in this age of computer-generated comfort from bed-in-a-box brands like Casper and Tuft & Needle, which aim for a median level of comfort so that you don’t need to test out your mattress beforehand; you can feel relatively sure, based on their extensive research, that it will feel “fine.” But what if you want to feel not just fine, but like you’re sleeping on a cloud?
If you’re looking for plush, there are two options: down and alternative down, which mostly feels the same, but has no allergy-causing potential and is often much more affordable. What makes one cushiony fabric really stand out from the pack is the way it distributes the fluff. While in some cases a down filler will shift or bunch up, the best toppers are able to maintain an even distribution throughout the night. Others run into problems when the outer shell has a synthetic feel, which can seep through and affect overall softness, even when it’s beneath sheets.
The happy medium here is Parachute, which is, of course, another sleep start-up. Instead of focusing on the mattress, though, Ariel Kaye founded Parachute two years ago to sell sheets and duvets she designed to mimic a hotel bed she first slept in during an Amalfi Coast getaway. I was turned on to the brand during an informal survey of interior-designer friends and bedding experts. Two of them, interior designer Danielle Arps and home-goods designer Aelfie Oudghiri, said that Parachute’s down-alternative fiber bed, filled with a hypoallergenic microfiber and released this August, was the most natural and luxurious-feeling, like a super-dense comforter from below. So I decided to try one out.
They were right. I sunk right into the Parachute and it shaped to the form of my body, following my every move throughout the night. While a memory-foam topper might act similarly, this felt light, airy, and cool, instead of thick. And there were no hot vibes like I get from foam. Kaye and her team developed this topper to solve the problem of down alternative often flattening quicker than real feather down; Parachute’s stands at three inches tall (they also offer a duck-feather option). And instead of bothersome synthetic coating, Parachute uses an Oeko-Tex certified cotton shell that’s both soft and free of synthetics and chemicals. But most important, the Parachute has a box construction with stitching throughout the topper to make sure that the fiber filling stays evenly distributed throughout any tossing and turning, so you’ll never have to shake it out. I felt myself gently melting and folding into the topper, while it enveloped me from beneath. I woke up feeling lightly sandwiched between layers of plushness.
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