Shopping·7 min read

Found: A Fluffy Down Pillow That Won't Make You Sneeze, Plus a Luxury Alternative

peacock alley
Design: theSkimm | Images: Peacock Alley
September 27, 2023

Products you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Oh, and if something's out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate) at time of publication.

To paraphrase Antoni from “Queer Eye,” pillows are something that can actually be so personal. For me, that’s translated to holding onto my own pillow well past its expiration date, even though the stuffing is the approximate consistency of cottage cheese. In an effort to purge what no longer serves me, I replaced my beloved but malfunctional pillow with a couple options from Peacock Alley, the luxury bedding brand you may have seen on your friends’ wedding registries. Over the course of a month, I used the brand’s White Goose Down Pillow ($270) and the Down Alternative Pillow ($90) to find out which could be a better fit for me — and if they could give my bed situation a bit of a glow-up. 

The White Goose Down Pillow

The more expensive of the two options, this one is filled with Responsible Down Standard-certified European white goose down. Good-quality goose down is generally known for its cloud-like feel and temperature-regulating abilities, meaning it’ll keep you cozy in cold weather but you won’t wake up a sweaty mess. This one’s offered in two sizes (Standard and King) and either a Medium or Firm feel. ($270)

Straight A’s in…

  • Temperature regulation. I toggle between feeling freezing and overheating at night, and the goose down pillow kept me feeling comfortable through both ends of the pendulum swing. I never even needed to flip to the cool side during a hot spell.

  • Support. I opted for two Medium pillows. Stacked together, they encouraged the ideal reading position; my back felt supported but not at all stiff, and my cervical spine (aka my neck and upper back) didn’t fatigue. They pretty much maintained their shape after lying back against them for a couple of hours, rather than completely deflating.

  • Care. The pillow comes with a 400 thread count cotton sateen pillow protector that can be removed and machine washed on the cold cycle. The pillow itself is also machine washable, so long as you do so properly. I’d recommend following Peacock Alley’s care instructions so you don’t accidentally damage these pricey pillows.

  • Allergenic qualities. I didn’t think I was allergic to goose down…until I got these pillows. (I also didn’t know that my partner was allergic to goose down until I told him I’d just gotten us two brand-new goose down pillows for our bed. Oops.) He and I were both sneezing and watery-eyed the first two nights of sleeping on these pillows. Oddly enough, that reaction disappeared for both of us after that first 48 hours, hence why this feature made it to the “pros” side of the list. I can’t provide a scientific explanation for this, but I’m not questioning it.  

Room for growth… 

  • Firmness options. Although the Medium offered good support for a semi-prone position, I found it to be a touch too firm for sleep. (Take this with a grain of salt, considering the mushiness that I’ve grown used to.) This wasn't so firm that it caused noticeable discomfort. I’ll admit that it offered good support, and I didn't wake up with my neck and head at weird angles. But the heart wants what the heart wants. I still wish this was offered in a Soft option. 

  • Price. $270 is a lot to spend on a single pillow, and it out-prices other goose down pillows on the market. I’d expect that this will hold up well for the next few years, considering the price and the obvious quality, but it’s too soon to report for sure. 

The Down Alternative Pillow  

This one is made with Dacron fill, a type of polyester that’s often used for couch, cushion, and other upholstered furniture stuffing. In this case, it’s put to work as a hypoallergenic and less-expensive alternative to goose down. This is also available in two sizes and Medium or Firm. ($90)  

Straight A’s in…

  • Performance. Long story short: I barely noticed a difference between the goose down and the down alternative pillows. The down alternative offered the same amount of temperature regulation, support, and loft as genuine down, without the risk of an allergic reaction. It's an excellent, high-quality option for people who want to avoid goose down for allergenic or ethical reasons. 

  • Weight. The down alternative pillow is ever so slightly less dense than the goose down pillow — barely noticeable, unless you did a weight test like I did. I prefer a lightweight pillow (it makes it easier to shake into a pillowcase, for one thing), so the down alternative won out for me here. But this, like so much else in the world of pillows, is an entirely personal preference.   

  • Care. Like the goose down pillow, this comes with a removable pillow protector in smooth, 400 thread count cotton sateen. This one can also be machine washed and dried on low heat.    

  • Price. At $90, this is on the expensive end of down alternative pillows but still on par with its competitors’ prices. For context, Parachute’s regular-sized, Medium firmness down alternative pillow currently retails at $89 and Saatva’s costs $92. 

Room for growth…

  • Firmness options. As the down alternative pillow performed almost exactly like the goose down, I also found the Medium firmness to be a little too structured for my liking. If this was sold in a Soft option, it’d be the perfect pillow for me.

More bedding to consider from Peacock Alley

peacock alley goose down duvet and down alternative duvet
Peacock Alley

Two duvet options to match your pillows…

The stats are pretty much the same as the pillows: The down alternative duvet ($250+) is filled with soft, hypoallergenic Dacron and comes with a sateen shell, with a loft that customers say is “light and warm,” “breathable,” and “looks polished.” The down duvet ($675+) has the same sateen shell and is filled with responsibly sourced, sterilized European goose down. It has 650 fill power, considered to be the ideal weight for year-round use.

peacock alley sateen sheets set
Peacock Alley

A fresh set of sateen sheets...

One of Peacock Alley’s marquee products, the Soprano Sateen Sheet Set has earned a cult following for its smooth feel and elegant look, thanks to the material’s wrinkle resistance and subtle sheen. The sheets are breathable but have a bit of weight to them, so they’re best for cold weather. The set comes with a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases and is sold in seven subdued shades, like ivory and pale blue. ($455+)  

Peacock Alley

A throw blanket for every season…

This two-toned, reversible blanket is made of a cotton-acrylic blend with an ultra-soft, brushed texture (like lamb’s ear). It’s “somehow warm in the winter and cool in the summer,” according to one customer, so you can keep it out year-round. Whip-stitched detailing and rounded edges give it an understated, elegant look — the interiors equivalent of quiet luxury. Depending on the size you pick up, this works well as the top layer for your bedding or as a throw blanket for the couch. It’s machine washable and can be dried on low heat, as a bonus. ($205+

Live Smarter

Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter. Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.