PYJAMA REVOLUTION by Stef Portersmith

OK I confess. I spend more time in my pyjamas than I used to. Lockdown has awakened the sloven in me, and perhaps in more of us than would care to admit it.


But why not? It is mere convention to change out of our sleep attire and into ‘day clothes’, and since when has cutting edge fashion followed convention? But Pyjamas as daywear is not such a radical idea. The pāy-jāma (Hindi word for leg-garment) is known to have been worn in West and South Asia since the 13th century. The British adopted pyjamas from the Indian subcontinent, where they are still worn as unisex daywear.


Pyjamas are comfy! Possibly the comfiest outfit of all time! When one considers the restrictive clothing that people in the West, particularly women, have borne in past centuries, is it any wonder that the pāy-jāma was embraced by the Raj Brits who adapted the style for men’s sleepwear.
Pyjamas were not for women though. Trousers were off-limits for women for most of Western history and even when pyjamas became popular at the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries, they were only for men. But the times they were a-changing.


Pyjamas were about to revolutionise life for women. In the 1920s, women started to wear pyjamas for lounging at home, and for entertaining. The trend ventured outside on vacation and women wore beach pyjamas.
Even though trousers were still frowned upon for women in other scenarios, it wasn’t long before beach pyjamas evolved into stylish wide-legged pants for all occasions and women were gradually freed from the cultural constraints of skirts and dresses.

pyjamas for women, origin of the word pyjamas, womens pyjamas, loungewear


Finally, it was OK for Western women to wear trousers of all styles. Pyjamas reverted to loose pants and jacket sets specifically for wearing to bed.
It is our bed pyjamas we are guiltily wearing during the days of lockdown. Not everybody feels the guilt. Some people visit the supermarket in pyjamas without shame. They are judged for it and some supermarkets have banned people in pyjamas. It isn’t really socially acceptable.
Yet, why not wear pyjamas to the supermarket? If they are smart and fresh, how are they different from other garments?


Things might be about to change. Priya Elan in a men’s fashion piece for The Guardian on 26 Feb 2021 observes that
…loungewear – that’s pyjamas – has been going up in the world. No less than Mark Ronson and Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye have worn them out in public. When red carpets were still a thing, we saw lots of pyjama-outfit hybrids, from Billie Eilish in a grown-up romper suit at the Grammys (actually custom-made Gucci) to actors LaKeith Stanfield and Mahershala Ali wearing “robe suits” (which look like something Sean Connery’s James Bond might have worn when he was, you know, chilling).
However, he also adds
no matter how smart it looks, I would be hesitant to leave the house dressed like this: it’s too close to one of those anxiety dreams, the ones where you accidentally walk into the road wearing your jim-jams.

Still. I love pyjamas and I propose a daytime pyjama revolution. Comfort as the top priority. And pyjamas are the perfect canvas for beautiful prints and designs that shouldn’t be hidden away in bed at night.
Jim Jams are where it’s at.

by Stef Portersmith 04/03/21

References:
Origins of Pajamas | Love to Know | Beauty and Style
Your new two-piece? A pair of retro classy pyjamas | Men's fashion | The Guardian

We love this blog by Steph Portersmith from Well Arty. If you would like to join the 'Pyjama Revolution' and need some fabulous pyjamas to do it in, you are invited to browse our range at Rowan Charles. They give you comfort and class! I dare say you might get away with going to the supermarket in them?! Let us know what you think. ;)


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