People put a lot of thought into what they wear every day, but how much consideration goes into what is worn each night?
Some people strip down to nothing, while others fall into bed wearing what is convenient or clean (or not), but like anything else, whatever you are doing, it is important to always dress for the occasion.
We dress for success, adhere to a dress code at the office, or dress up for a date or social function. We may adorn our Sunday best for a more formal event, or dress down for the gym, but fashion and function no longer get the nighttime attention they once did, at lest as far as men are concerned. I recently shopped one of the oldest, and largest, department stores in the city, and could not find one complete pair of traditional pajamas. It’s enough to cause a sleepless night, particularly with this retailer’s fashion-forward focus.
Humans spend a significant amount of time in bed — sleeping away approximately a third of our lives — it’s only fitting that you dress for the time. For some people that means yesterday’s sweatpants and a threadbare T-shirt, togs more appropriate for yard work or painting the fence.
Why on earth would you dress like that for something as important as sleep? I wouldn’t dream of it. Your body craves rest as much as it does comfort. We all know how a bad night’s sleep can affect a good day at the office. Old workout clothes won’t cut it for me, I dress for the purpose in pajamas you see.
I won’t pass comment on those who chose to sleep in the raw. I do; have; and will again, sleep in the buff (depending on company and circumstance) and I will not argue that sleeping in the most natural state is truly pleasurable, unrestrictive, and quite necessary on certain occasions (summer’s heat and humidity being just one example). But for all intents and purposes, I am a pajamas man.
And I’m not at all trying to perpetuate any sort of playboy image. Hugh Hefner was famous for his smoking jackets and silk pajamas (he claimed to work at night, a lot, so the clothing was most practical), however I have not the budget, nor the affection, for silk (not on my body anyway). I like pajamas for the practicality, 100 per cent cotton that breathes and becomes more comfortable over time. Pajamas will last forever; if used solely for sleep there is little wear and tear as most of your nocturnal activity is mental and not physical.
I’m speaking, primarily, of men’s sleepwear here; the silk and style of women’s negligee has little to do with pajamas and purpose, at least in the present context.
Replacing the more unisex nightshirt in the late 1800s, the two-piece pajama option became a staple of a gentleman’s wardrobe by the 1930s. For the longest time it was not thought proper for women to wear pajamas, until Coco Chanel changed it up in the 1920s (about the same time her fabulous #5 perfume was introduced). Like many of her early designs, Chanel modeled her PJs after the men’s version; proof that the traditional nightwear can be quite fashionable indeed.
From the jersey knit Star Trek-styled PJs of my youth, to my present button up preference, the nightwear has been a part of my sleep routine since my mother’s ‘get ready for bed’ instructions included bath time and my jammies.
I used to travel for business, frequently, and PJs were essential when packing for a week on the road. Sleeping in strange beds night after night — hotel sheets never quite feel right and the mattresses were not always to your liking — you could always count on pajamas to make a bed feel more like home. The feeling of something familiar against your skin can make a great difference in both the quantity and quality of sleep you receive each night.
There is also a psychological advantage in dressing for bed. In removing your clothing you strip away the demons, dogma, and detritus of the day. Following a shower or bath, after scrubbing off all the sins and sanctimonious bullshit that has stuck to your skin, you button up freshly laundered PJs, slip between the sheets, and take the first steps from daytime busy to nighttime bliss.
Pajamas prepare you, mentally, for a few hours of sleep, and if you are lucky they dress you up for your dreams.