The Evolution of Pajamas and Three Different Types

Adult pajama onesies

The word and the concept of a pajama have their origin in the British Empire?s colonization of India, with the word especially winding an especially circuitous route to reach the modern version. Originally, pajamas were simply a drawstring pant, then brought back to Britain as a lounge pant, and eventually catching on as fashionable male sleeping attire around 1870. The influence of Victorian England carried this fad around the world, turning it into far more, as evidenced by the recent poll reporting that 74% of Americans claim to wear pajamas to bed. Following are three broad classifications of pajamas in addition to some of their influence on culture.

  1. Traditional Pajamas: Called ?night suits? in South Asia and South Africa, these are the stereotypical trouser and button down shirt/jacket. They are supposed to be made of soft material like flannel or even silk, although these days the end product is some blend of synthetic fabric. Although sold as sets, in general, a large proportion of the men who own these types of pajamas only wear the bottom half. Interestingly, that image is used in media as the uniform of both the attractive, casual man and the slovenly type that disgusts the protagonist in whatever tv show or film is involved.
  2. Modern/Contemporary: These are all of the adaptations that have evolved from the original version to meet a wide array of needs and tastes. Sleeve length varies among these, as does the length of the pant. The final product may be one piece or two, and even have built in socks, making them footed pajamas. Parents know childrens footed pajamas well, since one of the things that makes being a parent worthwhile is watching your bow-legged baby running down a hall in footed pajamas. There are also footed pajamas for adult women and adult men, but the adults are not as cute in them as the children, so they have not found such an easy market. In recent years, however, there has been a growing number of items that are more costume than one piece pajama.
  3. Daywear: Most people have seen a girl walking around a mall or grocery store in cute pink pants with some cat saying hello all over them, but rarely does an observer actually think she must be about to go to bed because she has pajamas on. No, the pajama has once again become a lounge pant, going back more toward the original meaning, although involving a lot pink cartoon characters than would generally have been seen in India during its occupation.

Few items of clothing will every reach the level of childrens footed pajamas, but pajamas in general have gone from obscure trend to a product that is worn everywhere in the world in less than 150 years. So, no what form womens sleepwear takes or whether mens footed pajamas latch on to the degree of childrens footed pajamas or not, the fact that pajamas are here to stay remains undeniable.