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History of Pyjamas


As winter draws ever closer and we prepare to spend our evenings snuggled on the sofa in our favourite pair of pyjamas the team at Deshabille have been wondering; where exactly do our beloved pjs hail from? And how did pyjamas come to be such a crucial element of our wardrobe that celebrities can now be seen wearing them on the red carpet and womenswear bible Vogue dresses their cover girl in them? 



So we did a bit of research.....

However you chose to spell the word, pyjamas, pajamas or pjs the origins remain the same. Modelled on the traditional harem pant, pyjamas came to us from the East and take their name from the Persian word Payjama, meaning simply ‘leg garment’.


Men were first to jump on the pyjamas bandwagon in 1870. By the 1890s the pyjama pant and top had replaced the night-shirt they traditionally wore, and by the 1930s they were an integral part of the male wardrobe. Considered elegant evening attire, gentlemen would lounge around their homes at night in the finest cotton pjs and silk striped pyjamas with a dressing gown stylishly draped on top.


For women the journey was a little slower with our preferences leaning towards the more feminine nightgown as opposed to the seemingly masculine pyjama. Luckily Coco Chanel's elegant lounging and beachwear pyjamas soon convinced women that a well cut pyjama pant and top were a far more preferable and stylish alternative to nighties and nightgowns. 


From then on pyjamas continued to grow in popularity with both sexes. Men wore pyjamas almost exclusively and in fabrics such as cotton, twill and flannelette; with checked and striped pyjamas proving to be the most popular. For women, the invention in 1960 of the ‘palazzo pajamas’, wide legged pyjama pants made from silk, made the pyjama a firm fixture on the 60s fashion scene and a stylish womenswear choice for evening events. 


Wikipedia states that "Contemporary pajamas are derived from traditional pajamas. There are many variations in style such as short sleeve pajamas, pajama bottoms of varying length, or, on occasion, one-piece pajamas, and pajamas incorporating various materials. In many English-speaking nations pyjamas are two piece garments worn chiefly for sleeping but also for lounging. They are often worn as comfort wear even when not in bed, and are also sometimes worn as a fashion statement. Some people have started to wear pajama pants in public as fashion." We love this!


In China it is commonplace for adults to wear their pyjamas out and about in their local neighbourhood come late afternoon or evening and who here amongst us hasn't made that all important dash for milk/coffee/sugar in our pjs at least once or twice because lets face it, they were just too comfortable to take off!


So there you have it, a brief history of pyjamas (or pajamas or pjs) and heres to our pyjamas, they're comfy, cosy, and frankly we couldn't live without them!

Long live pyjamas!


April 6, 2013

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