Let's talk about the stigma of fashion, in particular the stigmas about how what you wear shapes outsider perspectives on your personhood. You like to rock designer labels? You're showing off your wealth. You wear Doc Martens and black tights? You're punk rock. Saggy pants? You're into Hip Hop. And so on and so on and so on. It's a tricky thing to navigate, regardless of if you are thing you are perceived to be, there's already a prejudice attached to you because of your presentation. It's the brutal dichotomy tacked onto to women: a skirt too short means you're promiscuous. As a girl, I've never cared very much about being seen as slutty. My sexual openness isn't anything I find shameful and if I'm seen as such, that's a problem for the eye of the beholder, not myself. In high school, when I was still trying very hard to be a SC3N3 QU33N, I'd wear stocking with holes all over them, much to the contention of my grandma. "You look like a whore", she'd say. "Yea? Well, maybe I am".
All that nonchalance about my identity as a sexual person was always dangerously juxtaposed by my careful guardedness over my identity as a black woman. Instilled in me since birth, were a strict set of behaviors I was supposed to follow to avoid the become the taboo, the cliche, the negative: Ghetto. It's a stigma that can be found in every middle or upper class black family: don't be loud, don't be boisterous, be proud, but not too proud that you make other's uncomfortable, speak proper, speak soft, keep your anger at bay. It's a tightrope walk of learning how to act in different social settings, it has a name: code-switching. It's something that extends far beyond the confines of speech, right down to the way you dress. I remember sitting in the car one day at twelve, in front of a supermarket watching three girls only a few years older than me walked out of the market, with loud laughter a bag of hot fries shared between them, all wearing their pajama bottoms. "Now those," my grandma said, "those are the kind of people that make it harder for us. You can't have respect for yourself if you leave the house in your pajamas".
Similarly, Lagerfeld has famously said the same thing about sweatpants, "Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants". And while, it would seem that a girl as lazy as I am (as I've already divulged in my last post) should own a healthy supply of them, I have an aversion to them for the same reason. I know I'm a lazy slob, but for the longest time, I've been uncomfortable being seen as such. As I plummer further into adulthood, I'm learning to care much, much less. All of these previous prejudices against sweatpants and pajamas alike have made gawk in horror and later a morbid curiosity at the slow embrace of these formally taboo fashion faux pas. The more I see pajama pants on the bottoms of some of my favorite bloggers, in editorials, and on the runway, I'm steadily becoming curious to step out of my comfort zone and give it a shot. I can't help but also feel suspicious about the double standard still afflicted. There is still that oft chance that still, no matter how I've chosen to style pjs, I'll still be seen as something else. But, like my skirts that go too far up my thighs, that judgement is someone else's problem, not mine.
Top: Zara, Pants: Fruit of the Loom, Shoes: Zara, Sunnies: Forever 21, Bag: Zara
Slippers and pajamas in fact, have been appearing outside the bedroom since Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn wore them as androgynous loungewear. Hugh Hefner accessorized his PJs and bathrobe adroitly with a pipe and cravat. (Careful accessorizing is a key element of success in the pajamas-in-public look.) Pajamas had a moment in the 1980s when designer Marc Jacobs—one of the globe’s major trendsetters for the past quarter century—was earning his chops. Mr. Jacobs, who has been gadding about in PJs for years, has probably played a role in keeping this look smoldering for long enough that it seems poised to become a fashion perennial. For Restless Sleepers was launched two years ago by Francesca Ruffini, who says she designed them because they’re the clothes she likes to wear casually. Ms. Ruffini, whose husband, Remo Ruffini, is chief executive of Moncler, makes pajamas in fine silks and cottons from Como, Italy, that are so well tailored that they border on being pantsuits.Two London labels—Yolke, and Sundays London— have nailed the crossover appeal, making roomy but sleekly tailored pajama sets intended to be worn to bed or out on the town. Plenty of designers—Thakoon, Alexander Wang, Dolce & Gabbana and other labels—have been sprinkling pajamas fit for public wearing into their collections.
For more affordable versions, try pieces from Topshop or Zara. Customer reviews of Anthropologie’s “Chirpy” loungers—pajama pants with an eccentric bird print (unfortunately sold out) show that the pants were worn on planes and to run errands despite being billed as “sleep pants.” Some brands are riffing off the theme, such as Club Monaco, with its “Pajama Piqué Polo” shirt, which has PJ-like piping at the collar, sleeves and pocket.
If you're looking to rock this trend, remember to accessorize conservatively. Go light on the jewelry. Those jams should be the center of attention. Dressy heels or flat sandals are a must. And don’t pair them with bedroom slippers. Add a belt or sash for a more fitted look. Layer a dressy blazer over them to tighten the look up, or add a fine-gauge sweater.