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By Travis Artz
We live in stressful times, and entire industries have evolved and grown around the idea that every now and then, we need to wind down. We need to relax. We need to recuperate from the daily chaos that is working and families and chores and housework and pets and commuting and finances and… well, you get the picture.
Where guys might typically turn to video games or a football game on the nearest big screen television to chill out, women tend to gravitate toward more subtle methods of winding down from a stress-filled day. In place of that blaring TV are things like scented candles, a whirlpool bath, a glass of wine and best of all, a set of comfortable pajamas. Nothing says relaxation and comfort like a good set of pajamas.
Of course, while home theatres and video games have been around only for a matter of decades, pajamas have been a fixture on the clothing scene for much longer than that. Just as with Men’s Bath Robes, there has been plenty of time to perfect this gear.
Women’s pajamas were noted in Western culture as early as the 1600s in Portugal, but the real trigger for adoption was probably the wave of British colonialism in Asia during the 18th and 19th centuries. Indian men and women had been wearing two-piece outfits known as ‘Payjamas’ (or leg garments) for centuries, and the British began to adapt these garments for their own use. Before too long, the trendy new style was making its way westward.
Pajamas became the name for loose fitting, comfortable, two piece sleeping or lounging outfits and they soon became extremely popular with European men. Pajamas for women eventually became fashionable as well, and in 1920, pajamas suddenly hit the big time. British men and women were wearing pajamas, not only for sleeping, but also as fashion statements. An explosion of fabrics, colors and patterns could be found and there were reports of people even wearing their flashy new pajamas at social events. This pinnacle of pajama popularity lasted for several years before eventually fading away, but by that time, pajamas had become firmly entrenched as a sleepwear and loungewear option, rivaling the popularity of traditional nightgowns.
Women’s pajamas have not changed radically since the 1920s, at least in terms of the general concept, but during that time they have evolved. There are many more styles to choose from, for one thing, with the addition of shorts and short-sleeved options and all sorts of mix and match variations. The name ‘pajamas’ has changed now and then, with ‘jammies’ and ‘PJs’ joining the list of common alternatives. The variety of fabrics and weaves now used to make pajamas can be mind-boggling: traditional cottons and flannels, satin, silk, velour and synthetic materials such as polyester and fleece. Shoppers have far more to choose from now than they ever did.
History can be very circular, especially where fashion is involved. Once again, pajamas are becoming popular as lounge wear and are being seen worn by women outside of their homes. Maybe not at parties or nightclubs (like the 1920s), but PJs wearers have been spotted in grocery stores and malls. It’s hard to blame people when pajamas have become such a symbol of relaxation and are available in such a variety of choices.
About the Author: Travis Artz writes for
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