Fashion Moment: Pajamas

It seems like daytime pajamas are everywhere. As Milan Fashion Week wrapped up, reported on the different pajamas they spotted while monitoring street style. But pajamas weren’t just on the streets (or in the sheets), they were also on the runway, and even Target has a set of pajamas on prominent display. While it’s easy to assume that the trend for pajamas stems from our culture of work-at-home and casual, open lifestyles, but it actually goes farther back than that. Like much of our fashion culture, you can thank the women of the 1920s for making pajamas acceptable during the day.

Just as 1920s fashion made casual sportswear acceptable daywear for women, the 1920s saw the rise of “beach pajamas.” Of course, Coco Chanel was at the fore, wearing beach pajamas as early as 1918. It wasn’t until later in the twenties that they really took off. These pajamas were silky and patterned, two piece and one piece, or sometimes three-piece with a silky robe thrown over the shoulders. They were elegant and avant-garde – like much of the popular fashions of the 1920s, they stole from menswear making it doubly shocking to see women lounging on the beach in garments typically associated with men in the bedroom.

Beach pajamas in British Vogue June 12, 1929

Beach pajamas were an integral part of 1920s fashion, warranting its own display at the Fashion and Textile Museums 1920s Jazz Age exhibition last year. The styles we’re seeing on the runway and on the fashionable set aren’t that different from those that were worn in the Roaring Twenties. Silky and patterned, some with robes and others without, we see how fashion history repeats itself. For spring, many runways had at least one pajama set, while For Restless Sleepers featured an entire collection of pajamas. Dolce & Gabbana’s set was predictably loud, with large espresso makers and flowers on the pajamas and its set of playing cards on the robe. Victoria by Victoria Beckham kept it safe, with a simple pattern and traditional trousers and shirt while Christian Dior gave it a high fashion feel with a metallic gold material.


But it was Marni and Naeem Khan that did it best. Taking it to the next level, Marni covered pajamas with fur lined, sumptuous bathrobes that look both warm and cozy.  On the other end, Naeem Khan lent an elegant feel with a lace bustier and elegant rose-adorned robe with pristine white trousers. These are what dreams are made of.


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