Grow up and put your clothes on

Two weeks ago, when I arrived back at CAE from my trip to Key West, I saw an unusual sight in the baggage claim area. A woman had brought two children to greet an arriving man — husband and father probably, but I have no way of knowing — and the kids were in their pajamas. Fine. Made sense, I suppose, being a little before 9 p.m.

But here’s the thing — the woman I took to be the Mom was in her bathrobe and slippers. Presumably, also pajama-clad beneath the robe.

This seemed a bit much. It’s not like the arrival was not scheduled, and/or was taking place at 3 a.m.

Then, I ran across this on the Web:

Pajamas are on the rise. Across the land, according to the Wall Street Journalteenagers have taken to wearing PJs all day, even in public—even to school! Apparel companies like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle are cashing in on the trend, stocking their stores with leggings and sweatpants and other comfortable, flowy, elastic waistbanded apparel. Pajamas are even popping up in high fashion: Here’s Sofia Coppola happily, gorgeously stepping outside during the day in Louis Vuitton pajamas, and here’s designer Rachel Roy attending a movie premiere in her own brand of jammies. Last week Shopbop.com, a women’s clothing site that tracks new “looks,” exhorted its customers to “get comfortable with pajama dressing.” Among its wares were several silk blouses selling for more than $200 each; a pair of silk drawstring plaid pants with elastic cuffs for $495; and these $845 (!) wide-leg print pants constructed out of sateen, a fabric that I think is mostly used to make bed sheets.

As you might expect, a whole lot of silly and just-plain-mean people aren’t happy about this nascent pajama craze. A number of school districts have banned sleeping clothes on the theory that they somehow inhibit students’ motivation. The idea, I guess, is that taking the time to dress up for school makes you ready to learn—which sounds plausible until you think about it for five seconds. Isn’t spending time worrying about what you’ll wear an even bigger distraction from academics?

Some people are so upset with pajamas they want to bring in the law. Michael Williams, a commissioner in Louisiana’s Caddo Parish, won national headlines a few weeks ago by calling for a ban on pajamas in public. Under Williams’ proposed ordinance, people caught wearing pajamas—which he defines as clothes sold in the sleepwear section of department stores—would be forced to perform community service. (I wonder if they would be required to wear orange jumpsuits—which look like very comfortable pajamas—while serving their sentences.) Williams told the Journal that the daytime pajama trend signaled America’s dwindling “moral fiber,” and then added a nutty slippery-slope argument to bolster his point: “It’s pajamas today; what is it going to be tomorrow? Walking around in your underwear?”

Precisely. And there’s nothing nutty about it, given that that’s precisely what I wear to bed, and I’m guessing a lot of guys are with me on that. I have only this to say about the PJ trend: I don’t hold with it. I mean, come on, people — make an effort. Count me among the “silly and just-plain-mean people.” Somebody’s gotta draw a line somewhere.

There are related phenomena which I will also decry. Saturday night, I saw an SNL rerun from just before Christmas. The musical guest was someone unfamiliar to me, a Michael Bublé. He is apparently a crooner who aspires to the Sinatra-to-Tony Bennett spectrum. Although I’m thinking Andy Williams-Wayne Newton is more like his speed.

Anyway, he was perched on a barstool with a microphone, dressed in black tie. Which was appropriate, this being well after 6 p.m. But here’s the thing: He hadn’t shaved in a day or two. And if his close-cropped hair had ever known a comb, it was not obvious. He kept smiling at the audience in this particularly smarmy manner, and all I could think was, Hey, you want to ingratiate yourself? Take a minute to shave. It’s not that freaking hard. It takes less time than putting on a tux. Give it a try.

I really don’t know what is supposed to be achieved with the “I can’t be bothered to shave” look. It wasn’t even careful, Sonny Crockett can’t be bothered to shave. It was actually like he got up that morning and looked in the mirror and said, Nah. Not gonna do it. I’m just going on live national TV, and my thing is to look like somebody from the 40s, when men were carefully barbered, but nah…

Back to the PJ thing. Ladies, if that’s what you want to do, go for it. But be advised — full-length PJs are not a good look, for anybody.

As for guys, I’ve gotta ask — how many guys even wear pajamas to sleep? I’m thinking, not that many. I mean, what’s underwear for? I know that nobody wants to see me in public in what I wear in the sack, and I respect that. So should everybody else.

23 thoughts on “Grow up and put your clothes on

  1. KP

    I see tons of FMU students in pajamas. It’s jarring, really, and I never hesitate to point them out to the class, but I secretly think it’s a great idea. Learn in comfort.

    Reply
  2. Jackie Perrone

    Surely you have noticed the :fashionable: trend for male TV and movie stars to sport a two-day growth of beard. It’s everywhere. I always how they keep a consistent two days’ worth.

    Reply
  3. Gary Karr

    This is what happens when there’s no more primary to cover and the General Assembly is not doing much. Brad writes about his underpants.

    Reply
  4. Joanne

    Very passive-aggressive of the woman at the airport in pajamas. She didn’t want to be there but wouldn’t say it.

    She made her point.

    Reply
  5. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Jackie Perrone–back in Miami Vice days, when the stubble first became a “thing” they sold electric razors that would maintain that perfect length….and you can buy Jonathan Dirt for your hair.

    Reply
  6. Silence

    When I was a child, not so long ago, people got dressed up to go to the airport. When I flew, I’d wear a sport coat, shirt and tie, and slacks. Nowadays they’ll let any shliemel onto an airplane, and people can’t even bring themselves to be dressed up to go out in public. I see people in PJ’s at the shopping mall, or the grocery store. It’s fairly ridiculous. Why, yesterday I even saw a man walking down Main St. without a hat! What is this world coming to.

    Reply
  7. bud

    There’s one guy in the Shandon area who has decided to skip all the intermediate steps and just go in public naked. Is that what all this is coming to? Let’s hope not.

    Reply
  8. SusanG

    A couple of years ago I was in England during a heat wave, and we were walking down High Street in Chipping Campden when we saw a man dressed in a shirt and tie – but no pants, not acting lewdly, just getting things from the trunk of his car. We still talk about “the man with no pants” (in a British accent). And the lady with no shirt — just an industrial-strength bra, obviously not meant for public display — in Keswick. Well, it was really hot.
    I wear PJs to drop my child off at school sometimes, and just hope I don’t have to get out of the car….

    Reply
  9. Steven Davis

    “Why, yesterday I even saw a man walking down Main St. without a hat! What is this world coming to.”

    Was he walking around wearing flip up shades and a bowtie and oblivious to anything around him because he was too busy typing into his Twitter machine?

    Reply
  10. Steven Davis

    “I wear PJs to drop my child off at school sometimes, and just hope I don’t have to get out of the car….”

    Does it really take that much effort to put on a pair of pants? June Cleaver would have her makeup and hair done before the kids came down for a homemade breakfast.

    Reply
  11. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Steven Davis–June Cleaver had a team of hair and makeup and wardrobe people.

    Actually, back when women had their hair did once a week, it was somewhat easier to get where you needed to go suitably coiffed, although the undergarments and hosiery situation were less favorable. One did not wear slacks!

    Reply
  12. SusanG

    @Kathryn We were never sure what he was wearing, as we didn’t look twice as we walked by, but the general consensus was that it was no trousers, no pants, but some sort of truss. But I really can’t say, as we were laughing so hard that we really couldn’t see clearly.

    Reply
  13. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – No she didn’t, it was just Ward, Wally and Theodore in the house with her.

    The good ol’ days, mothers stayed home, kept the house clean, baked cookies, had dinner on the table and spent the day making sure they looked pretty for their husband.

    See what happens when women join the workforce? They drive around in their pajamas and neglect their hair.

    Reply
  14. Silence

    @ SusanG – I recall the day you are referring to very clearly. There I was, on High Street in Chipping Campden. It was very hot, and the climate control in the Bentley had stopped functioning. I had just finished with a visit to my solicitor, and was on my way to lunch at the club. Much to my suprise, while retrieving my attache case from the boot, I realized that my valet had forgotten to dress me in my pants! You can, of course, imagine my embarrassment, a gentleman of my stature, of course, should not be walking around on High Street, pants-less. What could I do, though, but to keep calm, and carry on, as they say. I pretended that nothing was wrong, and proceeded to dine at my club, where of course noone mentioned the situation, they were all far too polite. Later that day, after a few more errands, I returned home to a most embarrassed and apologetic valet. Of course I had no choice but to let him go after that debacle. Good help is so hard to find these days…

    Reply
  15. Brad

    Silence, did you give him a character? I should think not. Don’t know what’s happened to pride in being in service. I think the Great War ruined them. Blast the Hun…

    Reply
  16. `Kathryn Fenner

    Ekshully, Steven–it’s most likely the stay-at-home moms who are in PJs and mussed hair, doncha think?

    Reply
  17. `Kathryn Fenner

    I do understand how that happens–some days I have grungy stuff to do, so I don’t want to get all cleaned up to do dirty work. Then I have to run out to get something and yuck.

    I do recall Brad’s not being freshly shaven the day we rang the bell for the SA….

    Reply
  18. SusanG

    @Silence, so sorry, it was rude of us to notice, but we are Americans, and not to the manor born.

    You all are too funny!

    Reply
  19. Steven Davis

    Well June didn’t seem to have a problem making herself presentable, I mean she wore pearls to garden, clean out closets and wash dishes with Ward.

    Brad’s barber was probably off that day.

    Reply
  20. Silence

    @ SusanG – Honestly, it’s quite all right to speak of it now. Frankly, I was much more embarrassed the day I was in the Papuan highlands and left the treehouse, completely forgetting my koteka! Needless to say, I was so ashamed that I haven’t been back since!

    Reply
  21. `Kathryn Fenner

    Conan’s Harvard Commencement speech, wherein he says, “Once, just once, you forget that your underwear goes on inside your pants, and it’s ‘well I didn’t go to Harvard, but I know…”

    Well, I didn’t go to Oxbridge, but I know that one’s trousers and one’s pants go on over one’s truss….

    Reply

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