Sara Pauff: Should you wear pajamas in public?

January 23, 2012 

Next time you decide to go grocery shopping in pajama pants, remember: I’m judging you.

Pajama pants have their virtues. They’re comfy. They’re warm. They advertise your love for cartoon characters, the color pink or your favorite football team. They’re good for sleeping in or lounging on your couch on the weekends.

But once you get off your couch and decide to go out into the world, you should put on some real pants -- ones that don’t have a waistband with a drawstring.

There are days when I wish I could do my job wearing yoga pants and a ratty T-shirt. I settle for wearing comfortable dress slacks, sweaters and jeans to the office whenever possible. The way you dress reflects you as a person. Sweatpants may say “comfort” to you, but to others, they say “lazy.”

Sadly, I don’t think this trend of shabby bedroom chic is going away soon. Wearing pajamas and lounge wear in public has become so popular that Abercrombie & Fitch now offers sweatpants in three different styles: classic banded, boyfriend banded and super skinny. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the retailer also offers tips on its website for dressing up the pants, like pairing them with a tank top and blazer -- because even if you just rolled out of bed, style is still important.

The trend of pajamas in public also explains the popularity of items like the Forever Lazy, a onesie for adults, and Pajama Jeans. I’ll never understand why someone felt the need to combine jeans and pajamas, both of which are perfectly comfortable on their own.

But outrage over new fashion trends goes back long before people wore pajamas to the grocery store.

There was a time when women couldn’t be seen in public without a corset. In the 1950’s blue jeans were considered a symbol of rebellion and non-conformity, so some schools banned them. More recently, several communities across the country have banned or tried to ban sagging pants. And in Caddo Parish, La., commissioner Michael Williams wants to put an end to my pet peeve of public pajama wearing by fining those who step out in sleepwear.

“Today it’s pajamas,” Williams told the Shreveport Times. “Tomorrow it’s underwear. Where does it stop?”

I understand his concern, but do we really need a law telling people what not to wear? If you’re going to fine anyone who wears pajamas in public, why not also fine people who wear leggings as pants or socks with sandals? Let’s go even further and tell tall women they can’t wear heels and that no one over the age of 30 has the right to wear a mini skirt.

Go ahead and break out your bunny slippers. You’ve got the freedom to wear what you want. I’ve also got the right to judge you for it.

--Contact Sara Pauff at 706-320-4469 or spauff@ledger-enquirer.com. For more commentary, read her 20-something blog

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