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PJs at the Movies and Social Mores!?!

I cannot understand why some people go to the movies in PJs. Is it just about comfort?


Driving to the grocery store yesterday on a mundane errand run, I turned the radio on to keep me company. Typically, I scan through the band until my brain lands on something engaging.


A podcast came up that I wasn't familiar with. I didn't catch the host's name and couldn't listen for long because I was nearing my destination. The moderator described how he and his wife recently went to the movie theater and were stunned to see a young couple wearing pajamas. He found it inappropriate. Would I find this offensive? I would not be particularly comfortable with it-- although 'offensive' is too strong of an adjective.


I parked my car and thought about the broadcast. Would I wear pajamas to a movie or grocery store? No, of course not! However, I saw a middle-aged woman wearing PJs in a Seattle grocer not too long ago. Thinking about the significance of how one dresses in public might seem trivial but it speaks to the current societal mindset--anything goes. Don't we have the right to wear what we want to?


A person is completely covered up wearing PJs. It's not like the couple or the grocery shopper were exposed. Call me old-fashioned, but despite this, I believe wearing PJs should be limited to the privacy of your home.


Going out in pajamas or a robe is not restricted to a younger demographic. A former next-door neighbor of mine, a lady in her 60s, had a daily habit of going to her mailbox in her bathrobe. This is not an ageist attitude on my end. I think for any of us, irrespective of gender, orientation or age, it is safer to be dressed in street clothes when out in public.


But Hugh Hefner didn't think wearing PJs outside was a bad idea. The old-school Playboy icon was always adorned in red silk pajamas including on The Girls Next Door and in or out of his home. Hefner might have popularized the trend early on. Part of the message he conveyed was, "I want to be comfortable" in all areas of life. Over the past decade, there has been a debate about what is appropriate or comfy to wear out in public and what is socially acceptable.


 I admit, I enjoy wearing my yoga pants and T-shirt when I'm out and about casually. Yet wearing a yoga pant or sweatpants in public is not wearing your PJs. My favorite clothing item is my buttery-feeling bamboo pajamas gifted by my brother, stylish and comfy, but I would not wear them anywhere but at home.


Lifestyle consultant Clinton Kelly seems to agree with me. Kelly told CNN, “We are continuing, as a culture, on this downward spiral of style. I think that there will always be a group of people, a strong percentage of the population, who will care about their appearance. But now we have permission not to care."


Clothing is an expression of personality and what you wear sends a message. To me, wearing pajamas does not jive with going out in public.


I am for personal choice. But there is a time and place for everything. The most successful artists like Rhianna, Shakira, Taylor Swift and Beyonce perform on stage in front of millions wearing very revealing outfits. Sex sells but the focus should be on the talent that these performers have, rather than gratuitous exhibitionism. Their style is acceptable but can potentially distract from a more significant message the artist is trying to convey. Just my take. For now, my pajamas will stay home with me.


Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


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Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, Nirati, and for your thoughtful comments! Despite my discomfort with the idea of wearing PJs out and about, it is OK to have "permission to not care," and wear what you want to.

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Love this article! I think the topic was very engaging to read about, and as someone in Gen Z, it was interesting to see how people in older generations look at it. Whether we like it or not, appearance affects perception, and although it is currently "acceptable" to wear pajamas in public, it subconsciously affects how we view people - the quote of having "permission to not care" is particularly helpful in highlighting that.

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