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What Kind of Pajamas Do You Blog In?

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Bloggers are always getting accused of sitting around the house in their pajamas spouting off opinions. I suppose this is because you can’t take the opinions of someone wearing pajamas too seriously. What these folks don’t realize is the glorious history of the pajama and the qualities which make it the ideal form of clothing for deep and penetrating thought.

When talking about pajamas I don’t include pajama ‘tops’. Those weird button-down pseudo jackets are a stylistic and historic aberration and aren’t properly part of pajamas at all. They’re something a marketing guy added on in the 1950s to raise the price of the pajamas for sales in department stores. A good cotton t-shirt does a way better job of topping your pajamas. Traditionally pajamas are just the comfy, cotton drawstring pants. The term originates long ago in India where pajamas or pyjamas were loose-fitting hemmed pants which tied at the waist. Because they were so comfortable this style of pant spread all over the east and was eventually brought back to England by the nabobs who returned from colonial service and brought their favorite pants with them. They caught on fast in America as well where people were getting awfully tired of the work and humiliation involved in wearing longjohns – pajamas broke the tyrrany of the butt-flap.

What made pajamas the international clothes sensation of the 19th century was their versatility and comfort. Pajamas were not designed or intended exclusively for sleep. They’re multi-purpose, designed to wear all the time for work, sleep or lounging about munching melon and sucking on your houkah. Easy to put on, easy to take off. No need for a belt or suspeenders. The ultimate in practical legwear. Those qualities account for the recent pajama renaissance and their popularity among bloggers. It’s easier to think great thoughts when you’re not constricted by heavy fabrics, zippers, belts and the need to avoid wrinkling a fine fabric. Admittedly, some Victorians looked on pajamas as a bit decadent, but they couldn’t resist the tide of change, and by the 1890s they were ubiquitous, favored by the intellectuals of the Roaring 90s, the perfect clothing for informal wear while reading Oscar Wilde. From there on, into the 20th and 21st centuries pajamas have been a fixture of the leisure wardrobe.

When you go out to buy some pajamas to blog in be aware that not all pajamas are created equal. While there are many fine pajamas out there, watch out for imposters of inferior quality and materials and keep in mind that price isn’t always an accurate measure of quality. There are certain characteristics you want to be sure your pajamas have. They should be made of 100% cotton as they have been down the ages. Cotton breathes, it doesn’t mind being wrinkled, and it’s soft and skin-friendly. They need a good, loose fit in the leg so you can sit in the lotus position in front of your monitor. A drawstring is a must, but the modern innovation of an elastic waist is a big plus. Another very desirable feature is pockets. You need someplace to keep the remote control, some snacks and a copy of Chariman Mao’s Little Red Book.

As a result of my own quest for the ideal blogging pajamas I can give you some guidance. First off, avoid pajamas from big name designers. The pajama is a simple garment and when you start adding bells and whistles and fancy features the simple functionality suffers. Plus, what kind of credibility can you have if you blog in Ralph Lauren PJs? The best Pajamas are low-priced and available in stores with proprietary brands. Simple garments, made for comfort and sold at an appropriate price. One warning. Don’t try to shop for them online. Because they’re a low-priced item they tend to get left out of online catalogs, plus PJs are all about comfort, so getting hands-on with the fabric is an absolute must.

For winter wear the pajama of choice is cotton flannel. The best source bar none for cotton flannel pajamas is J. C. Penney. Penney’s house brand – St. John’s Bay – makes an excellent flannel pajama in lots of colors and patterns. They fit well, have elastic waists as well as draw strings, have fantastic deep pockets and are toasty warm. The pattern selection is nice, including both plaids and stripes, though the overall color selection is a bit dark. Stripes are rather reminiscent of pirate pantaloons, and in fact I altered a pair into knickers for a Halloween pirate costume. Another option for winter is silk pajamas, but I have yet to find any which I really like. They’re quite expensive and they actually insulate better than flannel and from my experience with them they make me sweat, and that really defeats the whole purpose of pajamas as a lifestyle choice.

For summer wear you need a light weight cotton, something like a poplin that breathes and doesn’t stretch or constrict too much. Old Navy has the best fabric in its summer weight PJs. I’ve never seen anything lighter, and the price is right since they always seem to have some on sale. The catch is that they don’t have pockets and there’s something wrong with the way they’re cut. The legs always seem to be just a little too long, no matter what size you are. Several of my family members have tried them and they always drag a bit. On the other hand they have some of the most fun patterns – not just plaids and stripes, but little devils and penguins and shamrocks and seasonal theme designs. The overall best I’ve found for lighter weight PJs are Cherokee brand which are carried at Target. They’re a nice lightweight poplin, have pockets, elastic waistbands and drawstrings. A good selection of patterns are availabe, though nowhere near as many as at Old Navy. Best of all, they seem to be cut a little looser in the leg and not quite as freakishly long, so they make a more comfortable fit. Overall they’re my pick for warmer weather.

Pattern and style may be an issue for you depending on your political persuasion. I’d recommend small, tight plaids for more conservative bloggers and some of the funkier Old Navy patterns for those of the liberal persuasion. Piratical stripes might work well for those who blog on techie topics. And some of the St. John’s Bay winter plaids are excellent if you’re a Scotts blogger looking for an authentic tartan look. And then there are always the silk pajamas if your topics are risque. They always looked good on Hef.

As for those who belittle pajama wearing pundits, I put their gripes down mostly to envy. They wish they could live the life of leisure which allows us to sit at the computer in our comfy and historic legware with brilliant insights circulating freely and unconstricted through our bodies. Don’t damn me for a sybarite when you know that deep in your heart of hearts you wish you could cast off the corporate shackles of suit and tie and lounge in some lovely PJs and let your thoughts roam free.

Dave

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://smallbusinesses.blogspot.com Anita Campbell

    Nice job! This is so funny.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Too bad boxer-blogging isn’t taking off – this could be the second boxer rebellion

  • Eric Olsen

    it’s too damn cold around here for such things

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    It was so cold earlier this year that I was wearing my flannel PJs under my blue jeans. Great way to keep warm.

    Dave

  • sydney

    I blog naked.

    but when I used to wear pajamas, I liked the tops best. Sorry DAve, yet again I can’t agree with you. I swear I’m not trying to be like this. :)

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Man, how can you like those tops? They’re so stiff and artificial.

    Dave

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    What you really want in the winter is pajama bottoms (mine have a design of cardinals on snowy branches, and they are flannel, Dave, so I totally agree).

    Then on top, you want a silk smoking jacket. That has the pockets, and you can leave it open for the buccaneer feeling, or close it tight for warmth. Plus, it also has a strong tradition of opinion-mongering attached to it. I mean, we took Hef seriously, didn’t we?

    Sydney, I don’t think we wanted to know that you blog naked, but doesn’t your butt get a grid from the chair fabric?

  • sydney

    Ya I admit the tops were never comfortable but they had style. Like a button up dress shirt for bed. It was a cool idea.

    I would mostly wear the tops with a pair of jeans on beneath. And that was liek my smoking jacket. just wear it around the house and whatnot..

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I think sydney has a ‘Hef Complex’. I prefer a more informal approach to blogging, and the PJ tops put me too much in mind of evening wear.

    Dave

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    Dave, I loved this! Fabulous, fabulous! I couldn’t tell when last I’ve worn pj’s…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    No PJs? We may have to kick you out of Bloggers International #505 for being out of official uniform.

    Dave

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    c’mon dave, there’s something to be said for ‘commando-blogging’.

    😉

  • http://www.fotolog.com/butki13 Scott Butki

    I think you should do a syndicated fashion column for B.C.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I was going to make this an ongoing series, until I started on “Vests: Better Than a Man Purse” and ran into all sorts of horrible problems. I’ve purchased about a gazillion vests of all weights and styles, and none of them is perfect – every one had some irritating defect. Then I discovered that many of the best ones had been discontinued by the manufacturers or replaced with new styles. It got very frustrating to try to tie the ones I was going to review to what was actually available in the marketplace. Plus it started to get insanely expensive. Orvis vests were bad enough, but then I discovered the entire vest niche market in England where you can buy vests for $500 or more – really nice ones – and it started to drive me mad as well as becoming manifestly impractical to do a comprehensive review. But perhaps I’ll return to it, or try something simpler, like pocket t-shirts.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    Dave, this is a great overview. I have to admit though that I’m a disgrace to the blogging community because I find pajamas too constricting and warm–even the summer line would be too much for me. NYC apartments are overheated in the winter and blazing hot in the summer, so I opt for a battered T-shirt, which also serves as sleepwear. But perhaps pajama bottoms would be more practical, since now I have to hurriedly don a pair of jeans to answer the door when the Chinese or pizza delivery man arrives.

    I did go on a pajama buying spree a year or two ago at Macy’s, and women’s pajamas are a whole other world. The patterns are usually reminiscent of what a girl would have worn as a small child–little sleepy crescent moons in a starlit sky, cuddly bears, and other undignified patterns. I wore a pair once and felt foolish.

    “Pajamas broke the tyranny of the butt-flap”–indeed! Just as video killed the radio star. I’ll have to give the whole pajama thing another whirl so I can hold my blogger head high.

  • Dave Nalle

    Elvira, I find myself tempted to wear PJs when I go out on errands, and have to resist. If I weren’t a slave to convention I’d go out daily dressed extremely strangely. But I would think that in your situation a lightweight cotton PJ bottom would work even with the heat going. Have you considered mens pajamas? They’re much less constricting – a lot of women wear them.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Dave, considering some of the unconventional couture you find on the streets of NYC, I doubt if I donned a spiffy pair of PJ’s that anyone would blink an eye. I’ve always loved men’s clothing anyway–it’s always better made–so that is something to consider…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Mens clothing may be better made, but I’m always seeing womens items in the stores which I find far more visually appealing, especially cute vests and jackets with embroidery and such which I wish they were making for men.

    Dave

  • http://www.fotolog.com/butki13 Scott Butki

    I do sweats and t-shirts. I haven’t owned a pair of pajamas since I was a teenager.

    I’d always pictured David in spiderman underoos so this item is a bit of a shock.

  • Dave Nalle

    Technically sweats are basically just pajamas for outdoor wear. They have all the same characteristics as the originals.

    If only thye made Spiderman Underoos in my size…

    Dave

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    I have to agree with Mr. Nalle’s assessment of pajama tops, but pajama bottoms? I wear ’em everywhere. (Though I am in sweatpants and my “Solidarność” T-shirt right now.) People have given me strange looks at the supermarket or the post office, but screw ’em. Dress codes are for mainstreamers.

    As to the matter of vests, so what if they are labeled “women’s”? If you like it and it fits, why not wear it? If a man wears it, it becomes a man’s vest.

    Reminds me of a conversation I had last week with my 9-year-old son’s best friend. There was something on TV where a man was wearing a skirt (not a kilt). He was horrified by what he saw, and I had to explain that convention was one thing, but people had the right to wear what they choose. If a guy wants to wear a skirt – or a cute embroidered vest- more power to him. (Naturally, the kid looked at me as if I were insane. Heavy sigh. It’s hard work trying to enlighten the conformist masses…)

    Power to the pajamas!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    A solidarity T-Shirt? What, was Che in the laundry?

    As for skirts and/or kilt, they do hold a certain attraction, but I’ve worn a kilt and found it distressingly drafty. I don’t think I could wear one regularly for the same reason I don’t wear boxers.

    Dave

  • Scott Butki

    Ok, I did not need to know that about you.
    Just glad I don’t know waht you look like so I dont have to imagine you with briefs instead of boxers.

  • Dave Nalle

    Did I say I wear briefs?

    Call me Mr. Commando?

    Dave

  • Scott Butki

    I figure if you notice draftiness in a kilt and you don’t like boxers then surely i’d have something on under the belt to make sure there isn’t way too much draft.

    The more I write about this the more I think I’m scared to meet you one day.

  • Dave Nalle

    That’s not the Scotts way.

    Dave

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Indeed.

    Interesting, the accents in #21 appeared perfectly in “preview.”

    No, Mr. Nalle, the Che shirt is clean. Today, I have on Spongebob pajama bottoms and a T-shirt that reads, “‘Phobes Suck.”

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I thought I knew all there was to know, now there’s types of pajamas!? Too much.

    If I ever blog wearing a robe, I know I’ll have sold out.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    ND, is it really right to say that those afflicted with a variety of phobias – admittedly treatable psychological conditions – ‘suck’? That seems awfully harsh. Those agoraphobes and claustrophobes need our help, not our hate.

    Dave

  • Scott Butki

    I think I, a Scott, knows the Scott’s way

    :)

  • Scott Butki

    What’s next?
    What kind of boxers or briefs do you blog in?

    What kind of soda do you drink while blogging?

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Only a particular type of ‘phobe, Mr. Nalle. I have nothing against most phobia sufferers (in fact, I am claustrophobic – and I certainly don’t suck).

    I used to quaff Pepsi, but having given that up, my blogging beverage of choice is either tea or coffee.

  • Dave Nalle

    But how do those who see the shirt know what kind of ‘phobes’ it refers to? It might be too subtle for the average viewer.

    Dave

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    I wear it at home and sleep alone. No one sees it save me (except for Pride day, when the reference becomes obvious).

  • Scott Butki

    I wear a “men of quality want women’s equality” shirt and get all kinds of interesting looks.

  • Adam

    Since my children were old enough to walk around..I started wearing PJ’s around the house. My wife, one day, went out and bought me silk pajamas. Can’t get enough. I must have 10 pair. I practically put them on the minute I get home. The best for comfort and can be worn year round. Just discovered nylon trict pajamas. Even better and more durable.

  • http://blog.buydfdesigns.com/ Ray D.

    Am relatively new to Blogging- hope this comment is taken as well-meaning and honest, even if a little self-promoting. I am a UI Designer at a really cool online men’s casual wear company with sleepwear and loungewear clothing lines called Laissez-Wear and Pookies – today I have on my red & black “Joy of Koi” patterned Pookies (drawstring pants with style). Last night, after my shower, I shucked off my towel and pulled on my Gold Coast Traveler SleepShirt (nothing else) and read blogs for a couple of hours in total comfort, but with good looking style. I sure do love my new job!

  • Don

    Great I love cotton pajamas….I fully agree. But in Asia no winter here so cotton all year round!

  • http://www.rovingjay.com Roving Jay

    I love my PJ weekends. It’s 4pm, and I’m in stripey pj’s with a white tee-shirt. It’s one of the benefits of blogging.

  • Amy

    As a professional blogger I am probably like most bloggers who probably sit at their computers in their track pants or pajamas. I’m currently wearing my flannel pj bottomas as i write this response.

  • Igor

    Target, soft cotton knitted sleeping shorts, black or midnight blue, elastic waist and drawstring, 2 pockets. $8 on sale. Softest black or blue T-shirt available for a top. $4 on sale.

    Have several of each of these available at all times.

    You can wear the soft woven cotton Target boxer shorts under the shorts for your convenience. $8 for a pack of 3 (Haynes or Fruit Of The Loom).

    Thus accoutered, you can not only blog but drive or walk to the store for a 25oz. Heinekens to cut the sour taste of coffee at 11AM. Wear a broadbrimmed hat for sun protection: Tilley is preferred, of course.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Kevlar.

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