In April, I was away with three close girlfriends, staying in a condo in Northern Michigan. After a big wonderful pasta dinner (thank you Monica), we couldn’t wait to get out of our now tight jeans and into our pajamas.
We all headed to our bedrooms to change. When we were back in the living room, each dressed in some mish-mash of comfortable, well worn loose sweatpants, T-shirts, and hoodies, my friend Robin laughed and said, “Remember the days when we only wore pajamas that matched?” We all laughed. I said, “Remember when we wore robes over our pajamas?” We laughed, again, and reminisced about how we once wore pajamas AND robes. Our mothers told us no well-mannered, respectful girl would travel without a bathrobe!
As a little girl, I remembered how exciting it was to get new cotton baby doll pajamas every summer, or in winter, a pair of new plaid PJs that looked like the ones my older brother got to wear. But my favorite, ever, were yellow flannel with little flowers on them. They were gathered at the wrist with a band of elastic, leaving an inch of ruffled flannel sitting on the back of my hand. I felt warm and loved in those pajamas!
One of my very earliest memories involves those PJs. I was three. It was the wee hours of the morning. I had just arrived at a hospital to have my tonsils out. My parents brought me there in those yellow flannel pajamas. When the nurse tried to put me in a blue hospital gown that had cowboys and Indians on it, I screamed bloody murder. Then, they gave me a shot. Next thing I knew, my tonsils were out. I was eating ice cream and could have cared less what I was wearing. (I was food-focused, even at age three.)
Recently, I was watching Sunday Morning on CBS. There was a story about a University of Notre Dame professor who teaches a fashion history course. Students were shown wearing their flannel pajama bottoms to class. Her conclusion; we have all become slobs.
That may be so. Today, I don’t own a pair of pajamas, let alone a pair that match. I’d have to look high and low in my closet to find a robe of any sort. I own several pair of flannel pajama bottoms (but I do not wear them to run errands or to go to friend’s houses. That’s where I draw the line).
When I think about how comfortable my friends and I were just sitting around that condo in Michigan, in front of a roaring fire, with a view of the the bay just beyond our balcony… all four of us in mismatched sweats that we would sleep in that night and then wear as we leisurely drank coffee or tea the next morning….if that’s contributing to the downfall of American fashion and etiquette, truth be told, I’m really OK with that. Sometimes, change is good.
Do you remember wearing matching pajamas? Do you own a pair today? Did you have a favorite pair of PJs as a kid?