The XX Factor

Leave the Pajamas Alone!

Are pajamas acceptable public attire?

Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/Getty Images

I’m an outspoken critic of the slobbinization of America (the first time I saw a stand-alone Crocs store, I was forced to sit down to recover), but I can’t be quiet about the wrongness that is any attempt to ban people from wearing pajamas in public, as a commissioner in Caddo Parish, La. As a freedom-loving American, I have to say that if looking down your nose at public slobs doesn’t work, then we fashion fascists have to accept that we’ve lost the battle, instead of trying to get the law to enforce our aesthetic preferences on the public.

Anyway, like with outdoor sex and eating oysters, there are those occasions when wearing pajamas in public is not only acceptable, but expected. In the video that accompanies this story, we mainly see people doing their daily grocery shopping in their pajamas. The grocery store is certainly one of those places where one expects to see some pajama bottoms. Believe it or not, some of the pajama-clad at the store are actually fashion fascists themselves; they wear their pajamas to do their shopping so as not to wrinkle or dirty the fabulous outfit they’re preserving for the more socially interesting events of their day.

Indeed, I’m a little unclear on how one would really tell the difference between pajamas and certain pajama-like clothes that are not under attack. Sure, I separate the light cotton pants I wear to the gym from the ones I wear around the house, but I doubt that your average bystander or police officer could tell the difference just to look at me. I don’t imagine that the police department will really enjoy having to deal with the paperwork when they nab a hoodie-and-soft-pant clad woman and only find out later that they interfered with her route to her yoga class. (“Your Honor, we mistook the mat she had over her shoulder for a nappy time item.”) And any law that disallows people to go about in not-unattractive straight-leg pajama pants while letting them assault the eyes with elastic-ankled sweatpants is simply a travesty of justice.

Commissioner Michael Williams, who is suggesting this law, employs the slippery slope argument in his defense, saying: “If not now, when? Because it’s pajama pants today, next it will be underwear tomorrow.” I, for one, don’t understand the complaint. If you don’t like going about in public among people clad in shapeless pajamas covered in kitten pictures, it seems that the body-flaunting sex appeal of the underwear-only look is just the cure you’ve been looking for.