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Pajama Pants are the New Sweatpants, So Why All the Bans?

pajama day, school dress code

Ban this? But why?

Pajama pants are the new sweatpants. Strike that — pajama pants are the new and improved sweatpants. They come in different patterns, don’t bear that clown pant-like elasticized ankle, and you can get them in varying fabric weights — fleece and flannel for winter, lightweight cotton for spring and summer.  They’re cheap and available everywhere. They look great with boots and flip-flops, not just sneakers. Pajama pants bear no discernible brand, so they’re quite democratic in terms of lounge wear.

Plus, they super-comfy. Why in the world would any self-respecting lawmaker, principal or parent want to ban them from mom and kid wardrobes? And yet they do, they do want to ban the awesome daywear pajama bottom.

Meanies.

Caddo Parish Commissioner Michael Williams worries about the moral (micro?) fiber of his community, which has apparently embraced the popular bottoms, and is drafting a ban. Last year, a school district told parents they could no longer show up in pajamas when picking up and dropping off their kids. The dean of students at a fancy private Vermont high school told students they couldn’t come to school in PJ pants.

But why? Why? PJs are comfy. They cover you up. They’re conveniently laying on the floor for when you need to get the morning going. PJs at morning drop-off don’t necessarily mean PJs 24/7. Anyway, pity the night-shift mom: if you had to pick up kids in the middle of the night, you’d do it in Sponge Bob flannel pants, too!

Some, including Cassie Murdoch over at Jezebel, argue that PJs (and their close cousin, the yoga pant) are the sign of a deeper problem, a lack of self-confidence, a sign of giving up, yet another demonstration of the nation’s unmitigated quest for 24/7 comfort.

Murdoch, responding to a Wall Street Journal article on the subject, writes:

It often seems like the biggest ambition of most Americans is to be 110% comfortable during every moment of their existence, especially when it comes to their fashion choices. And it looks like our nation’s youth are doing their very best to blaze new trails in this quest for constant comfort.

Other loungewear aficionados have arrived at the style after realizing they didn’t give a shit what they looked like. Brittany Barnhart, an 18-year-old college freshman says she often wore sweatpants and yoga pants to class during high school. Why? Because she already knew all of her classmates and teachers, “So why try?” Ahh, there’s nothing quite like the freedom of completely giving up.

Coming off of a decade celebrating stiletto heels, low-cut and tight skinny jeans, and bodily injections ranging from Botox to lip implants, I’d hardly say that, as a nation, we’re keeping strong a long tradition of eschewing everything but soft fibers in fun colors. What it looks like to me is that teens have, once again, found a way to rebel against their buttoned-up authority figures in ways that neither chafe nor bind. And, once again, adults are copying teens. Weren’t denim jeans once a sign of the apocalypse?

I don’t have any plaid flannel in this game. I don’t wear these offensive pants in public or at home and, so far, my girls have only worn PJs to school on officially sanctioned Pajama Day. However, my daughters are yoga pants enthusiasts — that’s what my oldest wears nearly every day to school. Frankly, I have no problem with it, and I think the fact that she wants to be comfortable — not fabulous — at school to be a good thing.

Just because Forever Lazy is suggesting folks wear footie pajamas to a tailgate party doesn’t mean non-ironic NFL fans actually would. Can’t we embrace this pajama thing for what it is — a fashion trend that mercifully does not involve lots of skin, lots of money and not a single pair of sweatpants?

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