#306 Wearing pajamas outside of the house

Life’s too short to be uncomfortable.

Look, we already figured it out at nighttime: baggy flannel keeping you cozy in the cold, smooth and silky underthings slipping and sliding in the sheets, and extra-large sweatpants and thin fraying T’s help keep us relaxed when we’re sawing wood and breathing Z’s.

Yet somehow during the day we’re fine stiffening ourselves up: high heels, skin-tight jeans, and tight bras mean we’re often uncomfortably pretty.

That’s why wearing pajamas outside of the house is such a great move. It’s like you’re finally admitting to yourself that being comfy is worth it.

Here are some classic ways to pull it off:

1. Picking someone up from the airport. My friend Evan and I once got a late-night pickup from his wife Sim who peeled into the parking lot wearing thick glasses and a slippery winter coat over full-length PJs. Hey, she figured she wasn’t leaving the car so why change into daytime clothes?

2. College dining hall. Back in college we used to eat on the ground floor of an all-male residence. So it was pretty common seeing pimply nineteen year olds in plaid pajama pants, jagged bedhead, and slippers slurping big bowls of Corn Pops in the corner.

3. Walking the dog. Whether it’s the midnight stroll in the dead of winter or the early morning walk before the sun comes up, it’s always a classy move to roam the hood in pajamas, a tattered robe, and maybe some furry pink earmuffs.

4. Going to the corner store for milk. There’s no dress code at the corner store: strolling in slippers, strutting in sweats, that’s fine, that’s fine, that’s perfectly fine. Just make sure you tuck your pajama pants into those giant salty snow boots for good measure.

Wearing pajamas outside of the house smears nighttime comfort into daytime fun. Sometimes it’s good to escape our fluorescent world of shirt-and-tie expectations to just cozy into the cuddly realm of being comfy and being cool with it.


Thanks to Kelly, Laura, Morten, Cami, and Melissa for being the first five pre-orders yesterday! Piles of awesome magnets, postcards, and autographed bookplates on their way!

Photos from: Karl Gunnarsson, here, here, and here

61 thoughts on “#306 Wearing pajamas outside of the house

  1. My parents used to do this to me all the time to embarrass me at school. Can’t wait to do the same to my kids! Awesome!

  2. I absolutely love doing this, usually wearing them under my pants when days are cold. That way, if there IS a dress code somewhere I’m going, I can still be comfortable…in secret…

    My girlfriend disagrees with this post though. She says she never feels pretty, which is bullstuff if you ask me.

  3. I got stopped at a DUI checkpoint this NYE around 2am as I was the designated driver picking up friends from bars. I mad the cops laugh as I asked if I looked as a woman who’d had an awesome night partying. I was fully dressed in a robe, fluffy pj’s, slippers and a hair bonnet. VERY SEXY.

  4. I also once called for pizza delivery from a block away. The phone guy scoffed at me. I told him “I’m in my pjs”. He said “so what?”…. so I walked up the street in my pajamas and picked up my pizza in person.

    I frequently go to Walgreen’s in my pjs.

  5. This doesn’t really happen in the Netherlands (although it’s getting bigger), I was shocked when I saw a lot of people in pj’s in the stores in Canada! Once in a while I’ll go shopping in comfy pj-like pants.

  6. I’m a total advocate of PJs as outerwear. If we all started doing it, no one would feel that they were dressed inappropriately! Unless their PJs are their birthday suit; that’s generally pretty unacceptable as outerwear.

    I love all the “classic ways” … so very true. Although it seemed like in college (where I went, anyway) PJs were not just dining hall attire … class, campus events, and general public appearances were all fair game for jammie-wearin’, especially if you were one of the people who had mascot/color-themed PJs. Then it could be classified as school spirit!

    Don’t be too jealous, y’all, but I’ve gotten to wear PJs to work a couple times so far this year. AWESOME.

    1. My daughter loves pajama day at school! It was so cute when I was dropping her off that day, and there’s all these normally-super-cool pre-teens all walking up the street wearing totally cutesy pajamas.
      (the school board would like to remind you that normal dress code rules still apply!)

      1. I don’t think we ever had pajama day at school, but this sounds awesome. However, that school board rule sounds key – I can see some of the more risque students using this for the wrong purposes.

        In general, I’m all for this concept (yay comfort!), but the only problem with it is that it’s been ingrained in me that once your clothes have “been outside” they are no longer ever allowed to touch your bed sheets.

        This was drilled into me by my father who introduced the concept of “Street Clothes” (which still is always said in my head in my father’s thick Dutch accent).. the general idea is that you can never get into bed in your “street clothes” as this is filthy and will make your bed dirty.. And when I wear my pajamas out of the house, while they are still comfortable, they have instantly become “street clothes”, and will require a thorough washing before ever being used for night-time wear again.

        1. Oh, I definitely understand that. Who wants to get in their nice, clean bed with world-cooties on them? I never wear actual pajamas outside (with the exception of pajama day(s), of course!), just clothes that are similar enough in comfort to pajamas without actually being something I sleep in … like yoga pants. Ooooh, yoga pants.

          Anyhoo, I would sooner sleep outside than get in my bed wearing the PJs (or anything) that I wore all day at school. Ugh. I shed those gross layers as soon as possible. As previously mentioned, kids are pretty gross, even if they don’t mean to be.

      2. That IS cute! I love that! Glad to hear that pre-teens aren’t too cool to indulge in some PJ action. Our school (grades 1 -4) even emphasized the dress code prior to PJ day … I can’t imagine what some middle/high schoolers might wear …

        1. I remember we used to have pajama day, then they got rid of it. =( That used to be on my MOST fun days @ school.

    2. During finals in undergrad, it was de rigueur to wear pajamas to class. It was like telling your professors that you were too busy studying for the test to change out of your jammies.

  7. I think it’s really tacky when I see people do it at wal-mart. I mean, do you have to wear your spongebob slippers, and spongebob top and bottoms walking to Wal-Mart on a busy street?

    1. ha ha ha, you must HATE me! I go to walmart in my pjs all the time! then again, I’m not one to care about looks. (I wore make-up once, didn’t care for it.)

  8. PJs are my absolute favorite!!!!! If I could wear them all the time, I would!!!! I own two drawers full and still not enough!

  9. Eugh I completely disagree with this post, except for the part where they’re not leaving their car. This is what sweatpants are for, sure they’re still grubby but look a lot better than pajama pants in public! Also I think the only other exception is going to the corner store, because, who cares really.

    1. Totally agree with you, Lana. Yes, I’m all for comfort, but a baggy t-shirt and jog pants will do just the same. Wearing the same pyjamas out in public that you wore to bed is slovenly and unhygienic, and I don’t even want to think about the kind of germs and filth people trek back into their bed when they come home and don’t even get changed.

  10. One late at night, I just went out to an ATM and ended up to a downtown shopping area that is about 15min far from my home. Me and my husband got into a pretty nice coffeeshop, had coffee and took a picture of my pajamas. I might have been embarassed if it was a daytime surrounded tourists. But it was a pretty fun experience:-)

  11. Firm believer that wearing pj pants outside is not allowed… can’t help it! It just makes me feel like people couldn’t care less to take the time to present themselves better!

  12. I usually am 100% in agreement with all things AWESOME, but I’m with mego on this one. Wearing jammies outside makes the wearer look sad, like they’ve just given up completely. (But, hey, even I admit to walking the dog before getting into my “day” clothes some mornings!)

  13. I would also like to add “The Hotel Lobby”, “the campfire”, “the E.R. or doctor’s office” (hopefully you never have to use that one).

    If you’re a baby, you can also get away with “ANYWHERE” (lucky babies!)

    1. Plus, babies can get away with wearing footie pajamas without getting the same “you’re-a-creep” looks that an apparently grown man would get.

      Lucky babies, indeed!

    2. Oohhh, so true about the E.R./urgent care/doctor’s office, etc. Sorry, but if I’m injured or severely ill, I don’t even CARE if you are judging my outfit.

      Umm, seriously, lucky babies! My friend and I were passing through the baby section on the way to the restrooms at Macy’s the other day and idly glanced through the clothes as we passed … I grabbed this amazingly soft fleece onesie and we had the discussion of how awesome it would be to wear a big fleece bubble suit as an adult. Just sayin’.

      1. My sister has a full size adult onesie, and she says it’s super comfy. It’s definitely on my to-get list for next winter! :)

  14. my boyfriend always picks me up wearing his jammies (he doesn’t leave the car of course), but sometimes we’d go for a walmart run in the wee hours, and we could care less about looking nice.
    however, it’s really unacceptable in france. you should be dolled up to go down to the store on the corner lest people get concerned about your sanity or something. but if you look a bit crappy and walk kinda fast, you can get away with wearing yoga pants, because you obviously just went for a jog ;)

  15. This is one post I disagree with. If you stop wearing your pants so tight then maybe you’d quit complaining about being uncomfortable! When I see people wearing pajamas in places like fast food restaurants or superstores, they look kinda trashy.

  16. I live in Shanghai, China. The Chinese have been doing the PJ-in-public thing for a long time (note the photo in the blog). The Shanghai government sent out an order for people to stop this practice during the recent World’s Fair to avoid embarrassment…didn’t happen (neither the PJ wearing nor the perceived embarrassment).

  17. This is lovely ! In fact wearing anything cozy and, preferably, as weird as it gets is lovely. But you gotta have the attitude to wear it, otherwise you’re a bad kind of freak. :P

  18. Love this. In high school when my friends and I would have sleepovers, we would always go to the diner around 2am in our pjs. Those were good times.

  19. I remember this vacation we took when we first had to check into a crappy hotel. We then got reservations to a better hotel, we could check in there only in the evening. So we got out of our previous hotel and visited all the touristy places in our PJ’s till we got to go to our new hotel. All our pictures of that day are of us in our PJ’s and I still think of that day we had loads of fun.

  20. Camp pajamas the best:)
    Winters in Canada, convenient snow-pant covered pj pants!
    Have Yoga pants for all the other seasons, and soft fav t shirt daughter wore while expecting my first grand daughter…has and does travel far, anytime, anyplace… they are fine, fine, fine.
    Where I grew up if someone was out and about in the day in pj’s, you ran for your life. THEY were an escapee from where you did not want to know.

  21. I hate to be a party pooper, but it’s kinda gross when people wear pajamas out the house. I mean, you sleep in them, and God knows how often you wash your sheets, or if you drool, or if you have night flatulence. Don’t get me wrong, I love pajamas, and there’s nothing more amazing than having a lazy day in and wear pajamas all day long. But if I’m going to get milk at 10 PM at Wal-Mart, I’ll just slip on some jeans, or even just a “nicer looking” set of yoga pants.

    And don’t get me started on those who take their character slippers (with fabric soles) to the store. Do you really want to pick up all those germs from the street/store and bring them back home? Ew.

  22. I’m raining on this parade; wearing pajamas outside of the house promotes slovenliness. Here in Massachusetts, public pajama wearers literally look like they just got out of bed, complete with those awful ponytail buns all haggard upon girls heads. Take pride in how you look for real, people.

  23. My sister and I like going to the day-after-Thanksgiving sales first thing in the morning. We were in a local department store and a guy in line ahead of us was in full just-got-outta-bed mode — slippers, pajamas, robe — and a baseball cap to keep things respectable. His wife had probably said, “This! I want THIS for Christmas!” and he wanted to get it right. He was neither handsome nor thin and he was getting it done at 5 in the morning.

  24. I have bright pink flannel pajamas printed with snowmen. I like to wear them to the store and imagine I’m giving people a smile. I even once had a lady run up to me and compliment them.

  25. I’m a senior in high school, and my class has started having themed clothing days. We’ve had two Senior (ugly) Sweater days, and this past Friday we had Pajama Day. Doing Calculus was just a little more bearable when everyone in the class room was wearing flannel pants or footie pajamas, and all of the underclassmen were pretty jealous of our idea. :)

  26. I wore pajamas out to get the mail and the newspaper a few times, stuff like that. The best times I had wearing pajamas outside were the nights we piled into the van and my Dad took the pack of us to the drive-in movies. Sleeping bags, popcorn and then a load full of sleeping kids by the time we got home in the early hours.

  27. The first time I wore pajama pants out I got a ******* in the middle of a crowded bar. Now I never leave home without em!

  28. I had getting a beautiful present of my parents for my 18 birthday. A doggy! Here name is Xena. Now a dog must go out to do here thing. Every evening I must go out with the dog. This is sometimes in pajama. It’s very cold in the winter. I hope the summer will be there soon. But I’m still happy with here. Even I have to go out in my pajama for here. I still love here.

  29. That’s a strangeness of American according to French.
    In France, nobody go out in pajama unless your a mentally handicapped person (and obviously everyone look at you to understand why your are wearing that).

    Young people can wear sportswear but for adult it’s a sign that you are handicapped or going to sport (so not the case in a shop).

  30. Arthur Dent! (Best excuse for wearing pajamas as a Hallowe’en costume. Also came in handy when my friends and I were wandering around at 3 a.m. looking for a cab – I was the only one who was warm and comfy in the October cold :) )

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