The word “pajama” comes from two Hindi terms – pa(y) meaning leg and jamah meaning garmet. This term is part of the English language since 1880 as pyjamas when the British colonized India where Hindi language was spoken. American people implemented the word pyjama from the British as pajamas. Pajamas represented sleepwear and lounge wear consisted of jacket tops and pants. In the United States, pajamas for men, women and kids became popular during the 1920s. Men’s pajamas were loose fitting, replacing the nightshirts which were one long sleeved shirt to the knees. Men’s pajamas were made of cotton, rayon or silk and those who wanted warmer pajamas for the cold nights, chose heavyweight flannel pajamas.
At the time, women did not wear pajamas. It wasn’t until World War I (1914 – 1918), that women started wearing pajamas for more comfortable night sleep. Aside from wearing pyjamas at night, women started to wear pajamas for lounging about the home and at the beach. All women’s pajamas were loose fitted, sometimes quite stylized and made of satin, rayon, chiffon and silk. Kids sleepwear were used only for sleeping and the styles were similar to the adults garments. Here are few more facts about men’s, women’s and kids sleepwear you probably did not know.
- According to several studies, the first people who wore pajamas were men and women in Turkey, India and Iran.
- Pajamas originated as loose pants, tied at the waist, so the term pajama bottoms or pajama pants are unnecessary.
- At the beginning, the men’s bottom pajamas had drawstrings around the waist or were fixed with a couple of buttons in the front. The tops were usually collarless or with a small collar that could stay undone or closed with buttons. The front of the tops were followed by a line of buttons or were closed by overlapping the front parts across the chest, tied around the waist.
- Women’s pajamas were loose, consisted of ankle length pants or with nice finishing ankle touch – ribbon or lacing. The waistline of women’s bottoms were followed by drawstrings and the tops were hip length jackets with different sleeve lengths.
- The Butterick Publishing Company of Massachusetts offered a home sewing pattern of several types of necklines such as squared, rounded or with round collar that gave a special touch the women’s top pajamas.
- In 1971 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) established the standard for kids sleepwear flammability, which ensures fire resistant kids sleepwear for kids up to 14 years of age. This resulted in a 90 percent decrease in fire child deaths when wearing kids sleepwear.