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. According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest trend in teen fashion is wearing pajamas to school.
Of course, this isn't exactly revolutionary. Our society at large has been inching in this direction for years. There are plenty of grown ladies running from the grocery store to the dry cleaner in their yoga pants, which isn't all that different. But, as usual, teen girls have found a way to take a style and turn it into an art form. In the case of the loungewear trend, they've managed to ensure that every day is "Pajama Day."
Even though the primary appeal of this pajama style is comfort, it can take just as much time to put together as something that looks infinitely more pulled together. It's a complex system to master.
Girls begin with the pants and layer tops accordingly. Baggie pajama pants and sweatpants are reason for tighter shirts like a camisole and a V-neck long-sleeved T-shirt. Slim pants, such as leggings, call for looser, longer tops. Sheepskin Ugg boots, flip-flops or Converse sneakers round out the look.
Hey, it's not easy being lazy. It takes 13-year-old Juliana Dokas 45 minutes to get ready in the morning. Most of that time is spent on her hair and makeup, and then she either puts on her red-plaid flannel pj pants or she wears a "rotation of baggie sweatpants and flared yoga pants." Once she's got the pants, it's time to complete the outfit: "She pairs them with a "cami" (camisole tank top), a "hoodie" (hooded sweatshirt) and fuzzy slippers." Et voilà!
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.
Of course, clothing retailers are more than happy to feed the teen need for flannel and sweats. All the big chains, like Abercrombie & Fitch, are displaying loungewear prominently in their stores. American Eagle Outfitter's chief marketing officer explains that shirts with wide necks are especially hot because "girls are wanting to show their bra straps." Why not, as long as we're making ourselves comfortable.
For adults who grew up in an era when people wore, you know, actual pants, this trend is proving difficult to stomach. One of this look's most extreme opponents is Commissioner Michael Williams, of Louisiana's Caddo Parish. He's going to propose an ordinance that would forbid people from wearing pajamas in public. According to him, it's a slippery slope:
The moral fiber in America is dwindling away. It's pajamas today; what is it going to be tomorrow? Walking around in your underwear?
Eh, probably not. Wearing your underwear in public requires enough personal grooming and body confidence that most people won't ever have the oomph to do it. It's far easier—and warmer—to just cover your body in cozy tubes of soft fabric.
But all this sloppiness does have an effect. David Beriau, the dean of students at Mount Anthony Union High School, in Bennington, Vermont, explains why he has banned pajama bottoms and slippers,
If you come to school like you're going to go to bed, it says a lot about your lack of motivation. It creates an atmosphere where people feel like, "The next thing I'm going to do is slouch. And why not nod off?"
He's dealt with other dress code issues in the past, but he held out hope that the youth would stop torturing him: "I was hoping that once we got past the muffin-top look, we were going to be home free." Alas. Though some parents have decided, even though this look is sloppy, it could be worse. At least it's not overly revealing or skin-tight. Still, they occasionally put their foot down on just how comfortable their kids can get. Dara Dokas, Juliana's mom, had one line she wouldn't let her daughter cross:
At first she wanted to wear her actual jammy pants, and I was like, 'No, no way,'" Ms. Dokas says. They went to Target to buy pants Juliana wears only to school.
So now she has a set of actual pajamas and a set of pajamas just for school? That is amazing. Well done, America.
Why Not Wear Pajamas All Day? [Wall Street Journal]
Image via mast3r/Shutterstock.