‘The new sweatpants’? Pyjamas emerge as men’s daywear trend

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During lockdown menswear was defined by the death of the suit and an embrace of sweatpants and Crocs, but as male fashion begins to emerge from pandemic living a surprising new trend has popped up: pyjamas as daywear.

The Wall Street Journal has now even claimed they are “the new sweatpants”.

This “high-low” form of dressing has already been taken up by celebrities. Last Sunday, Daniel Kaluuya accepted his Sag award for best actor in a supporting role wearing a pair of aubergine Louis Vuitton pyjamas with a matching robe.

It was a similar scene at the virtual Grammys when John Legend picked up his award in a Versace bathrobe, while the rapper Travis Scott appeared on the cover of the spring issue of L’Officiel Hommes in a jade green bathrobe with matching slippers. They follow in the steps of Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye and Lakeith Stanfield who have, pre-pandemic, worn pyjamas on the red carpet.

“Pyjamas and loungewear have been doing incredibly well throughout the pandemic, [sales have increased] over 90%,” said Damien Paul, head of menswear at Matchesfashion. “[It’s] definitely a reflection of our customer prioritizing comfort as we have been working from home.”

Beth Pettet, head of menswear at John Lewis, agreed. “We expect to see a higher demand for smarter looks blended with comfortable fabrics that allow for a relaxed feel, even for more traditionally smart occasions,” she said.

For Paul, the soft and comfy look is more than a trend; it illustrates a change in lifestyle. “It’s definitely a shift in the way our customer lives,” he said.

The duality of a week spent part-time working in the office and working from home is also echoed in British high street shops like Marks and Spencer’s creating loungewear-esque work from home suits.

“We recognize that in today’s work-from-home environment, a suit may feel restrictive for our customers’ needs,” said Pettet, pointing out that John Lewis have made a smart-casual WFH suit capsule collection with Kin. “The lives of our customers have undoubtedly changed. We recognise that many of our customers are looking for a wardrobe which takes them from bedroom to boardroom,” she said.

The rise of the souped-up pyjama is also symbolic of a bigger generational shift, augured by social media, where the lines between the private and public are blurred.

“The private domestic space no longer exists; it’s been Instagrammed and TikToked to death,” said Prof Andrew Groves, the director of the Westminster Menswear Archive at the University of Westminster.

“As a result there are no clothes we wear for ‘private’ moments. Everything is now available for public consumption.”

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