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

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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