Pyjama Party


Pyjamas - once reserved for nightwear only - have come out of the bedroom and are walking down a street near you. Our under-the-covers reporter Róisín Ingle meets the PJs generation.

Most of us have done it. Too lazy to get dressed, you throw your overcoat over your pyjamas, nip out for the paper and run home before the neighbours spot you in your slippers. Recently, though, wearing pyjamas outdoors has ceased to be an activity cloaked in shame. In fact, in certain pockets of Dublin these days, you'd feel more out of place with your regular clothes on than you would in your jim-jams.

Welcome to the world of the PJ generation. Where I live, on the North Strand in Dublin, the community is divided between those who do and those who don't. And just in case you thought this was a purely working-class phenomonon, even Miriam O'Callaghan, the broadcaster, has been spotted in her slippers popping over to the local newsagent in her leafy Dublin suburb.

When a girl in fluffy blue pyjamas served me in the chipper the other day I couldn't help grilling her about the phenomenon. Our conversation led to a fashion shoot with 18-year-old Edel Sheridan and two pyjama-wearing buddies, 18-year-old Donna Molyneux and 19-year-old Melissa Thompson.

The sleepwear-as-daywear trend is thought to have begun in the council estates of Liverpool at the beginning of the noughties (though there were sightings around Dublin before that), when pyjamas took over from tracksuits as the leisurewear of choice. Now you can spot women in their pyjamas all over that city. They have even acquired an uncomplimentary (and slightly tortuous) acronym, Yuans, for young, unwashed and no sense.

"That's disgraceful," says Molyneux, who is currently unemployed but would like to be a lawyer or a hairdresser. "I never go out in dirty pyjamas. I wake up in one pair, then get a fresh pair and iron them. Later on in the day I might change into another pair of clean pyjamas, and then put a different pair on going to bed. I would never go out the door in dirty pyjamas that weren't ironed. You'd look like a crinkled tea bag."

Sheridan, who works in a local chipper part-time, and Thompson, a trainee beautician from Sheriff Street, reckon they own about 100 pairs of pyjamas between them. "I like the ones from Penneys the best, but I have a few from Dunnes Stores," says Sheridan. "They are just really comfortable. There's more freedom wearing pyjamas. Sometimes my fiance might give out to me, saying, Would you ever get dressed? But I don't care. I love my pyjamas."

Thompson started socialising in her pyjamas when she was 15 and always makes sure they are freshly pressed. "I didn't go far at first, but then I got more confidence, and now I'd go to the bank or the shops or to visit friends. I wouldn't go into town, though. That would be embarrassing," she says. "Where we live there isn't much to get dressed for, so I suppose that's why we don't bother."

The stylist for this shoot, Jan Brierton, says she has noticed that most department stores have expanded their sleepwear ranges and that most of them now include clothes that could easily cross from night to day.

The teenagers say they sometimes get funny looks from "people driving past in fancy cars", but it doesn't deter them. "I think if they stopped worrying about what people think and realised how comfy it is to wear pyjamas all day, more people might do it," says Thompson.