In some ways it was inevitable. Or perhaps it had been sitting there under our noses all along and we’d just failed to notice it. Either way, the pajama shirt isn’t just for sleeping in anymore.
One could point to the dominant athleisure trend where sweatpants have become acceptable office attire (as long as they’re the right sweatpants). It was only a matter of time before the original leisurewear, pajamas, transitioned from nighttime to daytime. On the other hand, certain kings of cool, like the venerable founder of this website and the artist Julian Schnabel, have made PJs a signature style for decades. But make no mistake, pajamas are definitely having a moment.
As silhouettes transition away from the slimmed down versions into baggier, more flowing cuts while softer, more comfortable fabrics become the norm, the ascendency of pajamas makes sense. Top design houses like Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger are driving the bandwagon. However, some of the more classical purveyors of PJs (Purveyors of PJs, by the way, would be an awesome name for a pajama store; just make sure I get my cut) are finding their wares being rediscovered by a new audience.
Don’t get it twisted — we are not advocating you wear the ratty T-shirt you got from your beer league softball team in broad daylight. What we are in favor of is wearing a proper pajama shirt, one with a collar and buttons. In many ways, those characteristics make a pajama shirt more formal than a typical piece of athleisure attire.
Most guys under the age of 50 have probably never even owned a proper set of pajamas. So to help you embrace this emerging trend, here are seven pajama shirts that you won’t want to sleep on.
Started by Jack Spade founder Andy Spade (David’s brother, Kate’s husband), Sleepy Jones sought out to create “an everyday uniform for reading, writing, painting and playing” and saw no need to limit its products’ application to the bedroom. The bold stripes on this shirt help it stand out in any room.
Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean you need to ditch the short-sleeve shirts. Burberry is one of the brands that has gone all-in on pajamas, and this short-sleeved one with its floral print is fire, with echoes of both bowling and Hawaiian shirts. Throw a cardigan over it to keep from getting too cold.
Technically, Supreme markets this as a Western shirt, which the trim around the breast pockets and snap buttons unmistakably are. But the smooth satin fabric, the rounded collar, and the piping also add plenty of PJ DNA.
Thom Browne kills it when it comes to shirts, and the same attention is paid to this pajama top. It has all the details that Thom Browne fans will appreciate, from the red, white and blue grosgrain ribbon to the nametag patch on the hem, but they are done in a more casual style.
British shirtmaker Budd has been around since 1910, and its “pyjamas” have been prized by the well-heeled set for just about as long. Those folks probably would never consider wearing these out during the daytime, but the dusty pink color would look impeccable with a pair of grey flannel pants. And Budd does claim that one of its famous artist clients paints in them, so you’d be in good company.
3.1 PHILLIP LIM $375, ssense.com
With its pointed collar and small buttons, there isn’t much to distinguish this Phillip Lim’s pajama shirt from a standard one. The straight hem and piping around the collars and pocket are all it needs.
It doesn’t get much more luxurious. Gucci transformed the pajama shirt into a blazer, and crafted it from a beautiful cashmere. The embroidered hummingbird on the chest pocket is reminiscent of old prep school blazers.