An article in the Wall Street Journal with the headline “Why not wear pajamas all day?” got my attention. After years of dropping my daughters off at the high school and watching kids shuffle into school in slippers, the trend of wearing sleepwear to school was something that that really didn’t make sense to me.
According to the article, many teenagers like looking like they just rolled out of bed in their flannel pants, camis, and t-shirts because it’s both comfortable and hip. And besides, they’ve been seeing the same group of kids for years, so who do they need to impress with their appearance?
I did a little research with my own teenager and from her perspective, dressing down – which for her means yoga pants, not pajamas – is ok during finals week. It’s sort of a signal that “I’ve been studying so hard (whether she has been or not) and my mind is so totally consumed with finals (ya, sure) that I just can’t be bothered with putting on real clothes.
Of course, putting together an outfit with yoga pants takes every bit as much time as putting on the usual jeans and top – in fact it probably takes even more time because it’s hard to get that perfect balance between “I’ve worked hard to look cute” and “I’m too distracted with studying to care what I look like.”
At the risk of sounding like the tightly-wrapped mom that I am, I don’t think anybody does their best work when wearing something that is really only appropriate for eating Cheetos and watching reruns of “Friends” in the privacy of your family room. I think when you look sloppy you more inclined to do sloppy work.
I have found that to be true. When I used to work entirely from home, if I came home from the gym and immediately got into the day’s work, my attitude was different. My interactions had an edge to them, like I just wasn’t ready to face the day.
I don’t long for returning to the days of girdles and nylons but as my teenage daughter said, there’s something about clothes being just a little constricting that makes a person feel like they are ready to work. And the best part is coming home from work or school is peeling off the skinny jeans (in her case) or the wool slacks with the slightly tight waistband (in my case); it feels so good just to let it hang out. I love knowing I’ve earned the right to look like a slob because I’ve worked hard.
Schools are probably very happy that about this trend. Compared to the super-short shorts, extra-low rise jeans, and tube tops that I’ve seen on many a high school girl, the sweat pants and floppy shirts of the pajama look must make it easier for everyone – teachers included – to focus on their schoolwork.