The Roots of Men's Sleepwear in the UK

The Roots Of Sleepwear for Men in the United Kingdom - History of Men's Pyjamas in the UK.

Sleepwear for men and mens pyjamas, has a rich and colourful history. The journey of men's pyjamas to and in the United Kingdom is a fascinating narrative that reflects societal shifts throughout the ages. Let's take a brief look at the interesting history and roots of sleepwear for men in the United Kingdom!

The Word Pyjama

The word pyjama stems from the Hindi word "pae jama" or "pai jama” which means leg clothing or leg dress, and the usage of the word dates back to the Ottoman Empire (14th century).

Traditionally, they were loose fitting bottoms fastened at the waist and a long tunic / traditional nightshirts, worn by both genders across Asia. It was the British colonisation of India in the 18th century that introduced pyjamas to British shores.

Early Embrace and the Victorian Age

Upon their return from the colonies, British servicemen and British colonials brought home the idea of pyjamas - airy, loose fitting bottoms perfect for sleep. Initially, these garments were adopted as exotic loungewear, showcasing the wearer's global travels and experiences. By the middle of the 19th century, pyjamas had become a favoured choice of nightwear for men.

However, the Victorian era ushered in a change in sleepwear fashion. This period emphasised modesty, and men's pyjamas became more elaborate to ensure maximum coverage. Typically made from flannel, they featured high necklines, long sleeve night shirts, and trousers reaching down to the ankles. A dressing gown was often layered over the top for added warmth and modesty.

The 20th Century: The Shift from Practical to Stylish

As we moved into the 20th century, men's pyjamas began to transform significantly. During World War I, military-issue pyjamas were worn by soldiers, leading to their acceptance as commonplace attire. After the war, the 1920s saw pyjamas becoming more fashionable and less utilitarian. Luxurious fabrics like silk and satin were introduced, and designs started to be more tailored.

Pyjamas for Soldiers during WW1 British

The 1930s and '40s (and World War II) witnessed the emergence of the two-piece pyjama set as we recognise it today - a shirt with a collar and buttons, paired with matching trousers. Hollywood played a pivotal role in this trend, with male stars often shown in elegant silk pyjamas, solidifying the image of pyjamas as a luxury item.

Pyjamas for British Men 1930s and 40sMens Sleepwear and Pyjama Advert from the 1940s. 

The Post-War Years and Beyond

In the years following the war, pyjamas gained even more popularity. They were now viewed not just as nightwear but also as comfortable home attire. The lively fashion trends of the 1960s and '70s brought about bright colours and bold patterns.

Colourful Pyjamas and Sleepwear for Men 1970sMens Sleepwear and Pyjama Advert from the 1970s. 

However, the late 20th century experienced a dip in the popularity of traditional pyjamas, as men started to favour simple t shirts and boxers or briefs as sleepwear. This shift was largely due to evolving attitudes towards comfort and informality within the home environment.

What's next?

Today, men's pyjamas in the UK span a wide variety of styles, fits and designs. From classic button-down sets to modern designs and interesting prints. Comfort, functionality, and personal style are the primary factors influencing men's sleepwear choices.

What's different with modern sleepwear for men, compared to traditional is also the kind of fabric used. Premium fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, and even cashmere are preferred for modern sleepwear for men, due to their breathability and softness.

Casablanca Organic Cotton Sleepwear for Men from Drift Sleepwear

Wrapping Up

The evolution of men's pyjamas in the UK is a testament to the dynamic nature of fashion and societal norms. From the exotic loose fitting pants / trousers of the colonial era to the luxurious silk sets popularised by Hollywood's golden age, and the comfortable, versatile designs of today, pyjamas have continually adapted to meet the needs and preferences of the times.

At Drift Sleepwear, we celebrate this rich history while looking ahead. Our range of organic cotton sleepwear for men combines timeless elegance with modern comfort, ensuring that a good night's sleep has never been more stylish.

Drift Sleepwear focuses on creating sleepwear that are functional, fashionable and the perfect pyjamas for men for sleeping in and to relax in while making your morning coffee or chilling in bed. Drift Sleepwear offers both long pyjama bottoms as well as Pyjamas shorts for men, which come in a variety of designs, patterns and colours allowing you to choose the perfect ones for your needs. They also offer comfortable t-shirts which is a dream to sleep in!

Panama Organic Sleepwear Shorts for Men from Drift SleepwearPanama Pyjama Shorts for Men from Drift Sleepwear

Want do read more about sleep, comfort and the latest sleepwear trends? Then head over to the Drift Sleepwear Blog!

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