The Evolution of Pyjamas
Today, roughly 56 percent of the world wears something other than a smile to bed. The concept of “sleep clothes” goes way back — probably to caveman days, when Neanderthal woman stole Neanderthal man’s mammoth-fur hoodie every morning.
The word pyjama stems from the Hindi word paejama, meaning "leg covering", and men first started wearing them around 1870, after the returning colonials brought them back from the East. In the 1890s, pyjamas, in wool and silk were starting to replace the night-shirt for gentlemen and, by the Thirties, they had become a key part of a man's wardrobe.
Until the beginning of this century it had not been thought proper for women to wear pyjamas, as they preferred the more feminine nightdress. That began to change at the start of the Twenties with Coco Chanel's lounging pyjamas and fashion designer, Princess Irene Galitzine, launched her "palazzo pyjamas", all worn in the evening and convincing women that pyjamas could be a stylish alternative to nighties.