History of sleepwear

What exactly is sleepwear and what are its origins?
Read more to find out!

You’ve heard the term “beauty sleep” before, right? It refers to the act of sleep as an integral part of our skincare routine, brightening our complexion and helping us age gracefully. Here at Mirta, we take our “beauty sleep” very seriously and what we wear to sleep is just as important as sleeping itself. Quality sleepwear matters in ensuring sufficient snooze time every night, and our sleepwear definitely does the trick.

Origin of Pajamas

Let’s begin with pajamas. The word pajama actually originates from the Hindi pāyjāma, indicating loose-fitting pants worn in some parts of Asia. Taken from the Persian pāy, meaning “leg”, and jāma—which means “garment”—the word literally translates to “leg garment”. Pajamas traditionally were made of cotton or silk featuring a drawstring at the waist, worn by both men and women in South Asian and Middle Eastern regions.

The word and garment itself weren’t actually introduced in Europe until the 1800s, when British colonists returned home from abroad. Before then, specific clothes made just for the purpose of sleeping did not exist. People in the Western world just wore typical undergarments to bed, including nightshirts. Traditional nightshirts were a sleepwear staple at the time, a bit similar to the Roman tunics that were very common during the Middle Ages. Tunics are pulled over the head and fall to just above the knees.

Pajamas as Mainstream

By the early 1900s, pajamas were no longer viewed as a status symbol and had entered the mainstream. Shorter nightshirts soon became nightgowns, and longer versions called night robes also hit the market. Ladies in particular took a liking to pajamas, adopting it as part of their everyday wardrobes as well. Pajamas were soon viewed as an expression of style and beauty, with designers starting to experiment with colorful materials, various textiles and feminine trimmings.

Cultural Shift for Women

With the Roaring Twenties in full swing, women started coming into their own, and this cultural shift reflected in the fashion world. Coco Chanel was actually one of the first designers to create modern sleepwear for women, of which could be worn to bed or even—yes—to the beach! The ‘20s offered women more freedom and opportunities for leisure, so pajamas were often worn to stroll along the boardwalk at the beach.

Sleepwear Becomes Sexy

Women’s sleepwear at this time continued to evolve, consisting of tailored satin dresses, négligées and kimonos. They featured fringes, ribbons and lace in bold colors and sensuous silhouettes. The ‘60s saw palazzo pajamas become trendy—soft silk pants with a super wide leg to be worn as informal evening attire in the house. Then baby doll pajamas became the rage, made of a sleeveless top with frill at the hem paired with balloon panties. The more time passed, the shorter women’s sleepwear became. In fact, during this time women began to spoil themselves with matching bra and panties—the emergence of lingerie as we know it today.

Loungewear as Sleepwear

The lines between sleepwear and loungewear started to blur in the 1970s, with women wearing men’s-style pajamas in the house so as not to sacrifice comfort. This unisex-style clothing continued on throughout the decade and pajamas were no longer viewed as just bedtime attire. Even today, there is little distinction between sleepwear and loungewear, as seen in our collection. The clothes you see are made by talented hands using only the finest materials. Whether you prefer silky shorts or a long nightgown, call it loungewear or sleepwear, our pieces are perfect for your “beauty sleep”.