Have you noticed the latest sign that our great nation is taking yet another step toward being an “idocracy”? Teens wearing sleepwear. All day, instead of “regular” clothes. I first noticed it last month while shopping at Target—a couple checkout aisles over, a girl and her mom were talking loudly and getting ready to empty their cart onto the checkout stand. I think the girl had forgotten to get something and was wanting to go back out into the store. She was dressed in full flannel pajamas, pants and top, with slippers on her feet, and wearing a short winter coat. At first I felt sorry for her. ‘I wonder if she just got checked out of a teen psychiatric ward of a hospital,’ I thought. (Seriously, that’s what I thought!) But then I remembered the fuzzy slipper craze from a few years ago, when kids were wearing that kind of footwear to school. When I got to the car, where Allison was waiting, I asked her if wearing pajamas was a new fashion trend. “No, why would you think that?” she said, annoyed. When I told her what I’d seen, she told me that was ridiculous, and she’d not seen anyone dressed like that at her school. Emmie said the same when I asked her at home. But a few days later, I saw this, an article from the Wall Street Journal online(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204555904577168762962727568.html) that goes into detail about the pajama and loungewear craze among teens “across the country”. ‘Aha!’ I thought. My hunch was right!
“Now what do you say?” I asked my girls. “You’re crazy!” they said. Then in the car one day, we saw a teenage boy walking down the street in pajama pants, and then an editorial appeared last Saturday in the newspaper written by an area teacher. “The Pajamification of America must stop,” wrote third-grade teacher Evan Engwall in the Dallas Morning News’ Viewpoints section. He’s been noticing the trend just like me, and chalks it up as another extension of the growing trend of informality in American society as well as purposely driven by the fashion industry. (The WSJ article mentioned above cites Abercrombie and Fitch, Victoria Secret’s “Pink”, and Aeropostale as some of the retailers who are promoting pajama/loungewear looks. )
Allison finally admitted that a friend of hers wears pajama pants to school a lot, “but I think he’s just being lazy, not trying to be fashionable.” Um, knowing this kid, I think she’s wrong. And I’ll bet there are more just like him.
At first I was surprised that the school allows it. Then again, they’re usually more focused on making sure skin is not shown, whether via short shorts, sagging jeans, or low-cut, spaghetti-strapped tops—at least flannel pajamas are usually modest. But good grief—what I’ve seen is just about the height of sloppiness. And yet educators are worried that too many kids aren’t college-ready or job-ready when they leave 12th grade? What’s wrong with this picture? Besides, how can teachers have a “Pajama Day” as an incentive for good behavior or good grades when the kids are wearing them every day already?
I’m also surprised that any parent allows it, especially if they foot the bills for their kids’ clothes. They’re letting their kids go out in public like this? Engwall has noticed “pajama people” in airports, attending soccer games, everywhere…
Engwall says one sure way to kill the trend is if adults start following it. But I couldn’t do that. I don’t want to look like a lunatic, and I sure don’t want to wear a bra under PJs.
Maybe we ought to just leave it alone and see it as a statement, that kids today are just too stressed out, busy and sleep deprived from activity-filled schedules and mounds of homework that they might as well just walk around in pajamas… ? Yep, there were the Baby Boomers, the Gen Xers, and now, the Pajama Generation…