Pajamas Go From Between Sheets to Streets as Sales Jump 15%

A jump in sales of men’s pajamas has put the spotlight on a new trend: PJs are moving from the bedroom to the street.

Flannel and silk pajama bottoms are replacing sweatpants as daywear, Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with NPD Group Inc., wrote in a blog post. Men of a wide range of ages are adopting the look, even those in their mid-40s, he said.

“This gives casual wear a whole new meaning,” Cohen said, calling the look “the ultimate level of relaxed.”

The trend began with female celebrities a few years ago, according to Cohen. Men are now snapping up Burberry check pajama pants for $110 from Nordstrom Inc. or Ralph Lauren Corp. polo player print bottoms from Bloomingdale’s for $42.

Sales of men’s pajama bottoms in the U.S. rose 15 percent to $452.8 million in the 12 months ended February, according to NPD, a Port Washington, New York-based researcher. That compared with a 2.4 percent increase in total men’s apparel sales in the same period. Only 18 percent of men surveyed in a poll by CivicScience Inc. said they wear pajamas to bed.

“Men are tired of jeans and khakis,” Marie Driscoll, founder of retail consultancy Driscoll Associates in New York, said in a telephone interview. “They are the men’s equivalent of the sexy Lululemon yoga pant or the sexy Juicy Couture sweatpants for women.”

Stirring Controversy

Celebrities including Jessica Alba and Miley Cyrus have been photographed wearing pajama pants in public. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have also embraced the pajama pant at their fashion label, The Row.

Wearing jammies in public has stirred controversy in some cities, including Shreveport, Louisiana, where a local newspaper reported that a lawmaker has called for it to be banned.

“I’m definitely seeing this lounge bottom that the gentlemen have been wearing,” said Tim Bess, men’s fashion trend analyst at Doneger Group in New York. “They are fun, they are novelty. It is trying to stand out in the crowd.”

Plaid sells well, and “camo” -- camouflage -- is a popular look, Bess said. Some men also like to wear thematic pants, like St. Patrick’s Day styles, he said in a telephone interview.

Men wear the pants with T-shirts, biker jackets, and sneakers or untied boots, for a retro feel, Bess said.

“We always say if you are wearing one outrageous, cool, flashy item, you should pair it with something simple, so the focus is on one item,” Bess said.

What are the guys wearing underneath?

“I would hope underwear,’” Bess said. “Boxer shorts, we’re hoping. You never know.”

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