Surprisingly, I didn’t really know much about the history of pajamas before falling into designing sleepwear. I’ve sold vintage clothing for most of my adult life, and have studied costume history, but pajamas are a part of fashion history that is often skipped over in fashion courses.
I’m pretty curious about most things, so of course I dove into learning more about the history of how pajamas originated. I was delighted to learn that they were actually first created in India (where we manufacture our pajamas!). The word pajama originates from the Hindi word pāyjāma meaning essentially: leg garment. These loose trousers were typically tied around the waist and constructed from cotton or silk.
Apparently, Europeans who were living in South Asia in the 1600’s adopted the style and loved sleeping in them. The British began referring to them as ‘mogul’s breeches’ in the 17th century. In India, both men and women wore cotton pajama pants, and most women in India wear a drawstring cotton pant under their dresses and Kurtas to this day. I’ve seen many outfits in boutiques in Jaipur and Delhi styled in this way, with a wall full of these drawstring pants available in almost any hue.