Pajamas in Public: Hoboken Sloth Couture
A while back I was out walking my dog late at night, when I noticed an attractive young lady shoot a wry smile my way as she looked me up and down. As a slightly overweight 40 year-old bald man tethered to a terrier, I’ll admit it did a hell of a lot for my self-confidence. At least briefly, until I realized I was wearing my Darth Vader pajama bottoms. “The force is strong…”
In my defense it was pretty late. I was on my way to bed and figured I’d take the pup for one last quick stroll. I didn’t consciously walk out in public wearing my pajamas—I did it because I’m a quasi-senile old bastard with basically no self-respect. Plus I’m married, so I no longer give a damn how I dress in public. Hell, my wife bought me the pajama pants, so she’s as much to blame as I am.
But the fact is I’m not alone in my faux pas.
All the cool kids are doing it…
Walk the streets of Hoboken on any given day and you’ll find people milling about in their PJs in broad daylight. On weekdays you’ll see hard-charging go-getters out running their early morning errands in last night’s flannel pants. On the weekends, you’ll see otherwise normal looking young men and women standing in line for Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese on a Roll wearing fleece trousers emblazoned with their favorite NFL team’s logo. In their defense, they’re hungover… but that argument loses its luster when they’re still rocking the pjs after noon.
One can likely chalk it up to Hoboken’s fratty undercurrent. While the Stroller Mafia continues to plow ever forward toward Mamafest Destiny, Hoboken’s post-collegiate afterparty still rages on. We have mixers, we have beer pong tables—we even have an intramural-style kickball league… for grown men and women.
The Mile Square City maintains that college quad vibe—possibly because there’s a college quad smack dab in the middle of it, or more likely because many of its inhabitants still view it as a staging area for their next move in life.
The tie to the community remains casual, which is all too often demonstrated by the apparel casually tied around the waist.
Put some damn pants on.
Realizing I might not be the best barometer when it comes to fashion trends, I figured I’d reach out to a few professionals for their input on public displays of pjs.
“Horrendous,” says fashion consultant Amy Berenbak. “This is a big no-no, and I see it more often than I would like to. “
“My first thought is, why??? It’s just so unattractive. I know that’s harsh but that’s my feeling—throw on a pair of jeans!”
Theresa Minutillo of Image Development Group thinks pretty much along the same lines.
“I think it’s cute to see a Stevens student in their pajamas and UGGs buying breakfast bagels on Washington St. I imagine they pulled an all-nighter studying and they’re heading back to their dorm to continue. And it’s even cuter to see a little kid in jammies—bedhead and all—walking into Dunkin Donuts on Saturday morning with their dad to get their morning dose of sugar,” says Minutillo.
“But that has to be where it stops!! I don’t want to EVER see an adult out in public wearing their pajamas—not for a midnight dog walk or an early morning coffee run and most certainly not when the sun is up! Clean up, get dressed and put on fresh clothes—then go out!”
Having been guilty of the “midnight dog walk,” I thought maybe the ladies were being a little draconian in their assessment. Surely there are some like-minded fellas out there who have no qualms about wallowing in their own apathy.
“I can only think of two circumstances where it is socially acceptable to wear pajamas in public,” says comedian Jim Dodge. “Circumstance #1-You are being placed in an ambulance because of a health issue. Circumstance #2-You are under the age of 2.”
“I wasn’t aware that this is a fashion trend for adults,” adds Dodge. “Where does it end? Will we see people with bathrobes and slippers enjoying Bloody Mary’s for brunch? I’m all for being comfortable, but just have some self-respect. Why not just wear a muumuu, like Homer Simpson?”
Humorist Adam Wade is also shocked by concept. “I wear sweatpants, or gym shorts, but pjs? I mean, even if I have the flu… you’re over 5 years old, I really think you should take the extra 14 seconds and fix your self up in the most minimal way humanly possible—put on some pants.”
Upon reflection, however, Wade admits it’s not a dealbreaker. “You NEVER know—maybe I’ll meet my wife in line at Hoboken Bagels in her PJs. She’ll have the worst morning breath in the world and her hair will look like she put her finger in an electric socket… it could happen. You never know when cupid will strike.”
Hoping to find at least one person who is cool with the look, I reached out to the creative minds behind BroBoken.com. But even they have caveats when it comes to casual couture.
“There are only two instances where it’s socially acceptable for a man to wear pajamas in public in Hoboken,” says editor Sean Hinklein.
“The first is if they have an ass flap and if this is just for comedic ‘bro’ effect. The second is if they plan on doing an open-to-close bar adventure, meaning when the bar opens they’re drinking, and when it closes, still drinking. Then it can be looked at as just being prepared, bro.”
“Anything else,” he adds, “is just kind of weird.”