Thanks India

By Jo Phillips

When it’s a bit nippy and we ‘get dressed’ to go to bed do we ever stop and ask why pyjamas are called what they are or how on earth we came to wear them? Find out more here in Thanks India.

Well, the word pyjama and the garment itself was incorporated into the English language via Bengali, during the time of the  Raj. The worldwide use of pyjamas in fact is a direct result of the British presence in India in the 18th and 19th centuries, and its rather ugly Imperial influence in the West at that time. Now we consider this garment in India to be more like a Kurta.

Introduced likely in the 17th century in the UK but was known at the time as ‘mogul’s breeches’. The pyjama was first introduced in Britain in the 17th century, originally known as mogul’s breeches, unsurprisingly with a name like that they didn’t catch on as a fashion trend until around the 1870s.

They would have been considered homeware something to wear under say a smoking jacket, really for lounging around and this only really began to change at the beginning of the 20th century.

As for the name itself it took the populace around the globe for it to be a commonly known word. Derived from two Hindi terms: “pa(y),” for leg, and “jamah,” for garment. It entered the English language around 1880 as “pyjamas,” and then the Americans adopted the term from the British as “pajamas.”

In 1920s America they replaced nightshirts for men, and women adopted them slightly later after world war I as also a bedtime garment but also as a lounge item. Made in cotton, linen and Rayon, they became seen as something more elegant when produced initially for women in silk.

Going to be in something a little special does feel like a nice little treat so what about a pair designed with a print from fashion favourite Giles Deakin? He has paired up with The White Company to produce a little bit of luxury at bedtime.

This collection includes pyjamas, of course, a robe, a nightie and an eye mark. Giles took a hand-drawn motif of Lilies and Freesias as an all-over print in soft grey against crisp white silk or super soft jersey.

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