Tesco bans shoppers from wearing pyjamas in their store: were they right?

Don't wear them to Tesco...

Pyjamas in public: The Fashion Police have so far been fortune enough to avoid seeing this phenomenon in action, but we know from our spies on the ground that it’s becoming increasingly common – not just in supermarkets, but on college campuses and at the school gate, too.

Now UK supermarket giant Tesco has become the first supermarket chain in the UK to introduce a dress code specifically forbidding customers to shop in pyjamas: the St Mellons store in Cardiff has put up printed notices at the doors, and has already had several pj-clad patrons escorted from the premises for flouting the rules by turning up in nightwear, including dressing gowns and slippers. Meanwhile, the headteacher at a UK primary school has sent letters home to all parents asking that parents arriving to collect children after class at least take the time to put on some kind of clothing before leaving the house.

Tesco say their new policy has been introduced in response to customer complaints. The dress code states:

“To avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others, we ask that our customers are appropriately dressed when visiting our store (footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted).”

What we want to know, then, is this: were Tesco right to turn real-life Fashion Police and ban nightwear from the aisles?

One of the first customers to be escorted from the premises clearly didn’t think so. She said:

 “If you’re allowed to wear jogging bottoms, why aren’t you allowed to wear pyjamas in there, that’s what I don’t understand. It is ridiculous and stupid. I go in other shops in my pyjamas and they don’t say anything. They should be happy because you’re going to spend all that money.”

Meanwhile, Sky News presenter Colin Brazier gave the argument for the defence:

 “If you can’t be bothered to change out of your night-clothes, it’s not likely you possess any of the aptitudes which make the world around us a better place; stoical parenting, self-less duty to others, or the ability to hold down a job.”

But what do YOU think? Are you offended by the sight of people in pyjamas, nightgowns and dressing gowns out in public? Or do you think it’s absolutely fine to just roll out of bed and hit the street? Tell us!

[Pyjamas: Paul Frank]

43 Comments

  • February 2, 2010

    Cookie

    I have, luckily, never seen anyone around our local or any other shops in their nighties or dressing gowns. Perhaps it’s a different mentality. And if it were up to me, jogging clothes would be only worn for jogging. The idea of wearing your nightie to a shop is just horrible and I seriously cannot imagine what kind of a person would go about doing that. It’s like going out in your underwear!

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  • February 2, 2010

    lola

    perhaps i’m just weird, but i don’t see how it can be ‘offensive’ or ’embarrassing’ to see somebody walking around in their pyjamas – it’s not like they’re wearing a t-shirt with a racist slogan or walking round with their genitals hanging out. and it’s not like they’re at work and representing a company or anything. as far as i’m concerned, people can wear whatever they please to go to tesco.

    and before people accuse me of it, i don’t ever wear my pyjamas outside my apartment (apart from going to put my rubbish out).

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  • February 2, 2010

    Ellie

    Interestingly enough, I remember reading a few weeks ago that China is having the same problem. As prosperity rises in China, people can afford pajamas; prior to this, people sleep in their old, raggish clothes. So some like to flaunt it and go shimmying around in their PJs. So much so that in the run up to the Shanghai hosting of the World’s Expo, they’ve released the slogan “No Pajamas in Public, Be Civilized for the Expo” to discourage the wearing of them outside the home.

    I don’t mean to sound ‘classist’ here, but perhaps the reason why you haven’t seen it is because it mostly occurs in lower income areas; where people don’t have alot of reason to get changed in the morning, as they lack jobs.

    Maybe that’s part of the reason that Tesco has enforced it; getting rid of the ‘no-gooders’. Because crocs make people uncomfortable. Tank tops of men make people uncomfortable. Heck, burkas make alot of people feel uncomfortable. But none of these are associated with the lower classes.

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    • November 2, 2011

      Tanya

      I think you make a really interesting point, but having said that, round my way the only people I’ve seen wandering the streets in pjs and no shoes are posh students.

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  • February 2, 2010

    missusm

    i’ve seen people going to coffee shops in their jogging clothes and pyjamas, even with full make up on. there’s nothing wrong with that according to the law of i-wear-whatever-i-wanna-wear-biyatch!, what is so annoying is that we can’t help but to think bad about those people. it’s like keep thinking “oh jeebus, the hell is wrong with her?!” while we have a nice tall latte to enjoy!so yes, in order to decrease the number of sinners in this filthy world, everyone should have the courtesy to put on something that won’t draw sinister smile. and also i don’t wanna be seen being in the same public place with a person in pyjama that is not sick or having mental problem.
    .-= missusm´s last blog ..holiday..oh holiday =-.

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  • February 2, 2010

    Maeve

    I totally agree with this rule. I am so glad to hear Tesco has pioneered the way in taking a stand against this. I see this all the time. I live in an upper middle class area, and most people guilty of it seem to be females between 15 and 25. I am a 19 year old girl and it is a huge pet peeve of mine! People are treating public area as if they own it and it was their own property. Just look at the fact that stores always put pajamas in the lingerie and underclothing section. Pajamas are supposed to be private! Wearing pajamas in public is the same thing as wearing a bra around in the summer and saying “but nothing is really showing, sports bras and bikini tops are allowed so why can’t I walk around in this?” Well, the reason is, pajamas are just not clothing. And seriously, how long does it take to throw on some track pants (which ARE clothing, although not the nicest possible clothing) and a T-shirt? Is that just too difficult?

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  • February 2, 2010

    Kate

    I disagree with Tesco’s policy, but only after giving it a fair bit of thought. First, when my friends and I were in high school (2000-2004), we wore pyjama PANTS almost every day. We were lazy teenagers, they were comfy and came in fun prints. I know NOW that it wasn’t the classiest thing ever, but I can’t go tell 2003 Kate that 😛 A whole outfit was just about as casual as you could get – pyjama pants, t-shirt, hoodie, tennis shoes/flip flops. Looking back it’s certainly not something I’d choose again (heck, at this point I feel weird going out in jeans and a hoodie!), but it wasn’t offensive at the time. We all knew how to clean up when the occasion dictated (a presentation in class, for example).

    You can’t legislate common sense, and honestly I think that if “good taste” is the issue then we should be more concerned about peopleofwalmart.com -esque getups (mesh cropped shirts and micro-mini shorts? Ewwww!) than of pyjamas that probably cover the whole body.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..At Loose Ends =-.

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  • February 2, 2010

    claire

    After body odour, pajamas in public is my biggest pet peeve. To me it’s a sign of disrespect when patrons come in my store wearing bad clothes. We don’t have a dress code at our store, but if I was wearing pajamas behind the till, there would be so many complaints. It makes people think you haven’t washed and chances are you haven’t.

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  • February 2, 2010

    claire

    I meand to write bed clothes, not bad clothes.

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  • February 2, 2010

    claire

    I meant to write meant. I need a coffee.

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  • February 2, 2010

    naomi

    I hate the PJs in public practice and I have been forced to see it for at least a decade here in Canada. It really doesn’t seem to be a “lower class” thing here…I have seen “upper class” people (ie: students in a University) doing that too…I tend to think it comes from laziness and/or a like-it-or-lump-it attitude that exists in the West…my main problem with it is that the person doesn’t even care enough to change out of the sweaty garment (usually worn with no underwear) they slept in to go interact with the world…whether they actually slept in the bottoms has no importance to me…i just assume they did
    as for the store that banned it…well they can say no shoes no shirt no service…so why not no pjs? We all need to remember that they make so many types of clothing so we can all have event appropriate attire lol

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  • February 2, 2010

    Natasha

    I have never ever in my life seen this. Is this some sort of a joke? Have I accidentally slept through February and March and woken up on April 1st? Do these people wear just the bottoms with like a t-shirt or the whole set? I can’t even picture it, and most of all – I can’t fathom WHY anyone would leave the house without getting dressed. I don’t find it offensive, just incredibly weird.

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  • February 2, 2010

    Suya

    Well, I definitely am a little bit offended by people walking in the streets in their night clothing (it happened to me a few times), or maybe more precisely: I can’t help wondering, what goes in these people’s minds, when leaving the house in their pyjamas or basicly anything, that just can´t be suited in the category “normal clothes” (like wearing leggins instead of pants etc.)… I’m a big fan of originality as regards clothing, but sometimes it’s neccessary to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. And I think that Tesco has the right to prohibit wearng pyjamas in their shops, but can you imagine the real situation? Like “sorry, but you must immediately leave this building, sir/madam?” They would be driving out their own customers, wouldn’t they? Perhaps they can afford it.

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  • February 2, 2010

    Mary

    I’m all to used to the “wearing your jammies to the shops and wherever else you like” trend right now. I live in a very working class area, not much employment so it’s pretty much been going on for years. Relations of mine are gobsmacked when they see it, but even when I was in secondary school, girls would wear pyjama pants underneath their long skirts tucked into their knee socks to keep them warm in the winter…
    But I really can’t stand people wearing them into supermarkets or any other shops. They’re pyjamas, they main job is to keep you warm in bed! When you see these people in shops they’re generally not wearing anything else underneath, if you catch my drift… It’s not what you want to see when you’re popping to the shops! Although that said, the PJ clad people can also tend to have to sets of pyjamas for a day, like in the evening they change into a different pair to sleep in… Try and figure that one out!!!

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  • February 2, 2010

    Marianne

    Pyjama bottoms seem to have become the daily uniform for the younger set in California, not just the mom stopping in the market after dropping the kids at school. And it’s pretty horrible, especially when paired with scuffed bedroom slippers. The sleep pants here seem to be worn low on the hips and very tight in the seat, showing the observer way more than they wanted to see. And I just can’t fathom the idea of turning up at my son’s school like that, even on a day off work. I’m guessing Tesco is a privately owned (non-government) company. They can have any standards of customer dress they want. If they enforce it, so much the better.

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  • February 2, 2010

    lizvocal

    I have a couple of thoughts. When I worked outside the house, wearing clothes that looked good enough for court, but were comfy enough to be pajamas was my heart’s desire, and I found a few outfits that came close. So I understand the desire. I also think it is not always clear what are pajamas and what aren’t. I have flannel pants and fleece pants that are not pajamas exactly, but they are not workout or regular clothes, either. They are sold as “lounge wear” which to me means “not to be worn in public” no matter how tempting it is. (Now that I work at home, they are my work clothes. 🙂 ) I also own a couple of vintage rayon men’s pajama tops that I wear as jackets, because the fabric, cut and pattern are gorgeous. I’m not offended by someone grocery shopping in cute flannel pants with patterns and a hoodie. As a college professor, I would be offended by that look in class. (I teach online, so what I or my students wear is better left unsaid). But if the flannel pants/t/hoodie look led to people wearing their actual pajamas (robes, nighties) to shop, then that is a step too far. As much as I would personally love to be comfy all day. (oh wait, I am!)

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  • February 2, 2010

    Ruby

    As a first year university student in a student dominated area, I might pop to the takeaway or Tesco express in my PJ bottoms and a hoodie, but that would be the extent of it.
    I guess we’re one of the problem demographics 😀

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  • February 2, 2010

    Katie

    I have had to deal with this phenomenon in my town for so long. There are overwhelming amounts of people, of all ages and social statuses, who wear almost nothing but sweatpants/pajama pants, Uggs, and hoodies. The only thing I can think about these people when I see them is how horribly lazy and unmotivated they must be if they can’t even take the time to change into real clothes. People even wear this ‘uniform’ to the one nice restaurant in our town!

    I would be eternally grateful to any business or school in my town that bans the wearing of sweatpants/pajama pants.

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  • February 2, 2010

    Rock Hyrax

    I live in a fairly studenty area and once saw two student-age girls wearing matching pyjama bottoms to the local Asda. They were wearing Ugg boots too, so I reckon it must have been for a bet or something. Never seen it in Tesco’s though, nor have I seen sleepwear on campus.
    I don’t actually care if someone wears clean pyjamas with underwear (as the people I mentioned seemed to be doing) – there are worse things to worry about – but as Naomi said it’s the thought of someone getting out of bed and mixing in public without having a wash, putting on underwear or changing out of their night clothes that puts me off.

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  • February 2, 2010

    AlyCatNat

    Even though I cringe when I see people wearing their PJs in public, I think banning it gets into a first amendment issue (freedom of speech and expression). I know Tesco doesn’t have to worry about the first amendment, they are presumeably privately owned and not in the US anyway, but where do you draw the line? Indecent exposure is obviously out, but how do you define what is sleepwear? Are plain, elastic waisted flannel pants OK, but not if they have teddy bears and hearts printed on them? What about people who stop by on their way home from work and are sweaty, dirty, or covered in paint, should they be banned too? I truly don’t want to see anyone in their pajamas, but I also don’t want people to be banned from a store by some repressed old schoolmarm who’s fashion sense stopped developing in the 1950’s. If they drove/bussed/walked all the way to Tesco, should they have to go home empty handed just because somebody there didn’t like what they were wearing?

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    • February 3, 2010

      The Fashion Police

      I think this is a really important point. As you say, there are lots of drawstring pants etc out there which AREN’T sleepwear, but which look a lot like it. And if they’re definining “sleepwear” as “anything with bears” on it or similar, then that really becomes an issue of personal taste rather than one of indeceny, or “offence”. As much as I hate Crocs, for instance, I don’t think people who wear them should be banned from public places, and I guess this COULD come down to the same kind of thing.

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  • February 2, 2010

    Emily

    Well I personally have worn my PJ’s to Tescos. I must admit it didn’t look like PJ’s since it was just yoga pants and I had my massive uni hoody on covering my more pj like top. But, my friend was in labour, also in her pj’s, and needed things for her hospital bag so needs must…Since they’re open 24 hours some days too are they suppised they get people in pjs?

    ^._.^

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  • February 2, 2010

    Sarah

    What if my pajama bottoms ARE jogging or sweat pants? And I’m sorry, if I’m doing errands, I am NOT putting on fancy clothes. As long as you can’t see anything inappropriate (say a big hole in the crotch), then I don’t see why anyone else cares. I get that we all people watch, but if we are dressed appropriately (not as in in tune with YOUR taste, but in tune with what is socially appropriate, such as free of holes or sweat stains) then why should you care?

    This just seems like an absurd rule, especially upon reading the defense they make. Who are they to say that if I’m in what I’m sleeping in I can’t make the world around me a better place? I should be able to make the world a better place naked! (Well, maybe not literally, but the point is is that I am not defined by what I wear. I am no more a better person when I dress up than when I’m in pjs.).

    Sorry for the long rant, I just really hate this kind of argument.

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    • February 6, 2010

      mbbored

      Personally, I feel that not wearing pajamas shows a sign of respect for the public in general. I just like I don’t like to smell bad breath, or listen to foul language, I don’t like to see pajamas or even really work out clothes. Pajamas have a particular purpose, wearing to bed. Yoga and sweat pants are for working out, not running errands.

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  • February 3, 2010

    Nikki G

    I have no problem with people in pajamas being banned from stores. I guess as a person who only wears jammies to bed, I just can’t fathom why anyone would want to wear them in public. I don’t even sit around my house in my pajamas. I mean, there is a reason pajamas are not sold in the same section as regular clothes – they are not actual clothing. People can say that presentation doesn’t matter, but that is not true. The person you are is very, very important, but if you can’t be bothered to put on real clothes to go out in public, it shows everyone around you that you don’t care about yourself enough to get properly dressed.

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    • February 5, 2010

      The Image Expert

      Agreed. This shows a lack of respect for ones self as well as those around them. Teachers in the US report that their students arrive to school wearing pajama bottom as well. America is going down the tube in a T-shirt — and now this! Pajamas are made for sleeping, folks.
      .-= The Image Expert´s last blog ..Pants On The Ground! =-.

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  • February 3, 2010

    Robyn

    I’m all for it. Not only does it look sloppy, but I’ve seen way too many people clad in pjs having to hold up their pj bottoms (because obviously they’re quite loose for sleeping in). I have seen far more butt crack sticking out over spongebob sleep pants than I would like.

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  • February 3, 2010

    JC

    Well it may be seen as a crime of fashion but when I occaisionally visit Tescos late at night (say 2-3am) I will quite happily go to the store dressed in my pjs..but I’m talking pyjama bottoms here not the whole shabang, and will usually be wearing a normal vest top/cardigan/scarf combo on my upper half.
    I think at that time in the morning when the only other people out are similarly aged shelf-stackers (I’m a 19 year old uni student) and the odd weirdo it’s perfectly acceptable* to wear your pjs.

    *dressing gowns, slippers and matching flannel nightwear like pictured above are obviously not included, nor is any of this during daylight hours

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  • February 3, 2010

    Lala Lu

    Well, I live in a small town, where it is often cold and raining. MANY people don’t bother to get dressed, and I think that they should.
    .-= Lala Lu´s last blog ..:) =-.

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  • February 3, 2010

    Brie

    Pajamas are made for sleeping in, and fine to wear around the house but, to wear them out in public? I am agreeing with Tesco in the banning of this because here in the States…Walmart has women walking around in nighties! Women who should not be in public wearing such little fabric and, frankly, it is stomach turning.

    Be decent and GET dressed out of you sleeping attire before heading to the store!
    .-= Brie´s last blog ..Avon Pro-To-Go Listick: Review =-.

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  • February 3, 2010

    Beazzle

    What a storm in a B cup; It seems to me that Tesco want to alienate their customer base. I’m glad that Waitrose dosen’t give a rats when I slouch in for my breakfast on a saturday in my jammers. Stupid rule for a vile business.

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  • February 3, 2010

    Natasha

    Many people have mentioned hygiene, but I have a different hygiene question for the people who do go out in their pajamas: do you actually later go to bed wearing that same pair? To me, my bed is like the cleanest place there is, and I can’t even imagine going outside, possibly sitting somewhere, and then returning home and going to bed in the same clothes. That is seriously gross!

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    • February 3, 2010

      The Fashion Police

      I’ve wondered about this too. I mean, if you’re going to go to the trouble of changing into a clean pair of pyjamas either to go to bed or to go out in, surely it would be just as easy to pull on some “regular” clothes? Some of the articles I’ve been reading about this, though, had quotes from pyjama-wearers who said they had “really nice ones, with bears on them” which they wear to go out in (and don’t wear to sleep in). So the pjs are an actual fashion choice in some cases!

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  • February 3, 2010

    Moni

    A lot of different thoughts come to my mind about this:

    1.) As mentioned before: What exactly qualifies as “pyjamas”? Especially nowadays with the ongoing lingerie fashion trend and a lot of celebrities having shown up on red carpets looking like they were dressed for bed. Are the Tesco security people especially schooled to tell plain pyjamas from designer-styled formal evening wear?
    2.) I don’t think people should be banned from places because of their clothes, as long as they are fully clothed. I know this is a very controverse topic as we’ve all heard of rules like “no bare legs and arms allowed in this church/temple” or “You have to cover your head before entering”. But the places in question are always religious places and such, for which such rules are justified in my opinion.
    The important point is: Where do you stop? If you ban pyjamas today, will it be women wearing pants tomorrow? Will we all have to wrap our heads in scarves next week?
    It’s always a dangerous decision to make a “law” out of it.
    I agree that nobody wants to see other people’s breasts or buttcheeks hanging out of their clothes (That is: Yes, we do (www.peopleofwalmart.com), but not up close!). And we’d like to have the people around us dressed properly. Sure. But why can’t the company/store in question just set up a sign asking their customers to check their wardrobe before entering? Unsolicited good behaviour is always more favourable than fear of penalties.

    Apart from that: I cannot remember anybody going shopping in their nightwear in my town. Maybe that’s partly because shops in Germany are not open 24 hours. And I guess most people still feel the need to put on “real” clothes before leaving the house. (Even my boyfriend, who works from home and on most days does not take off his pyjama at all, will put on jeans and a sweatshirt when we go grocery shopping.)
    But, from what I’ve seen as “real clothes” so far, I’d be happy if some of the people would have worn pyjamas instead…

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    • February 3, 2010

      The Fashion Police

      “But, from what I’ve seen as “real clothes” so far, I’d be happy if some of the people would have worn pyjamas instead…”

      Haha, yes: I think this site itself is proof that there are lots of “real clothes” out there that look SO much worse than pjs!

      View Comment
  • February 3, 2010

    lori

    I’m in the States, and we have our fair share of people shopping in pajamas/pyjamas and slippers. I find it frankly horrifying. I don’t dress to the nines every time I leave the house, but I do DRESS. Even on days when I work at home, I slip into real clothes to run errands during my lunch hour. Honestly, it astounds me how lazy people are.

    The other thing is that as far as I know (and again, I’m in the States), Tesco is a privately owned company, and they therefore have the right to set the policies that they please as long as they aren’t discriminatory. I don’t think there should be laws banning pajamas in public, but personally, I’m more likely to shop in a store that takes a stand against them.

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  • February 4, 2010

    aly

    you shouldnt wear pajamas in public but wearing flannel pajama pants is ok with a nice pair of uggs or any type of furry boot not sneakers or fancy black boots only casual boots

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    • February 12, 2010

      Rowill

      There’s no such thing as a nice pair of Uggs, so it may not solve the problem.

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  • February 4, 2010

    momo

    I’m foreseeing a pajama party flash mob in Tesco’s, soonish.

    And I would totally join in. 🙂

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  • February 6, 2010

    Sandy

    I’d probably never wear pajamas outside the house, but hey, as long as people aren’t exposing an inappropriate amount of skin, I don’t see why a grocery store would go so far as to ban the practice.

    Also, I completely agree that “daytime clothes” can be so much worse than pajamas. The style around here is to wear nylon jogging shorts with black leggings and Ugg boots. The North Face fleece jacket (or sorority logo windbreaker) is optional. I kid you not! Some college kids dress so poorly. I wish more people understood that looking nice isn’t that difficult and doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. I’m getting away from the topic at hand, aren’t I?

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  • February 7, 2010

    Rhi

    If I saw someone wearing a full-on pajama set like the Paul Frank in public, I’d be really concerned, but the fact of the matter is that the “pajama epidemic” doesn’t seem to have reached my area in such an extreme fashion yet (thankfully).

    That said, I have to wonder if Tesco’s has banned “pajamas” as such, or simply the “pajama pants/tshirt/hoodie” look that so many commenters have observed. If the former– if they are really having that many people show up in frilly nighties or matching top-and-bottom combos– then I can understand the ban. If the latter, however, then it’s a different kettle of fish altogether, isn’t it? I personally wouldn’t wear that get-up out of the house unless I’d been ill and was running to the drugstore to pick up a prescription and some ice cream, in which case getting properly dressed would take more energy than the trip itself, but to plenty of other people, it’s a fashion statement.

    That’s not to say it’s a good one, but then again, neither is that “long tshirt with leggings” look, and no one’s banning THAT.

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  • February 12, 2010

    Mike

    Do men do this too? Or are fleecy knit sweatsuits awful enough?

    I’m a man (it’s a long story how I found myself on this post…), and I’m sitting here at 12:30 in the morning in my flannel pajamas. At home. With no one around to see. They’re from Brooks Brothers, and rather nice, if it’s relevant.

    I may be old-fashioned and prudish, but I won’t even go to my front step after the milkman has left without being fully dressed. Looking back on the occasions when I was whisked off to the doctor in the middle of the night for a sudden illness, I recall being expected to be fully dressed even for those outings.

    And no, I’m not ancient. I still have a milkman in early 2010, and my pediatrician’s office was on the first floor of her home.

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  • March 14, 2010

    Paige

    I think that wearing pajamas outside is tacky and trashy. It makes you look like you don’t care that you look like a slob and you just woke up. I think that banning pajamas from that store is a great idea and more stores should do that because they look like fools.

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