Pajama jeans? Can I rock them?
July 22, 2012 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Pajama jeans: Where and when can I rock them? If at all? And will casual third party observers be able to tell in wearing fake jeans?

Impulse purchase at Wal-Mart checkout line: pajama jeans. And damn are they comfy. Usually I'm a stylish person. I intellectually understand that this clothing item cannot possibly be stylish, as it the box it came in bears an "as seen on TV" logo.

But yet... What's your take on these, hive-mind? Do you notice if someone is wearing them in public, or does your brain gloss over them and just think "indigo colored, jeans" unless the wearer informs you of their true nature?

I understand that these are not a substitute for my usual outfit of dark rinse Joe's jeans, cute Cole Haan heels and a banana republic top for going out casually in NYC, say. I also have a fully functional adult grown up work wardrobe that is well tailored. I have ample cocktail and black tie attire and know how to wear it.

But: when I get on a long flight, go to sit for the bar exam (like I plan to do on Tuesday), go grocery shopping, have a long road trip... 1) would people notice the pajama jeans and 2) would they look better than my usual attire for such occasions, which is to say yoga pants and sweats? Or do I look like a total fool, because I am the chick in sweatpants tricked out like jeans?

Stylishness context: I live in a resort-town in Vermont but I get out and about in NYC and other large cities frequently. Possibly relevant: I also think those snow pants Burton sells that look like blue jeans but are actually serious ski pants are also pretty awesome.
posted by slateyness to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (45 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's all in the name.

Pajama jeans.

They are pajamas. You wear them at home. Maybe you could get away with taking out the trash in them, or running downstairs to the bodega for milk before noon on a weekend.

In my opinion they would be worse than yoga pants, because yoga pants are called "yoga pants", which implies they are for some activity which takes place outside the home.
posted by Sara C. at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Rock them however you want. I will judge you in most all case.
posted by quodlibet at 7:54 PM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think yoga pants are a better choice, but they're probably better than sweats. On long flights, sitting for the bar exam (good luck!), or on a roadtrip, I really wouldn't care what someone thought. People will notice and judge, but I wouldn't care at all.
posted by quince at 7:59 PM on July 22, 2012

I think they're acceptable to wear anywhere you would wear pajama pants.
posted by inertia at 8:01 PM on July 22, 2012 [11 favorites]

They look like real jeans to me. People all around you may be wearing them already and you don't even know it. "Pajama jeans" may be the new "jeans".
posted by originalname37 at 8:02 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Case-in-point: my male friend who normally rocks jeans/shorts and a tee kind of shuddered at the words "pajama jeans."

I actually don't think I would specifically recognize that you had pajama jeans on, because I don't look at people's jeans that closely. However, from all the pictures of them I've seen (on the promotion, included), I've confirmed that they get saggy in the wrong areas. You are more than likely going to end up with a crotch pouch after several hours in the car on a road trip, for example. It's up to you whether you want to risk it.

**They're better than mom jeans?
posted by DoubleLune at 8:07 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about wearing them with a long tunic, so that the waist/hip/pocket area isn't visible?
posted by amtho at 8:08 PM on July 22, 2012

I rolled my eyes at them until Christmas two years ago. A 65 year old friend of my mom's was wearing what I thought were some stylish dark wash jeans that turned out to be pajama jeans. I've wanted a pair ever since.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:17 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I've never noticed anyone wearing pajama jeans so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I agree with matty. Wear what makes you happy and comfortable. Who the hell cares if the box says "as seen on TV"? There is something stylish about wearing what makes you happy because it makes you happy.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:20 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

They're basically a jegging (jean + legging), so as long as you wear something long enough to cover the waist and possibly the crotch depending on the fit, you should be good.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:28 PM on July 22, 2012 [7 favorites]

I disagree that no one will notice. They are painfully obvious, and I'm not even that fashion-conscious. However, if you don't care, wear what you want.
posted by sageleaf at 8:36 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry but you can't wear these anywhere.
posted by violetk at 8:39 PM on July 22, 2012 [8 favorites]

My 18 year old daughter will wear flannel pj's out to school or to a casual trip with friends to the diner. These, even if I did see them on TV, would totally rock for her and me as a dad trying to be ok with what she wears. Could be worse, she could be wearing one of those pony tail things I used to see advertised.

Wear 'em whenever you want. Screw anyone who cares.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:41 PM on July 22, 2012

I am beyond excited to hear that these exist and intend to purchase them ASAP and wear them everywhere, yay! But I'm also the type who has thrown away all of my bras that are not Ahh Bras (also available on the WalMart checkout line) because they are so very, very comfortable. (Full disclosure: I'm over 50 and beyond giving a shit what people think.)
posted by Wordwoman at 8:43 PM on July 22, 2012 [9 favorites]

(I will say that anybody who says that you cannot wear these or whatever the hell you want on a long flight or long road trip lacks compassion and should be ignored.)
posted by Wordwoman at 8:46 PM on July 22, 2012 [9 favorites]

Circumstances like writing an exam, taking a long flight, or going to the grocery store are all circumstances where it would be appropriate to wear yoga pants or leggings or some other comfy thing. Wear your pajama jeans in those circumstances, when they are subbing in for other 'comfy clothes'. Don't try and make them sub in for 'real jeans'.
posted by Kololo at 8:47 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not a huge fan of pajama jeans; I think that they look a bit too obviously low quality for my tastes. I think that knit jeans are a much more stylish option. Same comfort and stretchability, but vastly nicer fabrics, styles and colors, quality, and durability.
posted by skye.dancer at 8:49 PM on July 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

I'd say these are acceptable wherever pajamas are acceptable, and I've worn pajamas just about everywhere.
posted by marimeko at 8:52 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also -- I do not know how old you are, but if you are old enough to have a daughter, check out Not Your Daughter's Jeans, which are real jeans that indeed are comfortable enough to sleep in. I don't know how they do it. Apologies if these are the dreaded mom jeans that everybody talks about.
posted by Wordwoman at 8:53 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would notice and judge and think you would look less ridiculous in sweats or yoga pants.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:54 PM on July 22, 2012

@ Wordwoman and skyedancer- nice! Thanks. I'm late 20s, but my lower ab area is really fond of stretchy pants after having GI surgery a while ago. Crunches and other exercise ceased for a few months and all my nice jeans are now unfortunately tight. So those suggestions are super helpful.
posted by slateyness at 9:00 PM on July 22, 2012

What I notice looking at pictures of these is that the softness of the fabric means that the fit is a little off, the legs look a little baggy, etc. The fit looks kind of nineties to me - not the way jeans are conventionally worn right now.

For two contradictory reasons it seems fine to wear them, however:

1. People routinely wear much more hideous things - crocs, yoga pants (which I think are sooooooo ugly), cargo shorts, flip-flops, those nasty poly-rayon-spandex "office" pants that always dig in at the hips and bag horribly everywhere else, modal knits that don't fit - jesus, the list goes on. Anyone who is offended at pajama jeans probably has to wear dark glasses 24/7 to protect themselves from the horror that is the cargo short.

2. Clothing policing is vulgar and crass, and people who fuss about others' clothes are acting vulgar and crass. The anxious bourgeois line about "showing respect" "for the occasion" or "for yourself" via how you dress inevitably slides into some really suspect stuff about race, class, age, bodies and gender (somehow "respect" always means dressing like a middle class white straight USian with enough but not too much money, yanno? Not to mention all the screwed-up stuff about not showing your arms if you're fat, or your knees if you're old. ) Plus anxiety about harmless things that other people do is....well, it says more about you than about them. So just don't get into it. Wear the darn things when it seems appropriate.

In fact, maybe you should wear them as an exercise in confidence building! You seem hung up on looking okay; maybe wearing these things will be freeing and will teach you that you are not your appearance, and that you don't have to be scared of people who judge you for stupid things.
posted by Frowner at 9:02 PM on July 22, 2012 [16 favorites]

They are painfully and hideously obvious and should never be worn anywhere . . . Except that you're taking the bar exam and that is one exception where you're allowed to wear anything you damned well please, as long as its allowed by the bar examiners.
posted by The World Famous at 9:17 PM on July 22, 2012

I think sweat pants are the ugliest bottoms on earth and don't understand why people choose to wear those outside...just something to think about when people tell you to wear sweats, but not these, outside.

I say if it covers most your underwear and you can still fit through typical doorways, who cares what you're wearing, as long as you're comfortable.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 9:20 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I judge people on their outfits all the time, if we're being honest, but even I think you should wear whatever the hell you want to sit the bar exam.

That being said, I always vote against wearing something that you're going to be self-conscious about, so maybe just wear your yoga pants and have one less thing to think about.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 9:36 PM on July 22, 2012

Impulse purchase at Wal-Mart checkout line: pajama jeans. ... Usually I'm a stylish person.

These two statements do not go together. Do not wear these abominations in public. I beg of you: spare us all. Please.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:40 PM on July 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

There are people walking around wearing real, actual jeans made from denim that look hideous and not very comfortable - e.g. so baggy that you have to hold them up and they hobble you like a hobble skirt, or the super-skinny jeans that make people who wear them look like wanna-be heroin junkies.

If the pajama jeans are comfortable, functional, and fit well, rock on.
posted by rtha at 9:41 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

The best way to answer this question is going to be to see how they look on you. It'll depend on what you wear with them and how they fit you. Anything that's skin tight on the calves, as my jean-leggings are on me, is going to be pretty obviously a legging - but leggings with a tunic can look pretty passable too. And you've seen the complaints above about the weird fit, etc. Also, I suspect that Pajama Jeans are different from Jeggings(hate that word)/jean leggings in their cut and fit, so we're probably not even talking about the same thing here.

So take a good look in the mirror, see if you can put together an outfit with 'em that's not more ridiculous than yoga pants, and go for it.
posted by Lady Li at 10:08 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wear whatever will let you focus on the bar exam and not on your clothing.

Wear 'em on a road trip, grocery shopping (especially back to WalMart), to the library, gardening, where you want to be informally comfortable and are not out to impress.

Don't wear 'em on a job interview, first date, or to a funeral.

Anyone that wants to get all Judgey McJudgey needs to GET A LIFE!
posted by BlueHorse at 10:11 PM on July 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

It's all about context. Pair them with a sweater with a reindeer appliqued on it, and they will look hideous. But if you have a reasonably stylish top that covers the waist and decent looking shoes, who will notice what's on your legs? The Pajama Jean ads all seem to show women wearing heels with them, so if you can do that, it will also help contexualize them as "real" jeans. The only thing that seems noticeably cheap about them to me it the stitching - it seems too high contrast. A longer top will help hide that.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:16 PM on July 22, 2012

nobody is going to come up to you and verbally call you out for wearing pajama jeans. i mean, if they do, they're assholes and by their commentary you've earned a free pass to wear your as seen on tv abominations just to annoy them. if you're going to be bothered to distraction by worrying that someone might comment on them, you might consider wearing something you feel confident in when you sit for the exam - it is more important than what some theoretical jerk might potentially say.
posted by par court at 10:23 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't think I'd notice them, but a) I don't know what I wore yesterday and b) I don't know if I have never seen any or I've seen them and not noticed.

I say wear them, but I'm not stylish by any stretch. (hehe).
posted by jacalata at 10:46 PM on July 22, 2012

Yoga pants are way more flattering than pajama jeans. I thank my DNA that I am too tall for pajama jeans (inseam 30"!) because I too might have succumbed to their terrifying lure. Stretchy pants rock like a hurricane for those of us with chronic pain or sensory processing issues or both!

But the pajama jeans are just terrible. The fabric is crap, the stitching was clearly done by drunken badgers, and the flare of the legs is just all wrong for everyone. Don't wear these for anything but cleaning your garage or painting your bedroom. They are a one-way ticket to Uggumsville.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:07 AM on July 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

I mean, wear what you want, but you're asking us if these look nice? They do not look nice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:09 AM on July 23, 2012 [10 favorites]

I think they're fine, but I spend the vast majority of my time in a lower-class environment and don't have a powerful instinct to judge people by the quality of their pants.

I have a feeling they'd be virtually unnoticeable with certain outfits, and that they're perfect for flights and long car trips if you (like me) don't actually like the aesthetic of yoga pants.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:02 AM on July 23, 2012

I agree with Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth, if you're comfortable wearing sweats outside the house then pajama jeans shouldn't be an issue. If they look like they do in the infomercial they should be fine for casual activities, no-one should be looking that closely at your pants anyway. Of course, if they start to sag in places (for me its always the knees), they're going to look pretty stupid.
posted by missmagenta at 1:41 AM on July 23, 2012

I tried on a pair of Pajama Jeans in Wal-Mart and I was disappointed that they were too long for me. (I'm just NOT going to have Pajama Jeans tailored.)

I would rock these things in exactly the way you were indicating. Airplanes, car trips, the bar exam. I did end up wearing my yoga pants for these excursions, and eff you everyone who thinks I'm too casual or sloppy.

You are brilliant at determining that not everything requires one to be dressed to the nines. Long flights and car trips especially.

In your 20s you should look adorable. Plus, in the same vein as Snuggie parties, you can throw a Pajama Jeans party.

Worth Noting: I love all the stuff As Seen On TV. I think it's mostly marvelous. I am rocking a Bumpit as we speak.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:17 AM on July 23, 2012

Personally, I wouldn't rock them anywhere; I hate cheap or mostly synthetic fabrics so the pajama jean and I wouldn't get along very well. But I also wouldn't really think much about someone wearing them in public. In fact, I would gloss right over them, thinking they were regular jeans.

That said, xoJane did a review of them in May and found that they had some, uh, fit issues.
posted by godshomemovies at 6:26 AM on July 23, 2012

If there is one item you should be strict about, for which you should maintain standards, it's pants. For the good of all.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:08 AM on July 23, 2012

They look like poorly-fitting jeggings to me. I say if you're going to go that route, go all the way and get yourself the non-pajama version. (Disclaimer: I lived in jeggings and tunics while pregant).
posted by snickerdoodle at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2012

I kind of want them. I saw them at CVS and thought about it seriously. I might start by wearing them to the kind of thing you're talking about - on a plane, to the bar exam (good luck!) - and see how they feel. If you feel self conscious wearing them, then that's it. But if you forget that you're wearing them, maybe take it up a notch and wear them to brunch or the grocery store. I wouldn't wear them someplace where you want to feel and look your best - date night, for example - but if you want to wear them around, I have no problem with it. Good luck!
posted by kat518 at 12:14 PM on July 23, 2012

I just found out from godshomemovies' link that these things cost like $40. What? That's insane, and it conclusively disproves all the whinging about "elitism" and "bourgeois"-ness -- if you can spend $40 on pajama bottoms, you are not poor.
posted by Sara C. at 12:48 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

They are not going to cost $40 at Walmart.
posted by rtha at 1:19 PM on July 23, 2012

Yeah, they are.

I mean, I guess they could go on clearance, and then maybe someone who couldn't otherwise afford pants at all might be able to buy them? But the same website lists regular jeans for $15, and a two-pack of jeggings for $24. But as far as I can tell, buying Pajama Jeans is an aesthetic choice, not an economic one.
posted by Sara C. at 1:28 PM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

As someone who actually does go to the local bodega in my actual pajamas, I have no opinion on this. But what I want to say is that if wearing mom jeans, a pink wi and a flowerpot on your head will help you be comfortable for your bar exam, seriously sod anyone's opinion. Fashion trends are transitory; bar exam results are forever.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:14 PM on July 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

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