Many times Sundays begin for New Yorkers with black coffee, the New York Times crossword puzzle and a dog walking session at an ungodly hour. You’ll see most of them in UGGs and striped pajamas, with a chic, black coat over their shoulders, cursing the harsh wind. It’s a cool way of saying they don’t give a damn about fashion, although celebrities fake that same nonchalance.
Either reckless or purposeful, wearing pajamas as daywear doesn’t surprise us anymore. In fact, I remember clearly envying Carrie’s chic New Year’s Eve outfit in the first SATC movie. But in the old days wearing nightgowns in public was not nearly as simple. In fact, for common people it was forbidden. No ordinary Joe would have dreamed of going out in his undergarments.
At the Stuart court however, it was a social statement.
The most elitist ladies, famous aristocrats, posed for talented painters in their delicate pajamas. In the 17th century, one of the King’s favorite mistresses seduced men in such manner. For Louise de Keroualle, this type of undressing in public was a sexual licence. Her nightgown was fastened just enough to showcase her shoulders and breasts, allowing the voluminous white chemise underneath to show itself a bit. Underneath the chemise, there lied a promise of Heaven.
The lack of jewelry around the neck and wrists was a way to keep in line with the faux simplicity of the times but also to reveal more skin.
So, instead of being regarded as the sloppy, poor woman’s dress code, this state of déshabillé (forgoing the corset) was the most erotic and eccentric way of stating you were truly a LADY.
photo source: vogue.com, pinboots.com, spylight.com