The Matching PJ Effect

Your yoga teacher says, “Don’t worry about what’s happening on the mat next to you, focus on how your practice makes you feel.” 

“Yeah sure teach, they are gracefully floating to the top of their mat, and I just about ran over grandma with my reindeer jump.”

Twas the night before Christmas, when your mom made you all wear matching pajamas…..

Okay, so full disclosure, I did not grow up with a household that did matching PJs, and I really tried to make it a thing at our house, but it never really happened. I think I got maybe 2 years of the kids wearing “cohesive pieces” but definitely not matching. 

Can you believe you’re about to read an email about the history of matching pajamas, and you’re thinking how in the h*ll is this going to tie back to yoga…oh just you wait.

Go all the way back in time to, not that long ago, the 1940s (I want to be really clear that there were probably LOTS of matching sleepwear in tribal communities and in cultures where clothing, dyes, and garments were a very large part of the community and way people represented themselves, but I am specifically addressing reindeer jammies.) Starting in the 1940s here in the US, many clothing manufacturers started to make girls’ clothing look very much like women’s clothing, and matching sets started popping up. 

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, a fashion historian wrote for The Atlantic, “Mother-daughter fashions reinforced the primacy of the domestic sphere” which followed World War II. Needless to say, the marketing of them tried to reinforce a nuclear family unit - ya know like a mom, dad, and their perfect ‘lil spawn. 

Debbie Sessions, a vintage fashion expert and researcher, has not been able to find any photos of mid-century families wearing matching PJs because it used to be frowned upon to wear your pajamas in public, however, there are a few photos from Sears’s marketing advertisements in 1962. I just wonder what those families would think of my “lewks” at school drop-off nowadays. Whew, they’d be shocked. 

Okay, let’s get to the point. Around the 1990s, the company Hanna Andersson introduced a line of family pajamas and a few years later added holiday patterns. In 2011, the company declared November 19th “National Family Pajama Night,” which didn’t really take off…but, wait for it….in 2019 Taylor Swift (you’ve probably heard of her) wore a pair of this company’s PJs in a music video and once again “National Family PJ Day” is back and celebrated on November 14th.

Now more than ever, matching PJs sets are a staple of any Instagram-able picture-perfect family and Holiday cards.  

So, when you start to feel the pressure of matching PJs remember marketing has everything to do with it. Reminding yourself about “Satya” or “Truthfulness” one of the five “Niyamas” in yoga. It reminds us to speak, think, and act with integrity. There’s no need to do what the person on your mat next to you is doing, or your neighbor, or that random family on Instagram in their matching Hanna Andersson Matching Holiday PJs. Act, think, and speak with YOUR OWN truth, your own integrity, and your own intention for the Holidays. 

Lean in to your own family traditions and intentions this season, and if that includes Santa PJs with your pup, you better send me a photo of that cuteness (no cats though, jk jk.)

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