No-Pants Land: Pajamas Pave the Way for 2011 Fashion

Pajama Chic
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First, Lady Gaga refused to wear them. Now, pants are pretty unpopular.

Normal pants, that is. Pants with buttons and zippers. Pants with pleats and pinstripes. Pants that feel as if they might burst open after the buffet.

When it comes to setting the trend for 2011, those pants pale in comparison to PajamaJeans, a sweatpant-jean hybrid whose infomercial has racked up more than 500,000 views on YouTube. Made with "DormiSoft" fabric, a "propriety blend of cotton and spandex" according to PajamaJeans.com, the bottom-coverers set themselves apart from their drawstring-waist, elastic-cuffs cousin with contrast stitching and rivets that make them "look like they were made by some European designer." (Another differentiation point: they cost $39.95, approximately the price of four pairs of Hanes sweatpants.)

PajamaJeans also come with a mantra: "So amazingly comfortable, you'll want to sleep in them!"

But should anyone want to sleep in the same article of clothing they might wear to run errands, mow the lawn or hope to be taken seriously in during a professional situation?

"It's the next level of lazy fashion," said Phillip Bloch, stylist to stars such as Halle Berry and author of "The Shopping Diet." "It's taking that velvet sweatsuit to the umpteenth degree. I mean, really, are we just that lazy that we can't wear jeans anymore?"

Perhaps. According to The NPD Group, a market research firm, active wear -- which includes leggings, sweatpants, leggings/sweatpants that look like jeans (aka, jeggings) and, therefore, PajamaJeans -- is a $25 billion business in the U.S. By contrast, the denim business rings in at $10 billion.

PajamaJeans.

"The American consumer has become so casual that, and I'm not joking about this, the only way to get more comfortable is to wear pajamas to work," said Marshal Cohen, NPD's chief industry analyst.

One man sees a day where that might happen -- Steve Pandi, founder of Jumpin Jammerz, a line of footed, one-piece pajamas for adults. Though he's been hawking onesies for $40 and up since 1998, earlier this month he saw a spike in sales after Ryan Gosling wore Jumpin Jammerz on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and gave audience members pairs of their own.

"Everyone went koo-koo bananas online," Pandi said, estimating "between 1,200 and 1,600" orders a day have come in since Gosling's Jan. 7 "Ellen" appearance. Pandi's goal for 2011 is to make onesies an anytime, every-time outfit.

"People are actually having footie pajama parties," he said. "People are wearing them to clubs in Vegas. We're lauching PajamaParty.com soon, turning it into the Facebook of pajama parties. We're going to have videos of people exploiting the pajama lifestyle."

Online marketing is key to the success of the anti-pant trend, according to Cohen. As with the Shake Weight and the Snuggie, Jumpin Jammerz and PajamaJeans -- which aren't widely sold in brick-and-mortar stores -- stand out because they come with ad campaigns that could pass for "Saturday Night Live" skits.

"If you hung this product in a store, they would just look like leggings or sweatpants hanging on a rack," Cohen said of PajamaJeans. "You're not going to get any shelf appeal. What has to happen is the story has to pre-sell the product. Rather than sell to the retailer, it's all about trying to creatively market to the consumer."

In 1981, Brooke Shields cooed that nothing came between her and her Calvins. Will the masses soon start chanting that nothing comes between them and their cotton/polyester leisure wear? Probably not.

While Cohen predicts that comfort will be a major trend in 2011, social mores and corporate dress codes should, in most cases, stop footie pajamas and fake jeans from turning into wardrobe staples.

Though, Pandi doesn't see why Gaga and the rest of her ilk wouldn't want to wear his onesies.

"It's cool to be covered," he said. "You don't have to be all trampy."

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