Tag Archives: pajamas

Dressing for Work

Of course, since I now work at home, I wear pajamas. Or maybe scrubs, as my latest pair of pjs looks like I could walk into any doctor’s office and riffle through their files. I wouldn’t be caught unless someone noticed that the cute sheep in hats and scarves were saying Baaa Humbug.

But that’s not what I’m here to write about today. Once (or twice) I worked in a regular office where I wore regular clothes – skirts, blouses, sweaters, slacks. If I was lucky or awake that day, they even matched. I was also fond of drop-waist dresses. I had at least four, in solid colors and florals.

But that’s not what I’m here to write about today either. Once I was assigned to interview a woman for a temporary job. She answered my questions shyly and monosyllabically. Desperate, I asked her a version of one of my go-to questions, “If you could dress up as anything at all for Halloween, what would you be, and why?”

(This was a version of a question I always swore I’d ask an official giving a press conference. Once I was able to ask my remedial English students to write a paragraph on the topic, and they all wanted to be birds of prey or cats of prey. Once I asked Jenny Lawson this question and she said “a tapeworm,” because she wouldn’t have to walk around and people would feed her, which I guess shows you how her mind works. But I digress. Again.)

Back to the drab woman I was interviewing. When I asked her my Halloween costume question, she instantly lit up. “Oh, Cinderella,” she said with sparkling eyes. “The ball gown and the shoes and the carriage and the whole thing.” She waxed rhapsodic for several minutes. She didn’t get the job, but I learned that it’s sometimes the goofy question that can unlock a person’s personality.

Our office did dress up for Halloween, though. One memorable year, the accounting department wore white sweatsuits with black spots. Then they each put a newspaper outside their doors, colored part of it yellow with highlighter, and deposited a tootsie roll on each one. The 101 Dalmations cosplay was cute, if disgusting.

My costumes were a bit esoteric and usually no one “got them.” One year my mother had made me a floor-length nightgown in a camo pattern (my mother could be whimsical). I asked her to make a matching nightcap, powdered my hair, and went as Rambo’s Granny. No one guessed what I was. I had other notable non-successes. Once I dressed as a pirate and the office guessed I was a motorcycle mama.

One year they understood what I was, but all stepped away from me and didn’t make eye contact. I was “Indiana Jan,” complete with bullwhip. If anyone was brave enough to ask me about the bullwhip, I replied, “Oh, this old thing? We just had it around the house,” which did not detract a bit from my reputation for oddity.

Then, every Halloween, rain or shine, we had a march around the outside of the building, led by an employee who called herself the “Grand Poo-Pah.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it should have been “Grand Poo-Bah.” Those were the days!

Now, of course, I shun Halloween and all its trappings (https://wp.me/p4e9wS-Yu). This year, if I answer the door at all, I’ll probably wear the Baaa Humbug scrubs.


Why I Wear Plaid Flannel to Work

If you guessed that I’m a lumberjack, you’re wrong.

Photo by Kelly

I am a writer, editor, and proofreader, and I work at home. In my pajamas.

It’s great. My commute to work is from upstairs in the bed to downstairs at my desk. I have a coffee maker in my study and a box of cold cereal under my desk. That takes care of everything from breakfast to my mid-morning break. Lunch is only a kitchen away and the sofa is in the next room for TV watching. Then voilà, I’m all ready for bed again.

Of course, there are other choices than plaid flannel, but I like to stick with the basics. (And, hey, lumberjacks can be beefy and hunky and… stop that, Janet, get back to work! Try to think of Sheldon Cooper instead.)

Personally, I buy men’s flannel pajamas, as women’s have the curse of all women’s clothing – no pockets. At least men’s pajamas have a pocket or two where I can stash my cell phone or a snack for later. And I like my pajamas loose and comfortable. If you can’t be comfortable, there’s no sense in working in your pajamas.

In the summer, I prefer nighties that are basically long t-shirts for comfort and clever sayings and graphics (I ❤ My Bed, It’s Meow or Never, a kitten in an astronaut helmet). Or plain men’s big-n-tall t-shirts, again because of the comfort and the pocket.

It’s true that my study is on the first floor, and has a window that faces the street. Fortunately, there is a strategic shrub in front of it and a set of blinds so that I can keep my pajama-clad work habits to myself. But I live on a little-traveled cul-de-sac and my neighbors already think I’m weird, so it’s really not that much of a problem.

Another problem I don’t have is business meetings. Most are handled by telephone conference calls, so there’s no problem there. But even if I must Skype, all I have to do is keep a respectable top in my study (and not allow the cats to sit on it). No one will ever notice – or even see – my pajama-clad legs. (Or bare legs in the summer.) It gives me a nice rebel feeling too, like I’m getting away with something, which of course I am.

On-site business meetings are something I can well do without. Suit or dress, pantyhose (if anyone still wears those), shoes (instead of fuzzy slippers, part of my usual ensemble), coiffed ‘do (did I mention I can have bedhead or at most a simple ponytail at work?).

To tell the truth, I’ve even worked in my underwear on really hot summer days. You can conduct a phone interview in your delicates (especially if you have plaid panties) with no one the wiser (except maybe the neighbors, see above). Just imagine you have a suit on; people can hear it in your voice. They really can.

Of course, there is one drawback to working at home in your pajamas – cats. Besides sitting on your one respectable blouse, they may try to sit on your lap, keyboard, or papers; or nuzzle your screen; or try to capture your mouse. You can shut the door if you have one, but that will only lead to a lot of meowing, hissing, squabbles, and thumps. (What happens if you have kids, I don’t know. Probably more meowing, hissing, squabbles, and thumps. Plus the kids are likely to want to go to school in their pajamas, citing parental precedent.)

By the way, men can join the work-from-home-in-your-pajamas club too, but since I wear men’s pjs, I think it only fair that they wear women’s.


This post was inspired by a comment thread in the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop (EBWW) attendees Facebook page.


The Pajama Game (Without Doris Day)

I’ve never been one for frilly lingerie. Lace itches. Rayon makes me break out. Satin spots if you drool. Cat claws make pulls in silk. And I don’t really see the point in nightwear that you put on with the intention of ripping off moments later.

Let me tell you about flannel.(1) Flannel is my friend. When I was in my late teens, my mother found a pattern for a nightgown that I just adored. Very simple. It covered everything, right down to the ground. It was perfect.

I asked her to make me one in every color of flannel she could find. Pale solid yellow. Blue and red paisley. Camouflage. My father wanted to know if I would like to buy some more fashionable pajamas before I went off to the college dorms. To his everlasting amusement, I replied, “I’ve got my flannel nightgowns.”(2)

I’ve gone through phases in nightwear – au naturel to undies and a t-shirt and now to real, authentic things one is supposed to sleep in.

In the winter this means I’m back to my old favorite flannel – not floor-length nightgowns this time, but “Sheldon pajamas.”(3) Two-piece pajama sets of plaid flannel. Although Sheldon would freak out. I don’t have the matching robe and slippers for each set and I sometimes mismatch tops and bottoms. Shopping tip: Men’s pjs usually cost less than women’s, so I guess technically you could say I cross-dress between the sheets. Not that anyone ever has.

But spring is here (though you wouldn’t know it to look out the windows), so away with the Sheldon flannels and back to the stores for nightshirts. I don’t want ones with risqué sayings(4) or Pokemon characters or ones that look like hospital johnnies, only with a backside(5). This limits my choices.

Once again I head to the men’s department to find XXXL Big & Tall men’s t-shirts. Now I have Captain America and Batman(6) nightshirts, and this new favorite:


I also have a CPAP mask, a neat accessory for this nightshirt at least, because it makes my breathing sound like Darth Vader. I am a veritable bedtime fashionista.

Except I sleep with my mouth open, which makes me drool. And one of my medications also makes me drool. A lot.

Good thing I’m not sleeping with anyone I’m trying to impress.

(1) Super bonus points if you get this reference.
(2) Whenever he told this story – and it was often – he delivered the final line in a drawn-out Beverly Hillbillies-style drawl. It peeved me, but I never said so. Until now.
(3) A TBBT reference, as my initial-happy friends would put it.
(4) I was permanently scarred as a young teen when my mother bought me Garfield underpants that said “I feel frisky.” I was mortally afraid I’d get hit by a bus and the ER personnel would have a field day.
(5) Unless it’s made of that soft, brushed cotton that feels like the spring version of flannel. Okay, I bought one. It even has a pocket, if very inconveniently placed.
(6) Why are comic book characters acceptable, but not Pokemon or, say, Care Bears? I actually like Batman and Captain America and am not embarrassed to be seen in them. By my husband, I mean. And anyone who looks in my study window, I guess. Yes, I spend 90 percent of my life in pajamas. That’s the joy of working at home. The pajamas, not the peepers.