Cultural differences in the way a certain object is used can be very fascinating and amusing at the same time.
Take for example the pajama, clearly, a sleep attire as considered and understood by all in the modern times.
But here in Cambodia you can see people wearing their pj's going to the market...
In the malls...
It never fails to crack me up. But then again that's their culture.
If you think about it there was a time when sleepwear (variations of it or clothing meant for the bedroom) - slip dresses, satin tops, corsetry, underwear as outer wear, is the mode. Wasn't Caroline Bisette Kennedy's wedding gown by Narciso Rodriquez a glorified night gown? I'm sure Jean Paul Gaultier, Calvin Klein, Josie Natori, Helmut Lang, Miuccia Prada, etc have cashed a lot from the trend. It was the times when fashion reacted from all the frou frou's of the 80's and the most visionary designers declared that only the basics were needed to be supremely stylish. You end up with designer underwear then.
I was discussing this with a friend and it baffled her boyfriend so much that he was compelled to ask the locals an explanation for such manner. It turned out to be a status symbol thing for the Khmers. Wearing those during the day meant you can afford to buy something to wear at night. What better way to flaunt this than to wear it during the day, right?
My own take of the pajama look came in the form of a pajama top with paisley prints in brown, and paired with a solid, tailored pants. I looked smug and proud to be so 'in'. This was the time when Prada's pajama looks were the toast of fashion. The top looked normal actually except for the big buttons and loose fit. I was liking the effect for much of the day until I started to look rumpled and very 'just gotten out of the bed'. I guess, pajama fabrics are better left used for sleeping.
Spring/Summer 2009 seems to be going in that direction for men's style so I attempted the pajama look again recently with a plaid Benetton top but paired with a linen H&M vest to make it work appropriate. I might attempt to do the whole pajama set next time.