Pajamas have been popular for centuries as a comfortable set of apparel to wear to bed or, occasionally, while lounging around the home. Traditional pajamas most commonly have consisted of loose-fitting pants and button-up jacket tops, although plenty of variations have evolved as new styles developed. While a wide selection of pajama styles is available today, you may find yourself wondering how the classics first caught on. What are the origins of pajamas, and how did they become popular?
Roots in the Ottoman EmpireSome people might not know that the original roots of their favorite pajamas lie all the way back in the Ottoman Empire. Even the name “pajamas” comes from the Hindi terms “pai jama” or “pae jama,” which translates to “leg clothing” in English.
True to their name, the original Persian pajamas consisted of a pair of comfortable slacks held up by a drawstring at the waist. These were usually paired with a loose-fitting, knee-length belted tunic. The original pajama slacks were usually either close-fitting along the entire length of the leg, or snug from the knees down while being roomy and spacious at the top. While most clothing in the Middle East and India was drastically different for men and women, pajamas like these were universally worn by both sexes and members of all social classes.