According to Ryan Reynalds: “A live action movie is work, and an animated movie is you showing up in your pajamas every three months.” The Safe House star’s proclaimed insouciance as to how he appears professionally in public is a stiff middle finger to those paymasters in authority who would dare to impose any sort of dress code. In literature, clothing advice to the next generation of would-be successful men centres around a version of Polonius’s fashion tip to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “…the apparel oft proclaims the man.” The old man, a terrific but fatally nosey networker, was basically reminding this young upwardly mobile adult not to dress like a slob. But also not to dress too flashily. Strike the perfect sartorial balance, in other words, and create a winning impression.
Somewhere between the Elizabethan period and the era of fashion blogging, the
humorist, Mark Twain, added a punchline to the Bard’s maxim when he wrote: "Clothes make a man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Only they do. Just think of Game of Thrones.
Let’s face it gentlemen, despite the fact that making it big means you could turn up to work wrapped in tin foil, or in your birthday suit (well, not so much the birthday suit) and still make millions, the tedious old fool had a point: in most contexts, it pays to look bloody good.
The problem is we men often struggle to hold two ideas in our head at the same time. We tend to be single focused, flitting between binaries: style OR comfort. Bananas OR pyjamas (read into that what you will).
You might imagine that men think a lot more about love-making than attire, and even less about sleepwear. Or, to be more specific, that they think even less about what sleepwear would be deemed appropriate. And it’s true – track-suit pants from a previous decade with a holy T-shirt or sloppy joe (whose provenances can barely be recalled) in the lean months, and boxers or nothing at all for those long hot summer nights have probably been par for the nocturnal course for the better part of our adult lives. “Childhood was the era of the pajama! Although they’ll probably put me in a pair of pyjamas when I’m too old to dress my self.” Cradle OR grave.
But seriously chaps, we are coming into our prime in a brave new world in which old jobs are being made redundant as quickly as new jobs are being born, and where and when and how we may ply our trades is likely to be ever more fluid. We’re all part of the social network now; for better or worse we are plugged into the matrix. This is the age of bleisure: the line between hanging out and networking has never been more blurred. And in this 24-7 light hustle as we aspire to our own versions of the 4-hour work week, Shakespeare’s maxim – “the apparel oft proclaims the man” has never been truer, the key word here being oft. Can we ever be certain at which hour of the day or night our attire is making the right or the wrong impression?
A decent set of pyjamas do strike the perfect sartorial balance, not only between gaudy and slobbish, but between style and comfort. Self-expression AND stylistic etiquette. In case you hadn’t got the memo – talented men-folk like yourselves are wearing pyjamas outside the bedroom, and, like Monsieur Reynolds in the market place. But of course there’s a right [link] and wrong [link] way of doing it.
Think about it – pyjamas were inspired by the suit. Now we can experience a suit – and the luxurious sensation of wearing almost nothing at all – without having to be one.