Rushing in where angels fear to tread

By Bill Colvard -

What with the obvious boondoggle that can result from offering fashion critique in Mount Airy — just ask our embattled mayor about what happens when one goes down that particular rabbit hole — I am about to rush in where angels fear to tread.

What’s up with wearing pajamas as pants?

There, I said it. And you’ve all been thinking it. You know you have.

It happens. You’ve seen it more than you’d like to admit. Doesn’t matter if you’re lunching at the country club or picking up some ammo at Walmart, there is some loser strutting around in his pj’s like he’s at home and nobody cares.

Well, you know what, dude? We do care. You need to learn the difference between your own house and everywhere else. Just because we don’t manufacture any clothing in this country anymore, we still know the difference between sleepwear and casual streetwear. And clearly, you do not. And I’m just going to have to say it, that is unacceptable.

Or so I thought until this past weekend. A detergent and wine emergency that sent me to the Dollar General near my house resulted in a total about face on the issue of pajamas in public. I am now a believer in this important trend and am convinced this could ultimately be as big a development in fashion as when Madonna and Cyndi Lauper decided to wear underwear as outerwear back in the ’80s.

One look — okay, one look and a quick peek — at a fellow shopper sporting the most astonishing ensemble ever to darken the door of a dollar store was more than enough to change my mind.

This guy had a brown distressed leather bomber jacket with a coyote collar and it looked like a good one, Andrew Marc or maybe vintage Claude Montana. Of course I realize that since we were in a store with a wide selection of four dollar bottles of wine, it was probably neither. A knockoff from Kohl’s would be a better guess, but you know the look. Very French. Very expensive.

Which made the rest of his outfit all the more surprising. He had paired his perfect jacket with a pair of cerulean blue — eat your heart out Miranda Priestly — tartan plaid pajama bottoms. And it looked good. Really good. Best of all, over the pajama bottoms and under the leather and fur jacket was an open bathrobe in a slightly lighter shade of blue with a slightly different, larger-scaled tartan.

Mixing plaids is not a sport for amateurs but he totally nailed it. The jacket was zipped all the way up so the bathrobe just kind of flapped around and flowed behind him like Batman’s cape. I had to wonder if perhaps Kate Moss had borne The Dude a child who was all grown up and shopping at Dollar General. Either that or Gucci had at some point put out a Big Lebowski collection that I had unfortunately missed.

Once again, neither seemed likely. The truth had to be much simpler. I was in the presence of greatness. Random, rogue greatness. Someone who did not wear sleepwear out in the world due to laziness or sloth but inserted sleepwear into his streetwear to up his game. What a revelation. I was gobsmacked.

Of course as soon as I got back home, a quick inventory of my pajama drawer was conducted to see if I could work this kind of magic with my own wardrobe. There was a pair of black and gray plaid flannel pajamas that would work perfectly with my only Armani jacket, a charcoal one that’s old enough to drive and almost old enough to buy booze. The combo showed promise.

I really don’t think I possess the insouciant charm necessary to pull off a bathrobe with a blazer, that’s a young man’s game, so I wimped out and opted for a tee shirt instead. Red was my first choice but I don’t have a presentable red tee.

Note that only 15 minutes before I was firmly convinced that pajamas have absolutely no business being worn outside the walls of one’s own home and now I am judging whether or not a shirt meets the standard of quality necessary for a pajama-based ensemble. Oh, the fickleness of fashion and how I have missed it.

Fortunately, I do have a brand new black tee shirt with the words “Lebowski 2020: This aggression will not stand, man” printed in red on it.

Which is only too perfect for this exercise. Not sure I’m ready to make an appearance at Dollar General in my new favorite outfit, what with their high standards and all, and I definitely don’t want to end up in a future installment of “The People of Walmart” so I’m going to take my ensemble for a practice run tomorrow when I go to the hospital for a colonoscopy.

A hospital will offer the perfect venue to build up some confidence at pulling off public pajama wear. And no matter what happens, the pajamas will not be the most humiliating garment I wear tomorrow.

And if all goes well, the next step will be to figure out what goes best with those ugly pajamas covered in Budweiser logos that I got for my birthday. That’s going to take some thought.

By Bill Colvard

Reach Bill at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill at 336-415-4699.

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