Pajamas for Women, Part 4

There was also a trend toward nautical themes. The short “Oriental” pants were replaced by so-called “Gob” trousers, gob being slang for “sailor”.

Advertisement for Atlantic Coast Line, found in December, 1933 Fortune magazine

A 1930 article in Good Housekeeping reported:

“Beach fashions are distinctly masculine. A marked change has occurred in beach attire, for smart women are forsaking fancy pajama suits for long, wide, sailor-like trousers… In their smartest version these trousers feature a fullness set in at the knee.”

These one-piece beach pajamas remained in fashion through the mid-1930s. In 1931 Good Housekeeping declared, “Pajamas are never smarter. For the beach they are comfortable and feminine in colorful combinations of linen, shantung, or jersey.”

The evolution of beach pajamas was complete, but it’s worth noting that pajamas did not stay on the beach. Brave women like Mrs. Joseph Walton, “[wore] a velveteen jacket, a light crepe overblouse, and dark trousers…” on the streets of Palm Beach in 1929.

Wright’s Bias Fold Tape Sewing Book No. 24, 1931

By 1930 middle class and wealthy women were already wearing pants in the form of knickers for hiking, breeches for riding, and bloomers for gymnasium. But pajamas wearing on the beach was different in that women of most economic classes could participate. Cotton beach pajamas were cheap to buy and even cheaper to sew at home. Pattern companies like McCall’s, Butterick, and Pictorial Review sold pajama patterns for the home sewer.

Cecilia Nordstrom, on her family’s farm in Birkenfield, Oregon, 1933, Photo courtesy of her granddaughter, Tania van Winkle

Oregon farm girl Cecilia Nordstrom showed off her new pajamas in 1933. She later recalled, “Frivolous is lounging pajamas when you live on a farm. No one has time to lounge.” Nevertheless, she ordered this one from a catalog, and she looks quite pleased with it.

Pajamas-wearing was also different in the public nature of the beach. No longer confined to the school gym or the hiking and riding trails, beach pajamas were women in trousers in view of large crowds of people. Pants for women were here to stay, even though it would be several more decades before women wore pants for more than work or very casual occasions.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Pajamas for Women, Part 4

  1. Laura

    This entire presentation has been a delight and a pleasure! Thank you for sharing it it with those of us who follow along on the blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jacqstaubssyahoocom

    Lizzie- this entire collection is just great. I especially like the authentic photographs.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I loved this series so much! What a fascinating evolution. And that pennant set! Wow!!

    Like

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