We have some limited information on country trends. American boys by the time of World war II wore sleepers (younger boys) and pajamas. Some Belgian boys as late as the 1960s were wearing nightshirts, but I', not sure how common this was. English boys commonly wore pajamas. I'm not sure when they made the transition from nightshirts to pajamas, but an English reader tell us that nightshirts wet unknown to Engluish boys in the 1960s. We note German boys wearing night shirts into the 1970s, but again we are unsure how popular they were.
Americans in the 19th abd early 20th century wore mostly nightshirts. I am not entirely sure when Americans made the transition to pajamas, but believe it was probably after World war I.
An American reader writes, "A friend who was born in 1928 joined the U.S. Army after Japan
surrendered, but before the qualification period for the GI Bill ran out. Call it 1946. The first night on the train to Army induction he put on his nightshirt, and discovered from the other inductees that this was something that was Not Done. After that he slept in his underwear.
He was born in San Francisco, but his parents were immigrants (from Russia and El Salvador), so maybe that's why he was so old fashioned." American boys by the time of World War II wore sleepers (younger boys) and pajamas. I grew up in the 40s and never noted night shirts. I think that pajamas became standard in the inter-War era after world war I. At least as far as I know nightshirts were no longer worn by the 1940s. Very young boys wore footed sleepers. Older boys migh wear ski-type pajamas up to about 2-13 years of age. Oldr boys wore the regular type with straight legs. I notice short-style pajamas in the catalogs, but am not sure how common they were. Many teen agers stopped wearing pajamas in their teens. They would wear their under wear to bed. This varied from family to family.
Some Belgian boys as late as the 1960s were wearing nightshirts, but I', not sure how common this was.
A Bulgarian reader tells us, Nightshirts were no longer common in Bulgaria when I was a boy in the 1970s. They were earlier very common. My grandmother who was a little old fashion made me a nightshirt when I was 10 years old. I remember that I rather liked it.
Canadians use the British spelling of pajamas so they are called pyjamas.
In Canada, due to the cold winters and warm summers, Canadian boys have generally worn warm cotton flannellette full-length pyjamas in the winter and light-weight cotton pyjamas, usually with short sleeves and short pants, in the summer. As far as I know, nightshirts gave way for two-piece pyjamas by the 1920's at the latest. 100 percent cotton flannellete pyjamas are noted for warmth and comfort and usually came with a buttoned coat and pants and with a printed design on them. These kind of pyjamas have been worn by Canadian boys throughout most of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century and remain the most popular style, particularly in the winter.
In the 1960's, polo-style pyjamas with a pull-over top and cuffs instead of buttons became popular and Canadian boys continued to wear both the buttoned and polo styles. The polo style is noted for its comfort and coziness. Buttoned pyjamas were advertised as pyjamas and pullover style were advertised as polojamas. Also, at this time, hockey team logo prints became popular on boys' winter pyjamas, and baseball team logos became popular on boy's summer shortie pyjamas.
In 1987, the Canadian Government passed new legislation requiring all children's pyjamas to be flame-retardant or flame-resistant. This meant a change in styles. 100% cotton flannellette pyjamas had to be made in a pullover polo style instead of buttons because the tunnelling effect was deemed safer in a night fire. However, buttoned coat-style pyjamas could still be made in 100% polyester because the polyester would melt and not catch on fire. Today, 100 percent cotton flannellette pyjamas remain the most popular winter pyjamas, though they are now made in a polo pullover style with cuffs and continue to have a colourful sport print on them. Buttoned polyester pyjamas now tend to have a tartan design on them. Shortie summer pyjamas have also moved from buttoned to a pullover style in a T-shirt and shorts style, often with a surf print. For little boys, a new popular style is superheroes pyjamas looking like a batman or spiderman costume with a hood. Sleepwear manufacturers in Canada are located in Montreal and Lutfy Ltd. is the largest one.
English boys commonly wore pajamas. I'm not sure when they made the transition from nightshirts to pajamas, but an English reader tell us that nightshirts wet unknown to English boys in the 1960s. An English reader writes, "Sounds as if the UK and Canada had very similar regulations about nightwear. The only difference would be that cartoon characters and football teams would be more popular over here. Towards the back-end of the 1980s early 90s there was a short trend towards American Football designs but that fad soon past and they returned to proper football. Short type pyjamas are also quite common here. Pyjamas are occasionally but not widely referred to as
We do not know a great deal about French sleepwear. As best we can tell, children and adults mostly wore night shirts before World War I. Pajamas appeared after World War I. I think first in England, but I am not sure. We are not sure just when pajamas first appeared in France. We do note pajamas being advertized by the 1930s, but night shirts seem to have been more common. We note Galleries Lafayette, a large Paris department store, offering various styles of sleepwear in 1937. Night shirts seem to have been the most common style, but we also see garments looking like pajamas and underwear.
We note German boys wearing night shirts into the 1970s, but again we are unsure how popular they were. A British boy stayed with a German family about 1970 and remenbers the nightshirt the German boy wore.
We notice younger Russian boys wearing tights at home in the evening. We think that they have been worn as a kinf of pajamas.
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