A few years ago, I was watching a Bangla movie titled Obhishopto Nighty, or the Cursed Nighty. It was a horror comedy about a nightgown that had a curse on it. Each time the garment changed hands, the curse got transferred to the new owner. It wasn’t a particularly great movie, but that is not the point of my article.
The cursed nighty in the movie is a metaphor. Women in Bengal wear their nighties outside the house – on their way to drop their children at school, to buy groceries or while engaging in friendly banter with their neighbours on the street. In that sense, the nighty is like a curse. Once you don it, you can never be free of it.
In the north of India, where I reside, the night suit is the new nighty.
Is co-ord set the new nighty?
A month ago, while out for a walk at night inside my condominium, I noticed several women wearing night suits as they walked on briskly ahead of me.
At first glance, it seemed as though they were getting ready for bed but had a sudden change of heart and decided to go walking instead. It wasn’t a one-off occurrence either – since that day, I’ve run into plenty of pajama-clad women doing rounds at night.
Floral prints, pinstripes, teddy bear motifs – I’ve seen them all.
When I mentioned this to my neighbour Mrs M, she sniggered and told me that they weren’t night suits at all. They were cord sets.
Now, the only set of cords I’m familiar with belongs to my telephone and I told her as much. To which she made a face and let out a huge sigh of frustration. Co-ordinated sets, she said slowly as though she was talking to a child. The latest rage these days. Why, even Deepika Padukone wears them everywhere! Haven’t you seen her photographs?
I confessed that I hadn’t. I’m not much into Bollywood or other people’s pajamas. But I do recognise a night suit when I see one. Call it what you will. A night suit by any other name … is still a night suit. And it’s completely all right if they are di rigeur in fashion circles or my condo walking group. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s still something one wears inside the house. I wouldn’t wear them to work. Or to walk.
I guess the pandemic is to blame for this shift in our sartorial styles. After spending two years working from home in our pajama suits, we have grown so attached to them that we wear them to work, to run errands, to drop our children off at school or a quick dash around the block to notch up the step count on our fitness trackers. I’ve even heard of people landing up for breakfast at hotels in their night suits and bedroom slippers.
In fact, the attachment has reached frightening proportions. I was trolled viciously on Twitter a few days back when I happened to mention that night suits as walking gear looked a bit odd. Trolls came out in large numbers calling me old and deranged, a serial killer who lurked behind curtains eyeing women and, someone with unresolved pajama hate because her mother paraded around the house wearing pajamas.
I’d like to go on record here. I don’t hate nighties, night suits or any other sort of nightwear for that matter. But. And it’s a huge, big but in this case. Night suits or pajama suits are indoor wear – whether you wear them during the day or night. In fact, in recent years pajamas have been banned in many places. I understand that it’s all about comfort and what we wear shouldn’t be policed. But you can’t police my opinions either. I’m not going to stop you from parading about in your undies but I will definitely frown at it. It’s the same with night suits.
Besides, how many night suits would one need to buy for all practical purposes? One for going out, one for staying in and one for sleeping in? And if we are wearing night suits outside the house, shouldn’t we call them something else? Like an all-day suit? Co-ordinated sets just don’t sound right.
What do you think?
Views expressed by the author are their own. Image credits: India Today/Yogen Shah
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