The autumnal equinox has passed; the clocks are about to be turned back and so as the planet tilts we gradually begin to experience shorter days, longer nights and cooler weather. Summer has slowly slipped away and so it is perhaps time think about a change in nighttime attire. Time has come to put away the cool silk or cotton dressing gown and snugly ease oneself into a hygge inspiring woollen gown, similarly a switch to a heavier cotton pyjama takes place as the nights draw in.
The word pyjama has entered the English language from Bengali which in turn incorporated the word from the Persian pāyjāmeh meaning 'leg-garment'. The word originally referred to loose trousers tied with a drawstring around the waist. It took the Victorians and the tailors of London to turn these "mogul's breeches" into the ultimate article of dishabille we know today.
In the January 1952 edition of Men Only the correspondent A.F.B. mentions the Shan Bawmbee as the ideal garb for relaxation in the evening, even to go as far as to mention that they are one of the few garments that may be shared - very useful during the long cold nights of winter!
Pyjamas for Two - I am writing to express surprise that in all the recent talk about pyjamas nobody has mentioned the Shan Bawbee, or 'trouser', as they are called in Burma, and I believe the same thing exists in Malaya under another name. With a waist-band at least double that of the wearer, they can be elegantly knotted in front and worn with a shirt as the ideal garb for relaxation in the evening.
In bed, the shirt can be dispensed with or replaced with a singlet; the baggy legs can be drawn up above the knees in comfort for coolness, or they can be comfortably warm at ankle-length. An added attraction is that they are big enough for two on occasion - one of the few garments that can be thus shared, I believe. - A.F.B. (British Guiana).
- Men Only, Incorporating The Strand Magazine.
Vol. 49 No. 193. January 1952.