Top Five PJs in Frock Flicks


It’s been about 60 days since I’ve worn a structured garment thanks to the San Francisco Bay Area starting a shelter-in-place order earlier than anywhere else in the U.S. Plus I’d just returned from Italy when it was hit hard with Coronavirus, so my employer said, ‘hey why don’t you work from home for a week or so?’ even before the official order came down. Thus, I was an early adopter of the PJs-all-day lifestyle instead of my usual CorpGoth fashions (though I sometimes spice things up with wacky headgear for a #quarantinefabulous lewk).

While we usually look at frock flicks with ostentatious, elaborate fashion, how about some historical costume pajamas and casual wear? That feels closer to home (y’know, social distancing and all) right now!


Delysia’s dressing gown in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

I like to imagine I’m swanning around my swanky flat in this feather-decked gown like Amy Adams, skin all aglow and curls lightly tousled.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

But it’s more likely I’m frizzy and vainly attempting homemade masque treatments in a vaguely satin sack like Frances McDormand.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)


The queen’s nightgown in Marie-Antoinette (2006)

Nice, simple, white nightie with a big, elaborate, pain-in-the-butt formal ceremony to wake up to.

Marie-Antoinette (2006)

IDK, I’d prefer to sleep in.


All the kimonos & nightgowns in Downton Abbey (2010-2015, 2019)

Both the series and the movie gave good bedroom game, showing ladies in gorgeous kimonos over 1920s undergarments as they dressed or with nightgowns in bed.

Downton Abbey

Cora in a print kimono at her dressing table.

Downton Abbey

Not in the oriental style, but lux satin & lace.

Totally oriental here.

Downton Abbey

Sad Edith gets a simple green ensemble.

Downton Abbey (2019)

But she has a sexier style in the Downton movie.

Mary has an EXTENSIVE wardrobe of just dressing gowns!

Downton Abbey s06e08

Some are actual kimonos.


Downton Abbey (2019)

Plus more in the Downton movie.

And then there’s the best reason to lounge about in nightwear — breakfast in bed.

Downton Abbey - breakfast in bed

The Dowager Countess demands it, of course.

Downton Abbey - breakfast in bed

Cora savors it.

Downton Abbey s06e03

Mary takes it for granted.

Downton Abbey - Edith - bed

Edith, I share your feels on this matter. I don’t have anyone serving me breakfast at all, much the less in bed :(


Mr. Darcy’s bathrobe in Pride and Prejudice (1995)

How about some token menswear? Doesn’t get more casual than Fitzwilliam Darcy stepping out of the bath, all dripping wet, and getting wrapped in a robe by his manservant.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) - Mr. Darcy's bathrobe

You’re welcome.


The bad girls’ slumber party in Grease (1978)

I’m not a fan of the movie, but this ridiculous scene is exactly what I miss as I sit alone in my house with only my two cats — I wanna hang out with my friends and get drunk and silly, dammit! Yeah, yeah, I’m flattening the curve for now, it’s for the greater good, and I am an introvert by nature, but I’m really going to enjoy seeing friends again someday.

Grease (1978)



What’s your quarantine fashion sense? Do you have fabulous vintage PJs?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

24 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Does Ian Carmichael’s and Edward Petherbridge’s smoking jackets in their Lord Peter Wimsey adaptations count?

      • Susan Pola Staples

        And which Lord Peter did you prefer? I preferred Edward Petherbridge as he fit Ms Sayer’s description of Lord Peter better.

        • Elisa

          Edward Petherbridge all the way! He’s a bit too old, but he is perfect anyway. And of how I long for a really good tv series of all Sayers book, much as they did Poirot.

        • Donna

          Ian Carmichael is my favorite Lord Peter … and he has fabulous lounging about wear.

  2. Cheryl Washer

    Myrna Loy and William Powell in “The Thin Man.” Plus these PJ rules –

  3. Shashwat

    What about the regency white maxi dresses in nubby linen.Atrocious as they are,they must feel very comfortable when all you are wearing is a hort sleeved tube of fabric cinched at the waist.Not that Hollywood feels the need for regency stays,either.

  4. Karen K.

    Downton Abbey is the clear winner for loungewear and nightwear — especially since they’re not bothered by ridiculous ladies-in-waiting waking them up and getting them dressed. Those dressing ceremonies were ridiculous, I think I read somewhere Marie Antoinette would stand around freezing while the L-I-Ws would stand around arguing over whose turn it was to put on which layer or something. Unbelievable.

    And Mr. Darcy in a bathrobe is a welcome addition. More men’s loungewear, please!

  5. Saraquill

    My daily wear is shorts, lounging pants and oft-changed tshirts (because cat hair.) For v ideo calls, slightly nicer shirts come on.

  6. Saraquill

    The always lovely Jessica Kelgren-Fozard and her vintage-style PJ collection:

  7. Ms M.

    Everyone needs a good kimono or banyan. Banyans should ideally, also have those funny little hats (really nice when it’s cold and your heating is terrible)

  8. Frannie Germeshausen

    Miss Fisher isn’t too shabby in the lounging pj/kimono area either.

  9. Lily Lotus Rose

    My quarantine fashion sense consists of tee shirts and leggings. No, I don’t have any fabulous vintage PJs. Other than a fabulous vintage robe or kimono, I don’t know that I’d want vintage night clothes. I like to be comfy in bed, and for me there’s nothing like a good-ol’ gunmetal grey tee shirt.

    I’m so here for this post! Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is one of my all-time favorite films, so I am happy to see it discussed here. Amy Adams just looked drop-dead gorgeous (that was the point), and the costumes were just…awesome! Ditto for Downton Abbey. I’m sure that PJs and other night clothes have caught my eye in films before, but I can’t think of any of the top of my head. This post is definitely going to make me keep my eyes open for them in the future!

  10. Mrs. D

    I have been re-watching Mad Men lately, and there are a lot of interesting jammies in that show. Betty alone has a whole arsenal of nighties and robes. Sally’s neck-high frilly nightgowns remind me of ones my mom used to buy for me back in the 80’s. But nothing beats the image of Don Draper painting Anna’s walls in his T-shirt and boxer shorts.

  11. Vanesa Cano

    The marvelous mrs. Maisel shows a lot of wonderful sleepwear too! with matching “shoes”

  12. Eryn

    I’m schlubbing in a Pride tank top and pajama pants, but one of my friends just finished an 1860s wrapper in a gorgeous printed calico. Jealous! (Ideally I’d have Lucille’s nightgown and dressing-gown from Crimson Peak.)

  13. damnitz

    The shirt of the gourverneur of Maracaibo in Polanski’s “Pirates”.

    Something very different from the examples here maybe…