Can baby boomers wear pajamas even in public?

We are odd, we baby boomers are. Because we sometimes stick to our habits from the ‘60s. Which might not be odd for us, but it sure seems odd to others. It’s certainly true of Marsh Rose of Cloverdale, California. Especially when it comes to pajamas. But we’ll let her explain.

I was browsing in a boutique in my small northern California town when I overheard a visitor from San Francisco lamenting the locals’ lack of fashion sense. “They walk around all day in their pajamas,” she moaned. I would have protested, had I not been wearing my … well, you can guess!

They weren’t exactly pajamas. At least I hadn’t actually slept in them the previous night. But frankly they were casual and yet, in spite of their lack of haute couture, they were de rigueur for this area. We enjoy a large population of Baby Boomers and now that most of us no longer dress for the office, we wear anything we darn well please. Mud-spattered bluejeans, Frey boots, and a red satin blouse are acceptable attire. So are pajamas.

Because of my generation, I own a collection of apparel with provenance. Many of us Boomers believe the ‘60s and ‘70s were peak fashion years and there’s no reason to fix what isn’t broken. I’ve just returned from a visit to my closet and this is my report:

“Category One: New Clothes.” Like many of my Baby Boomer peers, I believe new clothing is politically incorrect. However, one must maintain a small stable of this attire for occasions like graduations of people who might otherwise find our appearance mortifying. I have two new dresses. I feel about them the way one feels about an irritating neighbor who’s always out watering the lawn. You wave, you smile, and you quickly part company.

“Category Two: Found Clothing.” This includes a pair of ancient blue jeans, well worn to the texture of satin. I saw them wadded up on the folding table at the laundromat as I pulled in to Happy Noodle restaurant next door. Even from a distance I knew they were divine. I monitored them from the restaurant window all through dinner, forcing myself to linger over tea and a fortune cookie while I prayed their owner wouldn’t return. I admit, I claimed them when I left.

“Category Three: Vintage.” These are my nostalgia pieces, notably a 1920s tailored mink jacket, perfect except for some bald patches. I found it at a flea market where its owner’s dog kept attacking it. The owner decided to sell the jacket and keep the dog. Also, a century-old gauze blouse for birthday parties so that something in the room will be older than the celebrant.

Marsh Rose

“Category Four: Donations.” This includes that red satin blouse, a gift from a sympathetic friend after I was jilted one Valentine’s Day. Then some high-end items handed down from the mistress of a criminal. I never met her but she wore my size and shared my fashion preferences. When her paramour went to prison she fled and gave her clothing to a friend of mine who passed it all along to me. It included a white suede blouse, leather stirrup pants, a flowing gauze wrap-around skirt, and a matching vest with crystal buttons. I seldom wear them. The dry cleaning costs would bankrupt me. But I sometimes take them out and worship them.

And that’s an advantage of being a Baby Boomer. Our clothing is our history and we wear it proudly. Yes. Even our pajamas.

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