Hostess pajamas might refer to one of two likely clothing items. Once a fashion term used in the 1960s to describe a specific type of outfit, hostess pajamas were loose fitting, flowing pants-like outfits that were worn for both lounging and entertaining. A more modern application of the term could also refer to a hostess gift given to guests invited to a weekend gathering or event.
In the early 1960s, the McCall’s catalog featured outfits for women called hostess pajamas. These outfits were generally one-piece outfits or two-piece, matching sets. Hostess pajamas were often made from silk, rayon or soft cotton and had a fitted top with loose-fitting, culotte style pants or shorts. Patterns were both wild and feminine in an array of colors. Aptly named hostess pajamas, these outfits were suitable for casual entertaining and lounging. A woman might have worn these pajamas to be comfortable while at home, but still be prepared for visitors.
In more modern times, hostess pajamas have been redefined as lounge pants. These modern day pajama pants, for both men and women, are often worn in public, especially by younger age groups. They may not be called hostess pajamas, but they are still typically sold in matching sets. Other styles of clothing that have surfaced in more recent fashion trends include gaucho pants, or flared-leg capris, which are similar to the pants of the 1960s style hostess outfits.
These pajamas also refer to hostess gifts in the form of actual pajamas or lounge pants. A host or hostess of a weekend gathering or event where over-night guests are attending may supply a pair of casual pajamas to their guests. The most likely implication when giving pajamas as a hostess gift is to make the guest comfortable by providing a pajama outfit considered suitable for appearing before the host or hostess at the breakfast table or in the family room at night.