Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Tesco bans shopping in pyjamas

A typical scene around Belfast: pyjamas being worn to the shops

In parts of Belfast — pyjamas are de rigueur not only for sleeping in, but for shopping in as well.

A growing number of female citizens have no fear of braving the elements in brightly coloured, often stripey attire they have just emerged from the sack in.

Now one of the major UK supermarkets has indicated that it's had enough of the ‘trend.’

A Tesco store in Cardiff has even gone as far as to ask customers not to shop “in their night gear or barefoot”.

So how long will it before the retail giant’s 46 Northern Ireland outlets follow suit?

A spokeswoman said Tesco in Northern Ireland did not have a dress code but it does not want people shopping in their nightwear in case it offends other customers.

“We're not a nightclub with a strict dress code, and jeans and trainers are of course more than welcome. We do, however, request that customers do not shop in their PJs or nightgowns,” she said.

In the past some local schools have appealed to parents not to wear pyjamas when dropping their children off.

Two years ago Joe McGuinness, principal of St Matthew’s Primary School in east Belfast, sent out a stern letter describing the PJs and slipper ensemble as “slovenly and rude”.

But should there be a ‘No Pyjamas Outdoors’ campaign to offset this dubious fashion statement?

Or would that simply be a case of wilful and wanton discrimination against the lazy or lacklustre?

PR guru and Ulster ‘It’ girl Cathy Martin said a wardrobe code of conduct could clear up some grey areas.

“Some of these pyjamas are very pretty, but they are for wearing in bed and not really anywhere else,” she said.

“I think it’s really inappropriate to wear pyjamas outside in public, despite a growing attitude to the contrary.

“I’m all for freedom of speech and expression but I think it shows a lack of self-respect.”

Ms Martin added: “People should impose a self-inflicted ban; you only have to look in the mirror to see how inappropriate it is.”

Notices have been put up in Tesco in St Mellons in Cardiff saying: “Footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted.”

While we may not have come that far in terms of signage, Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long said our society is following a British trend.

“It has almost become a counter-culture in some places where people are actually buying nice pyjamas to go out in,” she said.

“Some people also actually make a real effort to do their hair and make-up.

“But just as you have slippers for indoors and shoes for outdoors, you have clothes for daytime and pyjamas for night time — unless you work night shift!

“It’s not about launching war on pyjamas, it’s a more deep-seated issue. “It’s about saying people need to do much more with their day.”

But Sinn Fein councillor Fra McCann said people have a right to wear whatever they want.

“A variety of clothing is worn outdoors, like shorts and vests, so why not pyjamas?” he said.

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