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I recently spent a weekend in a hotel with a bunch of friends and colleagues. To help cut down on costs, some of us shared rooms.

I like reading before I go to sleep, but my room-mate was tired and went to sleep early. Since I didn't want to bother him with the lights, so I went looking for a different place to read. I discovered that my hotel had a "Great Room" with plenty of tables and chairs, arranged around a fireplace.

I would have been very comfortable reading in that room, as I might in my own living room, but I didn't quite feel like doing that since I wasn't sure if etiquette demanded being fully dressed in that kinda-public space.

Is it okay to walk around a hotel in pajamas/sleepwear?

If it makes a difference, this hotel was in America. But I'm also interested in more global answers, if the information is available.

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    The US is an odd place - I've gone to college where students seem to show up to class in pajamas. That said, it would likely be frowned upon, and in all likelihood, the hotel staff might eventually tell you to put your clothes on. So to answer your question, most likely not, though nothing may come of it. – Melllvar Feb 1 '15 at 6:23
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    I guess it would also depend on the standing of the hotel: it would probably be frowned upon in a luxurious 5 star hotel whereas no one would notice in a guesthouse. The Internal Rules of the hotel may have a word on the dressing code in the common areas of the hotel. – Taladris Feb 1 '15 at 15:38
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    A proper English B&B would find this acceptable, if not de rigueur. Breakfast, walk the dog, stroll the beach, whatever. As long as decency is observed. – Gayot Fow Feb 1 '15 at 17:33
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    If you go by Groundhog Day (movie), it's okay to walk around in a Pajama if a) you're about to kill yourself anyway or b) you're predicting answers of a TV show (but everyone else is in normal clothes) or c) on the way to the shared bathroom and back. – frostschutz Feb 2 '15 at 0:33
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    There are pyjamas and pyjamas. Some are a lot more like a full set of clothes than others. (I sleep naked, myself.) – TRiG Feb 2 '15 at 0:41
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+100

In the US, it really depends on where you are staying.

In a big hotel in a city, it would be expected that you wear street clothes or even casual business wear in the public areas. Granted you could get away with wandering down the hall to get some ice or a soda from the vending machine in your pajamas, but lounging in the lobby or a reading room and such in pajamas would be frowned upon. (though not enforceable unless they have a posted dress code)

In a smaller guesthouse, bed & breakfast, inn, etc lounging around in your pajamas would likely not be an issue, as they try to present more more homey atmosphere, not the big city business atmosphere.

Overall the fancier the lodging presents itself, the less likely pajamas will be acceptable. The more casual, more home like they present themselves as, the more likely it is OK.

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    It also probably depends on the time of day. Even a fancier hotel might not care as much at 3am vs. 3pm. – neubert Feb 1 '15 at 15:05
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    "though not enforceable unless they have a posted dress code" I don't think that's really true. It's their property. They can kick you out of it if you're violating policy, being disruptive, or doing really pretty much anything else that they don't like. That's not to say they likely would do so, but they certainly can. They can't arrest you, but they can tell you to leave (and, if you don't leave upon being told to do so, then they can indeed have you arrested for trespassing.) – reirab Feb 1 '15 at 22:12
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    They can ask you to return to your room, but they can not kick you out for wearing your pajamas. Now if you decide to be obnoxious and refuse to abide by their requests, then perhaps they have grounds to ask you to check out, but that will not be because you are wearing pajamas, but because you are being an ass afterwards. The only time they can immediately ask you to leave would be if there is a posted or published dress code or if the pajamas you choose to wear are "indecent". – user13044 Feb 2 '15 at 1:32
  • It greatly depends on how rich you are. If you are Howard Hughes rich then you can pretty much do anything you damn please, anywhere you damn please. – RoboKaren May 19 '18 at 15:20
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The only realistic answer to this question is that there is no answer. Standards of dress in the US are not standardized, except in certain contexts like prisons, the military, certain types of business, Catholic schools, and fancy restaurants. Circa 1960 was the last time in the US when there was some kind of general consensus on what was proper dress in public. That was the era when, for example, people understood that a middle-class man should tip his hat to a middle-class woman on the street, and a black male civil-rights protester would sit down at a whites-only lunch counter and get arrested -- wearing a suit and tie.

Basically, if you're not sure, don't do it. But if you guess wrong, there is no Taliban that is going to come along and haul you off to be flogged. People who disapprove will probably just ignore you, or ridicule you to their friends later on.

If you spend enough time in the US to get attuned to the culture, you will start to pick up on a gazillion and one subtle cultural expectations about dress. But transgressing against those expectations is not a huge cultural blunder. As a random example of how fragmented and complicated things can be, it might or might not be considered OK for the CEO of a technology company to show up for an important business meeting wearing a hoodie sweatshirt; it depends on the specific subsector of the technology sector.

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    As I mentioned in the comments, I have lived in the USA my whole life. I just don't hang out in hotels that often....and I wasn't too worried about the Taliban, but thanks for allaying those fears ;-) – Shokhet Feb 2 '15 at 5:32
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    Keep in mind: if you're in a hotel you're out-of-town and know no one. Do you really care what anyone thinks? The hotel staff won't say a word unless you a grotquesely out-of-bounds. And, unless they can site something you signed or a posted sign you can tell them to piss off as well as any passerbys – Christian Bongiorno Feb 3 '15 at 2:07
  • @ChristianBongiorno Well, if you tell them to piss off that may result in a disturbance. Guess who gets the police attention in case of a disturbance? – Colin McLarty Feb 4 '15 at 14:34
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As a night clerk at a 2 star hotel in the US, I can say it depends, mainly on if you're comfortable with it. Most people wear non-sleep clothes while not in their rooms. However, there are some people who will walk around in pajamas. On very rare occasions, I've even seen people come to breakfast in their pajamas.

Higher star hotels may be more rigid, and I would say that everybody around you is going to be wearing non-sleeping clothes. However, if you're find sticking out a bit to be comfortable, then I would say go for it. I highly doubt anybody will say anything.

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    +1 While not the most detailed answer, I believe an important one, since it comes from "an insider". – yo' Feb 4 '15 at 10:39
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Short answer: no.

In North America, public spaces require public dress. You would not, for example, wear a swimsuit to the restaurant.

Asia is a bit more relaxed - you can walk around a Japanese resort town in what amounts to a housecoat.

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    In what way is it "required"? And in what way is "wearing a swimsuit to the restaurant" in any sense equivalent to the scenario posited in the question? – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 1 '15 at 19:10
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    I agree with the short answer insofar as it's the safer guideline, but I don't agree with the explanation, and I think this answer would be better to note where "it depends." – djechlin Feb 1 '15 at 20:06
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit Required at least by societal convention. On private property (such as a hotel,) it's likely also required by the policy of the business in question. – reirab Feb 1 '15 at 22:09
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    It seems like if you are comfortable in pajamas in public and you are also comfortable being told you are not allowed to wear pajamas in public and willing to change if other people have a problem with it then it is well worth the risk. Any pajama does seem more formal than any bathing suit. – Brad Feb 2 '15 at 16:14
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    "weat a swimsuit to the restaurant" is definitely context dependent (I've worn a swimsuit in lots of beach restaurants) which just demonstrates that the entire question is context dependent. Pajamas would be okay in some hotels, not in others. – jhocking Feb 2 '15 at 18:13
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In America you can basically wear whatever you want in any situation.... Especially since you're a paying customer at a hotel, it would be VERY rare for you to get anything but, at worst, weird looks. (As long as you aren't actually exposing your genitals. If you are, indecent exposure probably will land you on a sex offender list for years.)

It's America. Wear whatever you're comfortable in. It's more common for women here to wear pajamas if they're not going anywhere fancy, maybe less so for men but who cares? I've worn pajamas to the supermarket on occasion.

Edit: It's not normal, in my experience, to wear pajamas around at a hotel, but it wouldn't be frowned upon.

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    Note, however, the OP wasn't asking if you can, but if it's "normal" to do so. There is a subtle difference. I've gone barefoot to the supermarket in NZ, but in the UK that's definitely not normal, for example. – Mark Mayo Feb 4 '15 at 9:19
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The line between sleepwear and very casual day wear is pretty fuzzy; frequent travelers may find it convenient to carry sleepwear that can pass as casual clothing. (For example, while I (female) normally sleep in a T shirt like top, when traveling I sleep in a longer nightshirt that looks very much like a loose comfortable dress.)

For both genders a t shirt and sweatpants would be both comfortable to sleep in and unobjectionable in all but formal hotel areas.

Note, though: I am white. I've heard too many stories about non-whites being hassled and harassed in the past year or so to recommend that people of color do anything that stretches the limits of propriety.

protected by Nean Der Thal Feb 2 '15 at 8:51

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