Lizzie Bramlett recently did a post about pyjamas, citing 1912 as the earliest reference she has found to date for their sale in catalogues. This predates the c. 1917 date when they begin to show up more often in catalogues and magazines as sensible sleeping attire, especially for women in England in case of zeppelin raids. Bramlett also posted a 1919 pattern illustration for a sleeping pyjama intended for camping that looks a lot like a onesie. This might be the first of its kind!
The words lingerie and peignoir appear in the English language in about 1835. Lingerie comes from the French term meaning ‘things made from linen’, and derives from the old French word linge which means ‘washables’ and ultimately, the word lin, or linen, the fabric from which most undergarments were made until the 19th century.
Peignoir describes a particular garment from the lingerie family – a full or loose dressing gown that we today associate with being sheer and sold with a matching nightgown. However, the peignoir was originally worn while combing and dressing the hair and comes from the Middle French word peigner ‘to comb’, a derivative of the Latin pectinare ‘a comb’.