Why would anyone want an adult onesie?

Pajama jeans and "Forever Lazy" try to replicate the Snuggie's viral success. What's the appeal?

Topics: Going Viral, Advertising, Fashion, Viral Video,

Why would anyone want an adult onesie?

It’s dark out by 4 in the afternoon. There’s snow in 49 states. (P.S.: Damn you, Florida.) And all those sparkly holiday twin sets and party dresses have been relegated to the sale rack. That can mean only one thing: It’s the time of year when abs must go unflaunted, tramp stamps are left to the imagination, and even hot chicks are walking around looking like Marge Gunderson. It is, in short, the most sartorially hilarious season of all, the one in which the phrase “as seen on television” takes on glorious resonance. If you’re wearing a belt right now and you’re not appearing before a grand jury today, you’re a sucker.

It’s been two years since the Snuggie burst onto the scene and became a viral sensation you could actually wear, quickly distinguishing itself from all the competition to become “America’s favorite blanket with sleeves.” There was something about the pitch — ubiquitous on television but damn near inescapable on the Internet — that made for instantly classic advertising copy. “Blankets are fine, but when you need to reach for something, your hands are trapped inside,” Snuggie promised. Come to think of it, you’re right, magic sleevey blanket! And how shall I guzzle my Nyquil with trapped hands? But it was the image of those satisfied customers in their red robes — grandma, grandpa, the family around the campfire, that couple who look like they’re suiting up to sacrifice a goat to Baal — that really sealed Snuggie’s much-forwarded fate.

Before long the entire cast of the “Today” show was decked out like a microplush-clad gospel choir,  a “Snuggie Sutra” sex  guide was born, and Weezer was doing its own hipster riff on the phenomenon. It wasn’t just that Snuggie was the least flattering thing to come along since Hammer pants — the great equalizer that would never taunt you with a size 0 label — it was that it did truly look cozy as all get out. You may laugh at Snuggie, but on those long, dark nights, when it’s just you and a rerun of “CSI” and a box of Chardonnay, nobody’s sitting around in a prom dress. No wonder that as soon as they debuted, those things were going faster than bronzer at a Snooki look-alike contest.

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In the wake of Snuggie’s triumphant reign, a new crop of hibernational lifestyle apparel has arrived on the scene, and with it, more fantastic, this is so totally going on my Facebook page video spots. This year, surely nothing could say, “I’ve given up on trying to impress you, world,” like the Fed Ex man showing up at your door with a package whose return address reads “Forever Lazy.” If you long for the comfort of a Snuggie combined with the rugged good looks of bunny pajamas, this “one piece, lie around, lounge around, full body lazy wear” sounds like just the ticket. In stylish colors like “Asleep on the Job Gray” and with an ad campaign that features a shivering blonde turning up the thermostat and flailing helplessly to cover herself with one of those old-fashioned blanket thingies, Forever Lazy has been shamelessly courting the Snuggie demographic. Based on the ad, it’s full of people who like talking on the phone, knitting, cheering for “the big game,” and being reclusive — and they are legion. And, because Forever Lazy has thought of everything, they’ve even included an “escape hatch” in the back, so you can even enjoy full fleecy comfort while sitting on the toilet.

But what if you’re one of those “Sex in the City,” fashionista types? What if you think you’re too good to wear a full body tent, princess? Are you the sort who likes the look of “stylish, sexy jeans” but craves “soft comfy pajama bottoms”? Do you enjoy twirling in front of the mirror while looking admiringly at your butt? Do you occasionally leave the house? Then I’ve got two words for you: Pajama Jeans. With their promise of the softness of a “baby’s blanket” and a “mock fly” — because zippers are for snobs — they’re like a ShamWow for your whole lower half.  And in that dark rinse and boot cut, they may just be the start of a whole trend of sexy outifts that you can pass right out in.

Much as we romanticize the “Mad Men” era, and the days when a woman would vacuum in heels and a man would put on a tie just to get drunk, the truth is that right now it’s cold, slushy and disgusting out there — and chances are good you’re no Don or Joan anyway. With Chinese delivery on the speed dial and blankets with sleeves just a mouse click away, you don’t need no stinkin’ pants. Just remember, while it may feel a long way off, spring will eventually arrive. And when it does, all the sins you’ve been hiding under those Snuggies and Atrophy Pants will have to see the light of day. Fortunately, the Internet has a solution for that too. Have you heard of Shake Weight?

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

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