The Wall Street Journal has picked up on a cruel, mean girl trick embedded within the pages of Teen Vogue's 2012 prom issue. It is this: convince all the gullible girls to show up to prom in their PJ's.
The traditional big prom dress is overly romanticized," says eighteen-year-old Riley, from Laguna Hills, California. "Those long, puffy tulle skirts are like a costume. I personally wouldn't be caught dead in a fairy tale–style prom dress."
Well-played Riley. That's how I'd go about it too. Release a few choice quotes to select media outlets (the school paper, the morning announcements, Teen Vogue) about how my popular friends and I plan on schlepping up to prom in just any old thing. How anyone who doesn't wear pajamas to prom is clearly a desperate try-hard. How there is liiiiterally noooothing woooorse than not wearing pajamas to prom.
And then, boom, you and your girls show up on prom night looking like you just attended a party with the cast of Gossip Girl and everyone's like
Jane Keltner de Valle, Teen Vogue's fashion news director, does her part to foster the insane charade by suggesting that girls might want to hit up their local Victoria's Secret for "silky pajamas" (-y being the operative morpheme; those pajamas are polyester) and notes that "sticking to classic or muted colors is best."
She also suggests polishing up the bedtime look with "red lips, heels and festive jewels," for a fun Grey Gardens-type look.
Here's what the impressionable teens now seriously considering formal sleepwear don't know:
The cool girls aren't getting their prom tips from Teen Vogue. They're getting them from real Vogue. And real Vogue stopped caring about formal pajamas months ago. Now the focus is technofabrics that bring Space Age sparkle to classic ladylike silhouettes.
And, while formal pajamas do have a place in society—formal slumber parties, for instance—that place is very, very far away from the dance floor of your prom.
The sort of misleading thing about the Teen Vogue write-up is that while the title and lead image reference menswear inspired sleepwear, most of the pictures in the accompanying slideshow are of female celebrities rocking slim-fitting tuxes.
It goes without saying that one should never base sartorial decisions off what Jessica Alba wore to the My Bloody Valentine: 3D premiere in 2009.
Happily, there is one hero in this story, doing her best to steer young fashionistas straight: the model whose pajama-clad image graces the write-up on the Teen Vogue website.
If you're not quite ready to snag the spotlight in a full tuxedo, model Rebecca Shugart, who donned the playful pajama look for this story, recommends a short dress and combat boots.
No mention of the ludicrous pajama trend she's being paid to hawk.
That's a sweet girl.