Did Tenement Dwellers Wear Sleeping Clothes?
Living in a tenement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries meant a life of poverty and near-constant struggle. Clothing was precious and often in short supply, making sleeping clothes an unaffordable luxury.
What Was Available
Tenement dwellers were forced to make do with whatever they could find. They might have:
- Rags: Some people would wear rags that were undersized for a regular garment, or could be made from used clothing.
- Shared items: Shared clothing, such as bed sheets, were often used.
- Nightshirts: Following the traditional style of cotton nightshirts, these were often homemade items.
Why Nightshirts Were Popular
- Cost: Nightshirts were far less expensive than buying afternoon gowns and other garments.
- Strong>Comfort: They were loose and breathable, making them more comfortable than other options.
- Versatility: Depending on the size, nightshirts could function as daytime clothing and a sleeping garment.
What Did Everyday Life Look Like?
The typical tenement dweller had to make do with whatever old clothing they could find in order to keep their family fed and clothed. Many resorted to hand-me-downs or nightshirts to dress themselves in. While they were far from ideal, they served the purpose of keeping them warm and preventing infection.
The harsh reality is that tenement dwellers did not often have the luxury of sleeping clothes. Yet many managed to find a way to make the most out of their circumstances and still provide some comfort and warmth in the bleakest of conditions.