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What Are Onesie Pajamas?

By A.M. Boyle
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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Onesie pajamas are one-piece sleepwear garments that typically include slipper-like coverings for the feet. The name is actually short for “one piece,” and these pajamas are sometimes called footed or footie pajamas because of the fact that a person’s entire foot is enclosed. Although this type of pajama is more commonly available for children, onesies can be found in adult sizes as well, especially in stores that specialize in pajamas. They can also be found in a variety of styles and fabrics.

Generally made with a zipper that runs from the neck to the thigh, onesie pajamas are intended to surround the wearer in soft and cozy comfort and are particularly popular in the winter months. Most have an attached, enclosed section for a person’s foot to slip into. The foot part generally has synthetic ribbed or rubberized material on the bottom to make it nonslippery. The pajamas themselves can be made from various materials, but the most popular are fleece and flannel. Some wearers find that the onesies made of fleece, which is a synthetic material, lose their softness after a couple of washings, and therefore, flannel is often preferred.

Both children and adult pajamas come in a variety of styles, and some come with hoods attached to provide even greater warmth and comfort. The pajamas can also be found with or without side pockets. Certain onesie pajamas include a flap in the back that can be opened and closed, which can be especially convenient for children who may need to use the potty while wearing them. The foot covering on some can be removed or folded into a cuff. All onesies, and particularly those for children, can be found in a wide variety of colors and prints, and some are even designed to look like animal costumes.

The term onesie actually originated from the brand name of a one-piece outfit designed for infants and young children. The original Onesie® is not necessarily a pajama, rather it is a one-piece T-shirt type garment that snaps together at the crotch area. It could have either short or long sleeves but generally does not cover the legs. The original design was considered a convenience to parents in that it held a baby’s shirt in place while the easy-to-use snaps made it simple for a parent to change a baby’s diaper when needed. Over time, however, "onesie" became more of a generic term to refer in general to any one-piece garment.

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Discussion Comments
By anon359329 — On Dec 16, 2013

I'm looking to find adult onesies, but I'm having trouble finding onesies beyond toddler or youth sizes. We want to take cheesy Christmas family photos. I found one thing online, but I was hoping for something more extensive -- any thoughts?

By amypollick — On Nov 12, 2012

@anon303003: Try Target. I was in there a couple of days ago and they had several styles in the intimates department.

By anon303003 — On Nov 12, 2012

Where can you buy them in a store? My 14 year old daughter would like some for Christmas.

By Denha — On Nov 08, 2011

@stolaf23- I bought some once in college myself. I think they were boys' as well, there weren't many options for 5'4" women when I got them. I liked the novelty of the pajamas, but actually thought they were almost too warm to wear most of the time. If I got some again, I would find some onesies for adults, which fit better, and try to find some in a slightly lighter weight and more breathable material.

By stolaf23 — On Nov 07, 2011

I bought a set of onesie pajamas a few years ago, I think at Target. They were for boys, although in the last few years I've seen more onesie pajamas for women and young girls as well. I had to buy these in a boys' large size, and they fit pretty well, but I imagine a women's would fit me better.

By snickerish — On Nov 07, 2011

@aLFredo - Not too worry they have onsie pajamas for men and for women - and matching ones. Though I do not think that the patterns they have are nearly as much fun as ones that you probably had when you were a kid. But I would definitely go Internet shopping for the onesie as opposed to trying to find them in a store.

Plus you probably do not want a onesie from a store, because if you buy them from a store there is a chance someone has tried that onesie on and that would be like wearing used socks as far as the footie part goes!

By aLFredo — On Nov 06, 2011

Ah, onesie pajamas... the thought of them definitely takes me back to my childhood. I very fond memories of trouncing around in my favorite onesie, but I must say there is one other thing that comes to mind - that zipper.

For all you parents out there zipping your child into their onesie please be careful of that forever long zipper getting their skin.

Yes, most if not all onesies have that protective cloth on the underside of the zipper, but it is children dressing themselves and I can remember a least a handful of times that I had the flap twisted, my parents zipped me up and the next thing you know tears and zippered skin were occurring.

My husband now thinks it would be funny to dress up in some footed pajamas for adults and go as large babies for Halloween. So does anyone know where to get onsie pajamas for women and for men - preferably matching?

By OeKc05 — On Nov 06, 2011

Onesie pajamas are a great way to get kids excited about getting ready for bed. The kind that are made to look like animals work even better.

I got my daughter some onesie pajamas designed to look like a dog. They are black and white spotted, and the hood has one ear that flops over and one that stands up straight. It actually looks like our dog, so she loves it even more.

I have no trouble getting her to take a bath, because she knows that she gets to put on her dog costume as soon as she is finished. I do have a little trouble making her get ready for school the next morning, though, because she hates to take it off!

By StarJo — On Nov 05, 2011

My eccentric friend bought some onesie pajamas that double as her Halloween costume. The pajamas have dark green and light green alternating stripes and a hood that looks like a frog head.

The hood has eyes and a tongue on it. When she first walked out of her room wearing the onesie pajamas, I jumped back a little. I shouldn't be so surprised, because she is always doing strange things.

Since the feet were rubber and slip-proof, she could walk around the neighborhood on Halloween to take her nieces trick-or-treating. She got quite a few laughs out of her costume, and I think she liked the attention.

By seag47 — On Nov 05, 2011

@shell4life – If you are a man, the zipper will go down far enough for you to urinate without having to take off the onesie. Unfortunately, women have to take the whole thing off to go.

Yes, it does seem a bit nasty to go to the bathroom through a flap and not wear any underwear. Personally, I would have to just take the onesie off, because I always keep underwear on under my clothes, even at night.

I have seen some onesies with a drop seat. You can just pull the material down like you would regular pants and let it hang beneath the toilet, so you don't have to worry about dropping a flap in there.

By aboyle — On Nov 05, 2011

With regard to onesies for grownups, they're all the rage this holiday season around my neck of the woods, and I've seen them in many of the major stores. As far as going to the potty, I guess you either hope you don't have to go all night, or that you have a very warm bathroom because usually the whole outfit comes off!

The flap is more of a novelty than a convenience, but it generally folds up so that it gets pinned against the back of the toilet seat rather than flopping down. Still, I agree, it could be a "wee" bit unsanitary.

By shell4life — On Nov 05, 2011

I have never worn a onesie, and I have only seen them on television. I am wondering something about that flap in the back.

How do you keep it from falling into the toilet when you open it? Is there a way to fasten it to the material above, or do you just have to hold it and hope you don't drop it?

It seems like it would be a bit unsanitary. If you are not wearing underwear under the onesie, then even after you wipe, you are likely to leave behind a small amount of feces, which will then get on your pajamas.

What if you have to urinate? Is there a front flap also, or do you just have to take it off in this case?

By Kat919 — On Nov 04, 2011

@dfoster85 - I liked the snaps, too, but the zipper ones are warmer, which might be why you can't get fleece blanket sleepers with snaps. I liked the fleece ones for winter for babies too old to swaddle; that way baby stays warm without a blanket.

I think the adult footie pajamas have zippers, so I guess they're just kind of a pain! Or maybe they have those drop seats like you used to see on the old long underwear. (I'm probably just thinking of cartoons.)

For toddlers, I like the two-piece footies, where it's a top that snaps onto pants with feet.

By dfoster85 — On Nov 04, 2011

My favorite onesies pajamas for my babies were actually the ones with snaps. I found that it was easier to get the PJs open for changing that way; with the zip ones, you just about have to undress the baby! Whereas with the snaps, you can just open up the leg area.

But the snap kind only seem to come in the smaller sizes (the ones that do not have rubber feet because baby can't stand anyway) and the lighter fabrics.

I'm having trouble picturing footie pajamas for grown-ups. How would you use the bathroom? Aren't one-piece pajamas more suitable for babies who are not potty-trained?

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