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HQ 960797

February 19, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 960797 RH


TARIFF NOS.: 6204.62.4005; 6204.62.4055; 6206.30.3040

Ms. Jill D. Murray
Import Service Manager
J. Crew Group, Inc.
22 Lincoln Place
Garfield, NJ 07026-1991

RE: Revocation of NY A81091; sleepwear; pajamas; loungewear; shirts; shorts; heading 6204; heading 6206; heading 6208

Dear Ms. Murray:

At our request, you sent a sample of two garments, styles 82484 and 82494, to our office for examination on March 12, 1997. These garments were the subject of New York Ruling Letter (NY) A81091, dated April 3, 1996.

We examined the samples you submitted and have determined that they were improperly classified in NY A81091. The correct classification is set forth below.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY A81091 was published on January 7, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, Number 1.


The merchandise under consideration is a women's top (style 82484) made from 100 percent cotton corduroy woven fabric. It features a shirt-styled collar, long, hemmed sleeves, a full front opening secured by five buttons and a chest pocket. It is "more roomy" than a regular shirt. Moreover, it stated that the garments will be advertised as sleepwear. The top will be advertised and sold along with pajama bottoms, style 82494 (long) and style 90154 (short). The bottoms are made of the same fabric and are color coordinated with the tops.

In NY A81091, Customs classified the corduroy top and coordinated bottoms as pajamas under subheading 6208.21.0020, of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


Whether the garments described above are classifiable as pajamas under heading 6208, HTSUSA, or as a shirt under heading 6206, HTSUSA, and trousers and shorts under heading 6204, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in their appropriate order. Sleepwear is classifiable under heading 6208, which encompasses "[w]omen's or girls' singlets and other undershirts, slips, petticoats, briefs, panties, nightdresses, pajamas, negligees, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles."

Classification of garments as sleepwear is based upon use. Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUSA, provides that in the absence of context to the contrary, a tariff classification controlled by use, other than actual use, is to be determined by the principal use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation of goods of the same class or kind of merchandise.

Customs considers factors discussed in several decisions by the Court of International Trade (CIT) in determining the classification of garments submitted to be sleepwear. In Mast Industries, Inc. v. United States, 9 CIT 549, 552 (1985), aff'd 786 F.2d 1144 (CAFC, April 1, 1986) the Court of International Trade cited several lexicographic sources, among them Webster's Third New International Dictionary which defined "nightclothes" as "garments to be worn to bed." The court determined that the garment at issue in that case was designed, manufactured and used as nightwear and, therefore, was classifiable as nightwear. Similarly, in St. Eve International, Inc. v. United States, 11 CIT 224 (1987), the court ruled that the garments at issue in that case were manufactured, marketed and advertised as nightwear and were chiefly used as such.

In determining whether a particular garment is to be used for sleepwear, the garment itself may be strong evidence of use." Mast at 552, citing United States v. Bruce Duncan Co., 50 CCPA 43, 46, C.A.D. 817 (1963). However, when presented with a garment which is somewhat ambiguous and not clearly recognizable as sleepwear, underwear or outerwear, Customs will consider other factors such as environment of sale, advertising and marketing, recognition in the trade of virtually identical merchandise, and documentation incidental to the purchase and sale of the merchandise, such as purchase orders, invoices, and other internal documentation.

Although consideration is given to the way in which merchandise is marketed and sold, we have long acknowledged that intimate apparel/sleepwear departments often sell a variety of merchandise besides intimate apparel, including garments intended to be worn as outerwear. See, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 955341, dated May 12, 1994 and rulings cited therein: HQ 952105 of July 21, 1992; HQ 085672 of October 29, 1989; HQ 955088 of December 14, 1993. The manner in which an article is sold and marketed is weighed in conjunction with other factors such as the physical characteristics of the garment.

Customs also refers to the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88 (1988), for guidance in determining whether a garment has characteristics of sleepwear. At page twenty-four, the Guidelines state that "the term 'nightwear' means 'sleepwear' so that certain garments worn in bed in the daytime . . . are included."

Garments that are not sleepwear may fall into various fashion categories besides sportswear, including "loungewear" or "leisure wear." Customs has long held that loungewear includes a variety of loose, comfortable casual clothes that can be worn in a variety of settings. See, HQ 082624, dated March 22, 1989.

Moreover, in a recent decision the CIT held that articles encompassed under heading 6107 (underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pajamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles) are characterized by a sense of privateness (underpants and briefs) or private activity (sleeping, bathing and dressing). International Home Textile, Inc. v. United States, CIT Slip. Op. 97-31, dated March 18, 1997. The court pointed out that loungewear, on the other hand, may be worn at informal social occasions in and around the home, and for other non-private activities such as watching movies with guests, barbecuing at a backyard gathering, doing outside home and yard maintenance work, washing the car, walking the dog, etc.

In this case, a catalog description of the garments refers to them as "Home Comforts" and for "easygoing sleepy time hours." These descriptions are consistent with loungewear, i.e., loose, casual clothes that are worn in the home for comfort. Additionally, in this case the garment's fabric, construction and design are suitable for the type of non-private activities named in International Home Textile, Inc. Finally, although the garments may be worn to bed for sleeping as they are lightweight and wale sanded for softness, in our opinion their principal use is for "Home Comfort" and lounging. Therefore, following the decision in International Home Textile, they will be classified as outerwear garments.


This ruling revokes NY A81091. Garment style 82484 is classifiable as a women's cotton shirt in subheading 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA. It is dutiable at the 1998 general column rate of 16 percent ad valorem, and the textile category is 341.

Style 82494 is classifiable as trousers under subheading 6204.62.4005, HTSUSA. Style 90154 is classifiable as shorts under subheading 6204.62.4055, HTSUSA. Both the trousers and shorts are dutiable at the 1998 general column rate at 17.3 percent ad valorem and the textile category is 348.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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