I've always had a soft spot for ethereal and romantic vintage nightgowns. You know the kind. Those long, breezy, dreamy Victorian white cotton dresses, gently adorned with lace or frills that you'd see the likes of Elizabeth Bennet write letters in by candlelight. Who would have thought 200 years later, these breezy dresses would be one of the biggest Instagram trends?
For those of you who have been sleeping through most of the past few years (I wouldn't blame you), nap dresses have been causing quite the buzz over the past couple of years. The moniker was created by Nell Diamond, founder of Hill House Home, who wanted to cultivate her personal aesthetic that she refers to as "Victorian ghost." And then the infamous nap dress came to fruition. The trend has skyrocketed in popularity ever since the pandemic hit, as the fashion set continues to crave a comfortable yet stylish alternative to their sweats at home—leaning into the romantic cottagecore trend.
Don't take the name too literally, though. While you could theoretically wear a nap dress to bed, it's not solely a nightgown. The idea is that these dresses can be slipped on without fuss, are comfortable and nonrestrictive, and can be worn without a bra. They blur the line between what you might wear to bed and what you might wear to a fancy brunch.
As someone who doesn't get much sleep and certainly never takes a nap (I have a full-time job, a newborn, and a toddler!), I fully understand the soothing allure and escapism of nap dresses. Perhaps that's why I can't seem to get enough of them. Luckily for me, they're sticking around this year, too, as we continue to see the nightgown-style dresses on Instagram and the runways.
Photo:Molly Goddard, London Fashion Week S/S 2022
Since my love for nap dresses runs deep, below, I wanted to share some of my absolute favorites that I've been working from home in, slipping on with Birkenstocks to run errands in, doing laundry in, watching Netflix in, and yes, sleeping in, too.
The name of this brand says it all! Sleeper's nightdresses have become a social media sensation this year, perhaps because of their versatility in that they can be worn from bed to a black-tie event or thrown over a bikini on vacation or styled with a pair of rain boots in fall. The options are endless. Their pretty, vintage-inspired designs certainly cater to my inner Jane Eyre. This season, I've been pairing mine with a cozy cable-knit in the colder temps.
Dôen's dresses are what cottagecore dreams are made of! I've been a huge fan of the brand's floaty, romantic, and vintage-inspired silhouettes ever since they launched. While it does have a selection of nostalgic nightgowns, I would say practically any of the brand's dresses are ideal if you're looking for something easy, effortless, and nonrestrictive to throw on at home or outdoors. (I also loved the ease of them through my pregnancy.) The Clementine dress I'm wearing is super soft, and the Liberty print is so charming.
I'm utterly in love with Hill House Home's collection of graceful nap dresses—but it's The Caroline, in particular, that wins my heart. Its Victorian-inspired smocked neckline, pretty puff sleeves, and breezy silhouette are everything I want in a nap dress. Moreover, it's ideal for wearing all day and night.
Etsy is a treasure trove when it comes to finding vintage-inspired nightdresses. This one is a really special find from my very own vintage shop that I founded this year. I love the delicate lace detailing on the neckline and sleeves, and the peach hue is so pretty. It’s also easy to take outdoors with the addition of a pair of cool beige hiking boots and a chunky cardigan.
Shop More of My Favorite Nap Dresses