We Compared the Hill House Nap Dress vs. Tuckernuck’s Smocked Dress to See Which Is the Superior Summer Frock

They’ll take you seamlessly from afternoon nap to happy hour.

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hill house nap dress vs tuckernucked smocked dress review
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When summer rolls around, I have one goal in mind: to sweat as little as possible, while still looking presentable. Enter all the summer dresses. The breezier and billowier the skirt, the more likely I am to have it on repeat in my closet. Mega bonus points if it will take me from day to night, as I am notoriously lazy and try to keep things as low-maintenance as possible. So, when I had the chance to test-run the internet-famous Hill House Nap Dress ($150), I knew I had to see how it compared to Tuckernuck’s popular Mallie smock dress ($198). Read on to see how the two frocks stack up against each other.

What Sets Hill House and Tuckernuck Apart?

Tuckernuck has a classic but modern New England prep aesthetic, which is fitting given that the brand was inspired by the founders’ summers spent in Nantucket. It sells its own line of clothing, homewares and gifts but also stocks some of the founders’ other favorite brands, like Loeffler Randall and La DoubleJ. There are also sportswear and menswear categories.

Meanwhile, Hill House Home focuses on its in-house clothing line (including the viral Nap Dress) for women and children. It also branches out into shoes, accessories, homewares and bedding. The Nap Dress, while similarly classic, can also lean trendy and cool-girl depending on the collection.

How I Tested the Dresses

I tested samples of the Hill House Nap Dress and the similar Tuckernuck Mallie dress, which both feature a smocked bodice and ruffled shoulders. Each dress got a test run of several days in New York City summer heat and humidity as I worked from home and the office, and went out to events and social engagements. While wearing each, I was evaluating material quality, cooling, versatility, comfort and design.

hill house nap dress vs tuckernuck smocked dress 1
Marissa Wu

My Hill House Nap Dress Review

  • Design: 17/20
  • Quality: 18/20
  • Cooling: 20/20
  • Versatility: 19/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • Total: 93/100

It seemed like the Hill House Nap Dress reigned over the pandemic closet, and after wearing one for a week, it’s easy to see why. One of my favorite beauty experts, Jenny Patinkin, always says she’s after “lazy perfection,” and the Nap Dress epitomizes that description. A reprieve from sweatpants, leggings and oversize T-shirts that you still want to sleep in? Oh, yes. I did fall asleep in this dress one weekend afternoon, and it felt like pajamas. But I also wore it out multiple times to work and events, garnering compliments along the way.

The Nap Dress’ hallmark design is a square-cut neckline with ruffle detailing. I had initial reservations about the neckline plus the smocking, which I feel often does not flatter my body type. Upon slipping into the dress, though, I was converted. The neckline is deep enough to break up the chest area so it doesn’t look too wide, and the pattern I chose has vertical stripes to help with the illusion. Typically, I avoid ruffles on sleeves, but in this instance, they were much appreciated, as they covered the insecure points I have on that area of my arms.

One thing that concerned me at first was the fabric—the dress is 100 percent cotton, which is perfect for sweltering summer months, but doesn’t have a lining. However, I can attest that I have worn some very heavily patterned underwear with this dress, and no one has been the wiser.

My only real con was that the ruffle detailing on the neckline, which circles the entire top of the dress, does have a tendency to fold down under the arms. I’m undecided about that look, and in the grand scheme of things it’s minor, but just something to note.

The skirt is full (with pockets, always a plus) and billows romantically in the summer breeze...and when I accidently stand on a subway grate. Other things I loved: It’s not super susceptible to wrinkles, it’s super stretchy and it has more of a dropped waist. The smocked top is about an inch longer than the Tuckernuck version, which has more of an empire waist. Overall, it’s a beautiful, versatile, comfortable addition to your closet, especially if you want “I’m on the French Riviera” vibes.

hill house nap dress vs tuckernuck smocked dress 2
Marissa Wu

Tuckernuck Mallie Dress Review

  • Design: 19/20
  • Quality: 19/20
  • Cooling: 18/20
  • Versatility: 19/20
  • Comfort: 19/20
  • Total: 94/100

While Hill House has a stylish European summer feel, Tuckernuck’s dresses emit the glamour and sensibility of New England prep. And it’s no wonder, as the founders’ inspiration comes from their summers spent on Nantucket.

I took the Mallie Dress for a spin in the fun Yachtsman Code block print, which one friend, ironically, described as “very New York.” The design features a ruffle-lined scoop neck and shoulder detailing, pockets, a smocked bodice and a tiered skirt. Two of the key differentiators from the Nap Dress were the lining and bodice. The Mallie Dress has a fitted lining, which I appreciated, as it felt more secure. However, that also made it a little warmer and less breezy than the Nap Dress. It also restricted my leg span when I needed to hop over the occasional puddle after a summer rain.

Regarding the bodice, it’s one piece of fabric, including the straps, as opposed to the Nap Dress that had straps attached. Because of this, the ruffles don’t run under the arms, and therefore are not crushed downwards, which I liked, finding the crushed ruffles on the Nap Dress to look a little awkward.

Though the skirt is not as full as the Nap Dress, I loved the skirt of the Mallie Dress because it’s split into a dramatic two tiers, which I felt added volume, especially to the bottom of the dress—and I’m all about big skirts that like to billow.

Final Notes

Overall, both dresses are easy, low-maintenance and versatile additions to your summer wardrobe. Which dress you choose ultimately comes down to the aesthetic you’re after: New England seaside summer or out-on-the-town classic. They’re easy to care for (wash on cold, air dry) and will take you seamlessly from the office to social engagements to the couch for that much-needed nap.

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