We’re Calling It: Nap Dresses and Nightgowns Are the Sweatsuits of 2021

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It all began in summer 2020. With many of us finally settling into our quarantine routines and coming to terms with the fact that travel of any kind was off the table for the foreseeable future, we started turning our homes (and our wardrobes) into the types of places we wished we could be. And an English countryside was a major source of inspiration. Cottagecore, as it was deemed, brought with it ditsy daisy prints, lightweight linens and, most importantly, the nap dress.

A true nap dress is made from soft, lightweight fabrics, isn’t form-fitting or restrictive and can be worn both for lazy afternoon dozing on the couch or to pick up groceries without fear of embarrassment. They’re frocks that don’t immediately look like pajamas over Zoom and feel almost like playing dress-up—as Elizabeth Bennet or Jo March or any other set of fictional sisters who live idyllic country lives—but for adults. Sometimes they are literal nightgowns. And sometimes they’re floaty numbers that look plucked from a fairytale. More than anything, nap dresses are a welcome alternative to sweatsuits, as they similarly offer little to no extra thought or effort to wear.

We fully expect this trend to continue going strong all the way through June (at the least), so why not stock up now? Here, 12 gorgeous nap dresses to wear to bed, to work, to Zoom birthday parties and back to bed again.

11 Pairs of Pants That Feel Like Leggings (But Look Way More Polished)

hill house nap dress trend
Hill House

1. hill House The Ellie Nap Dress

Hill House catapulted the nap dress into existence last summer, with Vogue going so far as to call this easy frock one of the top “items that defined 2020.” In fact, the brand actually trademarked the term “nap dress” back in January 2020 (proving just how ahead of the game founder Nell Diamond really was), although lots of other labels have now followed suit with similar designs.

Buy it ($225)

Available in sizes XS to XXL

sleeper nap dress trend

2. sleeper Loungewear Dress

Another company ahead of the curve was Sleeper, a Ukrainian sleepwear brand that’s all about wearing chic PJs for almost any occasion. That includes this romantic 100-percent linen number with an elastic collar, allowing you to switch between a classic nightgown look or a sexy off-the-shoulder “I’m vacationing in Positano” vibe. We suggest adding a belt to give this frock some shape if you plan to wear it out on the town.

Available in one size (roughly 2 to 12)

enza costa nap dress trend

3. enza Costa Cotton Tiered Dress

This 100-percent cotton midi is breathable and comfy with a collarbone-baring neckline to balance out the longer hem and trapeze shape. Add a long, robe-like cardigan for chillier days or some colorful, strappy sandals come spring.

Available in sizes XS to L

anthropologie short nap dress trend

4. anthropologie Taylor Puff-sleeved Tunic Dress

This textured tunic may be too short for tall gals to wear comfortably on its own, however all you need is a pair of bike shorts or leggings to provide a little extra coverage.

Available in sizes XXS to 3X, also Petite

papinelle nap dress trend

5. papinelle Pleated Nightgown

Yes, this super-soft frock is an actual nightgown—intended to be worn between the sheets—but the thick straps make it easy to wear with a regular T-shirt bra if you want to pop out of bed for a cup of coffee. Add a thin black or leopard belt to cinch your waist and lots of delicate jewelry and no one will know you never changed out of your PJs this morning.

Available in sizes XS to XL

english factory nap dress trend

6. english Factory Floral-ruffle Sleeve Maxi Dress

There is no stretch to this floral maxi and it features a hidden zipper closure on the side. But the under-bust seams give your gals a little extra support, should you decide to go braless.

Available in sizes XS to XL

everyday ritual nap dress trend

7. everyday Ritual Deep V-neck Cotton Caftan

Maybe it’s the low neckline or maybe it’s the button-down styling, but there’s something about this dress that gives us major “lounging poolside with a cocktail in hand” feels…and we are very on-board with that picture right now.

Available in sizes XS to XXL

anthropologie nap dress trend

8. anthropologie Deva Plisse Slip Dress

The straps cross in the back so you don’t have to worry about then slipping off your shoulders while you nap, and the mini pleats allow this dress to glide over your curves without adding too much volume. (P.S. At least one reviewer suggests you may want to sport a slip underneath if you plan to wear this beauty out and about.)

Available in sizes XXS to 3X, also Petite

kur nap dress trend

9. kÚr Long Nightgown

This floaty cotton midi will also need a slip underneath, but the incredibly soft material and delicate handmade bobbin lace stripes are definitely worth the splurge.

Buy it ($150)

Available in sizes S to XL

doen nap dress trend

10. Dôen Theda Dress

While this mini is definitely long enough to be worn on its own (yes, even for tall gals, like the model who is 5’8”), it also works as a tunic over wide-leg jeans for cold weather excursions to the local market or coffee shop.

Buy it ($238)

Available in sizes XS to XL

spell nap dress trend

11. Spell Rae Gown

Remove the matching belt to make this maxi more comfortable for snoozing. Then simply tie it, or a sturdier leather option, around your waist in the morning and no one will know your day dress and night dress are one in the same.

Available in sizes S to L

nap nap dress trend
Nap Loungewear

12. Nap Babydoll Bohemian Dress

Yes, this frock comes in just one size, but the shoulders, sleeves and body are all cut generously to accommodate a wider range of bust sizes and body shapes. Wear it with strappy white or beige sandals in summer, or over black tights and pointy-toe boots until spring arrives.

Available in one size

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Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...