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In case you were snoozing for the last 20 months (and hey, we don’t blame you), nap dresses are still a thing. We can credit Hill House for kicking off the lockdown-ready trend back in 2019, when the cottagecore brand debuted with its now cult-favorite dresses. (In fact, the term “nap dress” is trademarked by founder Nell Diamond.)
The nightgown-like garment promptly exploded as a quarantine wardrobe essential, and shows like Netflix’s Bridgerton only fueled the desire to sport chic and comfy looks that didn’t involve sweats seats. Naturally, Hill House this week dropped a collaboration with the hit Regency-era series and Meena Harris’ activist clothing label, Phenomenal, and the the collection’s Lady Whistledown-approved dresses promptly instagram.com/p/CScK1WglgL4broke the internet. (There are still hair accessories and sweats available from the line.)
Even before the official nap dress moniker, stars like Taylor Swift and Vanessa Hudgens were frequently spotted wearing twirl-friendly bohemian styles in cotton and linen. Most recently, Princess Eugenie wore Hill House’s tartan dress to leave the hospital after giving birth. Fashion brands continue to get in on the action, as comfort-minded footwear label Aerosoles recently collaborated with iconic British lifestyle line Laura Ashley on a range of floral-print sandals, clogs and boots.
The anatomy of a nap dress, you ask? These fashionable frocks often boast smocked bodice, puff sleeves and a tiered maxi skirt. Other design elements in any number of combinations include floor-sweeping hems, ruffles, floral prints, playful patterns and textured fabrics (think swiss dot and seersucker).
So whether your aesthetic is Little House on the Prairie, Little Women or Picnic at Hanging Rock, we’ve rounded up some of the best nap dresses that are ready for fall. Our picks include everything from office-ready options that look decidedly more buttoned-up, to looser-fit options that’ll take you from the farmers market to a quick afternoon snooze.
Hill House The Ellie Nap Dress
No roundup of the best nap dresses is complete without Hill House, the originator of the name. After its best-selling Ellie Nap Dress sold out in this 17th century-inspired French garden print earlier this year, the popular floral pattern is back. The A-line design features a smocked bodice, ruffled shoulders and a tiered midi skirt, and it pairs well with both sandals and sneakers.
H&M Off-the-Shoulder Dress
Made from sustainably sourced cotton, this smocked off-shoulder dress from H&M has 3/4-length balloon sleeves and a flared waist, so it’s great for those balmier fall days.
Laura Ashley Vintage Prairie Dress
Perfect for fulfilling your prairie fashion fantasies, iconic lifestyle label Laura Ashley’s vintage dress (available at its Aerosoles Cottage Shoppe) features pintucks on the bodice, three-quarter-length sleeves with lace cuffs, and maxi length. In short, everything you’re looking for.
Allegra K Square Neck Smocked Floral Dress
We can see Allegra K’s square-neck floral dress fitting in for casual Fridays in the office. Throw on a pair of booties and a leather jacket, and it’s great for post-work happy hour, too.
Christy Dawn The Dawn Dress
There’s a lot to love about L.A. designer Christy Dawn, whose breezy silhouettes have been worn by Mandy Moore, Taylor Swift and Emily Ratajkowski. The label’s best-selling cotton/silk blend dress features a drawstring waist, convenient pockets and a breezy V-neck silhouette for ultimate comfort. Add in the one-of-a-kind floral print (which was digitally printed in India), and the fact that the brand supports women artisans locally and across the globe, and you’ve got one of the best nap dresses for your ethical wardrobe.
Reformation Noreen Dress
Eco-conscious label Reformation typically comes to mind for skin-baring, curve-hugging silhouettes, and this ivory midi dress proves that the celeb-loved brand knows how to relax, too. (Just a few stars who have worn the L.A. brand include HRH Meghan Markle, Jessica Alba and Emma Watson.)
Target A New Day Elbow Sleeve Eyelet Dress
For a pop of color, this affordable eyelet dress from Target’s A New Day line brings charm to any outfit. The puff sleeves and tiered hem add playfulness to the sleek silhouette, and we like that it’s available in other colors and a variety of sizes.
Ganni Floral Print Georgette Loose-Fit Maxi Dress
Cool-girl label Ganni’s loose-fit floral maxi dress is good for your style and the earth, as the Scandinavian brand is carbon neutral. This lightweight and semi-sheer georgette dress is partially lined and has a V neck, buttoned cuffs and puff sleeves, and the waist tie gives it a more formal look for work and events.
Rachel Pally Linen Mae Dress
L.A. designer Rachel Pally became known for her effortless jersey pieces (Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson were early fans), and since then she’s applied her minimalist, easy-to-wear touch to linen. Among her versatile silhouettes is this square neckline maxi dress with puffy sleeves (available in a variety of colors), and it’s one of the best nap dresses we’ve found that we want to wear from morning to night.
Lemlem Miriam Cascade Striped Cotton-Blend Gauze Midi Dress
Model Liya Kebede’s sustainable luxury label, Lemlem, is beloved for its vibrant prints inspired by the founder’s native Ethiopia. The brand helps to keep craftspeople’s handwoven techniques alive by employing artisans to create its eco-conscious pieces, such as this comfortable cotton-blend tiered maxi dress in blue and white stripes.
Spell Sloan Soiree Peach Dress
Byron Bay-bred label Spell’s bohemian dresses quickly sell out after they’re dropped, so you’ll want to add to the cart quickly if your requirements in a nap dress include organic cotton, a ruched waist and playful prints. The brand’s Sloan dress checks off all of those boxes, and the elastic sleeves can be worn on or off the shoulder.
Ulla Johnson Winnifred Floral Print Dress
Taking a nap might not be your first priority in this maximalist Ulla Johnson dress, which is adorned with a bold chrysanthemum print and features romantic ruffles and pleats — but at least its roomy silhouette makes it easy to lie down for a post-party rest session.
Sleeper Pudding Silk Loungewear Dress
We love that one size fits all with this silk loungewear dress by Sleeper, known for its versatile actual pajamas that look dressy enough for outside of the house. Available in light pink and black, it comes with a matching headband. Even better, it’s an extra 20% off its already-reduced price when you use the code TAKEACHANCE.
Zimmermann Carnaby Shirred Leopard-Print Linen Dress
If you prefer to nap in an above-the-knee option, cult-favorite luxury label Zimmermann has you covered. The Australian brand (which as been worn by Beyoncé, Margot Robbie and Emma Roberts) is known for its statement-making prints and romantic silhouettes, including this leopard-print linen dress that features playful buttons, puff sleeves and a smocked waist.
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