Growing up in Florida, the tropical climate demanded minimal, loose-fitting clothing; I essentially lived in my swimsuit or a dress of some kind at all times. Dresses (or even beach coverups!) were super easy to just throw on and those “outfits” didn’t require a lot of premeditation… you can see how brands like Lilly Pulitzer with their classic, easy dresses are so popular in the Southern states. I always had a comfy, loose-fitting dress handy — bonus points if it was strapless (minimal body contact in the event of a back / shoulder sunburn). I didn’t keep any of my curated dresses when I moved to Seattle, assuming I would never need them… Natalie, meet Global Warming. Since I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2012, it seems like the summer temperatures get higher and higher and last for a longer period of time every year and I regret not keeping any of my comfy house dresses.
When I recently re-watched the Marie Antoinette movie, I really related with the scene where she asks the royal dressmaker to make her something “simple” that she can relax in (no corsets or bustiers, seen above)… and I thought: “Yes! That’s exactly what every woman needs, especially as we approach warmer temperatures!” Leggings / joggers with sweatshirts and lounge sets have been fine for hanging around the house this winter and spring (coronavirus chic!), but it was 86°F in Seattle last weekend and if I had worn sweats I would have completely melted down. I have a few cute silky pajama cami / shorts sets, but sometimes you just want a damn dress.
For the past couple of years everyone has seemed to go crazy for the “Amazon nightgown“. Admittedly, it’s an easy way to look pulled together when all you’re doing is essentially throwing on a caftan. While I fully appreciate the ease of this dress (and understand it’s popularity), I’m not crazy about the bohemian style of the dresses or their longer sleeves for summer. While I like sleeves in general I prefer to have the option to add or remove layers if I need to regulate my temperature (#hyperhidrosisprobs). These boho muumuus just don’t fit my personal style and if I bought one it would probably end up just sitting in my closet for years until I finally decided to donate it.
I’ve been on the hunt for a dress that would fit the bill for me — something ultra casual and comfortable that I could wear around the house, but didn’t make me look like I had just walked off the set of Little House on the Prairie (no judgement, but also not my style). I want something easy, classic and feminine that doesn’t look like a full-on nightgown, but could definitely be comfy enough to wear as one.
It was as though the universe heard my request because I finally found a company that makes what they call “Nap Dresses” that totally spoke to my personal aesthetic! Yes, they’re more expensive than the Amazon nightgown dresses, but the quality is so much better and they will last way longer than the fast fashion boho version.
I absolutely ADORE both of these easy silhouettes and couldn’t decide which one to order! (Both?!) The dress with the shoulder ruffles feels decidedly feminine and more like an “actual dress” while the spaghetti strap dress would provide even less fabric and be easier for layering; I was so torn! In the end, I decided to place an order for the spaghetti strap version and I have not been disappointed.
My Hill House Nap Dress is so light and breezy which is exactly what I will want for warmer weather — I already want to live in this dress! The thing that I like the most about this piece (other than the ultra comfiness) is the fact that it looks like a real dress that I would wear out of the house.
Clearly I’m not actually going anywhere right now other than the grocery store (and with a mask on!), but these were some super easy outfits I threw together to show some possibilities on how I might wear this dress out of the house in the future. A denim jacket and sandals was my very first instinct; for slightly cooler days my oversized coatigan and slip-on mules (which still kinda looks like a robe and slippers, but hey… I’m down with it!); or just adding my bamboo ark bag and nude block heel sandals.
The body of the dress is slightly sheer, but if you wear undergarments that match your skin tone you won’t have anything to worry about. I did this “closeup” so you could see that there isn’t even a shadow of any visible undergarments.
I found a few additional house / sleep / nap dress options in varying styles and price points, but the principles stay the same: breezy and light for warm weather, but stylish enough to be disguised as a regular dress.
Here’s to staying stylish and comfortable in warmer temps!