Sleeping Beauty- The Nightgown as Daywear

You are wearing your soft white lace flutter-sleeve peignoir, a pair of tan lace-up leather boots, and heart-shaped sunglasses to grab baguettes at the local bakery. Your flowy gown trails behind your in the light breeze, and you float about the city in a dream-like daze.  In your head, your feet never touch the ground, as if there are special step stones just for you that light up gold with each forward prance. I call that the sleeping beauty effect. Only happens when wearing nightgowns as daywear, of course.

2020 has brought us, a year of lockdown, but also a year of corsets. Corsets paired with denim trousers, corsets over slip dresses, corsets with mini skirts, and corsets with just about any combination we can think of. While Vivian Westwood corset dupes overwhelmed our social media feeds, the popular “Nap dresses” from Hill House Home,  entered the stage, cutting through the noise of the corset. Popular Netflix show, Bridgerton, reintroduced a certain regalness to the empire waistlines and capped sleeve silhouette of the nightie. This specific silhouette, according to Masterclass, can be dated back to the late 18th century “during the Neoclassical era when Greek and Roman culture became popular in the public eye. Women began copying the flowy outfits often front and center in Greco-Roman art.” Given the known ancient Greeks lifestyle, as stated by Mark Cartwright in the World History Encyclopedia, and a HuffPost Article, Greeks kept busy with chores, daily entertainment, and afternoon naps. The ease of the empire waistline made the transition between running errands and leisure seamless.

 The effortless look of an easy-to-put-on gown was appealing to many of us. You could finish your morning routine put on a decent dress and feel ready to slip into your white Keds and step out to the farmer’s market or take nap between work, classes, or weekend chores. Though I personally find the trend quite enchanting and the perfect way to make any outfit more playful, I naturally gravitated towards the nightgowns when constructing my daytime look.

In an interview with The Guardian, Susanna Cordner, the archivist at London College of Fashion, stated the nightgown as daywear is a timeless trend and is “perhaps more subtle, than underwear as outerwear, and it carries with it the impression that there’s a casualness and comfort to the clothes being worn. Alongside that implied casualness, there’s also still something suggestively intimate about them.” In other words, if you are looking to live out your dreams as a mysterious garden princess leaving an air of romance in your path, this staple piece is for you.

Nightgowns are more versatile than the intricate lace and perfectly place bows might suggest. Paired with platform boots and a leather jacket you are the ultimate it-girl. this outfit says “I didn’t even try to, but I look damn cool. ” Alternatively paired with rosy cheeks, a dainty watch, and Mary Janes it whispers “ this is my daydream and everyone else is just living in it.”

I have always been into the “vintage” look. I have scoured multiple vintage stores, thrift stores, and consignment stores looking for another perfect nightie to add to my wardrobe. One of my favorite online vintage shops, Efff, is a small Instagram-based store that specializes in curating the perfect selections of vintage lingerie and accessories. I’m known to my family as the “Nap Queen” so my obsession with nightgowns comes as no surprise. The vintage part, also no surprise, given how dramatic I feel the need to be on a daily basis. This closet essential was a way for me to feel like a princess dressed and ready to run her castle but also always prepared to “rest my eyes.”

Let me know in the comments, Instagram, or Twitter what you think of nightgowns as daywear, if you ever tried the look and how you styled it. Use #daydreamsintheciy.


Places to shop to join the party:


With Love Boutique


Evaliina Vintage

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