As of writing, I am stretched out on my bed with my computer resting against my knees, typing. This is my new work-from-home lifestyle. Between the pandemic, supervising of distance learning, and my own actual work, I don’t go out much anymore. I don’t see very many people who aren’t on Zoom, so I don’t have too many reasons to change out of my pajamas. So why am I fully decked out in an ankle-length collared embroidered dress? It’s partially to ward off the depression that comes with frumping around the house in soiled sweatsuits and partially because I’ve fully embraced the #napdress phenomenon. Zippers and waistbands don’t gel with my new lounge lifestyle, and with the loose fit of a night-style gown, I get the comforts of a sweatsuit with the escapism of a glamorous dress code. Instead of hiding in my bedroom on the verge of tears, I’m suddenly picnicking at Hanging Rock, collecting herbs from a garden, or investigating ghosts in the manor. If you thought this just was a passing trend, I’m making the call that the Nap Dress Summer has the stamina to become a full-fledged Hibernation Dress Winter. Here’s why:
The Nap Dress isn’t a new thing that popped up over quarantine. Nell Diamond, C.E.O. of Hill House Home coined the term for her white and gingham nightgowns she started selling last year alongside her line of sheets. The capsule nap dress collections notoriously sold out within a day. (If you’d like to get your hands on the new botanical and gingham fall collection, RUN to your computer Wednesday, September 23 at noon for the new nap dress drop.) Even earlier, at the end of 2018 at Salter House in Brooklyn Heights, a collection of crisp white nightgowns with beautiful detailing like smocking, rosebuds and pleats hung on a rack in between the handmade brooms and sustainable woven baskets. The nightgowns are instantly covetable and make you want to not only wear one but also immediately buy a stone country cottage to sleep in.
“Many of the women we’ve turned onto wearing our cotton nightdresses have said (not entirely in jest) that it has improved the quality of their life!” says Sandeep Salter, founder of Salter House, who has been wearing cotton nightgowns herself since she was a kid growing up in England. “I think there is something truly special about wearing something that you feel completely comfortable in and that can wash easily, but is still very elegant and has special details like embroidery or pin-tucked sleeves. It feels like a treat, that you can normalize. For a lot of women (moms especially) wearing an embroidered cotton nightdress instead of sweatpants and a T-shirt can be a small change that makes a big difference!”
Like Cottage Core or Farmer-Influencers, the nap dress has provided a sense of escapism during months in a hellscape of political unrest, uncurable sickness, ravaging fires and social and racial injustice. It’s impossible to take a break from the newsfeeds and doomscrolling that can snowball into further unhealthy habits like teeth-grinding and stress-eating. The feel-good aspects of throwing on a pretty dress actually can help one’s mental state.
With the jarring seasonal change of winter right around the corner, a healthy mental attitude is more important now than ever to get through a long cold stretch of pandemic related quarantine since it’s not entirely clear when this will all be over. Unfortunately, sleeveless cotton nightgowns may be tricky to transition into fall. Luckily, Salter House is about to launch a day dress, while Hill House will be launching tartan-printed styles. But it’s not necessary to completely abandon the summer styles either. “I love to pair my nightdresses with a chunky wool sweater,” says Salter. “There is nothing cozier than a cotton nightdress with an oversized wool sweater and thick wool socks!” This fall, spread out the quilts and the #grandmillenial china, and take a short vacation somewhere calm and safe. I’ll see you there, in the nap dream.