Jane Polka Dot Mini Dress, by Sleeper
Do you follow astrology? I do. I am a Taurus, which means I am practical, ambitious, and I spend a great deal of time moving from soft place to soft place, be it a couch, a bed, or a sandy beach. Taurus is of the loungewear, so to speak, and this summer I feel more drawn to comfort clothes than ever before. It can feel base to talk about fashion during times of humanitarian crisis, but for me, my clothes are quite literally the cocoon that keeps me sane and able to continue fighting the good fight.
So imagine my excitement while one of the fresher trends of 2018 has made its way to becoming an all-out sensation: Nightgowns-as-RTW. I remember the year that Jenna Lyons brought mens-inspired pyjama dressing to the masses, and the vigor with which we all donned our patterned silk PJ bottoms and piped Peter Pan collars. It was a simpler time, with a saner president, and the borrowed-from-the-boys spirit hearkened to the ways that successful women have historically co-opted traditional men’s style while taking on the world that they dominate. The padded shoulders of Tess McGill, the razor sharp tailoring of 80’s Armani, and the millenial cheek of a men’s pajama top tucked into peg pants – these are all of the same spirit.
But something interesting has happened in the years since these PJ separates hit their critical mass. In the last few years of feminist progress, it has become less essential for women to compete in the world of men by behaving like a man. We have collectively begun to come into the realization that the softness of a woman is not something to be erased in order to compete, but instead something that should be treasured in whatever form or expression it takes. This is not to say that women are supposed to be any specific kind of ‘soft’. We are simply beginning to (finally) embrace that women should be able to own and empower whatever kind of womanhood they most naturally feel at home in, and that things like empathy, motherhood and compassion can co-exist with ambition, achievement and strength – and that none of those things have to be erased in order to fit the other.
For me, that means wearing nightgowns at all times of the day. To meetings, to the grocery store, to evening cocktails – everywhere. Lingerie dressing is timeless and outright sexy, but nightgown dressing without all the gossamer and lace trim is…. smart. It’s just smart! You can walk on the beach, you can dance, you can launch an IPO, all in the comfort of your own unbound bod.
And boy do I have options this season. So, without further ado, I present to you all of the nightgowns I’ll be wearing as dresses this summer.
Brigitte Red Linen Maxi Dress by Sleeper
This brand has been creeping into my Instagram feed for a few months now, and epitomizes everything I love about classic sleepwear-as-daywear. The linens are crisp, the colors are fresh, and their look books and product images are full of smiling women, which everyone knows is a deal-sealer for me. As I recently explained, there is nothing sexier to me than freedom, and nothing says freedom like happiness.
There’s almost too much goodness to choose from here, but here are some of my favorite styles:
All dresses available on Sleeper
Decidedly more European and inspired by the nightshirts of the 15th and 16th centuries, Horror Vacui popped onto my radar when they showed up on Matchesfashion last year, and I was instantly hooked. With loads of frills and bows, ties and patterns, this collection is a little bit Renaissance tapestry with a lot bit of Mary Quant Swinging London vibes, and the union is a beautiful one.
It’s difficult to narrow it down to a single print, but variety really is the spice of life, so why choose just one.
All dresses available on Horror Vacui
Image from @tamumcpherson
Attico is not even a sleepwear company, but honestly they don’t need the credentials if they’re going to dream up beauties like this dress. Like all normal people, I pin lots of Tamu’s Instagram posts to my mood board, and this pic from Jamaica was one subtle stalk I don’t regret. Aside from the dreamy romance of this off-the-shoulder number, I feel obligated to inform you that it is currently on mega markdown at net-a-porter. Go forth and lounge, and may you be lucky enough to find this very same beach breeze to carry your sleeves behind you.