As far as trend shelf-life goes, the nap dress is proving fashionably resilient to all attempts to consign it to the sartorial recycling bin.
Since its launch in 2019, the nap dress has gone from strength to strength, without evolving beyond what made it popular in the first place, winning new fans for its wearability.
Click through the gallery above to see 10 nap dress styles to buy now.
Created by Nell Diamond, the founder and chief executive of US brand Hill House Home, the nap dress pulled together an array of millennial and Gen Z trends, including cottagecore, Regencycore and the northern European affection for hygge — the melding of comfort and cosiness as a way of creating contentment.
Designed to be super-comfortable and as easily worn to the office as to a play date with children, the nap dress works as an alternative to sweatpants for women who wanted to dress things up a little bit without compromising on comfort.
What is a nap dress?
The dress got its name because it’s so comfortable, wearers can take a nap in it. Also because it resembles an old-fashioned nightgown, prioritising comfort without compromising on style.
Relaxed or stretchy around the torso and bust, the dress can be sleeveless but usually features puffy or slightly exaggerated sleeves. Skirt length is usually long, below the knee. Upon its launch, the style, which doesn’t have zips, buttons or fastenings, became Instagram-famous, with the likes of Taylor Swift, Gabrielle Union and Vanessa Hudgens all spotted wearing the trend.
“I wanted that elastic smocking so that no matter what the day kind of throws at you, including like a great desk lunch, you don’t have to change what you’re wearing,” Diamond told Buzzfeed of her vision for the dress. “And you don’t have to have that moment where you come home and have to get off the constricting fabric.”
Why has the nap dress stayed in style?
Younger generations’ preference for prioritising comfort has made the dress a recurring hit. While pandemic restrictions have been lifted and more women are going back into the office, the dress has capitalised on women’s reluctance to trade in the comfort of working-from-home attire for more formal office-wear.
The dress was also given a boost by fashion’s ongoing love affair with Netflix’s Bridgerton and Regency-era styles. Hill House Home recently collaborated with Netflix and the clothing label Phenomenal to create a capsule collection of nap dresses based on the show. The Bridgerton Floral Pink Ellie and Floral Lavender Ellie and the Whistledown Trellis Nesli dresses were accompanied by two jewelled hairpins in pink and blue.
“I'm a ‘dress girl’ and the nap dress was my dream garment, a versatile dress that could be worn at practically any place and any time and keep me feeling put together,” says Diamond.