The best nap dresses inspired by ‘Bridgerton’
In honor of Bridgerton‘s highly-anticipated second season, we cordially invite you to celebrate Nap Dress Spring. With rising temperatures and spring in the air comes an opportunity to shed your well-worn WFH sweats and slip into something more a bit more stylish and weather-appropriate. So why not let the stunning nap dresses of Netflix’s period rom-dramedy inspire you to dress your best?
Not sure where to begin hunting for nap dresses? We’ve got you covered.
Wait. What is a nap dress?
Right, sorry. Let me explain.
If you aren’t glued to lifestyle Instagram or didn’t close out 2020 by binging Netflix’s hella horny period drama, Bridgerton, you might be wondering what the words “nap” and “dress” are doing smushed together like that.
Nap dresses aren’t *exclusively* made for napping, though the majority of the gowns do look fairly comfortable, so if you want to catch up on some sleep in your nap dress go right ahead. The typically tight-busted, flowy-bottomed, nightgown-esque dresses are meant to be worn at any hour, though. And while hearing the term “nap dress” might not ring any bells, I assure you, you’d recognize the garment by sight.
When I think of nap dresses, which give off huge Regency-era vibes, my broken brain races back to that scene in The Office where Angela Martin says, “Sometimes the clothes at the GapKids are just too flashy. So, I am forced to go to American Girl store and order clothes for large colonial dolls.” Others, however, may fondly reminisce over dresses from Greta Gerwig’s 2019 remake of Little Women, the beloved 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice, or pretty much any wardrobe from a Keira Knightley role.
Some nap dresses are floor-length gowns, while others land above the knee. Some have large puffy sleeves that would surely warrant a compliment from Napoleon Dynamite, and others fall off the shoulder. The dresses come in all sorts of colors, fabrics, and styles, so it’s all about finding which nap dress is right for you.
What’s so great about nap dresses and why do we care now?
Nap dresses started trending in 2021, but the garments certainly aren’t new. As CNN noted, house dresses like these have been around for decades and possibly even centuries. But I believe the recent fascination was inspired by a chaotic combination of our collective Bridgerton obsession, Instagram influencers pivoting to comfortable clothing in the pandemic, and Nell Diamond’s lifestyle brand, Hill House Home.
Together they teamed up to create the perfect spring storm.
On Feb. 10, 2021, Hill House Home launched a nap dress collection, called “The English Garden,” which sent the internet into a fashion frenzy. Fast Company reported that $1 million worth of inventory sold within 12 minutes, and a few hours later the collection had raked in more revenue than Hill House made in 2019 as a whole.
A look at Hill House Home nap dresses.
Credit: Mashable composite: Hill House Home
Though the company’s first Nap Dress was conceived in 2018, the garment’s dressy on top/comfy on the bottom design makes it perfect for video calls. The dresses soon became ideal quarantine-wear, and Diamond was well aware.
“I had designed the dress before I had ever done a Zoom call,” Diamond told Fast Company. “But the design was actually perfectly suited to life in quarantine. It is so comfortable you can literally sleep in it, but you can also wear it to a meeting with your investors.”
If you’re still not sold on wearing a dress to work from home, I feel you. Nap dresses aren’t personally my style, but in the spirit of having something to look forward to I might end up caving. For me, it’s more appealing to think of wearing a nap dress out in the world instead of while sitting at my desk, so Mashable tech reporter Christianna Silva and I came up with several potential scenarios that scream “wear a nap dress!”
If you’re planning to have a picnic in a park, frolic barefoot through a field, go on a brunch date, hold a bouquet of flowers, or pretend you’re a Disney princess who’s going to take a mid-day slumber in hopes of being awoken with a kiss, you should probably wear a nap dress. If you have an urge to drink tea, attend a ball, go to a farmer’s market, ride a bike that has a basket (it must have a basket), or cosplay a Victorian ghost, you’d be foolish not to wear one.
If you adore Bridgerton and need a nap dress, here are some options:
Nap dresses aren’t for everyone, but it’s worth noting that they’re incredibly versatile. You can dress them up or down with certain shoes, accessories, and hairstyles. And if you choose a floor-length one with an overabundance of fabric, it will pair perfectly with a spring breeze.
By now you’ve probably taken a firm stance on nap dresses, so let’s get shopping. Love them or love/hate them, here are six quality nap dress options for your consideration.
Hill House Home’s Ellie Nap Dress for $150.
Credit: Hill House Home
Hill House describes nap dresses as “the perfect hybrid garment to wear all day and night.” Styles range from dresses you would wear on a hot date to ones you could confidently gift your conservative great grandmother, so there’s something for everyone. The dresses are a bit pricey, so you might want to opt for a less expensive nap dress as a starter to make sure you like it first.
This Sweet Annie Mini is $98.
Credit: FREE PEOPLE
If you’re in the mood to drop some dollars on nap dresses Free People also has quite the nap dress selection, including the $98 mini dress above.
This Linen-Blend Eyelet-Sleeve Lucie Smocked Midi Dress is $128.
Madewell’s $128 Linen-Blend Eyelet-Sleeve Lucie Smocked Midi Dress is a perfect option for fans of floral eyelet and smocking.
This Little Love Red Swiss Dot Backless Ruffled Maxi Dress is $78.
Look at this back!
This Flutter Short Sleeve Tie-Back Dress from Target only costs $35. A perfect nap dress starter if you ask me.
Happy searching, everyone. And have safe, happy, and dramatically fashionable Nap Dress Spring.
This article was originally published in April 2021 and updated in March 2022.