Easy, breezy and totally comfortable. The Nap Dress, trademarked by lifestyle brand Hill House, is just one of the latest iterations of house dresses. And while house dresses have been around for decades and potentially even centuries (the style is said to have originated from a Victorian gown), the romantic garment is experiencing quite the renaissance.
What is a nap dress?
Nap dresses are “loose-fitting, flowy and feminine” says Amanda Sanders, a lifestyle expert and stylist to celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Rock and Jennifer Coolidge. Often the only fitted part of the dress is around the bust, and other key features include “heavy smocking, over-exaggerated puff sleeves and a typically long, slightly pleated skirt.” While nap dresses may be comfortable enough to sleep in, their purpose goes far beyond that of a nightgown. The brilliance of the nap dress and similar house dresses is that they’re generally dressy enough to wear to the office, comfortable enough for running errands and romantic enough for a weekend date.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up a range of top-rated or tried-and-true nap dresses (as well as other super-comfy dresses) that check all our boxes when it comes to comfort, versatility and — of course — style.
Let’s begin with The Ellie Nap Dress by Hill House, the brand that started the trend. Available in nine colors and up to size 2X, this dress seriously couldn’t get more perfect. An A-line variant of the brand’s Nap Dress, this features elasticated smocking, ruffled shoulders and a tiered midi skirt that will feel comfortable to lounge around in yet sophisticated enough to pair with heels and head to dinner.
One reviewer writes, “Magical, beautiful, top-notch quality, real French seams, stunning patterns and looks phenomenal on. There is no end to compliments on this nap dress.”
This shorter, flirtier spin on the signature Hill House hits just above the knee, and would even look darling with tights in the fall. Sporting the same smocking and ruffled shoulders as its longer counterpart, we’re truly obsessed with the pink mermaid print and the blue glitter check. It’s got a tie at the back too to ensure the sleeves don’t fall down. And it’s available in sizes XXS to XXL.
More nap dress options
$118 at Free People
Free People is one of the brands Sanders immediately associates with the nap dress style, and for good reason. The boho-style brand creates tons of dresses that are breezy, loose and absolutely adorable, and the Oasis Midi Dress is no exception. This cotton option has the classic smocked bodice along with the puffy sleeves, while the square neckline really gives off that popular cottagecore aesthetic.
Writes one reviewer, “Got this dress while I was pregnant as I wanted clothing that I could wear post-pregnancy. This is literally one of the most comfortable dresses I own — the sleeves are not too billowy, the length on my 5-foot, 2-inch petite frame is not overwhelming and the neckline is perfection!”
From $23.97 at Old Navy
Gingham print lets you be playful without being too loud in an overstated design. This cotton Old Navy option with a sweetheart neckline is available in up to 4XL and also comes in blue.
$79 at Lulus
Ready to work some more cottagecore vibes into your summer wardrobe? With a dainty floral print, this maxi dress from Lulus is perfect for all your get-togethers, daily errands or sun-soaked relaxing.
$320 at Sleeper
Hoping to avoid looking like you’re wearing a nightgown? Sanders says that many nap dresses can be “underwhelming in color and pattern,” and that she would suggest opting for brighter colors. This orange option from Sleeper, made from super-soft linen, is eye-catching yet classic and perfect for strutting around in all summer.
While it’s definitely on the pricier side, all of Sleeper’s products are absurdly high-quality and super-versatile — this particular dress being one of the brand’s bestsellers. Lounging around the house? A beach weekend? Weekend brunch or a date at the park? Check, check, check.
$160 at Anthropologie
“If I were to style somebody in a nap dress, I’d look for something in white eyelet,” says Sanders. This option from Anthropologie comes in six different colors and looks great whether you want to dress it down with flats for an about-town look with or elevate it with your favorite jewelry and heels for a chic evening outfit.
$98 at Free People
With a sweet tie back, square neckline and ruffled hem, this maxi from Free People has us completely obsessed. Perfect for those days when you want to feel a tad more feminine but also want that breezy, all-day comfort.
$95 at Something Navy
Slip dresses are like the modern, minimalist sister to the nap dress. While they receive full marks on comfort and versatility, they pass on all the frills and ruffles that many nap dresses have. This makes them the perfect layering tool, and ideal for anyone who values practicality in their clothing.
From $30.99 at Amazon
We’ve raved about Amazon’s nightgown dress. The dress has a super-relaxed boho shape and a deep V-neck cut with tassels, all of which are reminiscent of some Free People designs — just at a fraction of the price. So if you’re looking for something that will give you total freedom of movement, that you might get wet at the beach or pool, and that you won’t be wearing to any fancy events, this might just be the nap dress for you.
$168 at Free People
Sanders suggests larger patterns, as opposed to small floral prints, when it comes to looking more in fashion and less like you’re wearing a nightgown you’d actually sleep in. This embroidered dress is one take on that bolder pattern, which reviewers say garners tons of compliments.
One of them writes, “I’m really mad at myself for wasting time on other dresses when I could have been buying this dress in multiple colors the last few years. It had been on my radar but I never took the plunge.”
$69 at Lulus
This option from Lulus, one of our favorite places to shop for affordable yet high-quality dresses, features the nap dress’s signature smocked bodice and flowy skirt, but swaps big sleeves for short off-the-shoulder ones. With thigh-high slits, the whole dress is sleek, and just a little sexier than your typical nap dress.
$108 at Free People
Sanders explains that many maxi-length nap dresses can be “overwhelming to most women who are under 5’7”.” Short nap dresses feature everything we love about their maxi-length counterparts, but are friendlier to petites. This option from Free People comes in seven stunning colors, and features a cute tie in the back so you don’t have to fret about buttons or zippers.
From $59.99 at Madewell
If you’re into the shape and ease of nap dresses, but could pass on the ruffles and drama, a babydoll dress is a perfect balance between feminine and relaxed. The poplin material on this Madewell dress is just as lightweight and comfortable as traditional cotton, but a bit more structured, making it easy to dress up with accessories and nice shoes.
$98 at Madewell
This adorable V-neck dress from Madewell comes with cinchable waist ties so you can decided how relaxed you want the fit. Plus, it’s got pockets!