Trend Alert: The Nap Dress | This Year’s Dreamiest Look

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
woman over fifty wearing target's a new day Sleeveless Smocked nap Dress standing in front of a nandina bush

Have you heard of the “Nap Dress?” It’s a hybrid between a house dress and a nightgown, and it’s the hottest trend of the season! First created in 2019 by Nell Diamond for her fashion & lifestyle brand Hill House Home, the dress really took off when the pandemic hit in 2020. A self-described “dress person” (I relate!), Diamond wanted to design a dress that could be comfortable for busy home life but also convenient and fashionable for a working mom and business owner. Although it retails for $125, the original Hill House Home Ellie Nap Dress is nearly always sold out!

As usual, all of the images in this post (including the collage and the boutique at the bottom) are clickable for more information.

I Tried the Hill House Nap Dress-Here's My Honest Review | Real Simple
The original Ellie Nap Dress by Hill House Home.

Nap Dress Aesthetic

woman over fifty from the waist up wearing target's a new day Sleeveless Smocked nap Dress standing in front of a nandina bush

Although the term “Nap Dress” was trademarked by Hill House Home in January 2020, that hasn’t stopped knockoffs from springing up everywhere! Reminiscent of Victorian Era garments, the dress style can be casual or dressy. It’s comfortable to wear around the house and throughout the day (where the name “nap” comes from), but can easily be dressed up with wedges, sandals, or even sneakers. Diamond said she intended to design a dress that “could take her from making breakfast for her toddler to an important business meeting to drinks with her husband after work.” She considers the Nap Dress’s name a bit of a misnomer. “It’s so funny because it’s in many ways the opposite of that—it’s a dress for getting stuff done,” she said.

Typical Nap Dress Characteristics

  • Delicate and feminine aesthetic.
  • Loose-fitting accordion-like smocked or ruched bodice. (Some have called it a 2021 take on the corset!)
  • Very flattering, with a bodice that loosely hugs in the right places.
  • High or empire waistline.
  • Can have ruffled shoulders or small puffed sleeves.
  • Square neckline.
  • Flowy and loose from the waist down.
  • Often (but not always) tiered skirt or a large ruffle at the hemline.
  • Most popular is midi or maxi length (But also comes in shorter versions.)
  • Soft, breathable, and lightweight fabric (usually light-medium cotton), often with a floral pattern.
  • Comfortable and breezy for warm weather and travel.
  • Romantic and dreamy, but functional!
the back view of a woman over fifty wearing target's a new day Sleeveless Smocked nap Dress standing in front of a nandina bush
I love the peekaboo back! I’m wearing my normal bra with this, and it doesn’t show.

Nap Dress Variations

You’ll see variations on the nap dress theme as the style evolves, for sure! While the smocked top is typically always present, you’ll see alternate hemlines, sleeves, and skirts but the aesthetic is the same. The dress will always be one that you can wear all day, and it will never be too “precious.” The version I’m wearing in this post is from Target, and it’s under $30! It also comes in a darling blue floral and a stunning mint green (see below).

My sandals are on-trend, fabric-wrapped sandals embellished with pearls. They would be perfect for a summer wedding! They’re beautiful quality and the price is right!

woman over fifty wearing target's a new day Sleeveless Smocked nap Dress standing in front of a nandina bush

Sleeveless Smocked Dress | Fabric-Wrapped Sandal with Pearl Beaded Upper | Goldtone Faux Hoop Earrings

Do you love the trend or not? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment and let me know! As a dress lover myself, I adore this feminine yet practical trend! I’ve been snatching up spring dresses like nobody’s business, and you can better believe there are a few nap dresses in among them! We’ve rounded up our favorite nap dress styles in a little boutique below! Click on any image for more information or to shop.

Suzy Mighell

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  1. Suzy! I am *in love* with these dresses! ???? Thank you for this post and the generous amount of dresses you shared! I loved looking through these. I ADORE dresses, but have some weight that makes it tricky to look decent in one. (Plus a bit well-endowed- eek) But your post made me at least think about trying to find one that might work. They are SO PRETTY! Love, love, love this style!

    1. Amy,

      I am so glad you liked the post and love these dresses as much as I do! I think dresses (especially midi dresses) look good on everyone! One thing I really love about this style is that the skirts just skim over your body. I also really liked the flattering vertical stripes on the dress I selected!

      Thanks so much for your comment!


  2. Suzy, these are all adorable! But, on my middle age, empty nest body, this wouldn’t be a acceptable choice for me. I love the idea of wearing dresses again so I’ll keep my eyes open for one. Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Gina,

      We all have different body types and preferences, and I love that! (It’s what makes this world so interesting!) We should all wear what we love and feel comfortable wearing, for sure!

      I wrote this post as much to inform as to suggest! You’ll be seeing this look on millennials everywhere, so now you’ll recognize it when you see it!


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