Let me begin by saying that I am not a sleepwear connoisseur. I literally sleep in whatever I have on when I finish typing that murder-followed-by-wall-sex passage at 2:45 am. I have embraced the yoga pant, not because I want to fit in with the car line Karens, but because they basically stretch to easily accommodate my Ben and Jerry’s binges.
It’s a glamourous life, being an author.
The pandemic has made it possible for many of us to be freed from our enslavement to satanic shoes, binding waistbands, and blazers that could be used for thermo devices in the Arctic Circle. It has also given us back a tradition that superior nations (hello, Spain and Italy) were smart enough never to lose – the nap. But this is America and in the tried-and-true Western female fashion, we have found a way to work buying absurdly overpriced clothing into any situation.
Ladies, I give you The Nap Dress.
What is this Nap Dress, you ask, ears pricked and Visa card at the ready? Well, I’ll tell you. They are what my grandmother used to call “house dresses”. They are usually cotton, always voluminous (get thee behind me, Spanx), flowy “dresses”. By my research, they seem to come chiefly in patterns/stripes on white or pastels. There are a lot of smocked bodices and empire elastic waists and ribbons. There is the occasional Victorian lace juju. Some of them have a distinct Little House On The Prairie/Sister Wife aesthetic, which concerns me about the back door influence of the patriarchy.
But I digress.
Leaving behind the Handmaid’s Tale specter for a moment, let’s discuss history. In my house growing up my grandmother and aunts all had muumuus hanging on the back of their bathroom doors. Unless company was coming or they were getting ready for grocery shopping or church, these were the go-to fashion items. Square-necked, calf-length, short sleeved, and in rainbow colors, these were the garments of my childhood. It was only when I made it to high school that I was indoctrinated into the evils of comfort in the female wardrobe. I missed the hippie embracement of the caftan by about ten years, unfortunately, so in my span on this rock comfort and attire have never been friends.
I secretly longed to be able to wear things that didn’t chafe, bind, or scream the fact that I needed to lay off the Coke floats. You could buy four muumuus at Woolworth’s for under twenty bucks, and flip flops were a nice compliment. No nylons required. Ever. I would gaze longingly at those bastions of comfort hanging on the hooks, knowing I could never be a part of them. I was doomed to platform shoes and Mom jeans.
I am not about to denigrate the fact that someone finally had the guts to manufacture and market a piece of woman’s attire that purports to easily transition from lying on the couch with your mouth open to hitting the Target for avocados before that Zoom meeting. I wholly support our right to actually breathe deeply and not worry about something falling out, ripping, or a button popping and taking the eye of some innocent bystander out.
However, let’s be honest with one another. These are just nightgowns with attitude, and you and I both know it. Pricing them at $200 and putting them on padded hangers doesn’t change that. I once saw a plain white tee shirt hanging in Neiman-Marcus with a $325 price tag. After the paramedics revived me, I drove like a crazed maniac to Old Navy and just sat in the parking lot until my sense of reality came back. I am as much of a capitalistic sheep as the next white girl, but even I have a line.
I must tell you that I ordered one of these Nap Dresses from my preferred vendor, Old Fat Girls R US. It is white with tiny yellow flowers. I think it will go well with the fabric of my gray couch.