An Ode to Fancy Nighties, and The Best Places to Find Vintage Sleepwear Inspiration

Besides glamourosity, the biggest advantage to nighties are how ridiculously comfortable they are.

May 1, 2013 at 3:30pm | Leave a comment

image
 
It all started with my admiration for gorgeous lingerie.
 
I've always admired burlesque and, of course, the style of Dita Von Teese. I looked to the elaborate underwear in performances and photo shoots, assuming this was the normal go-to for nighttime sexiness.
 
The idea of lingerie making you feel sexy for yourself was incredibly exciting, yet after an awkward purchase, I felt reluctant to sleep in my new unmentionables, not to mention delicately wash “my delicates.” Maybe no one actually sleeps in their fancy underwear, either way, it made me wonder, “What's the next best thing?”
 
Sleep is sleep and I’ve always been a T-shirt/pajama pants kind of girl with the occasional nightgown appearance. Unfortunately those nightgowns were usually blahsville with a simple design or, let's be honest, a Winnie the Pooh print. I ended up admiring lacy under-things from afar, while staying practical in the underwear department. The idea of a bra for bed was immensely appealing, but I realized that I prized comfort over what I thought was my only option for nightly glamour. 
 
Turns out, I was wrong.

My obsession began with a thrifted pink nightie that I still hold near and dear to my heart. I wondered if I'd actually wear it, but ended up acquiring it for a mere $10. With it’s lacy straps, small, delicate bow and pretty pink overlay, it almost felt too fancy to wear to bed, but was I starting to feel shlumpy whenever the boyfriend came 'round, so I gave it a go.

I tucked my pajama pants away and referred to the nightie as “my fancy lounge-wear.” After a while, I was wearing it to bed almost every night. I realized that I loved the way it made me feel. Even when I'm all moisturizer and zit cream, I still felt glamorously pretty in pink.
 
image
 
Since then, I’ve scoured thrift shops and am constantly checking Etsy for the best deals on vintage nightgowns. Although they often come with matching jacket or robe accessories, I rarely wear those. I mean, try washing dishes in a frilly robe with bell sleeves. It's kind of annoying.
 
Plus, there’s something so simple about the nightie itself. You throw it on, it billows all fancy-like and you go about your nighttime business feeling like a boss. 
 
image

I look weirdly mischievous, but I’m really into my hair in this photo.

 
Besides glamourosity, the biggest advantage to nighties are how ridiculously comfortable they are. I no longer worry about wearing a bra to bed in order to feel sexy. You’ve got bows and lace, but also extra room in case of a food baby emergency. Not to mention, it helps to feel pretty when you're all PMS-y. 
 
When it comes to nightie inspiration, I look to a few of my favorite movies. 
 
image

Natalie Wood in Penelope (1966). Major hair inspiration!

 
image

Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby (1968)

 
image

Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby (1938). So dreamy!

 
image

Olivia Newton-John in Grease (1978)

 
"Mad Men" has also been a good resource. Did you catch Megan’s fabulous red nightie in last week's episode, “The Flood?” What a dream!
 
image

Jessica Pare in Mad Men, ‘The Flood’ 

 
Even though I’m all dolled up, it feels strangely intimate to pose in my nightie. I’ve always wanted to take “pin-up style” or “boudoir photos,” but this is as close as I’ve gotten without getting extra sexy. Some day, some day!
image
 
Of course, I gotta ask: What do you guys like to sleep in? Do you glam it up or is it straight down to business (aka sleep). Are you into PJs? Nighties? Nakedness? Nighties are obviously amazing, but occasionally I do enjoy matching PJs. (How cute are the ones in "The New Girl"?!)
 
Photos by Jason Hood