Nightgowns: Demure to devastating

Perhaps it's rising temperatures that pique my interest in boudoir wear. I fear we are rearing (pun intended) a generation of young women who think sleepwear involves your school's name across your butt. We 50+'s cast our eyes on more womanly choices.

I bo
ught this teal satin gown with black lace trim, made by Betty Georgijev, a local artisan, at a local craft show.

Here are more gowns, from modest to bombshell, depending on your taste and desired effect.

No pajamas, which are cute–even occasionally sexy in an I'll-wear-the-tops-you-wear-the bottoms kind of way– but not my choice for sleepwear in which your charms are admired,
if you know what I mean.

For viewing by all ages

There are times when you might be seen by others than the intended, as happened to my friend Merle, who was tiptoeing from the bedroom at her boyfriend's when she encountered his six year old son. She had packed a "for family eyes" nightie; this was not it.

For G-rated visits, perhaps a Patricia Fieldwalker Swiss Cotton Nightshirt in this fresh aqua blue? Yes, it's pricey but you'll need fine fabric to look fetching in a nightshirt. Price, $280 from Nancy Meyer.

Garnet Hill's Organic Cotton ruched tank nightgown is a favourite of customers, fresh in the Modern Floral pattern, rather mumsy in the solids.

Price, $58 from Garnet Hill.

Hanro's thigh-length Grace gown is covered enough to handle a glance from room service at breakfast.

In white, black and a soft blush called "dream", $140 from
Saks Fifth Avenue.

If you like discreet, beautiful nightwear, look for Laurence Tavernier boutiques, the website lists locations. I'd buy this discreet linen gown in a heartbeat.

When less is more

move up the food chain to more sultry territory, to styles that put the 'night' in nightgown. Natori's Sorbet long tank-style floral gown is splashed with hibiscus.

It's poly, but I expect a good quality fabric from Natori. Price, $98 from Saks Fifth Avenue.

Flora Nikrooz' ivory gown with floral embroidery at the bust is one of those innocents that flirt, but does not cross the line (upcoming).

From Bare Necessities, $59.

Is it hot in here?

Ratcheting up the va-voom, but elegantly, a gown from Christine Vancouver. They make delicious lingerie, quite hard to find; a US site, Charmelle28 has a selection.

This Christine Bijoux nightgown in almond, pink or black/red silk charmeuse would make me feel like Rita Hayworth. $295 from

I have a goddess girlfriend who enlisted me to help her buy a nightgown for a weekend on a flame's yacht (her life, not mine, girls). We headed like homing pigeons for the the black charmeuse. As she ran her finger over its slink, she said, "I'm going to have to train him up to this."

Perfect for dancing in the dark, but the back detail of this Liliana Casanova Etoile nightdress deserves to be seen, if only by candlelight. £310 from Luxury French Lingerie, a site any siren will love. Also available in white.

Go up one level, see what happens. No need to tell us. Virtue is not always its own reward.


Susan B said…
These are gorgeous options, Duchesse. I've been on the hunt for some pretty-but-sleepable silk nightgowns (I love that is doesn't stick to the sheets when you toss and turn) but they're tougher to find than hen's teeth. Everything is polyester these days, and I worry that I'll boil in it. I've found ONE gown from wintersilks that's on the dowdy side but passable, otherwise, nyet. I'm wondering if I should give that Natori a try; it's rather pretty.
Duchesse said…
Pseu: There are various qualities of both poly and silk; i had a Dior poly nightgown that looked and felt like silk, and I've had silks ones that pulled after a month. Nancy Meyer usually have lovely silk pieces. And on your next trip to Paris, Sabbia Rosa- the most exquisite silks, and they can custom fit.
Unknown said…
I completely recommend Jonquil lingerie. Their website ( appears to be completely useless, but their gowns are heartstoppingly beautiful. I have a black lace and chiffon dressing gown that looks like it came out of a 30s film and a burgundy silk short gown that (sadly) ends up much more useful as a slip and has held up very well.

Nordstrom carries them.
LPC said…
So this is why I'm sturdy. If I wear anything it's flannel and tentlike:).
mette said…
My pick of the ones shown, would be the practical Grace gown, as I want something to cover my shoulders; something to keep me warm. The last one is very "interesting". I have to confess, that I usually wear cotton night ware, as it is easy to wash. Sometimes I borrow my husbands XL t-shirt.
Rubiatonta said…
As much as I love the idea of silk, my gowns are usually cotton. That said, it has to be super-fine cotton, with no poly snuck in...

I adore Garnet Hill's green cotton gowns -- my summer standby is the Asian wrap cap-sleeve gown. It's pretty, lightweight, and modest enough for breakfast with the folks.

I've also got a pretty Eileen West in with lots of lace and spaghetti-straps, for weekends a deux.

By the way, Pseu may want to do a search for sleepwear with modal, as it's cooler and "slipperier" than cotton on its own. I had a cotton-modal gown that I loved to death, the poor thing.
I have a few choices but for summer it
s a white cotton St. Geneve slip and smooth and easy the Va Voom Christine Vancouver sexy number!
Duchesse said…
I honour all nightwear, from cottons to good polys to sensuous silks- but not t-shirts. Some women would never wear knee-high hose (I do, under pants) and so it is with me, with t-shirts.
Mardel said…
Oh, I love beautiful nightwear, and gorgeous sensuous nightgowns are my favorites, although I do wear cotton and poly and pajamas. I'll admit to having worn a tee to bed, but never one of those boxy unattractive ones. In fact, I'd probably draw the line at anything remotely tent-like. I've also had a few Eileen Fisher silk knits that have ended up being far more useful in the bedroom than as outerwear.
Duchesse, I do have some nightgowns in cotton (not poly) jersey that is like a t-shirt material, but not a t-shirt cut, more like that lovely linen number, some with long sleeves. Worn alone in the cold (I can't abide flannel, even alone) or for "practical" visits, when I might have to share a bath or toilet. My favourite one is black with hot pink piping. It has snaps at the neck - I can't abide anything high necked while sleeping, even in the cold.

Linen knit sounds fantastic - but Parisian things are usually so small!

Some of the fitted ones are a challenge if we are big, or a bit droopy, in the bust (a sad fact of being over the hill).

I hate pyjamas. (Except the cat's fur ones).
Glennis said…
For real sleeping comfort, I would love the Hanro items in comfy cotton. I don't like the sexy, spaghetti-strap polyester or satin things - not for comfort.

the Nancy Meyer nightshirt is nice, but why spend $280 for a nightie?

To be honest, I'm most comfortable in an old Tshirt.
s. said…
Mmmmm, Hanro always lasts and lasts, looks pretty (if not sexy) and lets me actually SLEEP so that brand tends to be my choice... although, you have sorely tempted me with a few of those other options, Duchesse.
tish jett said…
Oooh , la, la, Love this. I think I like the Garnet Hill one best (and we know I don't like flower prints) it sends a dual message I like.

If you know what I mean. . .
Duchesse said…
mardel: Good point, lots of loungewear can be slept in.

Aunt Snow: After all the efforts you have made on optimizing your beauty, why spend 1/3 of your life in an old t-shirt? Wre spending $230 on a nightie, that fine cotton in the Meyer nightshirt feels divine, and some women can afford it. One can find pretty nightwear such as Garnet Hill) for 1/3 the price, but in my experience good quality lasts a long time; several of my nightgowns are 15 years old and still look great.

lagatta: You know the kind of t-shirt I'm railing about: men's, crew-necked. Laurence Tavernier will fit up to a largeish medium in North American sizes. Amor Lux is another terrific French brand, though not as "femmy"- they make larger sizes.

s.: after some years of receiving silk, I asked for Hanro gifts too.

tish: Garnet Hill is our source for bedding so it's always easy and tempting to order a nightgown when re-ordering towels, etc.
Duchesse said…
LPC: Hanro is your gateway nightie.
Duchesse said…
Gwen: Thanks for the Jonquil recommendation; next time I'm at Nordie's I'll head for the lingerie dept.!
spacegeek said…
For those of us going through "the change", I can't rave enough about bamboo cloth sleepwear. It has truly made a difference for me, which has resulted in better sleep!! (Chico's sister site) has a "Cool Nights" collection which I swear by. A blessing.
Duchesse said…
spacegeek: Thank you! Soma make some lovely lounge and sleepwear, and I'd forgotten them as there isn't a local shop.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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