This article is part spring fashion monthwhere we break down your hottest pieces for the next few months. From denim jackets to comfy sandals, we’re asking editors, influencers and experts about what they’re wearing for spring and beyond.
Light, fresh and completely comfortable. pile dresslifestyle brand trademark Hill House, this is just one of the latest iterations of house dresses. While house dresses have been around for decades, perhaps centuries (the style is said to have evolved from Victorian dresses), romantic attire is enjoying a renaissance.
Pile dresses are “loose, flowy and feminine,” says Amanda Sanders, a lifestyle expert and stylist for celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Rock and Jennifer Coolidge. Often the only form fitting part of the dress is around the bust, and other key features include “tight puffed sleeves, overly puffy sleeves, and the typical long, slightly pleated skirt”. While tufted dresses can be comfortable enough to sleep in, their purpose goes far beyond nightgowns. The beauty of the pile dress and similar house dresses is that they are usually dressy enough to wear to the office, comfortable enough to run errands, and romantic enough for a weekend date.
Ahead we not only tried, but also took a nap in our favorite tufted dresses that we own and love. They meet all our requirements when it comes to comfort, versatility and, of course, style.
When I think of tufted dresses, I immediately think of Hill House, the brand that undoubtedly started the viral trend. Everyone wants to get their hands on the Ellie Nap Dress, and I was lucky enough to try it on for the size test, which I participate in for our social channels (coming soon!). As expected, the fabric is absolutely top-notch, and the French-inspired Pink Stripe Vine pattern is both sophisticated and feminine. It’s really comfy enough to take a nap, but the shoulder ruffles, elastic puffed sleeves and tiered midi skirt are lifted and subtle enough to wear to trendy drinks or dinner this spring and summer. It is also important to note that after several hours of sleep or general movement in the dress, it never wrinkled! One word: obsessed. — Stephanie Griffin, social leader
I love how flattering Daphne is and the fact that she has deep enough pockets to fit my phone, which is always a plus in my books. Even though this dress has a structured bodice that makes it tighter at the top than Ellie’s, it’s still just as comfortable to wear (and yes, you can take a nap in it)! Basically, I love everything about this dress, from the cute quirky print to the elegant ruffled shoulders and flowy hem. — Rachel Dennis, editorial coordinator
This dress lives up to its name! The fabric feels cool and soft like my sheets so I didn’t notice it while sleeping. This is the perfect dress for relaxing in the park or on the beach. Definitely recommend! — Hanna Lawson, Senior Digital Content Strategist
Here’s a puff sleeve dress that won’t cramp you! I’m only 5 feet tall and the puff sleeves often make me look like I’m about to fly away. They fit my proportions exactly on the Louisa Nap dress and they really are so comfortable. I received it in black cotton and while it feels stiff at first, it gets softer and softer with every wash. It is so stretchy that I would definitely recommend ordering your regular size or even one size down, especially if you have skinny soldiers as the neckline is very wide. Speaking of the neckline, it fits perfectly so I can wear a bra with it and it can be easily worn with heels and jewelry or really make it the perfect pile dress. — Rachel Lubitz Senior Lifestyle Editor
It’s a classic for a reason. The Ellie Nap dress from Hill House Home is so light and flowy that it’s really easy to take a nap in it. This plaid print reminds me of picnics in the park and is perfect for summer, while the ruffled sleeves are a fun touch that makes this dress cute. And comfortable. — Chelsea Stone, Senior Editor
The brightly colored material is actually a blend of viscose and cotton (not just cotton), making it very light and almost silky on the skin. My fear that the fabric would suffocate my 5ft 4in was gone as soon as I put it on. While it’s certainly loose, the dress is definitely not oversized. The midi length is my favorite detail, as it successfully reaches the point between the knees and ankles. The dress that others pay over $300 for from high-end designers goes from gray to gorgeous with ease, allowing you to live out your rustic fashion fantasies. — Courtney Thompson, Author of Underscored
I’m calling it right now: this will be the dress I wear (or sleep!) the most this year. Not only does it have the key characteristics of a pile dress—a ruched bodice, overly puffy sleeves, and a long, loose skirt—but it’s literally the cutest, most comfortable, and most flattering dress I’ve ever worn. The 3D embroidered flowers are a unique spring touch and the sleeves are not too wavy which I really like. Since I am short, I often get swallowed by the maxi, but the fit is just perfect and suits any body up to toe. No need to explain that the other seven colors are in my Free People basket right now! — Stephanie Griffin, social leader
Okay, yes, this dress looks dark and heavy, but listen – this is really the lightest and most airy dress I have. I first wore it to a very sweltering wedding last summer and it’s been in my work-from-home wardrobe ever since because I feel like I’m wearing the lightest cotton imaginable. The two slits on each add some sex appeal as well as a cool feeling to walk on and it has plenty of elastic so it hugs your curves really nicely. I wore it with a (faux) diamond necklace as often as I wore it barefoot around the house. And yes, you can wear a regular bra! — Rachel Lubitz Senior Lifestyle Editor
Every time I wear this dress, I never want to take it off, which is perfect because it can also double as a nightgown! Made from super soft and lightweight materials, this happy orange and pink dress is perfectly oversized, with a gathered bust and elasticated cuffs that can be worn up or down. The keyhole on the back is the perfect feminine touch and overall it is incredibly versatile and can be worn for all occasions. — Stephanie Griffin, social leader
If you’re looking for a shorter, less expensive version of an ultra-comfortable pile dress, check out The Athena.
Ready to add some more rustic chic to your summer wardrobe? This maxi dress from Lulus with a delicate floral print is perfect for all your meetings, casual activities or sunbathing.
With a cute tie back, square neckline and ruffled hem, this Free People maxi captivated us. Perfect for those days when you want to feel a little more feminine but also want that easy all-day comfort.
Sanders offers larger patterns rather than petite floral prints when it comes to looking more fashionable and less like you’re wearing a nightgown you’re actually sleeping in. collects tons of compliments.
This variation from Lulus, one of our favorite stores for affordable yet high-quality dresses, features the signature gathered bodice and flowy skirt, but the large sleeves are replaced with short, off-the-shoulder sleeves. With thigh-high slits, the whole dress is sleek and a little sexier than the regular fuzzy dress.
Sanders explains that many tufted maxi dresses can be “overwhelming for most women under 5’7”. Pile dresses combine everything we love about their maxi-length counterparts, but are more petite-friendly. This option from Free People is available in seven stunning colors and has a cute tie back so you don’t have to worry about buttons or zippers.