How to Wear Vintage Nightgowns as Coverups

Most nights, I sleep in one of hubby’s super-soft tees. Nevertheless, I have an entire drawer full of vintage slips and nightgowns. I can’t help but snatch them up whenever I’m on a thrifting adventure. I love how glam they are. How delicate. How beautiful. But the sad thing about nightgowns is, they are on house arrest. You can’t really wear them in public—unless you want to be that crazy lady at your local 7-Eleven with pink sponge rollers in her hair, worn-out bunny slippers on her feet and a fluffy, pink bathrobe strung across her shoulders. And I’ve still got a good 20 years before that happens.


{Vintage Margit Brandt for Formfit Rogers Nightgown, H&M bikini top, Zingara bikini bottom, H&M flower, Aldo shoes, Nanette Lepore bag, Touch Boutique bracelets.}

This summer, however, I found a loophole for getting my dainties out of the boudoir and into broad daylight: By wearing them as creative swimsuit coverups. I even managed to work my grandma’s beloved animal-print robe into the rotation by pairing it with as many animal patterns as I could conceive. Mix, match and move beyond the mattress. As posted on Refinery29 this past weekend, try a sheer nightie to instantly show off your cute and colorful two-piece, or try a maxi-length gown to easily transition from pool to party. While the rest of the beach is keeping it under wraps in kaftans, slips and other articles designed for slumber can be your something different. Just make sure to leave those pink rollers at home—permanently.

{Vintage ’70s nightgown, Zingara halter top bikini top, H&M flower, vintage bracelets, Alexis Bittar bracelet.}

{My grandma’s vintage animal-print robe, Zingara giraffe bikini top and brown fold-over bikini bottom, vintage necklace and bracelets, Steve Madden leopard-print shoes, Diane von Furstenberg canvas leopard tote.}

Photographed by David Marc Harris.