Trend Digest: The House Dress

CATEGORY / Fashion & Lifestyle TAGS / fashion, house dress, trend alert, trend digest Fractals LAB / Enerie DATE / October 2, 2020


Feminine, comfortable dresses with a nostalgic feel, ideal to wear at home. 


Covid-19 is being attributed to an old fashion trend coming back into style: the house dress. The continuation of remote working combined with the high levels of unemployment, is seeing consumers spending more time indoors, contributing to the rise of this timeless homewear piece designed with practicality in mind. Think flowy, boho styles, cottagecore aesthetic and breathable fabrics.

This fashion item first emerged in the ‘40s as an easy way for women to get dressed in a comfortable way as they spent their daily lives working in the house. In the ‘50 it became progressively more stylish, being in many cases part of a set with matching aprons or gloves, in floral and gingham prints, or with pockets.

Now that many women are working from home again due to the pandemic, the idea of wearing a dress around the house is coming back into style. In fact, it provides the perfect solution for those who want to maintain a professional look for zoom meetings while also being comfortable while staying at home. Furthermore, it’s a perfect example of that cottagecore aesthetic that has reached the masses during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

With its soft color scheme and billowing silhouette, the house dress is also blurring the lines between night and daywear, providing an ideal product for retailers to dip their toes in the sleepwear market, which is forecasted to be valued at over $18 million by 2027 according to Allied Market Research. 

Designers and brands are now updating and reinterpreting this vintage fashion item in many different ways. From milkmaid necklines and embroidery details to micro floral, picnic-inspired prints, puffy sleeves and draping silhouettes in both midi and maxi lengths, all in these dresses contribute to create a highly-feminine aesthetic with a nostalgic vibe.

You’ll decide if this is a good or a bad news, but this trend has come to stay: with working from home stretching into 2021, consumers will continue to prioritize comfort, and the house dress will consolidate as a core item in every WFH (Work From Home) Wardrobe.


In 2019, Zara‘s long-sleeved polka dot dress became a viral success, promoting a timeless style at an accessible price tag. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has made that aesthetic even more popular as consumers look for alternatives to loungewear that are still comfortable. H&M’s pink puff sleeve maxi dress satisfied that demand and, in fact, it sold out within 24 hours.

Ladylike, lounging around and Cottagecore emerged as some of the most commercial themes in Pre-Spring 2021 collections, where the house dresses stand out as a hero piece. We saw them layered with knitwear at Gianni’s show, with puffy sleeves at Cecilie Bahnsen and with flowing silhouettes and tiered ruffles at Erdem and Giambattista Valli, opening the ways to future application of volume and texture to dresses. They were also everywhere at the recent SS 2021 runways: ARIAS, Anna Sui , Nicole Miller and Alberta Ferretti, among others, all include comfortable and high feminine versions of the piece in their collections.

Lirika Matoshi’s strawberry midi dress, which had a huge success on social media, paves the way for fruit motifs to add a more contemporary, playful twist.

The house dress has also garnered social media attention in the body-positivity community. Brands to note in this space include Danielle Bernstein, Wray and Selkie. Additionally, Hill House Home markets its house dresses as pregnancy and breastfeeding-friendly.

Hill House Home is also responsible for trademarking the term “Nap Dress”, which describes its range of floaty gowns that have recently blown up online and achieved cult status (according to Google Trends, searches for this fashion item on the platform peaked in summer)

Sustainable brands are jumping onto the trend bandwagon as well, using organic and deadstock fabrics to create timeless dresses (see  Samantha Pleet, Olette and Christy Dawn for some examples).

Of course, influencers are rocking the style: Alexa Chung, Selena Gomez, and Cara Delevingne have been all photographed wearing house dresses.

On Instagram, where the style has been especially trendy during summer, there are now more than 19.000 pictures tagged #housedresses. 

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