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The M Dash

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The 3 Most Comfortable Dresses To Sleep In (Because Naps Happen)

June 14, 2019 | Filed in: Your Closet

At M.M.LaFleur, we believe that when women succeed at work, the world is a better place. We design beautiful, office-appropriate clothing that keeps the spotlight on you, and we host intimate events for the remarkable women in our community.

Naps happen (and when they do, you want to make sure you’re the best-dressed in the snooze department). We asked writer Deanna Pai to put a few of our dresses to the sleep test.

After seven years of living alone, I’m now watching as my fiancé slowly but surely moves into my very small studio apartment. It began as a creep: Three pairs of boxers mixed in with my laundry, two button-downs hogging the precious real estate in my closet, an extra phone charger to trip over.

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I’ve responded by Marie Kondo-ing my drawers and hauling four bags of junk to Goodwill. So thoughtful of me! Very wife-like, right? But with all of his stuff my fiancé himself has arrived—on my couch, in the bathroom, and, worst of all, in my bed, where he does his best imitation of a buzzsaw almost every night. Sometimes, his snoring is so loud that it wakes him up. And did you know that some men snore if they eat dairy? (Or so he tells me between bites of pizza.)

Meanwhile, I’m a light sleeper, the kind who needs the temperature at 60 degrees, pitch-black darkness, and the sound of peeping frogs and nothing more to fall asleep. I’m the kind of person who, upon waking up to overnight construction on the parkway outside my apartment, will write an angry, ALL-CAPS email to my city councilman. I keep a bag of earplugs in my bedside drawer at all times! (They dull but do not eliminate the sound of the human jet engine I fell in love with.)

The Marilyn dress in adobe.

Suffice to say that what I’ve gained in a cute fiancé and lifetime commitment, I have lost in sleep. I can’t even do my usual healthy-sleep-hygiene routine (consisting of melatonin gummies, a two-minute meditation, and a good book) when he’s around because, at 11 p.m., he wants to watch The Office or talk or wash the dishes. So these days, I feel like a zombie. My morning 5Ks are extra-painful, and I may have let my eyelids close for a solid 10 seconds in a client meeting in midtown Manhattan. (In my defense, the meeting was boring.)

But seeing as I can’t ditch my fiancé—we already put a deposit on a wedding venue—I have had no choice but to take up napping. I never used to nap. I survived late nights and endless study sessions in college without napping. But now? I close my eyes on the subway, on the yoga mat, and occasionally, at my desk when I’m in the middle of writing a sentence. (One advantage of writing for a living, often from my couch-cum-home office: I could’ve taken a 15-minute nap in the middle of typing this very sentence, right here, and no one would know.)

The thing is, it’s hard to nap if there’s a zipper digging into your back or a belt constricting your comfort, though. It’s especially challenging if you’re trying to look professional and polished for wherever the day may take you: an impromptu meeting, a business lunch, a subzero office. And while I do love jeans, they’re definitely not nap material. So I embarked on a very difficult mission to find the best dresses to nap in—and found them.

The Marilyn dress in adobe

The Marilyn dress in adobe.

I decided to wear Dress #1 on a day that I had an in-office freelancing gig—but I wasn’t so sure of it when I first held it up. The light, crepe-like texture felt luxurious, but otherwise it was a little too simple and straightforward for me. But then I tried it on and realized that there’s magic in its simplicity. Here’s why: The dress fits like a glove if the glove were one size too big. Instead of being constricting then, it just skims your natural silhouette so you still have a shape. “That looks so good on you,” my fiance said as we were getting ready to leave. “The color is perfect.” (It’s a rich, rust-like shade that’s bold but not too bright for an office setting.) The cowl-neck detail on the neckline added some elegance. He continued to assess as we walked to the subway. “It makes you look taller, too,” he added.

At the office, I settled into a wingback chair with a yawn. I didn’t actually fall asleep there, but I also didn’t stand up for two hours—so, same thing. Best of all? The Marilyn’s fabric is wrinkle-resistant, so there were no telltale lines when I finally stood up. Back at home, I headed straight for the couch, where I spent a solid hour catching up on sitcoms and doing New York Times word puzzles. (I know, I’ve really got to slow down.) And while I usually change into my pajamas as soon as I walk through the door, I didn’t bother this time. If I didn’t have to slip off this dress to remove my bra before bed, I might have spent the night in it.

The Keiko dress in black

The Keiko dress in black.

Italian jersey! The fabric is what stood out to me when I slipped on Dress #2. It’s incredibly soft and stretchy, and it hugged my curves without being clingy or constricting. The draping and knotted detail in the front serves a dual purpose, to cinch the waist and to create an elegant overall look, setting it apart from the average shift dress. It’s a little black dress for the very lazy, which is why I wore it on a day I was working from home, which tend to be the very same on which I find myself napping—obviously.

The hemline is fairly conservative, but even so, it was cold enough outside that I paired it with black tights. I added wedge booties, which elongated my legs but also made me feel like a no-nonsense VP in charge of signing off on employees’ vacation requests. I guess you could say that the combination of this dress and booties set me on a power trip.

What happened the rest of the day, then, is a testament to this dress’s comfort level, because in the afternoon, I leaned my head back and closed my eyes. I couldn’t help it; the dress is just so soft. I cannot stress this enough. The long sleeves are cozy, almost cocoon-like, a feeling that was kryptonite to me on this gloomy, overcast day. I imagine that they’d be a real boon in the freezing tundra that is your average office. (Blame the patriarchy.) It shouldn’t be a surprise that I woke up after 20 minutes with my fingers still poised on the laptop keys like some overachiever—and yes, felt a little more refreshed.

The Dylan dress 

Similar: the Dylan dress in safari.

Nothing sends shivers down my spine like the words “kelly green,” because as a biracial woman with an olive skin tone, I’ve learned over the years that green is not my color. I’ll dabble in a darker shade, like forest- or hunter-green, on occasion—and even then only in the form of a tank to layer beneath blazers. But kelly green, the color of leprechauns and new grass? Unsubscribe!

So, when I actually got Dress #3, I was delightfully surprised. In truth, it’s more of an emerald, a really vibrant and deep shade of green. In truth, it still made me a little nervous. When I put it on, though, the magic happened. Do you know that kelly green is a great color that can brighten your complexion and make you feel lucky? I do now. The dress is more fitted than, say, the Marilyn, enough where some seamless undergarments or even a body shaper could be helpful. (I have neither, apparently, so I went with a nude slip skirt.)

The Dylan dress in safari.

I felt like a cool, sexy boss in it, the kind of power lady you’d see in an ‘80s movie—but made for modern day. I don’t really go for anything that qualifies as “form-fitting,” and while it was, the high neckline and longer hemline (which hit at a midi length below the knee) kept it office appropriate. I wore it out to breakfast with a publicist before boarding a train to visit my parents. It was one of those warm, sunny Friday afternoons where I was thankful to be wearing a simple sleeveless dress. And the knit was so comfy and stretchy—how I love my knits—on the two-hour journey to my hometown that I couldn’t help but pass out while listening to one of those podcasts but I don’t enjoy but feel like I should listen to as an adult woman in the world (you know exactly the kind I’m talking about).

Do I feel more well-rested? Frankly, it depends on the delicate nasal passages of my betrothed. But one thing is certain: These dresses are ideal for sneaking in a few winks wherever the day takes me: a chair in a conference room, a seat on the subway, or my own couch. You snooze? Can’t lose.

Photographs by Heather Moore.