I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so many questions about a single item of clothing as I did after posting a photo of a Hillhouse nap dress. These smocked dresses are everywhere right now, and for good reason: they’re comfortable, versatile, and flattering on bodies of all ages, colors, and sizes (they do a great job of showcasing a wide range of models on their website!). I’ve been eyeing their recent launches waiting for a design I truly loved and finally took the plunge and ordered two styles to try… over my 32 weeks pregnant bump. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised at how cute I felt in both styles as there’s very little that makes me truly feel like me in the third trimester. I’ve already been living in these for a couple weeks now but I think they’ll be in equally heavy rotation postpartum and all summer. I’m going to answer a few frequently asked questions about the styles I picked below, but feel free to ask anything else you’re curious about in the comments!

hillhouse nap dress ellie nap dress in light blue glitter check on design darling

The Ellie nap dress in light blue glitter check

Sizing: I followed the size chart and the founder’s advice (she recently gave birth to twins!) and ordered this in my regular pre-pregnancy size XS. The smocking is super stretchy so it totally works over a bump! I think it will be great for breastfeeding as well.

Fabric: I adore this light blue color as it doesn’t feel specific to a certain season. The glitter check pattern wouldn’t be my first choice (I’d love the same color in just a solid poplin) but it’s not a high shine you’d see from across the room and I like the fit so much I was willing to overlook the fact that I’m not normally a glitter kind of girl. This particular fabric isn’t super soft to me (I think because of the metallic thread, which many of their other colors and patterns are made without) but again I was so happy to find a dress I felt cute in right now that it wasn’t a gating item to me. A few people asked me if the glitter check pattern feels too wintry but this is absolutely something I’ll wear straight into summer without a second thought.

Fit: The ruffled shoulders and smocked bodice are super comfortable and the midi length currently hits me at mid-calf while it’s stretched over my bump, but will probably be closer to the floor when I’m no longer pregnant (I’m 5’1″ so I’m used to midi length being closer to maxi on me!). A few people asked if you can wear a regular bra with it and I think the square neckline makes that a little tricky, so I’d either go bra-less or opt for a bandeau or strapless style so you’re not fussing with hiding your bra straps all day long. I’ve seen this style on so many women of all shapes and sizes (both on the Hillhouse website and on Instagram) and I really think if you’re going to order only one style off their site, the Ellie should be it.

hillhouse nap dress review athena nap dress in white semi-sheer swiss dot on design darling 8 months pregnant

The Athena nap dress in white semi-sheer Swiss dot

Sizing: I ordered the XS in this as well and the sleeves and bodice fit perfectly but I do find the length quite short over a third trimester bump (and likely even if you’re not pregnant and just on the taller side). If you’re worried about length, I still wouldn’t recommend sizing up as I think it would alter the fit up top too much; I would consider an alternate style like the Caroline or the Ellie.

Fabric: Really beautiful, very soft, and definitely semi-sheer. Absolutely comfortable enough to actually take a nap in (which I’ve been testing every chance I get this pregnancy!) but probably too see-through to wear anywhere outside the house unless you’re wearing a slip underneath. It would be absolutely gorgeous for maternity or newborn photos though! Or maybe getting ready in the morning of your wedding?!

Fit: I love the puff sleeves and the fitted bodice and only wish it were a little longer for this stage in my pregnancy (and I still think it will hit me above the knee when I’m no longer pregnant, so it might not be the right style for you if you’re significantly taller than I am at 5’1″). I thought about trying the Caroline instead but I worry I’d miss the smocked bodice giving me more shape — would love your thoughts if you’ve tried both styles! Re: wearing a bra underneath, I’d say the same as above: I think most bras would be fussy with the square neckline and lower back, so I’d either go bra-less or opt for a bandeau or strapless style for maximum comfort.

All in all, I really love both dresses, am grateful to have found a couple things that make me feel prettier than my go-to sweatshirts and leggings, and will 100% be stalking future launches for new colors and patterns to add to my closet. (I’m kicking myself for not scooping up some of the striped poplin styles they offered last summer!) Would love your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. I’m in double digits now with the nap dress, lol. I own three different styles. My favorite is the Ellie because I love that you can dress it up or down. I love layering it with a button down or a t shirt. My second favorite is the Nesli
    (to me it’s a more dressed up version of the Ellie. Finally, the Caroline was the first one I bought and I like it very much but don’t wear it as often as I do others. I only have one of this style. It definitely looks like a nightgown. If I wear it out of the house I typically belt it which helps me feel more put together. I don’t think you would like the Caroline based on your style. Hope this helps. 🙂

  2. This is super helpful, I’ve been seeing these nap dresses EVERYWHERE so it’s great to hear about sizing/bra tips/opacity!