Fashion

8 Best Lightweight Cotton Nightgowns You’ll Love Wearing All Year Long

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What are the most comfortable pajamas? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times over the years, and the answer has changed over the years. While I once favored a pair of borrowed boxer shorts a well-worn T-shirt, these days I prefer something looser and more lightweight. I’m looking for something that floats gently around me and feels like sleeping in a cloud. That’s led me on a quest for the best lightweight cotton nightgowns for women I can find, which are, in my opinion, the most superior sleepwear option out there.

Below, I’ve rounded up a selection of the best lightweight cotton nightgowns for women in a range of prices and styles. Whether you’re looking for something feminine and floral, or your style is more on the plain and simple side, one of these comfortable cotton nightgowns is bound to become your go-to pick in all seasons. (And I suggest stocking up, so you’re never without your favorite sleepwear that’s guaranteed to help you get a good night’s sleep.)

Keep scrolling to shop now, or read more for answers to frequently asked questions about the best lightweight cotton nightgowns for women!

Are nightgowns comfortable?

Perhaps the number one most important factor when shopping for sleepwear is finding something that’s comfortable. Other details, like whether your pajamas are machine washable and dryer-friendly, what they’re made from, what style they are, and even how much they cost, are secondary to how they feel when you slip them on at the end of a long day.

Let me assure you, nightgowns are extremely comfortable. The key is finding one that’s got enough fabric so you can move freely, without getting wrapped up or tangled in it. You’ll also want one that’s moisture-wicking, so if you get overheated and sweat at night, you won’t wake up with your nightwear clinging to your sticky skin. (If you’re in perimenopause or menopause, you know how important this is!)

While pajama pants and boxers can get bunched up in the crotch and feel uncomfortable, the best lightweight cotton nightgowns for women never do this. If you’re worried about modesty, get yourself a long nightgown, like the Cotton Lawn Ballet Nightgown from Eileen West (Buy from Nordstrom, $74). You’ll soon see how comfortable a nightgown can really be!

Is a nightgown a dress?

Once you’ve become a true nightgown convert, you might start to wonder, do I ever have to take my nightgown off? Can I just slip on a pair of sandals, throw a lightweight cardigan over the top, and go to the grocery store in my cotton nightgown? Or maybe even out on the town?

It’s not actually as ridiculous an idea as it might sound like! After all, the nightgown is a close cousin of the house dress, and since the pandemic, those have become perfectly acceptable public attire. Far be it from me to tell anyone what is, or isn’t, okay to wear these days. And some of these nightgowns are so pretty, you’ll want to show them off!

The conversation around what is (or isn’t) a dress or nightgown wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the famous “Amazon nightgown,” which leads me to …

What is the Amazon nightgown?

The Amazon nightgown, or more precisely, the Amazon nightgown dress, is an item that, like the “Amazon coat,” went viral to the point where a year or two ago, you couldn’t open up Instagram or Facebook without seeing it in your feed. (That Amazon coat, by the way, is still selling like gangbusters — it’s a best-seller in our roundup of the best winter coats for women, and you can buy it here, starting at $149.) It’s easy to see why social media influencers — and everyone else — loves the Amazon nightgown dress. It’s loose and flowy, comes in a ton of great prints (43 at the moment, though availability is always changing), and at less than $30, it’s extremely affordable.

Although the Amazon nightgown isn’t 100 percent cotton (it’s a cotton blend, with 60 percent cotton), enthusiastic customers say it’s super soft. Care instructions are to hand wash in cold water and not to put in the dryer, which isn’t my personal preference for sleepwear, but this boho-style dress is so cute, I just might have to get it anyway. And yes, this is is a “nightgown” you can wear out with your friends and sleep in, too!

Are cotton nightgowns good in winter?

The best lightweight cotton nightgowns for women aren’t just for summer! Breathable fabrics are essential year-round, and if you’re a hot sleeper, you probably already know that bundling up isn’t always the best way to go, even in the depths of winter. That makes a crisp cotton nightgown the perfect nighttime wear, no matter the temperature outside.

When it comes to sleeping comfortably, your choice of bedding is probably more more important than your choice of pajamas. If you sleep hot, make your bed with cooling sheets and a breathable comforter. Always cold? Try warm winter blankets and a heavier comforter! Either way, you’ll be feeling cozy when you’re tucked into bed in your favorite nightgown.

Keep scrolling to shop our picks for the best lightweight cotton nightgowns for women!

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Eileen West Cotton Lawn Ballet Nightgown

Best long lightweight cotton nightgown

Buy from Nordstrom, $62

Why we like it:

  • 100 percent cotton
  • Available in white or blue
  • Machine wash, tumble dry

Eileen West is the go-to name when celebrities look for sleepwear. How do we know? Because Angelina Jolie and Jessica Simpson both wore Eileen West gowns on the People magazine covers introducing their newborns. If you want to feel like a star in your sleep, there are so many gorgeous Eileen West gowns to choose from — but if you prefer a long nightgown, you can’t go wrong with the Cotton Lawn Ballet Nightgown. It features a scoop neck with lace trim, a button front, and an ankle-skimming length that will make you feel positively glamorous as you get ready for bed each night.

Happy customer: “I have about six of these nightgowns and love each and every one. The fabric is lightweight and floaty, not clingy. The details of the lace and pintucks are luxurious and feminine and never scratchy.”

Eileen West Floral-Print Swiss-Dot Cotton Nightgown

Best floral lightweight cotton nightgown
Eileen West short cotton nightgown
Bloomingdale’s

Buy from Bloomingdale’s, $70

Why we like it:

  • 100 percent cotton
  • Classic design
  • Machine washable

Looking for something a little shorter to wear to bed? It’s always a good idea to have a choice of lengths on hand! Another classic Eileen West nightgown, this short cotton pick features lace trim edging, pintuck pleats, and a sweet watercolor rose pattern scattered among classic Swiss dot detailing. It’s feminine and old-fashioned as well as comfortable and beautiful, and the ruffled hem is a lovely finishing touch.

Happy customer: “This is my third Eileen West nightgown, and I will buy more in the future. I love these nighties. They are so light and easy to sleep in. They are pretty and make me feel feminine. After a hot day, I love to shower dust on some baby powder and slip this on … I feel like I’ve stepped back in time and love it.”

Linen-Cotton Sleep Dress

Best short lightweight cotton nightgown
best lightweight cotton nightgown
Banana Republic
on sale now!

Buy from Banana Republic, $48 (originally $70)

Why we like it:

  • Linen-cotton blend
  • Adjustable straps
  • Available in three colors

I’m a fan of cotton nightgowns, as I’ve said, but when you want something very light, adding a touch of linen to the blend can do wonders. That’s what makes this “sleep dress,” made with 55 percent linen and 45 percent organic cotton, so soft and lightweight, making it perfect for hot summer nights (and days!). The swinging, A-line cut is airy and won’t cling, the straps are adjustable, and it comes in the blue pictured as well as light yellow or a light blue stripe. Even better, it’s on sale!

Happy customer: “I love this! Yes, it’s loose-fitting but that’s what I want for a ‘sleep dress.’ The fabric has a beautiful weight to it and the yellow color is so pretty. Am very happy with this purchase!”

R. Vivimos Long Sleeve Bohemian Midi Dress

Best Amazon lightweight cotton nightgown
best amazon nightgown dress
Amazon

Buy from Amazon, starting at $25

Why we like it:

  • Doubles as a nightgown and a daytime dress
  • Soft cotton blend
  • Available in dozens of cute retro patterns

This is the dress the internet went crazy for a couple of summers ago, and people still seem to love it just as much now, if not more! The “Amazon nightgown dress” can be worn as a nightgown, yes, but it also makes the perfect cover-up for your favorite swimsuit, and can be worn as a regular daytime dress as well! With more than 30 gorgeous bohemian prints to choose from, you may just want to pick up a couple — and at this price, you can! Just be aware that many reviewers suggest sizing up if you’re larger busted.

Happy customer: “I bought to wear for a nightgown and for those mornings when I hang out in my sleepwear. But it is so pretty, my daughter suggested I should wear it as a regular dress! … Wear it to the pool, sleep in it, put a cool scarf or jewelry on with it, or pop it over a pair of leggings. Can’t go wrong with this one.”

Lati Fashion Cotton Blend Nightgown

Best cheap lightweight cotton nightgown
walmart cotton nightgown
Walmart

Buy from Walmart, $15

Why we like it:

  • Super affordable
  • Comes in four different colors
  • Machine wash, tumble dry

Walmart is known for their low prices, and if you’re looking for a bargain, you’ll find it in this cotton-blend nightgown, which is priced at a budget-friendly $15 and has dozens of rave reviews. Made from 55 percent cotton and 45 percent polyester, this pretty floral printed gown has all the charm of an Eileen West gown at a fraction of the price — so go ahead and stock up!

Happy customer: “This gown is so pretty and feminine. I live in Texas and this lightweight gown is perfect for summer nights. The material is lightweight and thin but not sheer or see-through. The color and floral pattern is so pretty, and the lace trim detail around the décolletage area is not itchy or irritating at all. “

Whit Two Floral Mini Sleep Dress

Best lightweight cotton sleep dress
sleep dress
Anthropology

Buy from Anthropologie, $118

Why we like it:

  • Made from organic cotton
  • Adjustable tie straps
  • Comes in plus sizes up to 3X

This is another cotton nightgown that can multitask as a daytime dress. However, one reviewer did say she missed the part about it being a “sleep dress” and found it a bit on the sheer side for daytime wear, so it might be best in the bedroom, or as a beach cover-up. Some also suggested sizing down, but that’s your call — if you like a voluminous gown, go with your usual size. We love Anthropologie’s inclusive sizing on this one, too: It comes in sizes up to 3X.

Happy customer: “This dress is stunning. The color is so vibrant and the cut is flattering.”

Cotton Classic Nightshirt

Best lightweight cotton nightshirt

Buy from The White Company, $85

Why we like it:

  • 100 percent cotton
  • Classic style
  • Machine-washable

If flowing feminine gowns aren’t your style, try this classic button-down nightshirt. With textured stripes, rounded lapels, and piping detail, it’s a tailored choice that still feels super comfy to sleep or lounge in. Available in classic white, this one is destined to become a go-to in your PJ drawer.

Happy customer: “Satin cotton, like sleeping in 300 thread-count sheets!”

Tyrolean Heart Cotton Short Nightgown

Best old-fashioned lightweight cotton nightgown
short cotton nightgown
Lanz of Salzburg

Buy from Lanz of Salzburg, $68

Why we like it:

  • 100 percent cotton
  • Machine wash, tumble dry
  • Available in sizes XS to XL

Lanz of Salzburg is known for their sweet, country-inspired prints, and this short cotton nightgown in their classic pastel blue stripe with pink hearts design is an iconic choice you’ll love wearing in summer and winter alike. Made from a fine 100 percent cotton woven lawn fabric and featuring white eyelet lace trim around the sweetheart neckline, as well as heart-shaped white buttons, this nightgown is cool, comfortable, stylish, and will make you smile every time you slip it over your head. (I have this one and absolutely love it!)

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