BY KAILEY TEDESCO
I’ve been tearing around in my fucking nightgown - Lana Del Rey
When I was a teen, my hobbies were a little singular. I loved moodily soaking in the bathtub in the middle of the night and wearing my pajamas well into the afternoon. Back then, this was the kind of behavior that led to my family and friends teasing me, constantly asking why I wasn’t hanging out at the neighborhood Arby’s like everyone else. But, it seems nightgowns are making a comeback (and perhaps they have been for a while now). In honor of Lana Del Rey’s new song, “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have” here’s a list of some of my favorite nightwear in the media, and some links so you can get yourself a nightgown to tear around in well into the afternoon.
1. The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
Perhaps the queen of nightgowns, Olivia Crain (Carla Gugino), wears gorgeous velvet robes, lacy chemises, and flawlessly matching peignoir sets on the daily. I’ve been making it my life’s mission to find and collect as many nightgowns inspired by Olivia as possible, but many of the exact ones are rare vintage finds or sporting La Costa del Algodon price tags…sigh. Luckily though, it seems that the new year has ushered in a trend of glamorous nightwear, like this gorgeous wine-colored robe paired with this sheer maxi dress.
2. The Virgin Suicides (1999)
When Sophia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides first showed on the Lifetime Movie Network, I was immediately stunned. The Catholic iconography of the opening scenes paired with peach schnapps under the bleachers at the most 70s dance ever paired with Trip Fontaine lazing in his above ground pool was like nothing I’d ever seen in film before. I’m specifically a fan of the scene where the Lisbon girls protect their sister’s favorite tree in their modestly hemmed nightgowns. I begged my mom for a similar one, which as it turns out, can be found at basically any JC Penney or Kohls. She took me out to get one and I’ve had it ever since. They’re surprisingly pragmatic for cold winter nights, and extra extra comfortable.
3. Death Becomes Her (1992)
Lisle Von Rhuman (Isabella Rossellini) is goals in every way imaginable. Sure, she’s essentially running a dark romanticist pyramid scheme that literally makes women fall apart in the name of “beauty”, but she looks really fantastic doing it. While perhaps not technically a “nightgown” Lisle’s deep red sarong paired with multi-layered beads is too much of a LOOK to not include here. Find a similar sarong here, and for the top, you can either DIY a multi-stranded necklace or layer multiple strands of your favorite beads!
4. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 —)
Sabrina’s (Keirnan Shipka) white slip dress that she strips down to at her dark baptism and then later wears during the harrowing scenes is a perfect nightgown in which to assert your bodily autonomy. The entire show plays with and pokes holes at religious binaries, and this nightgown acts as a frequent symbol for the absurdity of virginity as a concept in the secular and the non-secular worlds. Buy a similar one here and feel in control of your destiny.
5. Addams Family Values (1993)
In my opinion, Debbie Jellinsky is Joan Cusack’s best role of all time. As Fester’s murderous and fortune- hungry new wife, Debbie’s iconic 90’s, Bardot-esque ensembles are positioned in stark contrast the prim, funereal looks of the rest of the Addams Family. Her nightgown, which she seems to wear in the middle of the day (a true hero!), falls in line with the rest of her gurlesque outfits. Find a similar feather-trim, sheer robe here.
Kailey Tedesco is the author of These Ghosts of Mine, Siamese (Dancing Girl Press) and the forthcoming full-length collection, She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publications). She is the co-founding editor-in-chief of Rag Queen Periodical and a member of the Poetry Brothel. She received her MFA in creative writing from Arcadia University, and she now teaches literature at several local colleges.
Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. You can find her work in Prelude, Bellevue Literary Review, Sugar House Review, Poetry Quarterly, Hello Giggles, UltraCulture, and more. For more information, please visit kaileytedesco.com.