1940’s Sleepwear: Nightgowns, Bed Jackets, Robes

1940’s Sleepwear: Nightgowns, Bed Jackets, Robes

40s nightgown

1940s Nightgown- retrowardrobe.com

Sleepwear in the ’40s was simple and practical. Since a lot of men were overseas, most women didn’t have to worry about what they wore to bed – no one would see them anyway! Women wore nightgowns in cotton, cotton flannel, rayon and rayon satin. They would also have a bedjacket or robe to put over the nightgown before bed and in the morning.

Some nightgowns looked like a slip – they were made of rayon or rayon satin that flowed nicely over the body. These were usually ankle-length and were fitted in the bodice and flared out to an a-line shaped skirt. These types of nightgowns had a low V-neck that was often decorated with lace and were usually sleeveless or had thin straps. They also sometimes had very short sleeves.An empire waist was popular – there would be stitching or lace underneath the bustline and the dress would flow out from there. Soft colors were popular – white, ivory, light pink and light blue were most often used.

Women also often went for comfort in their sleepwear, choosing nightgowns in cotton or warmer cotton flannel. These were looser fitting, often without a defined waist. They could be sleeveless or have short cap sleeves. Some also had long sleeves for warmth. More casual nightgowns like this were sometimes decorated with lace or eyelet at the neck and sleeves. Soft colors were still used, and floral patterns were popular as well. Sleeved nightgowns often buttoned up the front to a high, rounded collar. Sleeveless ones could button up the back and have a rounded or v neckline. They were also ankle-length, although many only came to mid-calf.

1940's bed jacket

Bed Jacket hollyvoguevintage

Bedjackets were a nighttime staple in the ’40s. They were worn around the house over a nightgown for warmth and modesty. The style of the time was a cropped jacket with elbow-length sleeves. It was about waist-length or a little longer. Sleeves could also be short or long. The jacket was cut straight and was loose fitting in both the jacket and sleeves. These jackets could tie around the neck with a ribbon, close with one button in the center, or button all the way down. They could be cotton or rayon satin, and were often quilted. Some were also knitted and sweater-like. Popular colors were white, pale pink, peach and light blue.

1940s night robe

1940’s Robe – hollyvoguevintage

Robes were worn for the same purposes as bed jackets, except they were long, floor length. They were usually made from cotton, cotton flannel or quilted rayon satin. Some had a small stand-up collar while others had folded-over lapels. They usually tied with a sash at the waist, and many had two large pockets at arm’s length in the front. Most robes had long sleeves that were gathered and slightly puffed. Some even had shoulder pads. Robes were loose-fitting and cut straight, and sleeves were usually the same way. Colors for robes were often darker and richer – burgundy, navy, plaids and floral patterns gave them a wintry feel.


You have just read a section from the 1940’s Style Guide: The Complete Illustrated Guide to 1940’s Fashion for Men and Women. To read more pick up a copy of the book today!


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