Not Ready to Give Up Your Pajamas? Slip Into One of These Hostess Robes

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Living in New York City right now feels like the equivalent of living in an about-to-be-popped bottle of Champagne. It’s practically bubbling over with excitement of a potentially raucous summer, filled with vaccines, rooftop picnics, and, maybe, even some parties. Just as exciting is the prospect of what we’re going to wear. Much has been written about this being the summer of slinky, bold, party dresses—almost as much as had been written about sweatpants a year ago. I will be splitting those down the middle and focusing on hostess attire: dresses, caftans, maybe even some sleek pajamas. I don’t want to pack into a bar, I just want to host a fabulous dinner party and look the part.

I’ve been constructing this fantasy for some time now. Last summer, my moodboard was filled with images of women in bright caftans, statement, Edie Sedgwick-worthy earrings, and colorful tapered candles. I’d dream of wafting around a spacious villa (notably not the place I currently reside in) refilling wine glasses, carefully cutting up and serving a Victoria sponge cake, asking loudly “do you want some more?” over gales of laughter. It feels like a movie, and I intend to dress the part.

The idea of a hostess outfit as somewhere between loungewear and partywear has been around since the 1920s. In 1925, Vogue decided pajamas were de rigueur, especially should you be able to acquire an Elsa Schiaparelli housecoat and pajama pants set. In the ’60s, caftans and palazzo pants became the hostess outfit du jour. Since then, the idea of dressing up for company tends to mean something fancy and not all that comfortable (though, most of the time, I’m not dressing up at all).

This summer does feel special, and I would like to mark it as such. But, I’m not quite ready to surrender the comfort I’ve grown accustomed to the past year. A fantastic, vintage, printed caftan or (my ultimate dream) a late ’60s printed pants and tank top set is really only a sidestep from the luxurious loungewear of 2020. Vive la palazzo! Vive la hostess dress!

RetrouverBiz vintage 1970 Leslie Fay personal Mod psychedelic maxi hostess dress

$46

ETSY

La Vie Style House floral-embroidered poplin kaftan

$550

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La DoubleJ Rio skinny crew neck in extrafine wool

$490

LA DOUBLEJ

La DoubleJ palazzo pants in extrafine wool

$595

LA DOUBLEJ

Urban Cowgirl Chic 1970s floral hostess dress

$50

ETSY

Tory Burch embroidered caftan dress

$798

NORDSTROM

Sue Sartor Paloma dress

$395

THE SIL

Swift & Faire Co. 1970s mixed-print op art maxi dress

$98

ETSY

Savannah Morrow the Label the Jaipur cropped tie-front printed silk-Dupioni top

$384

NET-A-PORTER

Savannah Morrow the Label the Ahimsa printed silk-dupioni flared pants

$504

NET-A-PORTER

Bernadette floral-print silk charmeuse pajama set

$835

BERGDORF GOODMAN

House of Renata vintage 70s David Brown striped hostess house dress

$178

ETSY

Kokeshi vintage 1970s maxi vest duster hostess dress

$128

ETSY

Miscreants Belle set in pink animal print

$180

WOLF AND BADGER

Zimmermann Poppy cropped ruffled floral-print linen top

$350

NET-A-PORTER

Zimmermann Poppy cropped floral-print linen wide-leg pants

$375

NET-A-PORTER

StyleBack vintage 60s satin lounge set

$224

ETSY

Zazi vintage Saïda dress

$925

THE SIL

Cult Gaia Joey wave cropped top

$258

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

Cult Gaia Marais geo-print wide-leg pants

$398

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

Veracious Vintage Co. late 1950s green silk lounge wear set

$268

ETSY

Rianna + Nina midi-dress

$1,250$937
YOOX

Emilio Pucci printed caftan long dress

$930

LUISA VIA ROMA

Hester Bly Orah Huhulu belted cotton-poplin kaftan

$535

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