If you follow us on Facebook or are part of The Mom Edit Insiders Facebook Group or even happened to see this post on Instagram, this article is going to feel long overdue. And that’s because, well…it is. A couple of months ago now (time flies when you’re going absolutely freaking nowhere…), I spied this Amazon caftan on Jess at The Golden Girl and decided it was too intriguing not to try out for myself. Based on pictures, alone, I wasn’t immediately sold on the style — and, as with many budget finds on Amazon, I was a little wary of the fabrication and, more than anything, the fit. But I was feeling some of the (more than 40!) classic bohemian prints, which immediately felt like many of the pieces in my mom’s unofficial collection of Vintage Clothing That I Want to Chastise Her for Hoarding But Also Might Want For Myself Someday (or these seriously gorgeous, sustainable Emerson Fry caftans Laura just covered). And the price point ($28, give or take, depending on the day) was definitely right up my alley.
#AmazonNightgown: A Review Of The Perfectly Priced Boho Midi Dress (aka Caftan)
And then, the same week that I placed my order for a couple of these babes, caftans became a hot topic on The Mom Edit Insiders Facebook Group and it was immediately decided that, when these arrived, it’d be 100% worth doing a review. We were all curious if they lived up to the hype. And boy, was there hype. In fact, just about as soon as I received the two caftans I had ordered, the style sold out completely. It seems I was not the only one interested in getting my hands on what was now becoming known as the #AmazonNightgown for myself. Over the next few weeks, a certain pattern would pop back into stock here or there, but generally speaking, the selection was pretty paltry. Most of the in-stock items shipped for a fee (no Prime!? how dare they…) and it just felt like releasing this review when the actual item was questionably available would be more frustrating than fruitful. So I sat on it. Until today, when it’s about as fully-stocked as I think it’s gonna get.
In case you still need convincing that this piece is worth a try (spoiler alert: it is), I styled it up a whole buncha ways below. But before we get into that, let’s review some of the details that I feared would be deal-breakers (spoiler alert 2.0: they’re not).
Note: By sheer coincidence, at the time of publishing, all but one of the shoes I’m linking up below — 7 different styles — are on super sale. Also, the blue light-blocking glasses worn throughout the post are these $17 guys. Can’t recommend them enough. Happy day!
The Fit, Part 1: The number one complaint that surfaces time and again in Amazon reviews is that the caftan is too tight in the chest, so here are my thoughts. I’m a 34C and sized up from my usual XS to a S in both colorways that I ordered, and it’s roomy enough that I imagine it fitting a more buxom person just fine. In fact, I’m almost certain I could have gotten away with my true size. Another complaint is that the little band of piping that defines the chest area of the dress cuts right across larger chests, and to that I say it probably depends on how high your girls ride. I honestly don’t have the highest boobs (well, one is quite high, the other is…less so #thankscancer), so I expected this to be an issue for me, and it wasn’t in the least. So, I think if you’re moderately- to large-chested with breasts that sit average to high (or if you’re willing to scoop those babes into a real bra), you’ll have no issue with this style, especially if you go up a size.
The Fit, Part 2: Of course, all that said, it’s worth mentioning that this style is very voluminous. There’s loads of fabric and very little definition. (Technically you could call this “empire waisted,” but even that suggests some fitted tailoring.) For a “dress” that earned the nickname of #AmazonNightgown, this should come as no surprise, but you’d be amazed at the reviews that state “there’s so much fabric!” and “it’s basically a mumu.” Why, yes, there is — and why, yes it is. But it’s more or less advertised as such. I played around with belting it and knotting it, below, and both options are quick ways to add definition and shape, but at the end of the day, if you’re looking for a trim, swishy dress with a true waist, this isn’t it. (This one, on the other hand, might be just about perfect for you.)
The Fabric: The description on Amazon says “60% cotton blend,” but I couldn’t tell you what the remaining 40% is. In fact, it feels like 100% rayon to me — soft, thin cotton that only gets softer with washing. It’s worth noting that the entire front panel from the shoulders down to the piping on the chest (see close-up pic, below) is lined with the same fabric, a detail that I wasn’t expecting — and one that provides enough coverage that you could, in fact, rock this without a bra if you felt so inclined (and perky-busted, I suppose). Based on the pattern you choose, the ties (there are four of them, total) are either made of twisted yarn that end in tassels (as with the purple dress in this post) or are made of the same fabric as the dress, ending with small beaded accents (as with the blue dress). I personally prefer the tassels — they feel a little more authentic to the style — but the fabric ties might arguably hold up better over time.
Oh, and speaking of the fabric: there are more than 40 patterns to choose from. Have we talked about that, yet? Yes? Oh. Well, now you can see why I felt the need to try at least two of them for myself.
The Washability: My main hesitation with this dress was how it would hold up with machine washing, especially with the lengthy ties, so here’s a tip: there are four ties total — gather up two in each hand and tie all four into a bow, pulling the loops as long as possible, right up to the tassels or beads; then tie the loops of the bow into a second bow, so that there are essentially no loose ends. Turn the dress inside out, tucking the bow bundle inside, and wash/dry as usual. I’ve done this a few times now, and while it takes maybe a minute to carefully untie the bows when you remove the garment from the dryer (yes, I machine dry it!), it’s worth it to prevent the inevitable tangle or damage that could result otherwise.
More than you ever wanted to know about a $28 dress, right? Cool. So let’s get onto the fun stuff.
How To Wear The #AmazonNightgown — 9 Ways
1. (No One Is Surprised…) Sneak Around
I’ve had this caftan for more than a month now, and sneakers are hands-down the most common pairing. (You can see from the three outfits above, which were snapped when I was wearing it in real life — read: #notstyled.) If this caftan were good for nothing more than pairing with sneakers, I’d still be sold. That said, this is only the tip of the ol’ iceberg.
2. Boho Midi Dress + A Wedge
You can’t tell from my serious case of RBF, but platform wedges are my summer bread n’ buttah. Once upon a time, I wanted them as sky-high as possible, but now that I’m momming oh-so-hard, a less severe angle is much more practical. Mine are sold out, but I’ve had my eye on these for a while now – love the gorgeous suede with the cork (and on sale!).
3. Boho Midi Dress + Classic Leather
I’ll be the first to admit the the styling is maybe a bit off on this one, but you get the idea. In the real world, I’d probably do either the mules OR the jacket — or if I did both, I’d knot the hem to show a little more leg so it doesn’t look so heavy. Bottom line: yet another excuse to wear your fave leather. (Speaking of which: mine is on super sale here, with a few sizes here, too — and Revolve has a price-match guarantee, so you should be able to get it for the ALLSAINTS price. I sized up from my usual 0-2 to a 4, so definitely go up at least one size.)
4. Boho Midi Dress + Cozy Neutrals
You know how much I love me a loose, shapeless cardigan, and this one (from last year’s NSale — woof, that feels like lifetime ago!) is tops — slouchy and soft and just grandma-y enough. Here’s hoping it makes a return this coming season. Until then, this waffle knit one is deliciously long and light, and this luxe cashmere blend version from Splendid is undoubtedly soft.
5. Hip Hip, Chambray!
Not a lot to this one. Perfect little light layer when you want to break up all the pattern or just add a bit of visual interest. I like keeping the boots in play so it doesn’t end up looking too sloppy. And in my opinion, the perfect chambray shirt has two pockets and a light-to-medium wash. Mine is sold out, but this one is super similar, is available in Plus, Petite and Tall and has great reviews. (Dang, now I kinda want it.) And here’s a super budget-friendly version if you’re not married to the dual pockets.
6. Boot It Up (3 Ways)
These Frye Natalie Engineer Boots are the ideal rough and tumble, not-quite-grunge, not-quite-country combo. (True story: my mom first noticed my realtor wearing these boots, stalked them online for a year until she found them on super sale — and then tricked me into thinking she was buying them for herself when really she was hunting them down for me. Moms are the best, aren’t they?) They’re cute with skinnies, delightfully Euro with wide-legs or crops, and downright cool girl with cut-offs and a not-too-tight band tee. And they play nicely with the boho vibes of this dress. I feel like I should be hitchhiking to a music festival, and I kinda like it. Happily, these EXACT boots (which have long been out of stock almost everywhere) are on Zulily RIGHT NOW for more than $200 off retail — and fully stocked. I will admit the sizing is a bit off and it took two tries for me to get it right (on the first try, the vamp was SO tight I couldn’t even get my foot past the shaft of the boot,) but in the end going up one half size (from my usual 8 to an 8.5) worked like a charm.
Ah! The elusive second pattern I ordered. Honestly, I didn’t snap many pictures in this one because I was only intending to keep one, but I did order two to compare the quality and sizing, and I found them to be consistent across both patterns. (And, of course, I returned it not realizing just how much I would wear the first one — so guess what’s in my cart again as we speak?) But I digress…
I’ve waxed poetic about these Lucky Brand booties in many a post — comfy, with a classic almond-shaped toe and a heel that’s just high enough. And so perfect year-round. Still on sale here, too, for right around $50 (also in Black and Red)! My true size felt short when I first tried them on, but after one wear, they were perfect.
Oh look, more booties. Are you getting the sense that pretty much ANY bootie would work with this dress? (Honestly, I even tried it on with a leopard print pair and it wasn’t awful…) The ones I’m wearing have gotten so much more wear than I would have guessed. The notched front is so flattering, and the snake print is pretty dang good — and seasonless. Chic back zip, western heel. Gorgeous. Bonus: they’re 50% off as we speak.
7. Knot A Shirt (Get It…?)
OK, here’s the part of the program where we start playing around with the dress to make it look…less like what it is. (Which, well…if this is your goal, maybe this isn’t the dress for you, but we’ll soldier on…) This is admittedly a LOT of volume to gather into a knot, but it works. Would I buy this dress solely for wearing as a blouse? Nah. But it works in a pinch.
8. Bring On The Belts
If you can’t bear the idea that the #AmazonNightgown has no waist, you can always belt that bad boy! I slapped it on with two belts, and I like the effect of both — but really, I’m quite smitten with the shapelessness of this piece, so a nipped in waist isn’t exactly what I’m after. That said, I don’t think it detracts from the style or looks overly forced. (And, in fact, I do have to admit that while it doesn’t feel as current with the belt, it may be more flattering…)
9. A Little Bit Knotty
Guys, I laughed out loud when I saw my face in that third picture, because I did not mean to make that expression, and yet it sums up exactly how I feel about a knot that rides that high. (I feel like I would earn major street cred with Shana if I rocked it in public, though.) Point here is that knotting this dress is absolutely an option — and one of my favorite ways to add visual interest. The fabric is exactly the right weight for this type of thing. It drapes beautifully and doesn’t stretch out to the point where you’ll have a weird, lopsided hem when you take it out later. A not-too-high center or side knot works best for me, but I also kinda like the option in the middle where I made it a faux bubble hem by tucking the knot underneath. (A safety pin or a hair tie will ensure it stays that way.) And as a swimsuit coverup, I miiiight even rock the high knot. Time will tell…
Phew. So. Thoughts? Love it? Hate it? Willing to shell out $28 to decide for yourself? Personally, I’ve already worn this caftan 10x more than I ever expected to, and I’ve got the light blue version above back in my shopping cart (and the orange one, too, now — ugh, they’re multiplying!), so I think I’m officially sold on the #AmazonNightgown — though whether or not it deserves its own hashtag remains to be seen.
Happy shopping, pals!
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