Friday, July 29, 2016

Sleeping Beauties: Historical Inspiration for the Dreamy Lolita

For as long as I can remember, sleepwear has been my favourite kind of clothing. As a young girl, I didn’t enjoy shopping one bit, but my eyes would always light up when my mother took me to pick out new pyjamas or nightgowns.  My favourite piece was a Victorian style white nightgown, covered in a sweet butterfly print and adorned with silky ribbons. It came down to my heels and made me feel like a brave young heroine when I awakened from a nightmare in the middle of the night. Before going to bed, I would make up elaborate tales about dashing knights and sinister men in dark cloaks and trees that whispered your name on windy days - the adventures I had in my dreams called for lovelier clothing than the jeans and shirts my parents dressed me in for school.

For the lifestyle lolita, it might not make sense to exchange a beautiful dress for a simple T-shirt at the end of the day. After all, the princesses in your favourite fairy tales look beautiful even when sleeping, and even if you can manage quite well without a prince, there is something poetic about the clothes you wear when there is no one watching. So what is the modern sleeping beauty’s preferred bedtime attire?

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Lolita fashion draws much inspiration from the pages of history. The rococo princess who favours pastels and an abundance of frills might turn to Marie Antoinette herself as her fashion icon. A lightweight white nightshirt with several bows down the front is reminiscent of whipped cream: decadent, yet simple enough for comfortable daily wear. Details like three-quarter sleeves tied with silky bows will turn you into a great rococo beauty. Why not try some of the era’s beauty tips as well? French naturalist Pierre-Joseph Buc’hoz recommends this face varnish in his Toilet au Flora (x):

"Take equal parts of lemon juice, and whites of new laid eggs, beat them well together in a glazed earthen pan, which put on a slow fire, and keep the mixture constantly stirring with a wooden spatula till it has acquired the confidence of soft butter. Keep it for use, and at the time of applying it, add a few drops of any essence you like best. Before the face is rubbed with this varnish, it will be proper to wash with the distilled water of rice."

The citric acid in the lemon juice will unclog your pores, egg whites act as an astringent, and rice water is an excellent skin softener. This all-natural recipe will give you smooth, glowing skin.

Jane Eyre (2011)

For the prim Victorian girl who takes inspiration from her favourite romantic heroines, a different style is quite becoming. Nightgowns from the era came in cotton and flannel, adorned with ribbons and lace. There are many styles to choose from depending on the weather in your region and what takes your fancy. Historically accurate reproductions can be found all over the web, and because this style was also popular in the 1970s, you might have some luck in vintage shops as well.

Why not make your very own floral toner? Victorian women would use water and flowers like roses, violets, or chamomiles.  To prepare, take 2 cups of distilled water, 1 cup of the flowers or your choice (leaves included), 1 cup organic witch hazel, and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Boil the water, then pour it over the flowers and leaves in a glass (or ceramic) container. Cover and let it stand for an hour. Strain out the flowers, then combine the floral infusion with witch hazel. Your toner is now ready! Store it in sterilized bottles in a cool, dark place. Apply it with a cotton ball after washing your face to moisturize and soothe your skin.

But perhaps your heart desires an even more decadent type of sleepwear. Fear not, you have not been forgotten! Let us take a few steps forward in history and into the 1960s. Nightgowns from this era are usually a bit shorter and come in vibrant pinks and blues, made of chiffon or polyester. Luckily for you, these beautiful pieces are still available in thrift and vintage shops, or on websites like Etsy and eBay. These are quite sheer, so try to find one with a matching peignoir for added elegance.   

The outfits I have described above are by no means the only options for a lifestyle lolita. Depending on your taste, you might prefer to sleep in a simple lace camisole and a pair of bloomers, or a cute set of pink printed pyjamas. The possibilities are endless, and the discerning lolita can find her perfect night-time ensemble through a combination of savvy online shopping, checking out her local consignment shops, and even looking through retail stores.

What is your favourite kind of sleepwear? Please let me know in the comments. Sweet dreams!

Dreamily Yours,
Lydia Rose


  1. I definitely need to get me ssome cute nightwear, what I have is maybe practical and kinda kawaii, but not in a Lolita way. And I love the recipes for cosmetics! If I can find some nice flowers, I'l be trying out the toner one, it might save me a lot of money in the long run. :P

    1. I've been dying to try out the toner recipe as well! I currently use a rose toner from Thayers (which I wholeheartedly recommend as it is alcohol free and it is a miracle worker), but I would love to try making a violet one as well. Some people have achieved a gorgeous deep colour, I can only imagine how beautiful it would look poured into a vintage perfume bottle or something of the sort!

  2. I found your blog from egl community on livejournal ^_~

    I LOVE sleepwear! The first piece of Lolita clothing I made was a nightgown based on an egl community tutorial (likely dead now, as it was 10 years ago)

    Personally I roll around a lot so I like fewer frills. Elegant lace and satin/silky nightgowns are practical for summer, and fuzzy pant-style for winter. Currently I wear cute-print cotton sets (Hello Kitty long T, Pokemon tank + shorts, etc.) that all are gifts from others ^3^

    I also write a blog if you're interested, though it's not specific to lifestyle, which is why I did not post on egl community.

    1. I've checked out your blog and I love it! You must be very talented if you make your own clothing. Sewing is a skill I wish I'd have mastered earlier, now it somehow feels like it's too late (although I imagine that's probably not true). When did you start sewing?

      Personally I prefer vintage nightgowns on the simpler side. I have this one pale pink nightgown with silk bows that is absolutely ravishing without being too over-the-top. I love it to death and I don't know what I will do when it (inevitably) gets too worn to wear! Buy another similar one, hopefully :)

      Thank you for checking out my blog, Grace!