Silk Loungewear Review: Washable Silk Nightgowns from WinterSilks
While I dream of living my life swathed it silk, on a limited budget such a dream is hard to achieve. Silk is expensive to produce and challenging to sew. Many designs that show off its liquid drape also require larger amounts of fabric, such as cutting on the bias, diagonally to the perpendicular warp and weft threads that make up the woven fabric. Additionally, as I’m plus sized, I don’t fit the size ranges of most luxury designers who work in silk.
With all this in mind, finding WinterSilks, a mid-range store focusing on silk undergarments and silk-blend clothing, excited me. While they’re perhaps better known for their silk long underwear, for lingerie fans the silk charmeuse sleepwear is where they really shine. I own a number of garments from them, including practical slips and long underwear as well as pajamas, but today I want to focus on their silk charmeuse nightgowns.
I own two of their silk charmeuse long gowns (six colors, sizes S-2XL, $89-129), purchased a year ago, in navy and wine (no longer available). In that year, they’ve seen a lot of wear: I toss them on in the morning while I drink tea, in the evenings while I wind down, and to bed if I need a light amount of warmth. Because silk is warm but breathable, I’ve worn them on their own in the summer and under cozy robes in the winter. I get enough wear out of them that I’m thinking about purchasing a few more!
These full-length gowns are bias-cut with triangular bias panels inserted front and back at the hem to give a wider sweep. They have narrow, adjustable straps at the shoulders. The neckline is first finished with a narrow bias tape to enclose the raw edge then covered with an appliqued lace trim, wide and decorative in the front and narrower in the back.
Inside, the seams are finished neatly and durably. The side seams are finished with a French seam, a time-consuming and precise method that totally encloses the raw edge. The edges of the inset are serged (also called overlocking), which takes less time but also allows for the fluid movement the design requires. The gown is hemmed with a narrow hem using small, neat stitches.
WinterSilks offers this gown in sizes S-2XL, roughly corresponding to US sizes 2-24. Additionally, I found that this particular design offered generous ease, allowing me to size down. I generally wear a US 18-22, and my bust, waist, and hip measurements are 47”, 37”, 53”. This puts me all over their size chart: between XL and 2XL in the bust and just over 2XL in the hips.
However, I ordered an XL in navy blue first, to try it out, and found it extremely generous. As you can see, it pools on the floor and drapes rather than clings to my body. The wine colored gown I ordered in a size L, which fits much more closely to my body and ends at my ankles.
I like the fit of both. While the wine gown fits more practically for moving around, the swaths of silk in the navy gown feels more decadent and dramatic. It’s also less likely to bind around my body when I sleep.
WinterSilks touts their charmeuse sleepwear as machine washable and I take them at their word. I wash my gowns on a gentle cycle then hang to dry. A quick steam iron helps the silk return to its full drape after drying. After a year of frequent wear, some of the lace has frayed just at the edges and the side seams have pulled a little. Beyond that, both gowns have held up remarkably well.
Overall, I would recommend WinterSilks for mid-priced silk loungewear with a somewhat generous size range. They have sales and coupons frequently, making these luxurious gowns even more of a bargain.