As a bedtime garment, the nightshirt is the successor of a type of long undergarment used by many Europeans through the 19th Century. This undergarment was worn all day under outer clothing. At night the outer clothing was removed, and men and women slept in the long shirt-like garment. This smock was longer for women than for men, more resembling a dress. Upon arising in the morning, the outer garments were again put on over it.
In modern usage, the nightshirt usually functions as an alternative to other specialized sleepwear, such as pajamas, in that it is removed after arising and put away for use during the next sleeping period. It may also be used in private and intimate settings as comfortable attire for relaxation. As a sleep or lounge garment, it has the convenience of being a single piece, and provides a degree of warmth and a moderate degree of modesty for the wearer.
A skin-tight variation of the nightshirt has seen an increased popularity in certain nightclubs and raves.
My Close Shave While Crawling in a Nightshirt ; `I Never Criticised Eddie Izzard for Cross-Dressing. I Haven't Tried It So I Don't Feel I Should Comment'
Mar 14, 2000; ALL THIS hoo-ha about Frank Dobson's beard makes me think of my cousin Laurence, who lives in Perthshire and who almost certainly...
Cherie Booth, wearing only a nightshirt, is surprised at herdoor Saturday morning.(News/ National/ International)
May 04, 1997; Byline: Associated Press Cherie Booth had a rude awakening Saturday morning to the downside of being the British prime minister's...