There’s nothing better than a clearance rack packed with nightgowns. Here’s what I found when I visited the Lord & Taylor lingerie floor early in the summer.

First up is the one that got away. This floaty Donna Karan gown is the epitome of pretty and feminine with elements of fantasy and pretend (two of the criteria I described when I began this series). I believe it was polyester, but it felt like silk, and I loved the seam detailing in back and at the bottom as well as the decadently generous fabric allowance. Normally over $140, I bought it for $70 and then returned it because I let my head overrule my heart. For some reason, I couldn’t be satisfied with this being mere sleepwear. I wanted to wear it outside but couldn’t stand the prospect of a strapless bra or of simply using it as a swimsuit coverup. I also rigidly adhered to my no-gathers-above-the-bust rule that I told you about at the beginning of this series (for a great workaround to this issue, check out Sarah’s solution in her comment to that post). So I took it back to the store, and of course it wasn’t there the next time I checked.¬† It’s now available several places online in white, as well as in a pale pink at Saks, but now I’m in love with the watercolor print Aurora gown, which has gathers between the breasts instead of above them, and a great print that would group my boobs with my neckline. If the Aurora ever drops 50% from its $198 price, I’ll let my heart win this time!

dkny floaty swishy gown

Next is another Donna Karan find, the Liquid Jersey Crossover Gown that was extremely discounted that day. According to the wrap-dress dictates directed at D+ women, this should be a great gown on us, and I wanted to love it–so elegant!–but my boob droop spoiled the look. If Mr. Campbell had chosen this from the lineup I showed him, however, I would have gladly compromised and kept it. Wouldn’t it be lovely if Eveden or Midnight Grace would create this same gown using a full-bust shelf with side slings?

dkny wrap busty nightgown

Finally, here’s the chemise I bought and kept. It’s from Jonquil by In Bloom and cost around $30 on sale.

  • There is no shelf, but I look less droopy in this than in the Donna Karan crossover gown because the print groups my bosom with my neckline (or disguises it, one or the other–or both!). The vertical line down the center helps, too.
  • I also like how the racerback emphasizes my shoulders so that they look wider than my chest. When I catch a glimpse of myself wearing this chemise, I feel positively athletic!

jonquil by in bloom full bust nightgown

And I adore the back. It’s my chance to wear a fun back without worry about bra straps!

This chemise isn’t like anything else I tried on, and I think that’s part of my reason for choosing it. When I showed Mr. Campbell the collage below, I was drawn to the Jonquil. It looked more “me” and had an energy that the others lacked. Plus, the price was very right.

big bust nightgown fronts

I’ve now worn this nightgown for most of the summer, and there’s only one negative. The gorgeous slinky stretch fabric that wads up into the tiniest ball when I’m packing my suitcase is entirely unbreathable. With no internal shelf, there have been some very sweaty underboob moments in this nightgown. This is something I’ll keep in mind the next time I’m shopping for a new nightgown.