The negligee (or négligée, French: négligé, literally meaning "neglected") is a form of women's clothing consisting of a sheer usually long dressing gown.[1] It is a form of nightgown intended for wear at night and in the bedroom. It was first introduced in France in the 18th-century, where it mimicked the heavy head-to-toe style of women's day dresses of the time.

By the 1920s it began to mimic women's satin single-layer evening dresses of the period. The term "negligee" was used of a Royal Doulton run of ceramic figurines in 1927, showing women wearing what appears to be a one-piece knee-length silk or rayon slip, trimmed with lace. Although the evening-dresses style of nightwear made moves towards the modern negligee style – translucent bodices, lace trimming, bows, exemplified in 1941 by a photo of Rita Hayworth in Life – it was only after World War II that nightwear changed from being primarily utilitarian to being primarily sensual or even erotic; the negligee emerged strongly as a form of lingerie.

Modern negligees are often much looser and made of sheer and semi-translucent fabrics and trimmed with lace or other fine material, and bows. Multiple layers of fabric are often used. The modern negligee thus perhaps owes more to women's fine bedjackets or bed-capes, and up-market slips than to the nightgown. It spread to a mass market, benefitting from the introduction of cheap synthetic fabrics such as nylon and its finer successors. From the 1940s to the 1970s, the trend was for negligees to become shorter in length (e.g. the babydoll of the 1970s). Negligees made from the 1940s to the 1970s are now collectible vintage items.‎

In the UK in 2004, negligees accounted for only four percent of women's nightwear sales, women's pyjamas having dominated since the mid 1980s. However, UK negligee sales are said to have been the fastest increasing sector of the market since 1998.[2]


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  • Negligee — A loose, open gown worn by ladies, introduced about 1750. There is mentioned a scarlet tabby negligee trimmed with gold; a white damask negligee trimmed with a blue snail blond lace with a petticoat of the same and a silver brocade negligee… …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • negligee — (n.) 1756, a kind of loose gown worn by women, from Fr. négligée, noun use of fem. pp. of négligier to neglect (14c.), from L. neglegere to disregard, not heed, not trouble oneself about, also to make light of (see NEGLECT (Cf. neglect) (v.)). So …   Etymology dictionary

  • negligee — [neg′lə zhā΄, neg΄lə zhā′] n. [Fr négligée, fem. of négligé, pp. of négliger, to neglect < L negligere: see NEGLECT] 1. a woman s loosely fitting dressing gown, usually decorative and of a soft, flowing material 2. any informal, careless, or… …   English World dictionary

  • negligee — (without accents) is the preferred English spelling for the woman s light dressing gown. The pronunciation is neg li zhay …   Modern English usage

  • negligee — [n] nightgown camisole, dishabille, nightdress, nightie, peignoir, robe, teddy, wrap, wrapper; concept 451 …   New thesaurus

  • negligee — ► NOUN ▪ a woman s light, filmy dressing gown. ORIGIN French, given little thought or attention …   English terms dictionary

  • negligee — [[t]ne̱glɪʒeɪ, AM ʒe͟ɪ[/t]] negligees also négligée N COUNT A negligee is a very thin garment which a woman wears over her nightclothes. ...a pink satin negligee …   English dictionary

  • negligee — neglige eg li*ge , negligee eg li*gee (n[e^]g l[i^]*zh[=a] ; F. n[asl] gl[ e] zh[asl] ), n. [Also spelled {neglig[ e]} and {neglig[ e]e}.][F. n[ e]glig[ e], fr. n[ e]gliger to neglect, L. negligere. See {Neglect}.] 1. An easy, unceremonious… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • negligee — /neg li zhay , neg li zhay /, n. 1. a dressing gown or robe, usually of sheer fabric and having soft, flowing lines, worn by women. 2. easy, informal attire. Also, negligée, negligé. [1745 55, Amer.; < F négligé carelessness, undress, lit.,… …   Universalium

  • Negligee — Negligé * * * Ne|gli|gee auch: Neg|li|gee 〈[ ʒe:] n. 15〉 über dem Nachthemd zu tragender, leichter, sehr bequemer Morgenmantel für Damen; oV Negligé, 〈schweiz.〉 Négligé ● sie ist noch im Negligee noch nicht fertig angezogen [<frz. négligé… …   Universal-Lexikon

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