32 Long Dresses & Caftans Under $40 That Look So Damn Good When Lounging Around – Bustle

September 6, 2020 - Party Maxi Dress

In a buttery soft cotton knit or silky blend, the best long dresses and caftans feel absurdly comfortable but look ethereal and dreamy — so dreamy, in fact, that you could sleep in them. Those sweeping hemlines and dramatic drapes channel Old Hollywood jet-set glamour even if the only travel you’re doing is through a well-curated Netflix queue. Call it a nap dress, a caftan, or a maxi dress – what you won’t call it is tailored, fussy, or tight.

Leggings will always be a loungewear MVP but, when you’re in it for the long haul, it’s time to get serious about building out a wardrobe you want to wear at home: pieces that are seriously comfortable, seriously easy, and seriously affordable. If you’ve gone through a major lifestyle change — which, at this point, is pretty much everyone — a closet overhaul is likely in order, but you might not be able to sink a ton of cash into the project. All of these ultra-versatile dresses ring up under $40 so you can stock up and build out a pandemic wardrobe that’s as stylish as it is comfortable.

And if you think that means itchy shifts or low-quality construction, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover metaphorical racks of breezy garments made with soft and lightweight and — oh yes — stretchy fabric blends.

From chiffon caftans to the prettiest floral wrap dress and an iconic loungewear dress with over 14,000 reviews, these 32 long and languid pieces are the new uniform for the new normal.

1

A Retro-Chic Caftan With Pucci Vibes

This floaty caftan comes in vacation-worthy prints with a long, loose body and dolman sleeves. You can choose between two light-as-air fabrics: a silky polyester that doesn’t wrinkle, and a thin rayon that’s light and cottony soft. Lighter colors may be a bit transparent, given the thin fabric, but Amazon shoppers love the breeziness. “Lightweight, comfortable and airy,” one fan raved. “Fits great and makes me feel a bit chic.”

Available colors: 43

Available sizes: One size

2

This Airy Floral Pintucked Dress

This relaxed floral dress spins extra details into the easygoing style. Those delicate pintucks running the length of the bodice give the A-line body some shape, while a dainty row of faux buttons trace the front. A not-quite-maxi hemline falls just below mid-calf. A few shoppers experienced that this dress ran larger than the size chart, but several commented on the surprisingly nice fabric and pretty colors nonetheless. “The material is soft and cool and is perfect for casual or dressy wear,” one fan praised. The polyester rayon jersey is machine washable for ease.

Available colors: 9

Available sizes: Medium Plus – 6X

3

This Breezy Caftan Dress With A Tie Waist

Another airy caftan style, this pick comes in patterns ranging from homespun to kaleidoscopic. The tie-waist style here channels a retro-fabulous ’70s hostess gown, but you can also nab it in shorter knee-length cuts for variety. Some reviewers recommended hand-washing to preserve the colors. “I love everything about this caftan! The fabric is dreamy, lightweight, and opaque enough to wear over a nightgown! It will pack like a dream, and can be used as a cover-up at home or at the beach,” one shopper wrote.

Available colors: 37

Available sizes: One size

4

The Classic Tank Dress With Pockets

A spaghetti strap maxi dress is a solid basic option to round out your lounge capsule. You can wear it to nap inside or you can style it up with sandals for date night or a party. One reviewer raved about the fit, calling it “not too billowy but not too clingy.” The rayon and spandex blend is supremely soft and stretchy, while a knee-high slit on one side ensures the skirt won’t get in your way. And yes, those are pockets on the side. For care, the brand recommends hand washing in cold water.

Available colors: 26

Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

5

A Gorgeous Printed Peasant Dress

This colorful peasant dress scores major style points. The unfussy silhouette is offset by a bold, bohemian motif that makes fancy tailoring unnecessary, and a tie neckline keeps it from looking plain. The cotton blend is soft and airy, although some shoppers noted that it had a tendency to shrink (so you’ll want to hand wash and skip the dryer). That said, reviewers loved the bold style that felt so easy to wear. “It will be perfect for wearing as a relaxing robe in the house, but it is almost too pretty not to wear outside in the evening!” one shopper raved.

Available colors: 42

Available styles: X-Small – XX-Large

6

This Geometric Dress With A High-Low Hem

A faux wrap dress is hassle-free style whether you’re holed up at home or out on the town. This great dress comes in patterns that include motifs both retro — palm fronds or polka dots — and modern, including this geometric and a fierce snakeskin. A few shoppers warned that you may need to pin shut the wrap portion of the skirt for peace of mind since the slit is high, but overall adored the versatile style. “It looks and feels MUCH more expensive than it is,” one review noted, adding, “The dress is casual enough to wear with flat sandals for shopping, but you can easily dress it up with heels for a dinner date.”

Available colors: 7

Available sizes: 1X-3X

7

A Casual Embroidered Caftan With Side Slits

This more traditional spin on the caftan features artisan-inspired embroidery on a tunic-style neckline. The short sleeves channel your favorite T-shirt and the side slits mean you can saunter around with ease. “It’s so cute in real life, the embroidery is amazing, and the fit is fantastic!” one shopper raved. “The fabric is thin and breezy just like you’d want in a cover up. It’s almost see through but not quite. You can probably pull it off as a dress to go out in,” the reviewer added. The rayon/polyester fabric is soft but the brand does recommend hand-washing.

Available colors: 15

Available sizes: One size

8

This Utterly Dreamy Strapless Maxi

It doesn’t get much more effortless than this lightweight maxi dress. Comfortable elastic at the chest and waist keep this find in place without suffocating you, and the skirt comes with just the right amount of flutter. It’s available in whimsical florals and trendy tie-dye prints, and some options come with a leg slit. “This is the best sundress I’ve ever purchased! Just as pictured and very comfortable. I find myself sleeping in it after wearing it all day. Have had so many compliments on it as well,” one shopper was pleased to report, mentioning, “I machine wash and hang to dry to ensure no shrinkage.”

Available colors: 10

Available sizes: Small – X-Large

9

A ’70s-Inspired Floral Maxi Dress

A wrap floral maxi dress is pretty and comfy at home, and dresses up with some chic shoes to head out to brunch or a date. The tie waist is fully adjustable on this unlined style, which makes it a lightweight and easy-to-wear option. A few shoppers reported they felt more comfortable with a safety pin on the skirt, but several noted this cute style was well worth MacGyvering. “It’s extremely comfortable, moves beautifully and the fabric is prettier in person than I thought it would be,” one reviewer observed. The cotton and polyester fabric is machine washable, but it’s recommended that you hand dry.

Available colors: 19

Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

10

A Fluttery Off-The-Shoulder Maxi

This pretty wrap dress looks party-worthy with its off-the-shoulder ruffles and peekaboo wrap skirt, but the adjustable style is secretly so comfortable. Shoppers were thrilled to discover adjustable straps and loved how easy the dress was to wear, too, but agreed hand washing was best for this delicate style. “This dress is SPECTACULAR! It’s so light and airy and comfortable. The waistband is elastic so it stretchy, but the fabric itself is not. There’s a nice, breezy split on the leg. I immediately felt like a goddess as soon as I put this on,” one reviewer gushed.

Available colors: 24

Available sizes: 0X – 4X

11

The Effortless Maxi Shirt Dress

This long, flowy dress evokes old-world European chic with its classic shirt styling and folksy shirred waist in a lightweight rayon. Elbow sleeves stay out of your way, and the dress stops buttoning to fall open just above the knee so it’s easy to walk around in. Plus, it comes in so many wearable prints and solids, like the white floral and stunning yellow, you’ll want to stock up.”It’s comfortable enough to lounge around the house in but cute enough to go out. Very good combo,” a shopper noted. Most reviewers advised hand washing with a line dry to minimize any shrinkage.

Available colors: 23

Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

12

This Dark Caftan With Pom-Poms

This solid-hued caftan is a way to test drive the style without the intimidation of bright shades or eye-popping prints, but a row of pom-pom trim perks up the otherwise plain cut. The cotton- polyester fabric is thicker than traditional beachwear, and several shoppers reported wearing it out to dinner as a dress (although no care instructions are provided). “I don’t feel like it’s overly big. It’s super comfortable and my favorite casual dress,” one noted.

Available colors: 3

Available sizes: Small – 3X-Large

13

A Retro Caftan Available In So Many Different Styles

A notch-neck tunic caftan has a handcrafted look and feel with delicate artisan embroidery and loose elbow sleeves. You can also score it in several different style variations, including a satiny lace-up, a bright mosaic-inspired pattern, and a sweet white eyelet with ruffles. “I bought this as a cover-up for a recent trip to the Caribbean, but it’s nice enough to wear as a maxi dress out to dinner. It’s very good quality,” one reviewer praised, adding, “The length is very dramatic! It washed well, too.” This pick needs to be hand washed and line dried to keep the delicate fabric looking its best.

Available colors: 30

Available sizes: One size

14

A Plunging Maxi In A Vacation-Ready Palm Leaf Print

Even if you aren’t headed to the tropics any time soon, this long-sleeved maxi dress is a vacation state of mind you can wear all year long if it pleases you. Its deep faux wrap neckline stops above the elastic waist — it might seem dramatic, but it helps keep you from drowning in the swooping hem and elegant blouson sleeves. A thin sash tie anchors the chiffon for a defined waist. “I ordered it because of the price, style and fabric – it’s perfect for wearing at home outside by the pool, or just relaxing. I often wear caftans, so this is a nice alternative. I don’t think I’ll wear it out, but you certainly could,” one fan remarked.

Available colors: 1

Available sizes: Small —X-Large

15

A Versatile Tank Dress You’ll Want In Every Color

This long tank dress is so, so versatile. You can nap in it, throw on some sandals to run errands, then change shoes and add some epic jewelry for a dinner date — all in the same day. Shoppers loved how the deep V-front and back offset this dress’ oversized cut for a piece that was comfortable but still felt very pretty. “This dress is exactly what is pictured; a super loose fitting, comfy, flowy dress. The fabric is really soft. Only complaint is the length, which is pretty excessive. I’m 5’8 and it still drags the floor,” a reviewer pointed out, echoing others who noted this piece runs quite long. Some reviewers tied it in a knot for a casual, boho feel.

Available colors: 24

Available sizes: X-Small – X-Large

16

A Caftan In The Richest Jewel Tones

This wispy caftan nods to the traditional West African dashiki in saturated prints. A drawstring waist cinches the billowing fabric and gives the flowing style a hint of shape, while the batwing sleeves are covered but not constricting. “Fabric is so lightweight I lounge in it all day. Washes and dries beautifully,” a reviewer was pleased to note. The polyester microfiber is soft and silky, but wonderfully machine washable.

Available colors: 12

Available sizes: Small-Medium – 2X-3X

17

A Wrap-Style Dress You’ll Never Have To Adjust

This surplice maxi dress gives you the look of a wrap style without any fidgeting or readjustments since it’s tacked in place at the elastic waistband. With short cap sleeves in super-soft rayon jersey, with spandex for stretch, this dress is basically like wearing a full-body T-shirt (which, by the way, is machine washable). One Amazon shopper added, “I saw someone else describe it as a ‘lounging’ dress, and I suppose that’s accurate. It kind of reminds me of wearing a nightgown but won’t result in you getting strange looks for wearing it during the day,” calling it, “Great around the house or maybe for a quick run to the grocery store.”

Available colors: 4

Available sizes: 1X – 6X

18

This Beachy Dress With Goddess Vibes

Amazon fans praised this tropical maxi dress for its easy, feminine style that was totally showstopping yet deceptively easy to throw on. “The material is so soft and breathable,” one reviewer pointed out. Another reported, “I am top heavy and didn’t need to wear a bra, the dress held me in well. Cute cut out in the back and the slits on the dress give it an extra flare! You can dress this up or down.” Although the satiny polyester isn’t stretchy, there’s an elastic waist and the back features adjustable ties so you can get your most comfortable fit.

Available colors: 3

Available sizes: Small – Large

19

The Weekend-Ready Racerback Maxi

This buttery-soft maxi dress feels like a full-body version of your favorite tank top in supremely smooth rayon jersey, with some spandex for stretch. A high-cut racer front spotlights your shoulders, and the drapey skirt has two pockets. “I’ve dressed this up and worn it to a gala dinner. I’ve also slept in it and lounged around in it for days. I love it! Totally comfortable,” one shopper gushed in their five-star review, echoing 4,000 other raving fans who gave this dress a perfect score. It’s machine washable, but make sure to air dry.

Available colors: 35

Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

20

A Boho-Chic Caftan You’ll Live In

This breezy boho-chic caftan has a wide V-neckline and open split hems. Get it in a globally-inspired designs, homespun stripes or embroidery, plus festival-worthy brights. “I now have three of these and would live in them if I could,” one reviewer declared, calling this pick “Something casual that makes you feel beautiful.” It washes well, according to shoppers, who advised hanging to air dry.

Available colors: 39

Available sizes: One size

21

A Soft, Strapless Maxi Dress With Pockets

This soft, stretchy maxi dress is made out of a buttery polyester/spandex blend that’s similar to what you’d find in a great pair of leggings — except you’ll also find pockets deep enough to hold a smartphone here, plus a snug but not tight elastic waist on the minimalist ruched bodice. “It seems to be good quality and it’s super comfy,” one shopper noted. This piece is ridiculously effortless, pairing with sneakers or sandals to run to the store, and dressing up over a pair of wedges if you’re going out for drinks.

Available colors: 15

Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

22

An Ethereal Ruffled Maxi Dress With A Strappy Back

This gauzy cotton-blend maxi dress has a crinkle texture and delicately smocked bodice with a flouncy tiered skirt — but there’s no missing that showstopping strappy back between an adjustable halter tie neck and gathered drawstring waist. “So flowy and dramatic, but comfy enough I wear it without a bra,” a reviewer shared, and several echoed how surprisingly comfortable the style was. Several reviewers noted that it’s a gorgeous alternative to some of Free People’s similar, pricier pieces.

Available colors: 11

Available sizes: Small – X-Large

23

This Cottagecore Midi Dress

This simple midi dress has a bygone feel with vintage-inspired details, especially that blousy shirtwaist bodice and flounced petticoat skirt. Those saturated shades and boho bell sleeves are thoroughly modern, though. Amazon shoppers were pleased with the quality, noting the dress seemed quite well-made (but a few reported their dress was shorter than the featured picture). “Very good and comfortable material. Loved the vibrant colors. Gives you major Bohemian vibes,” one fan shared. Hand washing is recommended to keep those colors looking bright.

Available colors: 10

Available sizes: Small – X-Large

24

This Easygoing T-Shirt Dress With A Cult Following

This casual T-shirt maxi dress boasts over 14,000 reviews from Amazon shoppers who gave it top marks for being soft and comfortable yet incredibly cute. It’s made from a stretchy rayon blend with an open V-neck and two knee-high slits that keep the overall look airy instead of baggy. (One popular hack was knotting the front and back hem for a completely different look.) “I bought this as a swimsuit coverup. I now lounge around the house and sleep in it,” one reviewer confessed.

Available colors: 27

Availabele sizes: X-Small – XX-Large

25

And A Patterned T-Shirt Dress That Comes In Moody Tie-Dye

A patterned spin on the dress above, this boho maxi dress comes in dozens of tie-dyed designs (plus a few rogue florals). It shares the same straight body and split hem with a slouchy V-neck, but the rolled sleeves on this dress are a nice added touch. “Has a lovely organic drape with some substance to it,” one fan gushed. “I’ve been wearing it around all afternoon while jumping between working at my computer, lounging on my bed, doing house chores, etc. It’s felt so soft and comfortable every step/position of the way.”

Available colors: 28

Available sizes: X-Small – X-Large

26

A Light And Airy Slip Dress

A casual cami dress is light and airy on its own and easily layers when the weather gets cold — this one comes in botanical prints and tie dye that feel just right under denim and field jackets or nubby long cardigans. The stretchy polyester slips overhead easily. “Does not wrinkle! I swear,” one reviewer promised. And the spaghetti straps are fully adjustable for comfort. Two built-in pockets on the side seam offer plenty of storage without bunching. “Super cute to slink around the house in or throw on a bandeau bra or a denim jacket and head out,” another fan praised.

Available colors: 11

Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

27

The Graceful T-Shirt Dress

This easygoing T-shirt dress floats to just above the ankle on most shoppers, with a gently fitted bodice and gathered elastic waist. The buttery soft rayon jersey (with some spandex for stretch) is not constricting. “Soft enough to lounge around in in comfort, but also comfy enough to wear to bed if you wanted to,” a reviewer remarked. The crew neckline isn’t too high, and the extra dip leaves enough room for a dainty necklace to peek out if you decide to dress it up — which you can, effortlessly. The only downside? There aren’t any pockets on this versatile dress.

Available colors: 5

Available sizes: 1X – 6X

28

The Gorgeous Wrap Dress You Can Dress Up So Easily

A cute dress you can style up or down is a closet essential, and this adjustable wrap dress couldn’t be more comfortable in stretchy polyester with half sleeves and a tie waist over its A-line midi hem. “I can’t get over how GORGEOUS I feel in this flowy dress,” one fan gushed. And, if you’re not a fan of the “true wrap,” there is also the option for a more secure surplice style. “Very comfy and stylish dress,” another reviewer praised, adding, “Fabric is a good weight not too heavy or light.” Wash this piece gently to keep it pristine.

Available colors: 33

Available sizes: 0X – 4X

29

The Grecian-Style Dress That’s Incredibly Soft

“This dress is incredibly comfortable and I would totally wear it to bed,” one shopper wrote of this laidback maxi dress. It has a fitted bodice and empire waist, with a deep V-neckline. The polyester spandex blend is wildly soft – reviewers compared it to a T-shirt, and loved its easy elegance. “My favorite ‘around the house’ dresses,” another reviewer remarked, adding that they now owned two. Hand washing is recommended, but reviewers reported success on a delicate machine cycle as well.

Available colors: 31

Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

30

A Stylish Wrap Dress In Cheerful Florals

A knee-length wrap dress with three-quarter sleeves can be worn at home on the couch, to class or the office with classic white sneakers, and even for date night when you add a pair of heels and some statement earrings. A versatile floral print helps get extra mileage from outerwear items already in your wardrobe, but the comfortable stretchy polyester blend has a peachskin finish that feels so much like pajamas, you might skip going out entirely.

Available colors: 8

Available sizes: X-Large – XXX-Large

31

A Day-To-Night Maxi That’s So Stretchy & Comfortable

This strappy maxi dress looks like something you’d wear to an event but is shockingly comfortable. The surplice style slips easily over your head thanks to an elastic waist, while the polyester/spandex blend is thin and lightweight yet incredibly stretchy. Tthe fabric of this dress is more like that of a night gown,” one Amazon shopper commented, adding, “it’s something I’ll lounge around the house in. It’s pretty for that.” The delicate racerback straps are adjustable just like a regular bra strap, and you can even toss it in the machine on delicate, then air dry.

Available colors: 41

Available sizes: Small – XX-Large

32

A Gauzy Floral Sundress That Never Wrinkles

The floral sundress is easy and breezy in lightweight and colorful rayon that features a richly textured crinkle finish — which is quietly brilliant given the fabric’s propensity to wrinkle. As one shopper noted: “Can you say NO IRONING necessary?” The V-neck style has loose dolman sleeves and a gently flared skirt that’s relaxed yet perfectly floaty. “Great for days when I don’t want something form fitting,” another reviewer shared. And good news: it’s machine washable.

Available colors: 26

Available sizes: Small Plus – 6X

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