The babydoll dress regularly comes back into the spotlight as surely as fashion cycles keep turning. However, take a look around and you’ll find it is always present in one variation or another. Whether it’s worn for subtle sophistication or a bolder statement, a babydoll can work for almost any occasion. Once you grasp the simple “what’s,” “when’s” and “how’s” of the babydoll dress, you’ll see this style can flatter almost everyone and add a surprising lift to a wardrobe. Find an online babydoll dress, place your order, and discover how carefree this timeless style can be!
What Makes a “Babydoll” Dress?
A babydoll dress is a dress that is short and also high-waisted. It is most often an empire waistline, that is, one placed just below the bust. The “empire” refers to the Napoleonic Empire of France when Empress Josephine brought beautifully draped tunics she’d seen idolized on Greek and Roman statues into the height of fashion.
The Modern Look
Today’s versions aren’t quite as body-hugging as those of Josephine’s statues. There’s a wide variety of babydolls, but they do have some common traits. Below the waistline, the shape is usually full or in an A-line, so it will flare out nicely. The hemline is above the knee, from a few inches to mid-thigh. It can be as high as the panty line, but this is really seen in lingerie, tennis wear or as an intentional statement (think Courtney Love). Tops are usually sleeveless, but not strictly so. With so many variations today, you can always find one that looks good on you.
Why We Love It
It’s hard to question that the babydoll is comfortable. It is free-flowing, unconstraining and so easy to throw on. Beyond that, the look is sexy and feminine. The flaring out over the midsection, hips and thighs is very forgiving for any problems there. The legs, emerging out of the long line and short length of the dress, can look longer, especially in heels. Women of all body types can know there is an appropriate babydoll dress that will work for them.
During World War II, with fabric supply low, a clever designer shortened her line of lingerie. With so much leg showing, it became the outfit for the “pin-up girls” of the era. In 1956, the movie “Baby Doll,” about a nubile young woman who laid around in her baby doll nightgown, was a sensation. Soon the look was transformed to be worn outside the bedroom. In the 1960s, it morphed into the mini-dress and has kept evolving and been with us ever since.
Generally, hemlines should be a few inches above the knee and age appropriate. Younger women can have shorter ones. Women in their 30s want a slightly longer length that reflects their self-confidence. The right length will give you the image you’re after.
To look great and feel confident in a babydoll dress, have well-fitting underwear. Some of the dresses come with built-in bras. If you have larger breasts, use a bra you know is reliable and looks good.
Today babydoll outfits can fit in anywhere. Know where you’re going, why you’re going there (work, play, etc.), as well as the mix of people you’ll be with. Necklines can make all the difference. A light material with a halter-top makes a lovely statement at a summer event, while a dark, rich fabric with spaghetti straps will make a sophisticated splash at cocktails. Sleeves and necklines that are not revealing can provide a clean, comfortable look for work environments.
Styling the Babydoll Dress
There are countless ways to wear a babydoll dress and look your best. Let’s consider just a few of them.
Babydoll dresses are a natural fit for summer. As a sundress or cocktail outfit, they are liberating, cool and sensual. Now, designers have found ways to interpret them for the rest of the year, too, using collars and sleeves. They can also look ultra-fashionable with the right sweater or jacket for seasons in transition.
Babydolls look great when you’re wearing heels. Non-clunky flats work year-round. For summer, you’re set with a pair of simple sandals. For fall and winter, shorter boots will give off an up-to-date look.
Stockings and Leggings
With the wonderful new materials in stocking and leggings, your legs can have maximum shapeliness to complement this style dress. Young women don’t have as many concerns, but if you’re over 40, a darker pair of stockings or solid leggings with your babydoll can make you look your best.
A babydoll dress should remain the focal point of an outfit. Oversize, heavy jewelry will fight the simplicity of the style. The rule is fundamental: don’t over-accessorize and you’ll look great.
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