• Home
  • News
  • Fashion
  • Item of the week: the babydoll dress

Item of the week: the babydoll dress

By Rachel Douglass


Scroll down to read more


Credits: (From left) Image: Madewell, Pieces, Michael Kors

What it is:

This popular dress silhouette has made waves in recent years and has continued to do so in the collections of coming seasons, making it a recurring style that particularly comes into favour for the spring/summer event periods. While the dress used to solely be an item of nightwear for women, it has become another culmination of the lingerie-as-outerwear trend, bringing it into daywear and eveningwear. The dress itself typically consists of a bralette with an attached, loose-fitting skirt that falls at the upper thigh. Common iterations displayed by brands include features like puffed sleeves, layered skirts or ruffled hems.

Credits: Image: French Connection

Why you’ll want it:

The babydoll dress garnered popularity on social media after many iterations of the silhouette went viral thanks to eye-catching, high street designs and influencer favouritism. Since its viral moment, the style has continued to maintain its acclaim among the eveningwear category as a mini alternative to gowns and maxi dresses. The dress particularly appeals to young, trend-led consumers who are looking for a more daring substitute to the standard eveningwear options. The piece is a fun addition to collections in this category, often appearing in pastel colours and prints in keeping with its refreshing shape.

Credits: Image: La Ligne

Where we’ve seen it:

Despite being largely favoured for spring/summer seasons, the babydoll dress still made a regular appearance among AW23 collections in iterations that varied mostly in terms of material. Zimmermann, for example, opted for a pastel green check for its own version, which also came complete with a bubble hem skirt and oversized sleeving. Carolina Herrera, on the other hand, presented its take on the babydoll using gold metallic fabric that was highly textured and helped to form the exaggerated skirt. Harris Reed’s Nina Ricci debut also featured the silhouette, presented with a large tulle skirt in a polka dot fabric that extended across the entirety of the model’s body.

Credits: Image: Madewell

How to style it:

The babydoll dress is in itself a statement outfit and does well as a standalone piece in an outfit. It’s the use of accessories that can really bring this item to life, with the best option being to experiment with similarly fun, playful pieces. For the daytime, pair the dress with colourful sneakers or printed sandals, making it a comfortable alternative for summery days. Add a little leather shoulder bag and simple accessories to finish the look off. Alternatively, for the evening, add a pair of retro, platform heels in a contrasting hue or polished loafers to continue the vintage-inspired attire throughout.

Credits: Image: Madewell

While not exactly considered a practical style, the babydoll dress is still a fun alternative to the typical eveningwear, bringing a playfulness to the category in a vintage-inspired way. For AW23 season, designers largely played with volume and materials to show their own takes on the dress, suggesting that it could stay in vogue for future seasons.

Credits: Image: French Connection

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.

Item of the Week