We’re all familiar with this cute little summer dress and how easy it is to wear. Some like to wear it in white, so they can emphasize their tan when they visit the beach. Others prefer it in black to add a softer side to a chic office look. This summer essential is constantly reinventing itself, and this season, its having a retro-inspired comeback. Volume is back, baby doll! Wide shapes paired with balloon sleeves and oversized collars are signaling its flamboyant return.
Instantly recognizable due to its broad-hemmed shape, this dress inspired by dolls creates a mysterious, oversized silhouette. Generally, the cut is short and wide with an understated high waist, and in terms of length, it typically falls just above the knee: so it looks great on women of all shapes and sizes. Let’s take a moment to look at the dress of the summer and find the perfect shoes to wear with it.
A flawless, youthful attitude
Out and about, on-trend girls from Loulou de Saison to Camille Charrière have already adopted the babydoll in its all white incarnation. Flawless white embodies the innocence of youth. Pierpaolo Piccioli, the artistic director at Valentino, put the color center stage, when he opened his SS20 show, aiming to rediscover “the universal and return to the essence of forms and volume”. His doll silhouettes marry white and gold for a much needed breath of fresh air, liberating the body through generous flowing fabric; they call to mind youthful femininity on the cusp of womanhood.
The babydoll dress may enjoy a breezy air, but it’s not short on material details either. It can be found with broderie anglaise or topstitching details, elevating the little white dress into a truly fashionable must-have. We’d team it with a pair of ankle-high combat boots or with a pair of flat sandals for a look that can just as easily radiate grunge or confident romanticism, depending on your mood. For a 70s twist, why not go for heeled sandals with gold braiding and a round buckle, playing that retro card, which the babydoll dress always has up its sleeve.
A colorful and playful spirit
It might remind us of the innocence of a doll at first glance, but don’t be fooled: the babydoll dress equally lends itself to a youthful and deceptively well-behaved look. There are versions that stress the doll rather than the baby like the famous horse print dress by Ganni. It can also work in this season’s bold spring and summer hues like pastel lilac, aqua green or canary yellow. If you don’t want to come over too sugary sweet, we’d avoid pumps and other classic shoes, opting instead for simpler accessories that reflect the light and fluid aspects of the dress. Teaming it with a pair of Vanessa Wu mules with gold detailing, for example, banishes any hints of severity from the silhouette in favor of a flowing femininity with a naturally perky edge.
Although it first appeared at the end of the 50s in designs by Cristobal Balenciaga (the eponymous creator of the luxury brand), the babydoll dress has never looked so modern. Throw one on for a look that is as light as it is casual (not to mention stunning!) every single time.
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