What 90s fashion trend looked good on any body type, showed off the legs, and although very youthful was also very sexy? If you guessed the babydoll dresses favored by pop sensation Emma Bunton, Baby Spice of the 90s inexplicably popular girl band, the Spice Girls then you probably wore one at some point in time. And guess what? This 90s favorite is making a comeback! To see its modern interpretation, check out this one recently seen in Urban Outfitters (see pic 1). You can incorporate current accessories, like a fedora, to update the look and make it your own (see pic 2).
The authentic 90s babydoll dresses came in
all patterns, but was particularly popular in a wide range of very 90s florals. Check out this vintage 90s dress available on etsy.com (see pic 3). I remember borrowing something almost identical from a girl in my freshman dorm in college in the early 90s. I paired it with leggings and a pair of black flats. Later in the 90s, those flats would have been replaced with chunky heels, but the feel of the dress remained a constant.
Although the babydoll dress is universally flattering (no need to suck in your tummy!) it is a look that can go awry rather quickly. Too ‘babyish’ and you lose all the sex appeal, too big and even if you weigh 90 pounds you’ll wind up looking fat. However, find an empire wasted baby doll that doesn’t drown you in fabric, throw on a pair of leggings, and voila – a comfortable, youthful, fashionable look.
Watch the movie Clueless for ideas from Cher on how to wear the baby doll; knee socks or tights is a trendy look she nailed (think the burgundy dress that she wears to school and then Amber copies at the Val party). This is a great idea if you’re planning to attend a 90s party and want to re-create an authentic look.
If you plan on bringing this look back now, watch the length. As your age goes up the hemline should go down! If you’re a tall girl the baby doll should also be a little longer then if you’re very petite; no one wants to pull a Britney Spears and flash her goods. Which brings me to another concern with the baby doll – because the fabric is flowing and bouncy in this style you should skip wearing a baby doll on windy days. Marilyn Monroe can get away with that but the majority of us mere mortals cannot.
Babydoll dresses ran the gamut from casual beach attire to cocktail party fare depending on the style, fabric and shoes you chose. At a petite 5 feet tall I almost always wear heels but I love the look, on other people, of cute ballet shoes with the baby doll, preferably in patent leather, for a casual-yet-dressy look.
Whatever your age, body type or personal style there is a baby doll dress that will work for you. Vintage shops, etsy.com and ebay.com have a wide range of styles to choose from at reasonable prices. Time to get your Baby Spice on.